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Survey: 30% of College Students Used ChatGPT for Schoolwork this Past Academic Year

Almost a third of college students (30%) have used free artificial intelligence (AI) tool ChatGPT for schoolwork this past academic year, according to a survey by and SurveyMonkey.

As AI has its recent surge in prominence in the mainstream – from art to tech – surveyed 1,223 current undergraduate and graduate students – age 18-30 – about their views on one of the more well-known tools, ChatGPT, which was launched in November 2022.

Chat Gpt Barchart

The survey found that, of the 30% who used ChatGPT this past year for schoolwork, almost half said that they frequently used it for homework.

Students reported using the tool mostly for English (49%) followed by “hard” sciences like chemistry and biology (41%). And of students who did not already have a 4.0 GPA last semester, 12% of all student ChatGPT users reported that their GPA increased from the fall 2022 to the spring 2023, but the majority did not see improvement.

Users said that the tool’s advantages included its ease of use, simplicity, ability to help in organizational skills, and its ability to collect specific information and save time in researching. However, they also listed disadvantages, such as overreliance, inaccuracy, and potential to be considered cheating.

Experts warned that ChatGPT should not be used as an end all be all study tool.

“ChatGPT may be a quick way to get a summary of important concepts, facts, principles, or terminology, and therefore might be useful to an adult learner who needs a quick overview of some knowledge domain,” said Dr. Diane Gayeski, a higher education consultant with and professor of strategic communications at Ithaca College. “For instance if I were a salesperson preparing to call on a prospective client in an industry I didn’t really understand, ChatGPT could give me some insights into the important terms they use and some of the current challenges in that industry. But it’s clearly not (at least not at this point) something that a person without a base level of knowledge could use to learn a new topic.”

The tool requires that users know what prompts to give it. It is also not a teacher, it is a way to assemble content, she said.

“Certainly, ChatGPT can summarize information – but not more completely nor more accurately than doing a Google search or consulting a book,” Gayeski said. “The purpose of a teacher is to help explain concepts, figure out where your misconceptions or lack of prerequisite knowledge may be getting in your way, and to drill you on memorizing and applying knowledge. Right now, ChatGPT’s feedback is based on the learner’s ability just to restate what it has originally generated.”

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