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Can an AI admissions essay get you into Harvard?

Can you use ChatGPT to write an admissions essay that will get you into Harvard? Recently, the Washington Post wrote a long article on whether or not a prompt engineer could use ChatGPT to produce a high-quality admissions essay for Harvard written by AI. The prompt engineer generated 2 AI essays. An admissions consultant then identified what made them problematic and would reduce the likelihood of getting someone into an Ivy League university. Read more to learn about why you shouldn’t submit an AI admissions essay.

The admissions consultant said the same thing we’ve been saying since last April. ChatGPT is a terrible writer, and the essays actively annoyed the consultant. We reiterate that we do not recommend that you use AI to produce an admissions essay or to cheat. Ever. Using AI to write your admissions essays is incredibly unethical and forbidden by almost every college.

Reputable college admissions consultants, like SuperTutorTV, state that at most you can use AI to help brainstorm topics for your admissions essay, but you should never use whatever you generate to copy and paste an answer to the application question. To learn more, follow the link to their YouTube Channel. The point of this blog is to summarize the original article for those without a subscription to the Washington Post.

Three Key Takeaways on AI Content

Takeaway #1

1) Above all, the Washington Post confirmed that AI Detection software will be used on student essays: admissions offices are definitely planning to use detection software on admissions essays to figure out whether they were generated by AI! The article mentions that schools are already aware of false positives. False positives are a big reason we advise students use detection and ai editing software as a proactive measure. Scan before you submit anything – as a student, as a freelance writer, and as a job seeker!

Takeaway #2

2) Generally, the Washington Post’s admissions consultant noticed everything we always talk about when it comes to AI writing. He noticed the random facts inserted with no context. He noticed that there was no clear point to the essay. On the surface the AI admissions essay sounded great. Once you read it a few times, certain details made zero sense. Many anecdotes in the essay ended very suddenly, which left us with a feeling “what happened?”

Here are a couple of examples. One paragraph ended with a completely out-of-context sentence about (ChatGPT’s?) mother that was so strange we had to take a beat to read the paragraph over and over again. Weird sentences don’t convince admissions counselors. Another example is the unfinished story about a childhood friend named Jayla. ChatGPT implied she died then never followed up! Don’t use your precious word counts submitting nonsense if you want to go to college.

Giving up and pressing a button to avoid ai editing is one of the worst things you can do. Humanizing is more than pressing a button that says “humanize.” The Washington Post article pointed out everything that makes that approach dangerous and puts all the control back into the hands of the admissions counselor. While we are experts in reading AI content, even average people are becoming good at noticing AI writing mistakes and quirks. Check content sentence-by-sentence and keep control over narrative structure and flow.

Takeaway #3

3) Once the Admissions Counselor spotted the AI content in the admissions essay, he got judgmental…very quickly. He didn’t like how stories ended suddenly, or details were left vague, and the essay was littered with out-of-context sentences. He used the word “annoyed,” – that the AI admissions essay was annoying to read. Your admissions essay should not be annoying.

Three Rules to Remember

AI Detector Pro takeaways?
• Don’t submit an AI admission essay!
• Don’t press a button for humanization and assume your content sounds human!
• Don’t write annoying AI content!

Also, don’t let AI start stories and then abandon them! WHTJ (What happened to Jayla?)

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