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  • User AvatarNeal Schwartz
  • 01 Feb, 2023
  • 5 Mins Read



There is a lot of conversation and curiosity about ChatGPT. Is this Artificial Intelligence program to be exalted or feared?

Many questions surround the use of the program. If a student uses ChatGPT to write their college essays, will the colleges know? Will students use ChatGPT to write their schoolwork also? Is ChatGPT just a modern form of cheating?

I was curious and decided to sign up and make my own determination.

In just a couple of minutes, I created a simple prompt:

I am interested in Computer Science for my college major – Write a 300 word essay explaining to Cornell why their college is the best college to attend for computer science

 I watched with great anticipation as the essay was being written right before my eyes. It was nearly instantaneous. And admittedly pretty “spooky”.

A coherent “OK” but not “GREAT” essay was now complete on my screen:

Cornell University is one of the top-ranked institutions in the field of computer science, offering a comprehensive and dynamic education in this rapidly growing industry. There are several key reasons why Cornell is the best college to attend for computer science.

Firstly, Cornell has a renowned and dedicated faculty who are at the forefront of cutting-edge research in the field. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom, and are committed to providing students with a solid foundation in computer science theory, as well as practical skills and hands-on experience.

Secondly, Cornell provides students with access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources, including cutting-edge technology and powerful computing resources. This enables students to engage in research projects, gain hands-on experience with the latest tools and techniques, and develop their technical and problem-solving skills in a real-world setting.

Thirdly, Cornell has a vibrant and supportive student community, with numerous opportunities for students to engage in extracurricular activities and organizations. This includes student-led clubs and organizations, hackathons, and research opportunities, all of which provide students with the opportunity to develop their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills, as well as build their professional networks.

Finally, Cornell has a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship, and is home to a thriving startup culture. This provides students with the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurship and innovation programs, and to launch their own startups with support and resources from the university and local community.

In conclusion, Cornell University is the best college to attend for computer science due to its world-class faculty, state-of-the-art facilities and resources, supportive student community, and rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship. I am confident that studying at Cornell will provide me with a comprehensive education in computer science, and prepare me for a successful and fulfilling career in this exciting and rapidly growing field.

Before I had a chance to read it thoroughly, I was impressed with the quickness and completeness. I was slightly stunned as I had asked for a 300 word essay and got one that was 305 words. Was I being a bit too picky? I mean, how long would it have taken a student getting help from me to write that same essay?

But, after I looked past the “sizzle”, I found that the essay was grammatically correct, but the level of detail was light. Change the word Cornell for any other college and it would sound the same. There was no mention of any professor names, any specific clubs at Cornell, any specific program names. In effect, ChatGPT had created a generic essay.

This raises a key question: if asked to write a personal statement essay, how could the bot ever know all the personal attributes of a student and their specific stories?

It may seem obvious to many of you, but an Artificial Intelligence device cannot easily replicate the personality and uniqueness of a human.

I am sure that this first version of ChatGPT will be enhanced at some point to ask for those details. In its current form, it reminds me of Mad Libs — the fun paper word game that has, as its foundation, a structural story with missing pieces and each player puts their own individual words on each line. Without too much thought of what word to put in each blank, the story often results in a free form passage of complete nonsense.

But that might seem to be a bit harsh.

ChatGPT is a tool and it is a very new tool. And like any tool, it has its very specific purpose and used perfectly and at other times it can be a square peg in a round hole.

From a “chicken little the sky is falling” approach, the tool can be misused. If you look at the writing correction suggestion tools in Microsoft Word and Google, there is already a fair amount of AI that we take for granted and most would agree that it can be both extremely helpful and dangerous.

The designers of ChatGPT see it as that helpful tool that will save us time and get us the end results we seek, whereas the skeptics of ChatGPT view it as something with lesser value that just adds to the proliferation of cheating that occurs in high school and college.

Only time will tell what benefits will be forthcoming because of ChatGPT.

Within the college application world, I would strongly advise:

Avoid using ChatGPT as an essay generator – it is just too generic.

Like Mad Libs, it is cute and a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t take a completed Mad Libs sheet and submit it for my top choice colleges.

If you have come to the realization that today’s college process is unlike the one you experienced decades ago, reach out to us and we can sort things out for you. We will take the best your child has to offer, find reasonable college fits, and help increase their chances of acceptance at their target schools.

We can help support you through this anxious and critical time with our academic tutoring, test prep, and college decision making expertise. Give us a call today.   914-273-2353

Best Regards,

Neal Schwartz, Owner
College Planning of Westchester
[email protected]
914-273-2353 (office)
914-500-5899 (mobile/text)




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