3 Reasons NOT to Use ChatGPT on College Essays

Are you thinking of writing your college essay with AI? You may want to think again. With the rise of ChatGPT, some schools (including the New York City public school district) have turned around and outright banned it from being used as the AI resource could be an aid to cheating. But is it all that bad? One use that has been floated around is that you could use ChatGPT to write your college essays. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Here’s why you should not be using ChatGPT to write your college application essays.

What is ChatGPT?

Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer, better known as ChatGPT, is a chatbot created by OpenAi in late 2022. Like many other chatbots, it can carry a conversation, but this AI resource is actually able to go well beyond that! It has already been used to write essays, debug computer programs, compose music, and answer text questions. It even passed the United States bar exam and medical exam to be a lawyer and doctor!

Should You Use ChatGPT to Write Your College Essays?

While ChatGPT has its uses, it should not be used to write college application essays. There are a few reasons you should steer clear of the chatbot (and similar AI) when it comes to your assignments and applications:

1. It’s Unethical

Some students are using the argument that a college’s terms simply state that the essay must be written by the student, not another person, and ChatGPT isn’t a person. However, that doesn’t really work. Colleges still state that the essay has to be written by the student. 

It is extremely unethical to hand in work, essays, and other pieces written by anyone else, and that includes AI. Your name is on it; you should have written it. 

And, likely, colleges will soon be clearing up their terms to include AI in that exclusion list.

2. It’s Not a True Representation of You and Your Abilities

A college application essay should be personal. While AI can certainly write about personal aspects of your life, it’s not personal to you. It should be the actual person showing emotion, talking about their journey, and explaining why they as a student want to attend college. After all, ChatGPT isn’t going to be earning its degree.

Your college essay also expresses your prowess as a writer. While you can have someone aid you on it and proofread it, it should ultimately be in your hand. If you regularly received C’s in high school English, and turn in a paper written by ChatGPT, it may very well be noticeable, too.

3. You Still Need a Solid Prompt (And You Could Be Missing Personal Details)

If you want a solid college application essay from ChatGPT, your prompt has to be outstanding, clear, and cover everything you want to talk about in your essay. You may have to work on your prompt several times to get the results you want from AI – what pops out is only as good as your prompt. And all that time you spent working on it could have been better served to write the essay yourself.

Some have also reported that ChatGPT’s writing can be cliche. It doesn’t get into the real details and emotions that make up a person, because you can’t fit all of that into a prompt. Trying to do that would just mean you’re writing the essay after all!

Your College Application is More than Your Essay

Even if you decide to write your college essay using AI, it’s important to remember: your college application is so much more than your essay. This piece is a rather small part of your application, and some schools don’t even require it! Colleges will instead be looking at you as a whole – this includes your GPA, your extracurriculars, your volunteer work, and other achievements; and those are things ChatGPT can’t write for you.

Ultimately it’s up to you if you want to use ChatGPT for your college application essay – or any of your school work. However, we highly recommend against it. You won’t learn much by having AI do the work for you, and that’s why you’re in school – to learn! It is a poor representation of you as an actual person,  and many colleges and school districts will likely continue to ban it in the coming weeks and months.

You don’t need to write your essay with AI to have a well-rounded college application. Thousands of students have done it before you, and thousands will after you! But one thing that has helped them? Knowing their admission chances. By using College Raptor’s College Match resource, you can find the perfect colleges for you and see how you stack up against other students. Get started for free right here. 

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.