May 1, 2023
With the rise of AI writing software like ChatGPT, everyone involved in the admissions process is considering how this new technology will impact college essays – both writing and reviewing them. ChaptGPT is software created by OpenAI that makes written content through user prompts and questions. For example, you could ask ChatGPT to write an essay that recounts a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure (an essay prompt from the Common Application). Easy access to quick-thinking and writing technology is causing college admissions offices, guidance counselors, and students alike to consider what drawbacks and benefits to consider with AI software and when and when not to use it.
What Makes a Good College Essay
A good college essay showcases the essence of who you are and allows college admissions offices to understand what you will bring to the incoming class and the campus as a whole. They want to know the part of you that cannot be gleaned from your high school transcript or test scores. In other words, the part of you that ChatGPT and other AI software cannot create and write for you. A good college essay is uniquely yours, written in your own words, and not one that could be flagged for plagiarism and compromise your chances of admissions or scholarship dollars.
How ChatGPT Can Help
The good news is that ChatGPT can be helpful in your essay-writing process when used appropriately. While asking ChatGPT to write an essay for you is discouraged, students can use ChatGPT to their advantage to help in other ways, including:
Tips for Using ChatGPT Effectively
ChatGPT is a powerful tool, and to take full advantage of what it offers, we have some tips for using it appropriately.
First, be sure to provide clear instructions to ChatGPT. You should be specific in your request. For example, “Review this college essay I wrote for grammatical and spelling errors,” or “Can you review an essay I wrote for clarity and flow? I’m looking for feedback on whether the ideas flow well together and if the writing is easy to understand.”
Remember that you are using ChatGPT as a tool for feedback, not a replacement for your own writing. This is especially helpful after you have written your essay’s first or second draft. It is crucial to keep in mind that ChatGPT isn’t a human, so you will also want to ask a trusted friend, teacher, or adult to review your essay.
Ways you should NOT use ChatGPT
We are already hearing stories about teachers and professors catching students using ChatGPT and AI software for essay writing. These students are being failed or flagged for plagiarism for not handing in their original work. A handful of AI writing and plagiarism checkers have been developed and are being used. We are confident that admissions offices will utilize these and run through flagged essays as part of their review process.
Class 101 Essay Writing Workshops
For more tips and to learn how to craft your own winning essay, join Class 101 for our virtual Essay Writing Workshop on May 17, 2023, from 7:00 – 8:30 EST. Register by emailing Randy at [email protected].
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