The Pitfalls of Using AI Models for College Application Essays and The Correct Way to Use chatGPT

As artificial intelligence continues to advance, you now have access to powerful language models like ChatGPT, capable of generating coherent and engaging essays. However, while it may be tempting to utilize such technology to craft your college application essays, one should exercise caution. In this article, we will explore the implications of using AI services for college essays and provide guidance on how to resist the temptation.

Implications of Using AI for College Essays:

Lack of Authenticity: College admissions committees value authenticity and a genuine representation of an applicant’s voice and experiences. Using AI to write essays may result in a lack of personal touch, making it harder for admissions officers to truly understand the you.

Plagiarism Concerns: Utilizing an AI model to generate essays can lead to inadvertent plagiarism. You may unintentionally present ideas and phrases similar to those found in other applicants’ essays or published works. Plagiarism is a serious offense and can have severe consequences, including rejection or even expulsion from academic institutions. Institutions have softwares to detect such plagiarism.

Limited Self-Reflection: The college application process is an opportunity for students to reflect on their achievements, experiences, and personal growth. By relying on AI to write your essays, you miss out on the chance to engage in this crucial introspection, hindering your personal development and self-awareness.

Misrepresentation of Abilities: AI models can create polished and sophisticated essays, which may not accurately reflect your true writing abilities. If you gain admission based on an essay written by an AI, you might find yourself struggling to meet the academic writing expectations in college.

How to Avoid the Temptation:

Understand the Purpose: Recognize that college essays are meant to provide insights into your unique personality, experiences, and goals. Embrace the opportunity to showcase your genuine self rather than relying on an AI-generated piece.

Seek Guidance: Instead of outsourcing the essay writing process entirely, reach out to teachers, mentors, or college counselors who can offer valuable feedback and guidance. They can help you bring out your strengths and navigate the application process effectively.

Time Management: Procrastination can lead one to seek shortcuts such as the use of AI. To avoid this, start early, create a timeline, and allocate sufficient time for brainstorming, writing, and revising your essay.

Practice Writing: Developing strong writing skills is an essential part of the academic journey. Dedicate time to hone your writing abilities through regular practice, reading, and seeking constructive feedback.

Embrace Imperfections: Remember that colleges value authenticity and are interested in understanding your unique experiences. Embrace your imperfections, reflect on your growth, and convey your aspirations genuinely.

While AI language models like ChatGPT possess impressive capabilities, using them to write college application essays can have significant implications. Authenticity, self-reflection, and personal growth are crucial elements in the admissions process. By resisting the temptation to rely on AI services, you can create essays that truly represent your voice, experiences, and aspirations, increasing your chances of success in the college application journey.

How to use AI services to write your essays correctly?

AI can be used as a tool to enhance your writing skills and gain insights. It can provide general information, suggestions, and guidance on various topics, including essay writing. Here are some guidelines on how you can appropriately utilize AI services:

Research and Information: You can use AI models to gather information, explore different perspectives, and generate ideas for your essay topic. It can help you find relevant sources, provide background information, or suggest key points to consider.

Proofreading and Editing: After you have written your essay draft, you can use AI services to review your work for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. It can help identify potential issues and provide suggestions for improvements.

Sentence and Phrase Suggestions: If you are struggling with sentence structures or finding the right words, you can ask for suggestions or alternative phrasing. It can provide examples and help refine your writing style.

Topic Brainstorming: If you’re having trouble deciding on a topic, it can help you brainstorm ideas and explore different angles. However, it is important to choose a topic that reflects your own experiences and interests.

For example, let’s say the essay prompt asks you to discuss a challenging experience you’ve faced and how you overcame it. Here’s an example of how chatGPT can help with topic brainstorming:

Student: “I’m having trouble coming up with a topic for my college essay. Can you help me brainstorm?”

AI: “Of course! Let’s explore some potential ideas. Have you faced any significant challenges or obstacles in your life?”

Student: “Well, I did participate in a volunteer project where we built homes for families in need. It was physically demanding and emotionally challenging.”

AI: “That sounds like a compelling experience! You could discuss how this volunteer project pushed you out of your comfort zone, physically and emotionally. You can explore how you initially struggled with the demanding work but ultimately found strength and perseverance to complete the project.”

Student: “That’s an interesting angle. But what about the emotional challenges? How can I incorporate that into my essay?”

AI: “Great question! You can focus on the emotional impact of witnessing the living conditions of the families you were helping. You can share how it inspired a sense of empathy and ignited a desire to make a difference in the world. Additionally, you can discuss any personal growth or mindset shifts you experienced as a result of this project.”

Student: “I like that idea. It captures the essence of the experience and how it influenced me. It’s definitely something I can write about authentically.”

AI: “Absolutely! Remember to reflect on your own emotions, thoughts, and actions throughout the essay. By sharing your personal journey, you’ll provide insight into your character and values.”

Remember, the purpose of college application essays is to showcase your unique qualities, experiences, and perspectives. It’s crucial to maintain your authenticity throughout the writing process and to strike a balance between leveraging AI technology and showcasing your individuality and personal development. The final essay should be a product of your own thoughts, experiences, and writing style.