One thousand words, that's about how many words high school seniors have to show college admission teams who they are and why they deserve to go the their college. Admissions teams are usually comprised of just a few people and they need to go through thousands of submissions. The time a reviewer spends with each submission suffers due to this disproportionally. We want to assist students to ensure that their personal statements accurately portray them and show just exactly they have to show.
What it does
Personal Statement Assister (PSA) is a tool where any student can see what vibes are given from their essays. Using IBM's Bluemix we analyzed each essay, returning what personality characteristics are most evident in their writing. This is important since one of the goals of personal statements is to show who the students are as a person. PSA also incorporates IBM's Watson Text-to-Speech functionality. A common occurrence one has when trying to proof read their own works is skipping over minor details. Since we are the creators of our own works, we know what we intended to say and my overlook things when read through again. The text to speech functionality can help pick up on these minor errors since we are more likely to notice them if we come across them verbally than visually. Lastly PSA uses a natural language processing API that is able to summarize the input. This feature is of high importance since this summary is most likely what the college admission team will probably get from reading a student's essay.
Challenges I ran into
We did run into some problems with the summarization API. Chrome prohibits certain HTTP requests if it determines that there may be security flaws. Due to this issue we weren't able to display the information retrieved. We did try retrieving this information through the backend but this posed a similar issue.
What's next for Personal Statement Assister
Further research is needed to find out how exactly we are going to be posting this information, which may include having to switch to a different API