ChatGPT and Your Essays

ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools for writing are getting a lot of attention right now. You may be wondering: Should I use it to write my college application essays? My opinion: ChatGPT will not help you get into college.

In future, I think AI will become a writing tool. When calculators became popular some decades ago, it didn’t spell the end of learning math. Teachers learned to incorporate them into their teaching. Teachers were suspicious of spell-check at first too, but we now rely on it.

Like calculators, AI writers may help students to quickly assemble a first draft of their English writing assignment. ChatGPT doesn’t understand the information it presents but it does quickly gather facts from the internet, and spits it out using English grammar and paragraph structure. In future, this might raise everyone’s writing skills by doing the first pass at information gathering needed to write a good history paper, for example. Students may then use these first drafts as a starting point, building on them by applying higher-level thinking skills to analyze the basic information and apply the lessons learned in class. They might improve the writing, adding a theme, metaphors, and their own unique voice.

But college application essays are not school homework. Colleges and universities ask for essays because they want to get to know you, what you want to do in life and why. They want to hear your story, like how you got interested in literature or entomology or astronomy or math. They want to know why think you belong on their campus next fall. ChatGPT won’t do that, because it’s not you.  Sorry – there’s no shortcut to self-reflection. At least not yet.

If you want help with that, give me a call! Working with young people to discover their unique trait and goals, and how to explain them in an engaging essay is what I love doing.

February 27th, 2023
College Essays, News