How to effectively use AI to write scholarship essays

Can AI help write scholarship essays?

Technology is advancing—and it’s happening fast. With all the buzz around artificial intelligence (AI), this powerful tool can come in handy for various tasks, including writing scholarship essays. For students wanting to enhance their writing in order to stand out in the pool of applicants, AI could be a pretty promising solution. But, like any tool, it comes with its risks. Remember, not all AIs are equal, and some might be better than others at certain tasks. Let’s get into the do’s and don’ts for best practices when using AI to craft scholarship essays.

The Do’s:

1. Understand the prompt

Make sure you understand exactly what the scholarship essay prompt is asking before diving in. It’s best that you provide clear instructions for the AI to properly assist you. 

2. Use AI as a writing aid

Think of AI as your support to enhance ideas, check grammar, or improve overall structure. Your original ideas should inform the creative input. 

3. Double check, then check again!

Always review and edit the output generated by AI. AI doesn’t know the difference between truths and falsehoods. No matter the tool you’re using, you should ensure that everything written is valid and accurate. 

4. Stay authentic

Stay true to your personal experiences and perspectives. The essay should be in your unique voice to authentically represent you. 

5. Check for plagiarism

Use plagiarism-checking tools to avoid unintentional plagiarism when incorporating AI-generated content. There’s a good chance that the AI produces material that will be or appear to be copied from a preexisting source. 

The Don’ts:

1. Don’t over rely on AI

You shouldn’t rely solely on AI to write your essay. Give yourself enough time to edit your work. Don’t just wait until the last minute to use AI to generate it all for you. Your personal touch is an essential element that AI can’t replicate.

2. Don’t neglect proofreading

Just because AI wrote it doesn’t mean it’s grammatically correct. Proofread your essay to check anything from punctuation to coherence. 

3. Don’t ignore the guidelines

Oftentimes scholarships have their own rules around the usage of AI. Carefully read the details and be sure to follow their guidelines.

4. Don’t just copy and paste

At the end of the day, AI is technology—not human. You don’t want your essay sounding like a robot wrote it, so tailor the content with your own personal touches. Submission platforms can often detect the usage of AI, so keep that in mind so you don’t get penalized. 

5. Don’t overshare with AI

With most AIs, their terms permit them 100% usage and ownership of whatever the user inputs into the software. So, don’t share anything you don’t want public. 

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Stay authentic

It’s so important to approach AI in the writing process with a balanced perspective. AI is a tool—your personal touch and uniqueness is what makes your scholarship application truly stand out.

footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances.

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