Chat GPT May Level the College Application Playing Field

( – AI is still a new and emerging technology, and everyone from citizens to computer experts is speculating about numerous potential outcomes from replacing human jobs to world domination. As the technology grows, its uses are varied but many students are opting to use the tool to supplement their college application essays. There’s still no consensus on what constitutes cheating, but students can opt to use the tool to help them organize their thoughts or to give them some ideas when they’re stuck. In theory, AI could write someone’s entire application essay.

When ChatGPT landed last November, students and teachers began to grapple with the complications that it presents. While it can write entire essays, the content tends to be cliché and often flat-out wrong. Nonetheless, teachers may have a difficult time distinguishing bad writing from students from AI-generated content. There are even AI-detection tools with various levels of effectiveness, but they’re limited as well. They tend to flag non-native English speakers’ writing as AI-generated, and in one case the constitution of the United States was also flagged. OpenAI shut down its own AI-detection program, AI Classifer, for its “low rate of accuracy.”

The recent Supreme Court decision outlawing affirmative action in the admissions process led many universities to weigh the admissions essay more heavily, making the issue relevant and pressing.

Some universities are now offering ethical guidelines on how to use AI at their institution, while others have prohibited it entirely. The University of Michigan Law School has banned the technology from being used in any way on its application. Arizona State, however, allows it as long as they admit to using it. Georgia Tech has suggested students can use tools like ChatGPT “to brainstorm, edit, or refine” their thoughts, but that the final piece of submitted work should be original and theirs alone.

Georgia Tech assistant vice-provost Rick Clark believes that using the technology to help students improve the quality of their work could “democratize” the admissions process. AI could act as a free tutor and advisor to poorer students who can’t afford the extra help. Ultimately there’s no getting rid of AI, so universities and colleges will have to adapt over time.

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