Does AI Mean the Death of College App Essays? Not So Fast…

College application essays are essential elements in the admissions process. Nearly every college uses essays to gain insight into a student’s background and writing abilities during the admission process. Therefore, your essay is a factor in your chance for admission to your top college choice. Nowadays, the growth of artificial intelligence adds a complicated element. This innovative tech has created a situation where students can potentially use AI to create their college essays. But will AI like ChatGPT really cause the death of college app essays? We’ll dive into it in this post!

As you probably know, artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT have become popular thanks to their powerful features. ChatGPT has especially become a household name thanks to how it harnesses AI’s power. For example, you can use ChatGPT to generate everything from a business plan to a poem. Some people have used ChatGPT to write an entire book! Undoubtedly, ChatGPT, and AI in general, is the technology for the future. It is also going to make a significant impact on college admissions and academics.

Does AI mean the death of college app essay writing?

Thanks to ChatGPT and similar tech tools, essay writing is now easier. Anyone can give the tool a prompt, and ChatGPT uses machine learning to generate an essay. Then, they can specify how many words they want, and the AI tool will give them the content. Unfortunately, because of this, there is a concern that AI will cause the death of college essays.

During the college admissions process, a student can share their background and goals in the essay portion of the application. For example, the Common Application essay, or school essay supplements.

The admissions teams assess each student based on their experiences and writing skills. But the entire process is distorted if they get an AI tool to do it for them. It has given rise to the concern that colleges can no longer use essays to assess students since the students will use AI.

Cons of AI and ChatGPT

  • Writing is a creative process. If an AI tool is used, then creativity is lost. The writer does not have to create anything; the tool does it.
  • AI is fast and produces results within seconds. For example, if you have to write an essay, you will need many hours. However, an AI tool does it in seconds. As a result, people will stop using their creative ability to save time and instead use a tool.
  • AI produces standard responses. It searches for information online, compiles it, and presents it. If another student wants a similar essay, they may get the same content. It can kill creativity and make writing a mechanical job.

Students will lose their personal voice

A beautiful thing about writing is that everyone has their own writing style and can express themselves in their own personal voice. Students can only develop this when they practice writing; the college essay is a culmination of all the writing skills they’ve learned throughout their academic career. With AI, there is less incentive to write. It can stop students from developing a personal voice and make their writing sound robotic.

These tools may bring about the death of college essays, but they could also lead to a more significant problem of students using AI for all their work since they save time and effort.

Pros of AI tools: ChatGPT won’t kill the college app essay

The death of college essays probably won't occur.
Image by vectorjuice on Freepik

While some people say AI will cause the death of college app essays, others disagree. Some even say the end of college essays, separate from AI, is not bad. So let’s look at the arguments in favor of AI technology.

  • If students write an essay by copying what AI tech tools generate, they can get caught. Just as AI tools advance, so do AI checker tools. There are now tools to detect if an essay is written using AI. Such tools make it obvious if a piece of writing has been generated by ChatGPT or the like.
  • AI tools can make mistakes. Their very premise may be wrong. So, students have to read what is written and rephrase it in many cases. It proves that a student cannot depend entirely on an AI-generated essay.
  • Moreover, tools like ChatGPT do not have the latest data. For example, it only uses information until 2021, so any requests for recent information would be impossible to capture or outdated.
  • AI acts as an aide to help a student write an essay. ChatGPT and similar tools can make the research process easy.
  • Students can use AI to get information. They can then present that information using their own writing style. Human creativity is unique and too challenging to capture with these tools.

AI can be used to improve college essay writing

Let’s get one thing straight. You really shouldn’t ask AI to write an entire college admission essay for you. This is because AI essays can have errors and don’t capture your voice, which is what colleges are looking for. You need to express your personality in your writing, especially if you want to get into a top college or an elite school like the Ivy Leagues.

But on the other hand, AI can help you write great essays in a few different ways:

  1. AI can help you with the research. It can find information from various resources. You can then use the information to write the essay yourself.
  2. Writing on your own using AI’s help is a better option. It allows you to express your views rather than copy the tool’s views. Also, you can show your creativity and develop your style.
  3. Once you write something, AI can help you improve it. For example, AI tools can refine your vocabulary, correct grammatical errors, and help you express yourself better.
  4. Using AI helps you save time and effort. You can use the extra time to fine-tune your essay and make it great.

AI can thus complement your writing by acting as an aide. Just as you use a spell checker, you can use AI as a tool to support you while writing a college essay.

What the future of AI and college essay writing looks like

Colleges and teachers have understood that they cannot stop students from using AI and that we should adapt to this innovative new tool rather than attempt to block it. Students can use AI as a supporting tool to create essays for the college admission process.

For example, you can make an essay better by using the help of an AI tool. The tools can help you improve the language of the essay and fix errors. It can help you rephrase sentences, so they are more readable. AI will improve, and technological innovations can help improve the quality of college essay writing.

Death of college app essays: The big picture

Amidst all the talk of AI causing the death of college essays, it is clear that AI is here to stay. The technology is helpful and can support any creative task. For example, students can use AI to create essays. If you need help writing essays outside of using AI tools, you can get the help of a tutor from Lessonpal to hone your writing skills!

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