AI’s misuse has led universities to intensify their efforts to discourage academic dishonesty. You’ve likely been repeatedly cautioned that AI use can negatively impact your educational journey. However, the fact that AI can be misused does not mean it should not be used at all. Like all new technologies, AI can be adopted in a way that supports rather than substitutes your writing. Here are five tips for using AI when writing personal statements without engaging in dishonest practices.
1. Use AI to get ideas
Your personal statement should reflect your own experiences, qualities, and motivations, and thus cannot be written by AI. However, you can use AI to get some pointers on how personal statements are structured and what they should include. You can ask AI questions such as “What are the key elements of a personal statement?” and “Can you give me examples of compelling personal statement introductions?” as this may give you some ideas on how to start and structure your statement.
2. Use AI to improve clarity
When writing a personal statement, you may encounter difficulties related to the organisation and clarity of your experiences, interests, and ideas. To improve the clarity and structure, you can easily use AI for assistance. Simply paste your statement into the AI chat and request its input. You can instruct AI directly by asking questions such as “Can you help me describe my leadership experience in the opening paragraph?” or “What are some ways to connect my interest in environmental science with my community service work?” and you will get some useful tips.
3. Use AI to check grammar
For better success of your personal statement, you want to make sure that your statement is free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. AI can be used as a great aid here. A useful tip is to ask: “Can you check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes in this paragraph?” and then paste your whole paragraph into the AI chat. Just remember to instruct AI to use British rather than American spelling. If not explicitly instructed, AI will use American spelling and this may result in spelling inconsistencies in your statement.
4. Use AI to paraphrase
Another benefit of AI is that it is very skilled in paraphrasing. When re-reading your personal statement, you might notice that some sentences sound very odd, yet you may find it challenging to correct them. To solve this, you can ask AI to paraphrase your sentence. This practice will be useful in the long run as AI will teach you to communicate your thoughts better and write more compelling statements in the future.
5. Use AI to optimise phrases and word choice
When crafting your personal statement, you may find yourself struggling to find the right word or phrase to convey your unique thoughts and experiences. For example, you might have a sentence saying “I think this class gives me good chances for growing my likes”, but you know this sentence has awkward word choices that don’t effectively communicate your thoughts. This is another obstacle that AI can solve quickly. You can simply instruct AI to give you alternatives for phrases such “good chances” and “growing my likes” in your sentence and choose from the provided options.
A key message
In summary, AI can boost your personal statement without making you a cheater. If used correctly, it can help you refine your skills and produce a more compelling statement while managing to maintain your academic integrity. Not all AI use is useful and non-penalised, however. That’s why our next post will explore five things to avoid when using AI for personal statements.