Why You Should Not Be Using ChatGPT For Your College Essays

By Brandie Erickson September 22, 2023 BS/MD Admissions Consulting College Application

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot that was released in November 2022. At a basic level, people can ask it any question, and it will respond for free. It can understand and create human-like language because it’s been trained with data from the internet. While some students might be tempted to use it to write their application essays for them, we don’t recommend it. In fact, some schools—including the New York City public school district—have banned it altogether.

Even if it hasn’t been banned at the schools you’re applying to, it still isn’t a good idea to use ChatGPT to write your essays. The AI application lacks the ability to convey empathy, growth, and introspection personal to you and will miss out on the key details that make your story yours. Additionally, AI writing trends toward cliché and vague, which could be red flags to college admission committees. Ultimately, it won’t produce high-quality essays to help you get into top universities.

  • Colleges may also use AI detectors themselves to see if students have written essays with any assistance. Already, a Princeton University graduate has created an app to detect if an essay was written by ChatGPT called GPTZero, which uses “perplexity and burstiness” to determine the origin of an essay. If a college discovers you used any service to write your essay for you, you might be eliminated from consideration.

With the exploding popularity of ChatGPT, colleges might find other ways to evaluate students, including video responses that ensure the student is the one producing the work. There may soon be an increase in this requirement in response to this ever-growing bot.