The Ivy Coach Daily

May 20, 2021

Artificial Intelligence in Admissions

If used right, we support the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence in elite college admissions.

Implicit bias plays a major role in elite college admissions. It’s a topic we’ve been writing about extensively for many years. It’s a topic that captured the nation’s headlines a couple of years back when a group known as Students For Fair Admissions sued Harvard University for allegedly discriminating against Asian American applicants. The case brought to light the higher personal ratings that White applicants as a whole receive over Asian American applicants as a whole. It also shined a spotlight on discriminatory comments admissions officers wrote atop the applications of many Asian American applicants, including focusing on their studiousness and shyness. Yes, implicit bias is real. It is human nature. We were all once hunter-gatherers. We all had to make instinctual decisions back in the day to survive, to find food and avoid being eaten. All these centuries later, we’re still wired with the same brains.

Companies Are Seeking to Incorporate Artificial Intelligence in Admissions

So where do we stand on the admissions offices of elite universities using artificial intelligence in the admissions process? We’re all for it! As Austa Somvichian-Clausen reports for The Hill in a piece entitled “Experts see new roles for artificial intelligence in college admissions process,” “Humans are inherently biased, and schools are now beginning to realize the faults in their traditional approach to admissions — one that has placed an outweighed emphasis on test scores and transcripts, and often fails to find the human factor in their applicants. The flaws in this system also tend to leave underprivileged groups behind and keep underrepresented demographics as anomalies. Surprisingly, the solution to this issue — to this lack of humanity — might be found in artificial intelligence. ’The mission of the organization is to bring a human aspect back into the admissions process,’ said Andrew Martelli, the chief technology officer at Kira Talent, a Canadian-founded company that works with learning institutions around the world in hopes of delivering a more holistic approach to reviewing candidates.”

We Arrive at the Best Decisions When We Combine Rational Analysis with Instinctive Judgement

We believe that humans arrive at the very best decision when combining subjective and objective reasoning. The gut instinct of an experienced admissions officer matters. If she believes a college applicant might grow up to become a serial killer, as an extreme example, we believe it best that the college trust her judgement. But objective data can be of great benefit to the holistic college admissions process, too — especially to help weed out inherent implicit bias that we humans all harbor. And, if used right, artificial intelligence could well be a great addition to the college admissions process in the years to come. So let’s see what happens next!

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