独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究

本文作者Gabriel Monteros 孟泰岩



From the previous article, I hope you’ve come to understand why ChatGPT is not a good choice for writing college application essays. To help you better appreciate the pitfalls of using ChatGPT, I’ve put together this case study for you.通过上一篇文章,我想大家已经理解了为什么ChatGPT不是写大学申请文书的好选择。为了帮助大家更好地了解使用ChatGPT的弊端,我整理了这一篇案例研究。

The Details


First, I’ve selected an essay prompt from Pomona College, a top-ranked liberal arts college in California that places a lot of emphasis on essays in their application decisions. This prompt is a good example of the type of essay prompts your student will see when completing college applications. It also is a relatively “straightforward” essay question, the kind that ChatGPT is supposed to excel at answering. Here is the prompt:首先,我选择了波莫纳学院的一个文书题目。波莫纳学院是位于加州的一所顶尖的文理学院,在申请决定中极其强调文书。这个题目是一个很好的例子,学生们在填写大学申请时经常会看到这个类型的题目。这也是一个相对比较 “直接”的文书问题,是ChatGPT应该很擅长回答的那种。题目如下:Write an essay on the prompt: “College is about more than your major. Its about learning through classes, conversations, experiences and finding connections across multiple topics. Tell us about a time recently when you became excited to learn more about something: a time when your curiosity pushed you to eagerly pursue an idea or topic further through research or discussion.” (150 word limit)根据题目写一篇文书:大学不仅仅是关于你的专业。它是关于你如何通过课程、对话、经验和寻找多个主题之间的联系来学习。请告诉我们最近一次你因为学习到更多的东西而感到兴奋:你的好奇心促使你急切地通过研究或讨论进一步探索一个想法或话题。(限150字)

独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究

Second, I ran the prompt through ChatGPT several times, each time providing more information and instructions to the bot to “improve the outcome” and quality of the essay. I even worked with a data scientist friend who has experience with LLMs to craft the most effective queries. Below, I’ve selected a couple to show you.

其次,我通过ChatGPT进行了几次提示,每次都向机器人提供更多的信息和指示,以 改善结果”和文书的质量。我甚至与一位有大语言模型经验的数据科学家朋友一起工作,以制作最有效的询问。在后面的文章我选择了几个向你展示。

Last, I collected an essay written by a student with our careful guidance. This student was successfully admitted to Pomona and is having an amazing time studying there! I’ve placed it at the end for comparison.


独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究

As you read through the case study, keep in mind the question I often ask my students when they bring me a new essay: “Is this essay a story only YOU could tell?”当你阅读案例研究时,请记住我经常在学生给我带来一篇新文书时问他们的问题:这篇文书是一个只有你才能讲的故事吗?”

ChatGPTs First Attempts


The following essay was produced by ChatGPT:以下文章是由ChatGPT制作的:Recently, I became fascinated by the topic of sustainable living. I had always been interested in environmental issues, but it wasnt until I took a course on sustainability that my curiosity was piqued. The more I learned about the impact of human activity on the planet, the more I felt a sense of urgency to take action.最近,我开始对可持续的生活方式的话题着迷。我一直对环境问题感兴趣,但直到我参加了一个关于可持续发展的课程,我的好奇心才被激起。我对人类活动对地球的影响了解得越多,就越觉得有一种采取行动的紧迫感。This led me to start researching ways to reduce my carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle. I began reading articles, watching documentaries, and attending seminars on the topic. I even started a discussion group with friends to share our ideas and experiences.这促使我开始研究如何减少我的碳足迹,过一种更可持续的生活方式。我开始阅读文章,观看纪录片,并参加有关这一主题的研讨会。我甚至和朋友们建立了一个讨论小组,分享我们的想法和经验。What excited me the most was discovering the many ways in which sustainability intersects with other areas of life, such as economics, politics, and social justice. I realized that sustainable living isnt just about reducing waste or using renewable energy -its about creating a more equitable and just society for all.最让我兴奋的是,我发现了可持续发展与其他生活领域相交的许多方式,如经济、政治和社会公义。我意识到,可持续发展的生活不仅仅是减少废物或使用可再生能源,而是为所有人创造一个更加公平和公正的社会。Through my curiosity, I have discovered a passion for sustainable living and the potential it has to create positive change. I am excited to continue exploring this topic and finding connections with other areas of study in college.通过我的好奇心,我发现了对可持续生活的热情,以及它在创造积极变化方面的潜力。我很高兴能继续探索这个话题,并在大学里找到与其他研究领域的联系。独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究Hm! At first glance, it seems like a really good essay. Wow, ChatGPT can save so much time! But thinking deeper, you start to see major problems. The essay is completely cliché and general, it doesn’t contain specific examples from the student’s life (and what’s more, are the activities it mentioned verified on other parts of the application like the activity list or the recommendations?). The essay is relatively shallow, too, not demonstrating much personal or intellectual reflection. In one sense, it is an essay that anyone could produce, not a specific student.唔!乍一看,这似乎是一篇非常好的文书。哇,ChatGPT可以节省这么多时间!但深入思考后,你开始发现一些重大问题。这篇文书简直是陈词滥调和泛泛而谈,它不包含学生生活中的具体例子(更重要的是,它提到的活动是否在申请表中的其他部分得到了验证,如活动清单或推荐信?) 这篇文书也比较肤浅,没有表现出太多的个人或智力思考。从某种意义上说,这是一篇任何人都可以写的文书,而不是一个特定的学生。Even if the admissions officer thought this was genuine(and honestly, he likely would be able to tell it was produced by a bot), there is nothing in it that would distinguish the student from any other applicant.即使招生官认为这是真的(说实话,他很可能会分辨出这是由机器人制作的),其中也没有任何内容可以将该学生与其他申请人区分开来。

ChatGPTs Next Attempts


Okay, but what if we give ChatGPT some specific information about our student? Surely then it will create an amazing essay! In this second example, I did just that. I thought about a specific unique experience that our Pomona student had—a story about studying Mexican history—and provided additional contextual information to the AI. Here is the result:好吧,但如果我们给ChatGPT一些关于我们学生的具体信息呢?那么它肯定会创造出一篇惊人的文书!在这第二个例子中,我就是这么做的。我想到了我们的波莫纳学生的一个具体的独特经历——关于学习墨西哥历史的故事,并向人工智能提供了额外的背景信息。结果是这样的:

独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究

Recently, I became fascinated by the history of the ancient city of Cholula in Mexico. It all started when I stumbled upon a documentary about the Great Pyramid of Cholula, one of the largest pyramids in the world, which is located in the city. The more I learned about Cholula, the more intrigued I became.最近,我对墨西哥乔鲁拉古城的历史深深着迷。这一切始于我偶然看到一部关于乔鲁拉大金字塔的纪录片,该金字塔是世界上最大的金字塔之一,地处于城市中。我对乔鲁拉了解得越多,就越感到好奇。I started doing my research on the city, its people, and its history. I read books, articles, and watched more documentaries. I was amazed by the rich cultural heritage and the vibrant traditions that have been passed down through generations.我开始对这个城市、它的人民和它的历史进行研究。我阅读书籍、文章,并观看了更多的纪录片。我对丰富的文化遗产和世代相传的充满活力的传统感到惊奇。I also discovered that Cholula has a complex and fascinating history, from its pre-Columbian origins to the Spanish conquest and beyond. It was interesting to learn about the struggles and triumphs of the people who lived there and how they contributed to the development of Mexican culture.我还发现,乔鲁拉有着复杂而迷人的历史,从哥伦布之前的起源到西班牙的征服以及其他方面。了解生活在那里的人们的斗争和胜利以及他们如何为墨西哥文化的发展做出贡献是非常有趣的。I became so excited about Cholulas history that I even started discussing it with my friends and family. I was eager to share my newfound knowledge and insights about this amazing city.我对乔鲁拉的历史感到非常兴奋,甚至开始与我的朋友和家人讨论它。我急于分享我新发现的知识和对这个神奇城市的见解。Through my curiosity, I have developed a deeper appreciation for Mexican culture and history. I am excited to continue exploring this topic in college and making connections with other areas of study.通过我的好奇心,我对墨西哥文化和历史有了更深的了解。我很高兴能在大学里继续探索这个话题,并与其他研究领域建立联系。

独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究

A little better, but there are still critical problems. The essay remains cliché and shallow. It lacks specifics and reflection: What books and documentaries did the student read? What “vibrant traditions” were inspiring to the student? How did this information affect the student’s worldview? Notice the structure and style of the essay. It is very similar to the first example, generic and formulaic. Interestingly, the AI also struggles with word limits.稍有好转,但仍有关键问题。文章仍然是陈词滥调,浅尝辄止。它缺乏具体内容和思考:学生读了哪些书和纪录片?哪些 “充满活力的传统 “对该学生有启发?这些信息是如何影响学生的世界观的?注意这篇文章的结构和风格。它与第一个例子非常相似,都是普通的、公式化的。有趣的是,这个人工智能也在为字数限制而奋斗。Do you think that an admissions officer would remember this essay after reading it? Do you think they would get a good sense of the personality of the student and what he can contribute to their campus community? Do you think it reflects well on the student’s capabilities? I don’t think it does.你认为招生官在读完这篇文书后会记住它吗?你认为他们会很好地了解这个学生的个性以及他能为校园社区做出什么贡献吗?你认为这能很好地反映出该学生的能力吗?我并不这么认为。

A Real Essay


Last, here is the successful essay produced by the actual student with our professional guidance:最后,这是一位真实的学生在我们的专业指导下制作的成功论文While researching Spanish colonization of Mesoamerica, I focused on the infamous 1519 Cholulanmassacre, where Cortes and his indigenous allies killed thousands of Cholulancitizens in a surprise attack. Initially, all the primary sources had me believe that Cortes needed to attack because the indigenous people were colluding to ambush him. Yet, I noticed subtle discrepancies in the accounts that unnerved me.在研究西班牙对中美洲的殖民化时,我关注的是1519年臭名昭著的乔鲁兰大屠杀,科尔特斯和他的土著盟友在一次突然袭击中杀死了数千名乔鲁兰公民。起初,所有的原始资料都让我相信,科尔特斯需要进攻,因为土著人串通好了要伏击他。然而,我注意到这些叙述中存在着微妙的差异,让我感到不安。I suddenly realized one perspective was missing in my research: the Cholulans, who left no writings. Everything I’d read was written by Spanish colonizers attempting to justify the massacre. Recognizing the limitations of my approach, I immersed myself in exploring other types of data besides primary documents, like forensic evidence from graves and archaeological sources.我突然意识到在我的研究中缺少一个观点:乔鲁兰人,他们没有留下任何文字。我读到的所有东西都是由西班牙殖民者写的,试图为大屠杀辩护。认识到我的方法的局限性,我沉浸在探索除原始文件之外的其他类型的数据,如来自坟墓和考古资料的法医证据。Unlike pilgrims looking for absolute truth, historians aim to discover something closest to reality but never reality itself. By constantly challenging and revising our narratives, we learn there’s always room for further understanding.与寻找绝对真理的朝圣者不同,历史学家的目标是发现最接近现实的东西,但绝不是现实本身。通过不断挑战和修正我们的叙述,我们了解到总是有进一步理解的空间。

独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究

See how the student tells specific stories from his own experiences and reflects more deeply on what his experiences taught him. Only this student could have produced this essay, one that shows him as a careful thinker, a passionate historian, and a self-directed explorer in only 150 words! This type of essay can only be produced with the in-depth thinking and writing coaching provided by skilled and experienced mentors.看看这个学生是如何从自己的经历中讲述具体的故事,并更深入地反思他的经历给他带来的启示。只有这个学生才能写出这篇文书,这篇文书在短短的150个字中显示出他是一个细心的思考者,一个充满激情的历史学家,以及一个自主的探索者! 这种类型的文书只有在熟练和经验丰富的导师提供的深入思考和写作辅导下才能产生。



Using ChatGPT for application may first appear as an attractive option. But as you can see, it will likely end up hurting the student in the application process. Understanding that essays are ultimately about communicating unique aspects of an individual while addressing the strategic needs of a student’s application, precludes reliance on ChatGPT and reinforces the importance of having good guidance during the application season.使用ChatGPT进行申请,首先可能是一个有吸引力的选择。但正如你所看到的,它很可能最终会在申请过程中给学生带来损失。了解到文书最终是关于交流个人的独特方面,同时解决学生申请的战略需求,就可以排除对ChatGPT的依赖,并强调在申请季拥有良好指导的重要性。

独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究

However, I still believe that ChatGPT can be quite useful for students. In fact, I think students should start learning how to use LLMs now! In the next article, I will discuss productive ways for students to useChatGPT and explore how students can benefit from this exciting new technology during the application process.然而,我仍然相信ChatGPT对学生来说是相当有用的。事实上,我认为学生现在就应该开始学习如何使用大语言模型!在下一篇文章中,我将讨论学生使用ChatGPT的有效方法,并探讨学生在申请过程中如何从这项令人兴奋的新技术中获益。

独家深度|揭秘ChatGPT与美本大学申请 ③——案例研究

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