< Study in Germany guide

Why Settle for Templates? Use AI to Create Powerful Letter of Recommendations

January 4, 2024

TL:DR; We created an AI Letter of recommendation builder for you which is more targeted than the generic LORs of ChatGPT.

Everyone is using ChatGPT to write everything---from jokes and news reports, to essays and other school writing assignments. Thought to be the best automated writing tool accessible to the public right now, students seem to have begun blindly trusting a computer to write for them, including SOPs and LORs. But is it really all that it is presented to be? Even Yann LeCun, who some refer to as the "father of AI," expressed doubts. So, we conducted an LOR and SOP writing experiment with ChatGPT to find out for ourselves and for you. And the results were indeed promising.

What is ChatGPT anyway?
GPT-4 is an AI model that understands text better than any of its predecessor models and has been the talk of the town. Bing has started using this technology to compete with Google, and Silicon Valley and Wall Street are both bullish on this new technology. Google has also released its own version of this technology, called Bard, which is based on large language models.

Sounds amazing! So what's the catch?

However, there is another side to the argument that suggests these models are not perfect. These large language models have an incredible ability to generate text that appears to be factual, even when it is not. This phenomenon is known as "hallucination," where the model states something completely inaccurate but in an erudite manner. Yann LeCun, who some refer to as the "father of deep learning," has talked about one such case. As of March 2023, when asked the query 'If I hold a paper horizontally with both hands, and let one side go. Which side would the paper tilt?', this is how ChatGPT responds.

"Towards the side, not away from the side" is incorrect.

The GPT model 'hallucinates' the reader into believing that it's stated a fact with scientific justification, but states something completely inaccurate.

What does it mean for your LOR, SOP, and other school writing requirements?

Customization is key. There are thousands of applications, but only a handful of seats. If your essay lacks your inputs and has the same flow as any other SOP/LOR, it's unlikely to get accepted. Customizations are what make the essay great and convincing to the evaluator. Remember, fluff doesn't get you admission.

Moreover, if you don't include your inputs, the likelihood of being accused of plagiarism is high. Technologies like TurnItIn are already using AI to detect such cases.

How sure are we about these so-called limitations?

We experimented by asking ChatGPT to generate LOR for two different fields to check if it will product customized or standardized text. Here are the results;

As you can see, ChatGPT generated proper LORs but tended to use the same sentence construction and vocabulary regardless of the field. This means that if you ask ChatGPT to write an LOR for you, it would most likely read similar to the examples above. In a sea of thousands of applications, it would be very hard for your profile to stand out if you simply rely on ChatGPT generated LORs and SOPs. ChatGPT is capable of producing only generic and templated text according to what it scrapes off the internet.

Then how can you use ChatGPT efficiently?

There is an art to using GPT software for making stellar essays, and it's called "prompt engineering." To make a stellar essay, you need to marry this technology with your inputs, experiences, and the right prompt engineering. With your input, you can have essays that persuade the admission committee. The SOP/LOR needs to be about you.

Is there an easier but more reliable way to use AI writing assistants?

CareerSky GradGPT has AI tools for essay writing that take your input, use the latest GPT models, and incorporate other AI embeddings, prompt engineering, and heuristics like Hemingway scores and entropy to generate unique essays. These tools are aimed at avoiding the problem of "anti-writing." For example, compare two LORs, one generated by ChatGPT without any inputs and the other with inputs to CareerSky GradGPT AI tool for letter of recommendation.

This problem becomes even more apparent with SOPs, arguably the most critical part of the application. Therefore, using GPT for academic essays can be helpful, but it needs to be combined with input, prompt engineering, and careful editing to make sure that the essay reflects the applicant's true voice and message.

At the end of day, just keep in mind that the GPT model is only a writing assistant. It needs the write prompts and input to create a stellar LOR/SOP ready for submission. 

Use our LOR and SOP tools to generate customized SOP/LORs which incorporate your inputs and represent them in the best way possible.

Useful links

⚡️Try out the AI profile evaluator, LOR and SOP Writer powered by ChatGPT!

Want expert guidance on higher studies in Germany? Get in touch with us.