Share this article

Can You Use AI to Write Your Nursing School Admissions Essay?

Joelle Y. Jean, FNP-C, BSN, RN
Updated October 9, 2023
Edited by
    AI is taking a front seat in all aspects of healthcare. Learn how it can assist you when writing your nursing admissions essay.
    Student writing college admissions essay on latopCredit: Getty Images
    • You can use AI to write your nursing school admissions essay, but it’s important that your essay is authentic and truly reflects who you are.
    • AI is changing the college admissions process in ways that allow admissions officers to screen prospective students faster and more efficiently.
    • AI is also being used in nursing schools to screen applications, including nursing administration, clinical care, nursing research, policy and nursing admissions.

    Now that generative artificial intelligence (AI) is available for public use, can you use it to write your nursing school admissions essay? The short answer is yes.

    However, some schools may prohibit using artificial intelligence, so know the guidelines before completing an application.

    We sat down with Mary Banks, an admissions consultant and former director of admissions at the Columbia School of Nursing and New York University. She gave us her thoughts on how AI is changing the college admissions process, what admissions officers look for in nursing school applications, and the pros and cons of using AI.

    How AI Is Changing the College Admissions Process

    AI is changing the college admissions process in ways that allow admissions officers to screen prospective students faster and more efficiently. Many universities now use AI to:

    • Screen applications, which include transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation
    • Interact with prospective students and answer questions through chatbots
    • Improve diversity and inclusion by analyzing prospective students’ demographics and backgrounds
    • Detect plagiarism

    EAB, an educational consulting firm, recently added an AI tool to help advisors deal with their administrative tasks, which, in turn, should help them streamline their admission process.

    Unless there is a disclaimer or the school has an affirmation statement that outlines their expectations on the honesty of your admissions essay, students can use AI to assist them in writing their nursing school admissions essay. However, it is important to use it in a way that is honest and authentic.

    Banks says none of the students she works with has asked her about using AI to construct their application. She isn’t sure if the students think it’s inappropriate, but she reiterates that the admissions team can distinguish between genuine, authentic answers and a bot. It’s better to use AI as a research tool or a support system rather than writing your entire essay.

    What Admissions Officers Look for in Nursing School Applicants

    [nursing classes] with a pretender. [We are] looking for authenticity.”

    When it comes to nursing school admissions essays, authenticity is the buzzword. Banks advises students to tie their application persona to their career. Your persona should be authentic and showcase your personality and experiences.

    “It’s a process admissions officers need to educate students on,” Banks says.

    Here is a list of tips experts provide for applicants to ensure they submit a successful essay:

    1. 1

      Be authentic.

      In a nutshell, being authentic means being truthful in your essay. Admission officers want stories of your background and experiences that highlight your personality and tie into why you want to pursue nursing.
    2. 2

      Showcase your unique attributes.

      Unique attributes come in all shapes and sizes. A student has to create a theme — a coherent story. Tell us who you are. If you have good test scores, submit them.
    3. 3

      Have a genuine voice.

      A genuine voice means authentically communicating your beliefs, feelings and personality in your own words.
    4. 4

      Showcase your diverse background.

      Maintaining diversity and inclusion in the nursing school admissions process is even more important than AI, Banks says.

    With the Supreme Court ending affirmative action in college admissions, nurse leaders and admission officers are using innovative processes to attract a diverse pool of nursing students despite the decision. Nursing schools weigh their applications on different and unique life experiences.

    Bank’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision: “We don’t care. We’ve always wanted diversity,” she says. “Diversity comes in all sizes, shapes, forms and colors and everything else, so for the individual who mounted that affirmative action lawsuit with the Supreme Court, it was in many ways a political assault on what has been going on in a positive fashion forever.”

    The Pros and Cons of Using AI in Your Nursing School Admissions Essay

    Using AI in your nursing school admissions essay has pros and cons. One obvious con is the risk of plagiarism. AI tools may generate an essay that closely resembles other published essays on the internet. So it isn’t wise to copy word for word. Software like Scribbr and Turnitin are integrity tools and can detect plagiarized work. Some other cons include:

    • Lack of a unique voice
    • Lack of depth and relevant information
    • Lack of authenticity

    There are definite pros to using AI in your nursing school admissions essay. Students shouldn’t be afraid to use it as a coach or tool to get ideas for their essays.

    [and] use it as a research tool,” Banks suggests.

    Here are a few more pros to using AI to assist you with your nursing school admissions essay:

    • Help with grammar and spell check
    • Brainstorm ideas
    • Saves time
    • Help develop an essay outline

    While AI is useful in helping with your nursing school admissions essay, it’s equally important to create a game plan on how to tackle your essay and use AI appropriately.

    Example ChatGPT Prompts for Nursing School Admissions Essay Assistance

    ChatGPT — an AI language model — is probably the most popular generative AI tool today. It’s free and easy to use, and prospective nursing students can use it to help write during the admissions essay process. You can try ChatGPT to create questions to help spark an idea or refine your essay.

    Prompts can include:

    • For editing: “Using natural, conversational language, edit this sentence [I find nursing to be an incredibly fascinating and exciting subject. I enjoy the content, and I take every chance possible to explore nursing] to be more concise and straight to the point.”
    • Response from ChatGPT that reads: I'm deeply intrigued by nursing and eagerly seize every opportunity to explore its content.
      Credit: Screenshot from ChatGPT — “I’m deeply intrigued by nursing and eagerly seize every opportunity to explore its content.”
    • For research: “Tell me about the history of [insert school name]’s nursing program.”
    • For brainstorming: “Reflect on when you had to step outside your comfort zone to achieve a meaningful outcome. What did you learn from this experience?

    AI is evolving. It is revolutionizing higher education with sophisticated technology to help support administrators and prospective students. It’s an exciting time for individuals to be thinking about the nursing field, Banks says.

    However, as of now, AI still requires a human element. It will require a lot of training for current and prospective nurses to use, along with admissions officers.

    “We need individuals of all ages who are interested in technology as a tool to improve the way we deliver services. We have patient-centered care, and our AI tools have to pay attention to the human side of nursing and medicine in general,” Banks says.

    Meet Our Contributor

    Portrait of Mary Banks

    Mary Banks

    Mary Banks is the senior admissions consultant at Quad Education and has worked in higher education for nearly 40 years. She is the former director of admissions at the Columbia School of Nursing and former director of admissions for the School of Education, Nursing, and the Arts at New York University.

    Drawing from her experiences at prestigious institutions, where she reviewed thousands of college applications, Mary takes a personalized, student-first approach with every candidate she helps. Mary is committed to strategically positioning every student as a stand-out candidate to give them an edge in the college admissions process.