The Algorithmic Applicant: Why AI Might Not Be the Key to College Admissions

“April 2024”

The college application process is notoriously stressful. Mountains of essays, standardized tests, and extracurricular activities can make even the most prepared student sweat. Enter Artificial Intelligence (AI), promising to streamline this process and personalize applications. However, while AI offers intriguing possibilities, relying solely on it for college applications comes with significant drawbacks.

The Creativity Conundrum: College admissions officers value applicants who can demonstrate critical thinking, creativity, and a unique voice. AI, however, is currently limited in its ability to capture these qualities. Essays generated by algorithms might be factually accurate, but they often lack the personal touch and genuine passion that human-written essays convey. Often, this is easy to detect in college sub-missions.

Bias in the Black Box: AI algorithms are only as good as the data they are trained on. If that data contains inherent biases, the AI can perpetuate those biases in the applications it generates. This could disadvantage students from underrepresented backgrounds, further exacerbating existing inequalities in the admissions process.

The Dehumanization of Admissions: College is more than just academics; it’s about personal growth and finding a community. Overreliance on AI for applications removes the human element, potentially leading to a disconnect between students and institutions. A well-crafted essay or a heartfelt letter of recommendation allows applicants to showcase their personality and connect with admissions officers on a deeper level, something AI currently struggles to replicate.

The Ethical Maze: Ownership of AI-generated content remains a grey area. Would the student or the AI be considered the author of the application? This lack of clarity could lead to ethical concerns and potential plagiarism issues.

AI Detection Softwares: AI can certainly play a role in the application process. However, it shouldn’t replace the critical human element of crafting a compelling application. As AI takes on an increasing role in automating mundane tasks, universities are using software to detect whether college essays are written using AI.

In our opinion, the future of AI in college admissions is a collaborative one. AI can be a valuable tool to streamline the process and provide guidance, but the responsibility for crafting a stellar application should ultimately rest with the student. Human creativity, passion, and a genuine desire to connect with a particular school remain crucial for a successful college application.

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