Perhaps because it showed up at the end of the fall semester, when so many of us were exhausted from grading, from the tripledemic, from Zoom meetings, or maybe because we knew something like this was coming—we just knew it—but news of ChatGPT's ability to write what many consider to be perfectly adequate student essays has not settled well on higher education. Stephen Marche tells us “ The College Essay Is Dead ,” while, in a separate essay for The Atlantic , Daniel Herman considers “ The End of High-School English .” Even Google seems concerned about sharing its turf. Google! My many years of English courses have taught me to be skeptical of such hyperbole, so I decided to test it out myself. I began by entering one of the 2022–23 Common App essay prompts into the program: Most Popular Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? As soon as I pressed enter, I realized that I should have instructed the model on length, but I thought, “Maybe it'll somehow know.” After all, the chat bot has apparently killed both high school English and the college essay. Who knows what else it's capable of? Here was the response: One thing that someone has done for me that has made me happy and thankful in a surprising way was when a friend of mine offered […] (baona/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
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