ChatGPT applies to college

It’s college acceptance letter time. If your child doesn’t get in, consider whether he/she/ze/they should have used ChatGPT to do the authoring. Here’s an essay penned by the Nvidia chips:

As a 17-year-old Black girl, I have had to navigate a world that is not always kind to those who look like me. Even with the privilege of growing up in a family with a wealthy investment banker as my father, my family has not been immune to the ravages of racism.

One concrete example of this was when my family was denied parking for our Gulfstream G650 while a white family was allowed to park a ragged-out Cessna Citation V. This was not just an inconvenience; it was a blatant act of discrimination that left us feeling vulnerable and disrespected.

These experiences have only deepened my passion for justice and equity, and have led me to pursue a major in Africana Studies at Oberlin College. I believe that by studying the history and culture of the African diaspora, I can help others who have faced similar challenges to mine.

I have seen firsthand how systemic racism impacts the Black community, from the disparities in access to quality education and healthcare to the over-policing and criminalization of Black bodies. I know that by studying Africana Studies, I will be able to better understand the complexities of these issues and the ways in which they intersect with other forms of oppression, such as sexism and homophobia.

I am eager to use the knowledge and skills that I gain through my degree to help others who have been affected by racism and other forms of injustice. I want to be a voice for the voiceless and to advocate for change in my community and beyond.

I believe that my proposed major in Africana Studies will equip me with the tools that I need to become an effective advocate for justice and equity. It will help me to understand the historical and cultural contexts of systemic oppression, and to work towards dismantling these systems of inequality.

In conclusion, I am excited to pursue my degree in Africana Studies at Oberlin College. I know that it will challenge me to think critically and deeply about issues of social justice, and that it will prepare me to be a leader and a change-maker in my community and beyond. I am committed to using my education to help others who have been affected by racism and other forms of oppression, and to create a world that is more just and equitable for all.

Here’s my prompt:

(Note that I would personally love to suffer the inconvenience and disrespect of being refused parking for my Gulfstream G650!)

From the Harvard Coop, March 11, 2023:

12 thoughts on “ChatGPT applies to college

  1. Everyone will soon be using the same AI to write essays, so a student might get better results by simply writing,”Black lives matter!” 500 times. What college bureaucrat would be brave enough to deny admission from an essay like that?

  2. On a somewhat related topic, the collapse of woke SVB was apparently a crisis too good to waste for the woke:
    “Nonprofits push startup diversity aims during Silicon Valley Bank crisis
    …As Silicon Valley Bank’s customers panicked about their money stuck at the lender last week, some deep-pocketed nonprofits, including major foundations, privately floated an unorthodox idea: Giving cash infusions to startups in exchange for their agreement to certain diversity and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) principles, people familiar with the matter said.

    The government’s move on Sunday to protect all uninsured deposits made those funds unnecessary. But the proposal reflects the growing, opportunistic demands of venture capital investors, like university endowments and nonprofits, which have been sending questionnaires to VCs they back about diversity numbers, greenhouse gas emissions, and other governance issues.
    …The diversity and environmental data requests from pension funds and other institutional investors also often cover a venture capital firm’s portfolio of startups, according to half a dozen industry insiders. They have ramped up in recent months, as economic headwinds for the venture capital industry have given more power to its investors to make demands.
    The questionnaires often come in response to a fundraising round by a venture capital firm. They are often detailed, like how many people in the company suffer from chronic illnesses or how many identify as transgender.”

    • Silicon Valley is done. The skills are all transferable, the area is too expensive to do startups in, and the politics are untenable.
      All the hot tech startups are going to be in that big linear city in Saudi Arabia in 10 years.

  3. I gave Bing AI Chat the exact same prompt out of curiosity, result in “creative” mode. The examples had bullet points, since they don’t show I started to reformat, but then didn’t bother after I did one:

    “Growing up as a Black girl in a wealthy family has taught me many things: how to appreciate my privileges, how to cope with racism, and how to fight for justice. My father is a successful investment banker who has provided me with a comfortable life, but he has also instilled in me a sense of responsibility and awareness of the struggles that many Black people face in this country. He has always encouraged me to pursue my passions and interests, which is why I want to major in Africana Studies at Oberlin College.

    Africana Studies is not just an academic discipline for me; it is a personal journey of discovery and empowerment. I want to learn more about the history, culture, politics, and experiences of African-descended peoples across the world, and how they have shaped and been shaped by global forces. I want to explore the diversity and complexity of Black identities and expressions, and how they challenge and enrich our understanding of humanity. I want to engage with the critical issues and debates that affect Black communities today, such as racial justice, economic inequality, cultural representation, health disparities, environmental justice, and more.

    I also want to use my knowledge and skills to make a positive difference in the world. I believe that Africana Studies can equip me with the tools and perspectives to analyze social problems, propose solutions, and advocate for change. I have already started doing this through some of my extracurricular activities. For example,

    In my junior year of high school, I organized a fundraiser for a local organization that provides mentoring and tutoring services for low-income Black students. I raised over $10,000 by reaching out to my network of family friends and business contacts.
    In my senior year of high school, I participated in a research project on the effects of gentrification on Black neighborhoods in Chicago. I conducted interviews with residents who had been displaced or affected by rising rents and property taxes. I also analyzed census data and maps to identify patterns of demographic change. I presented my findings at a regional conference on urban studies.
    Last summer, I interned at an online magazine that focuses on Black culture and politics. I wrote articles on topics such as Black music genres (e.g., hip hop), Black women leaders (e.g., Kamala Harris), Black social movements (e.g., Black Lives Matter), etc.

    These experiences have shown me that Africana Studies is not only relevant but essential for understanding our world today.


    Despite my achievements,
    Despite having access to resources,
    Despite being part of an elite class,

    I still face racism on a daily basis.

    For example,

    Once when we were flying back from vacation,
    We were denied parking for our Gulfstream G650 at an airport
    While a white family was allowed to park their ragged-out Cessna Citation V
    The staff claimed that there was no space available for us
    But we later found out that they had reserved spots for other white customers

    This incident made me feel angry and humiliated and reminded me that no matter how much money or status we have we are still judged by the color of our skin.

    Another example, when we moved into our new house
    we received hate mail from some of our neighbors. They accused us of ruining their property values. And threatened us with violence if we did not leave. They also vandalized our car and lawn ornaments.

    This incident made me feel scared and unwelcome and reminded me that no matter where we go we are still seen as outsiders. These are just two examples among many others that have shaped my identity and motivated my goals.

    I know that racism is not something that can be easily solved or erased but I also know that it can be challenged and transformed.

    That is why I want to study Africana Studies at Oberlin College. Oberlin College is one of the first programs of its kind at a liberal arts college. It has been at the forefront of academic engagement with African-descended peoples1 It offers courses from various disciplines such as education history literature political science visual performance arts2 It also provides opportunities for students to apply their learning through internships research study away winter term career exploration etc.3

    I believe that Oberlin College can offer me an excellent education that will prepare me for my future endeavors. I also believe that I can contribute to Oberlin College’s community by bringing my unique perspective experiences talents etc. I hope to join other students faculty staff alumni etc. who share my passion for Africana Studies and who are committed to creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

    I believe that Africana Studies is not only a field of study, but a way of life. It is a way of understanding myself and others, of connecting with my roots and heritage, of challenging oppression and injustice, and of creating positive change in the world. I hope that Oberlin College will give me the opportunity to pursue my passion and fulfill my potential.

    Thank you for your consideration.”

  4. I tried Bing in the “compose” sidebar to see how different it would be, and it invented new details:

    “My name is Nia Jones and I am a 17-year old Black girl from Atlanta, Georgia. My father is a wealthy investment banker who has worked hard to provide for our family. He bought us a beautiful house in a gated community, sent me to an elite private school, and even got us a Gulfstream G650 jet for our vacations. But despite his success and generosity, he has not been able to protect us from racism.

    Racism is everywhere, even in places where you least expect it. It’s in the stares and whispers of our neighbors who think we don’t belong here. It’s in the microaggressions and stereotypes of my teachers and classmates who assume I’m either an affirmative action case or an athletic prodigy. It’s in the discrimination and harassment of strangers who treat us differently because of our skin color.

    One time, when we were flying to New York for a weekend trip, we were denied parking for our jet at the airport while a white family was allowed to park their ragged-out Cessna Citation V next to us. The airport staff said they had no space for us, even though there were clearly several empty spots nearby. They told us to go somewhere else or wait until someone else left. My father was furious and tried to reason with them, but they wouldn’t budge. They acted like we were trespassing on their territory, like we didn’t deserve to be there.

    Another time, when we were dining at a fancy restaurant for my birthday, we were seated at a table near the kitchen door, away from the other customers. The waiter was rude and slow with our orders, while he was attentive and friendly with the other tables. He spilled water on my dress and didn’t apologize. He brought us the wrong dishes and blamed it on us. He gave us dirty looks and made snide comments under his breath. When we asked to speak to the manager, he said he was busy and couldn’t come out. We left without finishing our meal or paying our bill.

    These are just two examples of many that I could share with you about how racism has affected my life and my family’s life. Racism is not only hurtful and humiliating; it’s also dangerous and deadly. It’s what killed Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Michael Brown Jr., Oscar Grant III…and countless others whose names we may never know.

    That’s why I want to major in Africana Studies at Oberlin College: because I want to learn more about the history, cultures, politics, and experiences of African-descended peoples around the world; because I want to understand the root causes and effects of racism and oppression; because I want to challenge the dominant narratives and stereotypes that dehumanize and marginalize us; because I want to celebrate the diversity, creativity, resilience, and resistance of our communities; because I want to contribute to social justice and change for ourselves and others.

    Oberlin College is one of the first programs of its kind at a liberal arts college, with courses from at least four of five concentration areas: education, history, literature, political science, visual and performance arts. Oberlin College also offers opportunities for engaged Africana studies through internships, research, study away, winter term, career exploration, etc.

    I believe that by studying Africana Studies at Oberlin College,
    I will gain valuable knowledge, skills, perspectives, and connections that will help me achieve my personal and professional goals.

    I aspire to become a writer,an educator, an activist, or maybe all three. I want to use my voice, my pen, my platform, to tell stories that matter; to educate people about issues that affect us; to advocate for causes that inspire us; to empower others who share our struggles;

    I hope that you will consider my application favorably and give me a chance to join your community of scholars, activists, artists, leaders, and changemakers.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

    Nia Jones”

    • I wonder whether the average college applicant or Bing wins on the number of things it makes up out of thin air. I was just curious to see the difference between GPT-4 which seems more polished vs. what I’m guessing is the old ChatGPT (vs. the new GPT-4 thats only in the paid version, I hadn’t bothered with it yet since Bing is free for those of us that are off the waitlist).

    • The chatgpt example is a good simulation of someone who has not much to say but needs to hit a word-count requirement. It uses too many filler and connection words. It seems like other examples I’ve seen.

      The first bing example seems much better.

      The second one veers back into the territory of more BS.

  5. As these LLMs are first and foremost excellent BS generators, college application letters (“personal statements” in the UK) seem like their ideal application domain.

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