Press Release Kaplan Survey: Most Pre-Law Students Don’t Think Law School Applicants Should Be Allowed to Use GenAI in Admissions Essays

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The verdict is in: 66 percent of pre-law students rule that law school applicants shouldn’t be allowed to use ChatGPT or other GenAI tools to help them write their admissions essays, according to a survey by global educational services provider Kaplan; 14 percent say they should be allowed to use it, while the remaining 20 percent aren’t sure*. The results come as a trickle of JD programs begin to announce school-specific policies, with some like the University of Michigan Law School explicitly banning applicants from using GenAI, while others like the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University explicitly allowing it. But preliminary results from Kaplan’s 2023 law school admissions officers survey find that the majority of schools have yet to implement any policy regarding the role that GenAI can or cannot play in applicants’ admissions essays.

Kaplan survey: 66 percent of pre-law students rule that law school applicants shouldn’t be allowed to use ChatGPT or other GenAI tools to help them write their admissions essays.

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Pre-law students who don’t think GenAI should be allowed shared the following reasons:

  • “The use of AI in a personal statement makes an individual’s personal statement disingenuous. It is also an act of plagiarism because the work is not the student’s own.”
  • “I think it takes away from the other applicants who actually do know how to write and research and such. It feels like it’s cheating me out of a position.”
  • “Using GenAI would defeat the entire point of writing a personal statement, which I believe is to express a key part of your identity in a short but impactful piece.”

But one student who favors allowing GenAI said, “Banning the use of AI in personal statements does nothing but penalize students willing to play by the rules. We need to learn to work with AI instead of against it.”

“Pre-law students took their admissions exams on Test Day without the use of GenAI and built up their GPAs without using it either, so it’s not entirely surprising that they think it shouldn’t be a part of the admissions process either. One common thread in the survey results is the concern that it would unfairly level the playing field for applicants who are not strong writers, in addition to permit inauthenticity,” said Amit Schlesinger, executive director of legal and government programs, Kaplan. “Preliminary results from Kaplan’s law school admissions officers survey show that as the 2023-2024 application cycle begins, most schools have no policy at all, but we don’t believe that’s a tenable position, as they are going to get more and more questions from prospective students who want guidance and guardrails.”

*The online survey was conducted in September 2023 of 389 aspiring lawyers across the country who are members of Phi Alpha Delta, the largest professional law fraternity in the United States.

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

Twitter: @KaplanEdNews

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