We all know that artificial intelligence is on the rise. AI has been a hot new buzz word for the last few years, but practical usage of artificial intelligence dates much farther back.
Artificial intelligence is defined as a computer program able to perform a task that would historically require a human being.
These programs have existed since the advent of computers, but has really taken off in the last couple of years. The algorithms used by computers to perform these complex tasks have advanced considerably in recent years, and are much more sophisticated than they used to be.
As such, many individuals and institutions are looking at practical applications of these types of programs.
Today we are looking at how higher education has tried to implement AI into the admissions process and if it is an effective tool.
How Do Colleges Utilize AI?
Before we can analyze how colleges should or shouldn't be using this technology, we need to understand how it is currently being applied.
Like many businesses and organizations, private institutions are looking to use AI to streamline and automate tasks. This is true of all technological advancements, but the amount of tasks being moved onto AI is particularly high.
According to a survey of 400 schools, the most common use for any sort of AI in an admissions office is to filter through recommendation letters and transcripts. Alongside other elements of college applications, admissions offices are given thousands of these letters each year.
Right behind filtering through transcripts, the same survey found that a majority of schools use AI to send out automated messages. These include acceptance letters and updates on the application process. Standard automations one might find if they order an online package.
Lastly, 50% of schools pulled said they use some type of artificial intelligence to conduct or assist with an interview itself.
The survey concluded that a majority of schools were using AI to assist in their decision making, and that 87% of schools are expected to use some type of AI in their admissions process by the end of the year.
That being said, these schools are not leaving the entire process up to computers. The software is assisting in some of the more baseline tasks, but the bulk of reviews are still overseen by human staff members.
Is AI Actually Making Decisions On College Applicants?
For the most part, AI is not making any critical decisions that would not also be made by a human.
Unlike a more personalized element of the college application, college transcripts tend to function as a checkbox. If a student reaches a certain benchmark or set of criteria, they will be considered for admission. Such a straightforward decision being put onto AI makes sense.
The same can be said about automated emails, as AI is just speeding up the process of a repetitive task.
While schools do still need to make subjective observations about their applicants, the numerical tasks can be easily done by these algorithms. This saves time for the human staff to focus on what elements they consider less straightforward to analyze.
While there is something to be said about the human touch, AI is a useful tool applicable to many different tasks.
College admissions offices deal with thousands of applicants, and some of the process is reviewing objective data to make sure it passed a benchmark. AI is best suited for these types of automation.
While the idea that computers are assisting in big decisions can be intimidating at first, it should be noted that new technology has been implemented into the college process for centuries now. AI is just the newest tool to assist workers in working more efficiently.
Regardless of who is looking over your application, the college process is all about building a case to sell yourself to these institutions. A combination of a good GPA, a strong application, and high standardized test scores are the key to success. No one piece will carry the entire weight.
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