Trying to decide on a college? Let AI help.
When I was a senior in high school all the way back in 2012, I had no idea where I wanted to go to college. It was a life-changing decision, and one I took seriously. Unfortunately, this left me in a state of what’s called “analysis paralysis”—otherwise known as the paradox of choice. How do you make a decision when you have a near infinite number of options?
If ChatGPT has been around when I was a high school senior, you better believe I would’ve asked it where to go to college. So, now with my college years behind me, I decided to see what ChatGPT has to say about picking a college for me.
Which US College Is The Worst?
ChatGPT unfortunately didn’t give me much of an answer. AI didn’t want to discriminate against any colleges in the United States (or anywhere, for that matter) and explained that there are a lot of factors that go into college rankings. None of them are inherently the “best” or “worst” since personal preference has a lot to do with where students go to college.
In a strange turn, ChatGPT also encouraged me not to focus on “negative labeling” and instead evaluate my own personal goals for college. I guess AI isn’t all bad, right?
Which US College Is The Best?
Similar to the previous answer, ChatGPT was hesitant to single out a “best” college. It did highlight a few “highly respected and prestigious colleges,” however:
Unless you’ve got Ivy League brains or money (which I don’t), this certainly isn’t a practical list of options for most students. And again, ChatGPT wanted to make sure I evaluated my own personal goals and values before selecting a school.
Which College Has The Best Athletic Program?
ChatGPT was a little more forthcoming when it comes to asking about college sports. It still waffled a bit when asking for names, but it didn’t give me quite as much of a runaround as before.
AI gave these colleges the seal of approval with regard to college athletics, specifically saying that these schools “often have a strong program”:
- University of Alabama
- Ohio State University
- University of Michigan
- University of Texas
- University of Southern California
All things considered, this is a pretty accurate (albeit generic) list of colleges with good athletic programs.
Which College Has The Best Nightlife?
Man oh man, did ChatGPT really not like this question. When I asked it about schools with the best nightlife, AI started sounding like my parents.
In a weird turn of events, ChatGPT told me that social scenes and nightlife shouldn’t be the only factor when it comes to choosing a college.
“Furthermore,” the AI scolded, “it’s important to keep in mind that drinking and partying are not the only ways to have fun in college. There are many other activities and opportunities for socializing and building connections on campus, such as clubs, organizations, cultural events, and volunteer work.”
I didn’t think AI would be such a sheltered buzzkill, but here we are!
Which US College Has The Most Successful Graduates?
ChatGPT must have an affinity for certain schools because it seems to think the only way to ensure success is to go to an Ivy League college. It simply named the name six schools when I asked what the best colleges in the US were.
Switching to guidance counselor mode, ChatGPT told me that my success was ultimately in my hands and that I could do anything I set my mind to. Encouraging, although not really true when it comes to finding a job after college.
What’s The Most Popular College In The US?
ChatGPT only really understood half of the question. It assumed I meant popularity as in the total number of students, which isn’t technically wrong, but not what I was necessarily asking. AI still hasn’t learned subtext or nuance, apparently.
The answer was Liberty University in Virginia, whose total enrollment is 79,152 as of 2020.
It did acknowledge that popularity could mean different things and mentioned that large state schools and Ivy League colleges also tend to be popular. It specifically named these four colleges:
- Arizona State University
- Ohio State University
I’m now convinced ChatGPT only thinks there are about 10 colleges around the country.
Where Would ChatGPT Go To College?
Now, the ultimate question is: where would ChatGPT go to college? The answer? Uninspiring.
It turns out AI can’t make decisions like this any easier. Since ChatGPT doesn’t have any real-life experiences or personal preferences, it flat out told me it can’t pick a college for itself or anyone else, for that matter.
ChatGPT then gave me a generic list of things to consider when choosing a college, like academic interests, location, culture, and financial aid. Yawn.
Based on my conversation with ChatGPT, the robots still have a long way to go before understanding the concept of human emotion. Maybe they aren’t going to take over after all. Not yet, anyway.
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