Get help from the Ivy League editors

Will Your Admission Essay Pass College’s AI Detection Software? Part 2

Professional recommendations from the Ivy League Editors
Admission Essay College Personal Statement
Updated: June 20, 2024
Craft a perfect essay with the guidance of our professional editors and increase your chances of entering the dream university.
Impress the admission committee with a brilliant essay edited by our native English editors from the Ivy League.
They will not just correct grammar mistakes but ensure your essay corresponds to all admission requirements.
Download step-by-step guides on writing an eye-catching essay worthy of the most prestigious schools.

First part: Will Your Admission Essay Pass College’s AI Detection Software? Part 1

When it comes to AI and application essays, just leave it for your college’s AI to detect all your incoming competitors and submit something fresh of your own.

My Experience with AI Essay Editing

To try things out, I asked ChatGPT to edit and improve a (redacted) letter of feedback I’d written to a student commenting on my edit of his essay for NYU. It spit it out in about 2 seconds, of course. Interestingly, however, ChatGPT returned an “improved” version with some advice it had taken from its own source material! That is, my letter. That is, it used the same phrases I’d used in my own critique as critique of the same letter I’d just fed it.

Even more noteworthy was that in my own letter I had asked the client to provide a few sentences of background to set up the project he’d described having completed recently at another university. In its response to me, ChatGPT suggested that I “provide a little background about the Dartmouth project”. (What??) It wanted more information about it from ME… AI is notorious for this kind of snafu, not to mention it has the propensity to make things up completely when it feels it necessary.

So, even if one decides to use ChatGPT to edit something, you’d have to spend a significant amount of time editing it line by line before sending it anywhere important.

Risks of Relying on AI for Essays

Okay, let’s say you decide not to heed this advice because you have an essay written by AI and everything looks good to you? Say you’re just about ready to hit the “SEND” button to and forward it over to your college—after all, it’s absolutely perfect, grammatically impeccable, and it’s probably the best thing you’ve ever “written”, doesn’t look to you like a computer wrote it at all, right?

Here’s maybe if you really want to go to that school you might take a pause. Say even if you get your essay through the college’s AI detection software, you’ll still need to get it through the actual brain of an actual admissions officer in such a way that it touches his or her nerves to the right tune, such that he or she writes a little “GOOD” on it somewhere, right?

The problem is admissions officers do this every day all day and they are good at what they do. AI writing can be general, trite and logically glib in a recognizably AI way; it can hop from paragraph to paragraph oddly; it portrays, to me, a kind of old-fashioned, again British cheeriness; it’s got the aptitude for language of a Lew Carroll but none of his profundity; it’s light of touch but looked into more deeply has a sense of holistic purpose lacking; it loves pat arrangements of any form…

Admissions Officers’ Expertise

The fact is that it’s very hard to fool someone who professionally reads these essays, especially someone working at a top school. They just don’t hire dummies. And these schools have done their homework. Faced with the AI emergence, you can bet they’ve looked into it a tad or two.

If it were my own essay and I needed help, there would be no way I’d take the sheer risk of being rejected just for using automation. I suppose if your own chosen college doesn’t have a defined policy on AI generated text, then you could choose to go ahead and hope that, internally, they don’t have a more informal policy or preference that leans heavily towards human-produced work.

The truth remains, however, that you just won’t get an excellent admissions essay out of chatbot anyway, even if you want to sound like an English major. You might be “wowed” like everyone else when it produces something that seems amazing in every way, and so easy at that, but put it to scrutiny. Circa 2024, it will not be good enough. SOMETHING WRITTEN FROM YOUR OWN VOICE, AS LONG AS YOU WORK ON IT EARNESTLY AND CORRECT IT FOR ERRORS WILL BE MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE THAN SOMETHING FROM AI.

Importance of Authenticity

Believe it or not, colleges want to use your essay to actually get to know you and connect with your background and experiences, and through this, understand more about your numbers game and rankings. You need to be authentic; you don’t need to be as “smart” as an AI bot.

Long-Term Importance of Writing Skills

Personally, I believe that writing skills will be important for a long time, for college enrollees and far beyond. Say your career focuses on numbers and charts not exposition or rhetoric?—Maybe not true: you are still going to need to write research papers. You’re going to send emails.

The more economical and effective your communications are—whether you can write to a point and an audience and suss out and outline important components of a situation or an issue—these things are going to help you stand out and get your message across. Writing counts.

Say you’re in the business world and writing an email to several recipients, in the weave of hundreds of emails you’ll probably see that day—amongst all this chatter and noise and opinion and interpretation, of people repeating things they’ve seen with no real remedy or understanding or “takeaway”—in all the din, if you have the skill of communication, an email can be like a streaking gleam of gold amongst the rummage and mess of tin and noise.

People want answers, they want to understand. AI is not going to replace the usefulness of your own writing skills, even though everyone right now might be talking about the wonders of this new AI.

Professional Opinions and Evidence

My opinions are grounded in my experience as an editor. I’m seconded in believing in the current limitation of AI to generate admissions content by a series of reviews recently published by the New York Times. (I’ll leave it to your chat bot to look up the references). With its resource as a large news organization, the NYT managed to interview several college admissions officers about the topic: they received the same feedback I expressed above.

Admissions officers can tell when something is written by AI: full stop. You can try the human vs. AI tests they offer in the articles to test your detection prowess. For me, finding the AI was easy. I’ve also read quite a few admissions essays by now. So here’s the thing, if you can’t “detect” an AI yourself, don’t assume whoever you’re sending it too can’t either. If you can’t, actually, it might mean you need a little editing assistance from a human.

The Value of a Professional Human Edit

I suppose I should at this point mention something about the general usefulness of a professional, human edit. If I’m at some kind of gathering and start talking to someone about what I do, we, say, go back and forth to try and get an understanding of exactly how I make an essay better, what I decide to change, oh, and are the college essays pretty good these days?

One thing I will always tell someone is that at bottom line, when a student sends me an essay, I edit it, and return it. Their essay when they get it back is 100% improved—and yet I don’t CHANGE anything. I don’t write sentences myself or draft ideas of my own, all I do is improve their essays on their own terms.

When they reach for meaning I might comment about how to get there, but always within the context of their own experience. I would never presume to come at it from my own perspective and say well this is this is what you’re really trying to say. Editing is like being in someone’s ecosphere. You respect their environment.

When they finally send their essay to their college, they’ve then sent the best that they can send—all the grammar’s been checked, of course, and the sentence constructions, but that source and nucleus that started the paper never needs to be altered. It just needs to be clarified and brought to the fore. I think what a good editor does is something akin to tuning a piano. You give the recital, we make sure the keys ring true.

Written by Brian Pieragostini, EssayEdge editor.

Related: Using ChatGPT for Writing Admission Essay: How It Can Ruin Your Chances of Success

Information prepared by EssayEdge editor
Robin Wilson
10+ years of experience
Our editors on College, Graduate, Medical, MBA, and Law admission documents help you with brainstorming, proofreading, and editing to make your writing concise, persuasive, and original.

Related Posts