How to Ethically Use ChatGPT in the College Essay Process

The goal is to ethically use ChatGPT.

What is ChatGPT, and how does it work?

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot that’s been making waves thanks to its powerful features. You can interact with this tool, ask questions, get answers, and get it to refine the answer. Chat GPT has become one of the popular artificial intelligence writing tools and can help you write. Students can use it to write a college essay, an assignment, or even a thesis. But with this technology comes an important question: How do you ethically use ChatGPT to help you write?There has been a lot of controversy about the ethical use of ChatGPT. As a result, they have re-programmed it with new rules. These rules help to maintain moral values. For example, if you ask AI to create fake news about a celebrity’s death, it will refuse.

Arguments related to the ethics of AI writing tools

People have been discussing AI writing tools a lot since they blew up, particularly in the context of education. For example, since students can use them to create a college application essay, it raises the question of the ethics of using these tools. It has created apprehension that the integrity of the college application process will be affected. The college admissions process gives a lot of importance to the college application essay. If a tool writes the essay, the very purpose of the essay is defeated.

Using AI writing tools for writing a college essay has many pros and cons. Let’s look at the critical argument in favor and against using it for writing a college application essay.

The argument in favor says AI writing tools like ChatGPT help you write a college application essay professionally. It enables you to save time and effort. It allows you to work smarter.

Those against AI writing tools say that it is not ethical. Using a tool to help you write your essay undermines your voice and is as if you plagiarised your essay.

It is true that you must write your college application essay yourself since the college uses it to assess how well you write and express yourself. However, you can ethically use ChatGPT to help you!

How to ethically use ChatGPT and AI tools to generate ideas for college essays

The best and most ethical way of using AI tools for college essays is to use them to generate ideas. However, once you know what essay to write, it is essential to expand on your idea. Therefore, it would be best if you also created an outline. Using ChatGPT for this is a good option.

AI tools have a chatbox where you must submit a prompt. The prompt is how you let the tool know what you want. For example, you can type the following to get an idea for your essay.

“I need to write a college essay on leadership that is 650 words. Can you help me with ideas for topics on leadership? The essay must include how I was a great leader on my soccer team.”

Based on your prompt, the tool generates topic ideas. You can similarly use the tool to create an outline for your essay. When used correctly, AI tools help you write top-quality college essays.

Pros and cons of using ChatGPT for college essays

The pros or benefits of using ChatGPT for college essays include the following:

  • First, you can save time since ChatGPT helps you create essays within seconds.
  • The time spent researching and creating outlines is saved using an AI tool.
  • You can create an essay on your own and operate the tool to improve the quality of your writing.
  • AI tools help you write smarter and save effort.

The cons or limitations of ChatGPT for writing college essays are:

  • Relying on ChatGPT can be a mistake since there is no guarantee its output is perfect. Unfortunately, there are many instances of AI tools making mistakes.
  • It is unethical to use content created by ChatGPT as it is. It is considered plagiarism.
  • Essentially, it is lazy to use ChatGPT to write an essay. It does not allow you to express your creativity and writing skills.
  • Remember, the essay is written by a program and not a human. Therefore, it is a significant limitation of AI.

Ways to ethically use ChatGPT

To comply with ethical college admissions, maintaining academic integrity is essential. While some colleges and universities explicitly bar the use of ChatGPT, others allow AI writing tools. Therefore, the ethical use of ChatGPT is essential to ensure academic integrity. Here are some strategies to keep in mind when you use AI tools to write college essays:

  • The first thing to do is understand the college application system or the university’s policies. If the policy bars you from using AI tools, do not use them. On the other hand, some colleges have well-drafted policies explaining if you can use such tools and how to use them. Understand the policies and follow them strictly.
  • Never use the essay generated by the tool as it is. Copying the essay and submitting it is unethical. Admissions officers now have tools that can help them detect content written by AI. So, don’t make this mistake.
  • Use AI to get ideas and create an outline. Take the tool’s help to get references. Use them to write your essay. Then submit the essay to the tool and edit it to create a good essay.

Tips to ethically use ChatGPT to craft a well-written college essay

A student looking through ChatGPT for college essay help.
Image by vectorjuice on Freepik

The following tips will help you create a top-quality college essay using the ChatGPT:

  • Use the ChatGPT bot to get ideas for your college application essay. Then, ask it to help you by providing the theme and asking for opinions.
  • The chatbot can help you create an outline or structure.
  • Ask the ChatGPT bot to find references that link to your story like novels and movies.
  • You can even get an entire essay, but make sure to properly iterate, add your voice, and greatly improve upon the initial output. A better option is to get this draft essay and then use it as a reference to write the essay on your own.
  • Ask the AI bot to edit and refine your college essay. The result will be a professional essay.

The big picture

ChatGPT is an innovative tool that can elevate your writing and make your writing process more efficient. However, it is essential that you use it as a tool rather than having it do all your work for you. This concept, how to ethically use ChatGPT and other AI tools, will continue to be a hot topic as the technology evolves. If you want to improve your writing, with or without ChatGPT, you can get help from Lessonpal’s tutors, who can help you with your essay-writing skills.

Frequently asked questions

1. How can I use ChatGPT to improve an essay I have already written?

After you finish writing the essay, paste the text into the chat box. Ask ChatGPT to edit the essay structure and grammar. You will get a professionally edited paper.

2. Is it cheating to use AI to improve an essay?

Using AI to write a college essay is unethical. But using technology to improve the college essay is not wrong. It is not plagiarism. You are using it just as you use spell check, grammar check, and other tools.

3. Is it okay to use ChatGPT to generate an outline for a college essay?

If you want to write a college essay, the first step is to create a structure or outline. The ChatGPT bot can help you do this effectively.

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