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Why Students Should NOT Use ChatGPT for Scholarship Essays
It is so tempting for students to use ChatGPT to write scholarship essays, but this is NOT a smart idea!
Before delving into why students should never use ChatGPT to write their scholarship essays, let’s back up a minute and make sure you understand what it actually is.
ChatGPT is a chatbot developed by OpenAI. Based on a large language model, it enables users to refine and steer a conversation towards a desired length, format, style, level of detail, and language. Successive prompts and replies, known as prompt engineering, are considered at each conversation stage as a context. (Source: Wikipedia)
GPT = Generative Pre-trained Transformer
AI = Artificial Intelligence
In a nutshell, ChatGPT is a robot that will answer questions in human-like text based on desired prompts.
Students who are frustrated with the lack of time or energy for writing college scholarship essays may see ChatGPT as a solution to submitting more scholarships in less time.
THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.
I recently heard from an organization that offers a yearly scholarship, and they shared that the essays written using AI and ChatGPT are very easy to spot.
Several of the submitted essays were almost exactly the same.
Also, the student’s voice is virtually lost.
Something to think about, seriously think about.
Using AI and ChatGPT for scholarship essays is also extremely unethical. The judges want to get to know the student and not a robot.
Scholarship essays written using ChatGPT tend to use the same cliched statements and don’t reflect a young adult’s voice. They are unable to accurately describe personal experiences only known to the writer. True stories with in-depth details are what make a scholarship essay unique, and this is impossible if artificial intelligence is used.
Scholarship essays are the heart of the application, and those not written by the applicant will be shallow and lack the depth needed to stand out to the judges.
On page 40 in my How to Win College Scholarships ebook for parents, I share the following:
In an interview that I did with scholarship judge J.R. Vasquez, I asked, “How important do you think the essay is in a scholarship application?“ He responded, “There is no single factor more important to the judges in a scholarship application than the essay. It allows students to define themselves and target their audience.”
So, how do students learn how to write memorable and true-to-self scholarship essays?
Take it from this parent:
“My high school freshman just won a $5k scholarship. His first!! He applied back in August and got the phone call today. We are on cloud 9! I highly recommend downloading Monica’s e-books to use. They are such a help! They told him his essay was unique and I’m sure it was because of his hook! Thank you, Monica for your passion and love to help others.” T.D., Texas
If your students are struggling to write interesting, thought-provoking, and memorable essays, the strategies found in my ebooks will teach them what they need to know.
One last note about ChatGPT and scholarship essays. There are tools and programs being used by schools that run student essays through AI detectors. These tools are developing and changing daily to meet the growing concern about submitted material that is not student-written. I have personally seen scholarship guidelines that specify that students must NOT use ChatGPT to write their essays. Do all organizations that offer scholarships use ChatGPT and AI tools? Probably not, but why risk it?
Students need to learn how to write SMART scholarship essays using their own skills, voice, integrity, and passion.
Be sure to read: How to Write an Amazing College Scholarship Essay
Parents, are you a member of our FREE private Scholarship Help and College Talk for Parents Facebook group?
You will love the support, encouragement, and scholarship tips found there.
Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regard to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.
Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets, and more have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars. She teaches them how to apply S.M.A.R.T. with outstanding results.
Monica’s scholarship tips have been featured on many prominent websites, and she has been dubbed the “Go-To” expert on college scholarships.