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Authenticity and AI in the application process

June 20th, 2023

Artificial intelligence has become a hugely popular topic of discussion, including in regards to college applications and essay writing. This revolutionary tool is tempting for students of all ages, but especially those rising seniors approaching essay writing this summer. Spoiler alert: just because there is a technology that can take away the heavy lifting does not mean you should use it.

Many problems might arise if using this technology to write for you. For starters, students are required to confirm that Common Application work submitted is their own. We don’t know yet how admission offices will screen essays to detect authenticity. However, one could argue that submission of an AI-generated essay may be considered cheating, not only on the college application but also cheating yourself out of learning. Could it result in denied admission? The jury is still out, and we’ll learn more as the next cycle unfolds.

Essays are opportunities for colleges to get to know you and your unique, authentic voice. I recently attended a national conference where much time and attention were allotted to the impact of ChatGPT on admissions. The general consensus was that even if admission offices were to welcome the technology’s use with open arms (which is not yet the case), an AI-generated essay is bland. Although AI can use a collection of facts to generate a generic essay, that writing does not showcase individual voice or creativity.

Brennan Barnard, one of our favorite college admission experts to follow, recently wrote an article on the topic of AI use in college admissions. His article linked below places ChatGPT in the fuller context of the importance of authenticity on applications.

Article referenced below from Forbes, written by Brennan Barnard, published on December 21, 2022

I know what you’re thinking. “Another article about ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), the artificial intelligence wonder-bot from OpenAI, and how it is going to revolutionize society, work, education, and more.” Perhaps it will, but that is not this article. The rise of this extraordinary technology, rather than muddling it, makes it clearer than ever what constitutes authenticity.

If you or your child are applying to college, you have undoubtedly heard an admission officer talk about authenticity. Whether discussing the college essay or the activities in which you chose to be involved, they will denounce any kind of “secret recipe” for gaining admission. You will learn that the wrong questions to ask are:

“What are you looking for in an applicant?”

Read more at Forbes>>