Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has recently announced a significant change in its admission process. According to a Reuters report released on Friday, prospective students will now have the option to utilize AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to assist in preparing their applications.
This decision marks a departure from the stance taken by the University of Michigan Law School just one week prior, where they opted to prohibit the use of AI tools in the application process. These divergent policies underscore the varying approaches universities are taking when it comes to integrating AI into the student application process.
Arizona State’s law school has outlined specific guidelines for applicants who choose to employ AI tools. Applicants must transparently disclose their use of such technology, ensuring that all information submitted remains accurate. This requirement mirrors the school’s existing mandate for applicants to acknowledge if they’ve sought assistance from a professional consultant in their application process.
Stacy Leeds, the dean of the law school, emphasized that this new policy acknowledges the growing prevalence of AI tools among legal professionals and students. Leeds underscored that AI cannot be used to generate false information and that applicants must continue to “express their own experiences and perspectives.”
OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which was released in November, is an AI assistant capable of performing analyses and generating text in various styles based on user requests. Its introduction, along with similar tools from other providers, has prompted concerns among educators about the potential for students to rely on these tools to complete assignments without truly grasping the material.
Some university professors, like Ethan Mollick of the Wharton School in Pennsylvania, have taken a more open-minded approach. They acknowledge that the use of tools like ChatGPT is becoming increasingly inevitable and have instituted policies requiring students to validate the accuracy of their work, regardless of its composition. Additionally, students are required to disclose their use of AI tools to their professors.
Leeds believes that the accessibility of generative AI tools, which are available to applicants regardless of their economic circumstances, has the potential to level the playing field for those who may not have the means to hire expensive professional consultants, some of whom charge exorbitant fees.
Despite this new policy, Reuters notes that the sanctioned use of ChatGPT at the Arizona State law school is currently limited to the application process. The school is actively working on developing regulations for the use of AI in coursework and within the classroom. In the near future, Arizona State University plans to provide educational videos to inform prospective students about acceptable uses of AI and potential pitfalls associated with its use.