While using AI-powered tools such as ChatGPT is undeniably convenient and efficient, using it to craft college admissions essays is extremely risky.

From the hundreds of essays we’ve read over the past year, the use of ChatGPT is not hard to spot. Most student essays that utilized ChatGPT felt extremely cold, were well above the student’s writing level, used words and phrases that teens simply would not use, and never captured a student’s character, personality, and unique perspectives.

Here are five specific issues from what we’ve seen:

1. While ChatGPT can generate a coherent, well-structured essay, the program undermines the authenticity and uniqueness needed to write narrative essays. AI, unless you’re a robot, typically fails to capture the voice used by teens who write the essays themselves.

2. AI-generated content doesn’t meet the standard for self-reflection and introspection. Crafting an admissions essay isn’t only about presenting polished content, but also about articulating personal growth, as well as real passion and aspiration.

3. AI can miss the boat when it comes to contextualizing personal experiences and cultural nuances. This includes communicating a diverse background, experiences, and cultural sensitivities.

4. When writing about a college, a student needs to create a story which matches their aspirations. This means being specific about why they want to attend. An essay about the facts of the particular university is not going to work.

5. The ChatGPT essays have similar word choice, content and formatting. For our scholarship application this year, we received five student essays that were almost exactly the same!

While it may be OK to use AI to check grammar, students must invest time and effort in personalizing and refining their essays.

We understand that crafting a compelling, authentic, and impactful essay is no small task, especially at this time of year! If you need help honing your student’s unique voice, translating their experiences into compelling narratives, and ensuring that their essays reflect their personalities and aspirations, we can help! Call Aimee Heller at Edit the Work (A division of International College Counselors): 954-414-9986 x4.

We still have time for the Class of 2024!

International College Counselors

No matter where your family is in the college admissions process, International College Counselors can help you with every aspect, including adding to the college list, honing college applications, writing admissions essays, and managing college transfers. Call us at 954-414-9986 to discuss how we can support you and your family!



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