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Kaplan Survey: Most Colleges and Universities Take Laissez Faire Approach Towards Use of GenAI in Admissions

The vast majority of colleges and universities are taking a hands off approach, so far, when it comes to the use of generative AI programs like ChatGPT in both the admissions and recruitment processes, according to a new survey by global educational services provider Kaplan*. The survey’s findings come at a time when schools are increasingly exploring its use in both admissions and academics. Among the findings, according to the more than 200 admissions officers polled:

  • Few AI Rules in Essays: 85 percent of admissions officers say that they have no rules regulating how prospective students can use GenAI in their admissions essays. Of the few schools that do have policies, most ban its use. As one admissions officer shared, “We just feel that it is a ‘given’ that students know their essay should be made from their own brain power and not a computer's. We do not directly state or search for any AI use.”
  • Few Schools Use GenAI-Detecting Software: Just 9 percent of schools use GenAI detection software when evaluating admissions essays, although some did say they are exploring different tools to use in the future. One admissions officer said, “We aren't worried about the role of AI. It’s just not a factor that carries much weight.”
  • AI Having Little Impact on Recruiting Efforts: Only 14 percent of admissions officers say that they use AI to help them do their jobs or as a way to reach prospective students, preferring to rely on more traditional methods like direct mail and texts. One admissions officer said this may soon change: “At this point, it is mostly used to help create basic marketing copy that is then refined and improved by human writers. However, we are exploring other areas where AI might help improve the selection process.”

“Results from Kaplan’s college admissions officers survey show that as we dive deeper into the 2023-2024 application cycle, most schools have no policy at all when it comes to using GenAI in admissions essays. We largely chalk that up to the newness of the technology. Keep in mind that ChatGPT only launched in November 2022 and admissions officers are probably still navigating GenAI’s potential. But we expect this to change quickly. It’s likely that they are going to get more questions from prospective students and their parents who want clear guidance and guardrails effectively communicated about what is permitted, and we think schools will be responsive,” says Isaac Botier, vice president, innovation and advising, Kaplan.

To speak with a college admissions expert at Kaplan, contact

*Admissions officers from 208 of the nation’s top national, regional and liberal arts colleges and universities – as compiled by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by e-mail and phone between August and November 2023.

About Kaplan

Kaplan, Inc. is a global educational services company that helps individuals and institutions advance their goals in an ever-changing world. Our broad portfolio of solutions help students and professionals further their education and careers, universities and educational institutions attract and support students, and businesses maximize employee recruitment, retainment, and development. Stanley Kaplan founded our company in 1938 with a mission to expand educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds. Today, our thousands of employees working in 26 countries continue Stanley’s mission as they serve about 1.2 million students and professionals, 13,000 corporate clients, and 4,000 schools, school districts, colleges, and universities worldwide. Kaplan is a subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). Learn more at

Kaplan survey: The vast majority of colleges and universities are taking a hands off approach, so far, when it comes to the use of generative AI programs like ChatGPT in both the admissions and recruitment processes.


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