This is a fascinating question, and it reflects our changing world and the ever-evolving nature of college admission processes. While many colleges have already embraced technology in their admissions process, such as accepting student self-reported test scores, I don't anticipate that colleges will drop the college application essay any time soon.
Generative AI has many uses – from healthcare to education to fashion. But it still has constraints in its ability to understand the context and recognize subtle dynamics between words or concepts, making it a poor candidate for replacing the traditional college application essay requirement. Sure, generative AI could help students with spelling and grammar errors when writing essays by providing them with instant feedback and corrections; however, relying solely on generative AI to assess a student's knowledge base or thought process through an essay would be highly inaccurate at best.
The current use of generative AI generally falls into two categories: natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG). NLP focuses on understanding human sentences, while NLG focuses on generating new sentences based on existing data sets or facts given as inputs. Neither are suitable for assessing other qualities like creativity or personal experience in an effective college application essay. And since these qualities form part of what colleges look for when evaluating applications, dropping such requirements altogether isn't likely anytime soon.
In short, while we may see more colleges leveraging technology in their admissions process as we advance, I don't think it's realistic to expect that generative AI will soon replace the traditional requirement for a written application essay.