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Workshop: Generative AI for Education (GAIED): Advances, Opportunities, and Challenges

Paper 41: AI-Augmented Advising: A Comparative Study of ChatGPT-4 and Advisor-based Major Recommendations

Kasra Lekan · Zachary Pardos

Keywords: [ higher education ] [ Generative AI ] [ LLM ] [ Experimental study ] [ ChatGPT ] [ Advising ] [ AI-Human collaboration ] [ major selection ]


Choosing an undergraduate major is an important decision that impacts academic and career outcomes. We investigate using ChatGPT-4, a state-of-the-art large language model (LLM), to augment human advising for major selection. Through a 3-phase survey, we compare ChatGPT suggestions and responses for undeclared Freshmen and Sophomore students (n=18) to expert responses from university advisors (n=18). Undeclared students were first surveyed on their interests and career goals. These responses were then given to both campus advisors and to ChatGPT to produce a major recommendation for each student. In the case of ChatGPT, information about the majors offered on campus was added to the prompt. Advisors, overall, rated the recommendations of ChatGPT to be highly helpful and agreed with their recommendations 39% of the time. Additionally, we find substantially more agreement with AI major recommendations when advisors see the AI recommendations before making their own. However, this result was not statistically significant, possibly owing to insufficient data collected thus far. The results provide a first signal as to the viability of LLMs for personalized major recommendation and shed light on the promise and limitations of AI for advising support.

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