The Top AI Writing Tools to Help You Become a Better Writer in College


Updated September 29, 2023 · 4 Min Read

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Want to write grade-A essays for college? Artificial intelligence can help. In this guide, consider the ethics of AI and find out which essay writing AI tools will work for you. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are revolutionizing the higher learning landscape, saving students' time and potentially boosting their grades. However, this trend is accompanied by contentious debates. Is it ethical for students to use AI tools to complete writing assignments?

While AI's defenders highlight the efficiency and personalized assistance its tools offer, critics raise concerns about overreliance, potential plagiarism, and the erosion of critical thinking skills.

In a BestColleges survey, 51% of college students say using AI tools on schoolwork is plagiarism or cheating, but about 20% use them anyway.

If you're one of the students using AI to write essays, or you plan to rely on an AI tool, consider the ethics of your choice before you begin.

The Ethics of College Students Using AI

Critics argue that AI may compromise academic integrity by fostering a dependency on machine-generated content. There's also an argument that AI essay writing leads to diminished original thinking.

Over time the line between assistance and plagiarism could start to blur, as students rely excessively on AI tools without proper understanding of the subject they are studying.

Colleges are addressing this question by emphasizing responsible AI use. Some institutions encourage faculty members to create assignments that AI cannot perform well, while others offer coursework on how to use generative AI tools to augment human creativity.

If you want to use AI writing tools ethically — to support rather than supplant your learning — consider the 10 options below.

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Best Free AI Essay Writing Tools to Help You Become a Better Writer in College

The AI-powered tools listed below each assist students who want to improve their writing skills without committing plagiarism. Each of these tools is either free or offers a limited free version of their product.


Grammarly uses machine learning and natural language processing to analyze written text for context, tone, style, and grammatical correctness. The product's parent company says it influences the writing of 30 million people and 50,000 teams every day across the English-speaking population.

Grammarly offers a free version, a paid Premium option with 400 checks and features, and a business solution. These products can assist with traditional documents and emails, and can interface with other apps such as Slack and Skype.

Hemingway Editor

Named for author Earnest Hemingway, this app can help tighten prose, eliminate unnecessary modifiers, and simplify verbiage — ahem, using smaller words.

To get editing help, copy your work, paste it into the application, and watch the tool highlight areas for improvement according to a color-coded legend. For example, a blue highlight indicates an adverb, while a green highlight indicates the passive voice.

The Hemingway app also scores your writing's readability. You can see the score moving in the appropriate direction as you edit your work.

Citation Machine

This tool can create new citations or help improve a bibliography you've already developed. You can either check your paper for grammatical errors or use Citation Machine as an AI-powered plagiarism checker.

When using the citation function, enter information about the website, article, journal, or book you wish to cite, choose the style you need the citation in, and wait for the tool to generate your source in the appropriate format.


Readable helps writers improve their work by scoring it for readability. The tool uses various scoring metrics, including Flesch-Kincaid, to determine scores. Readable can also give you actionable editorial feedback. You can choose the free version or one of three paid options ranging from $4 to $69 monthly.


An AI-powered summarizer, Scholarcy simplifies and condenses articles, breaking them down into bite-sized ideas. You can use the tool to sift through far more research papers than you could ever do on your own. Alternatively, you can run your own paper through Scholarcy, seeing how the tool summarizes each piece of your work to help keep your paper focused.


More than a grammar check, myEssai is an AI essay writing tool that gives you actionable feedback just like a teacher would. This tool can review essays, resumes, job descriptions, creative writing assignments, notes for a speech, or any other written piece. myEssai does not create new content. It only reviews content you have already written.


Another essay-writing AI app, LanguagePro, helps you write faster, better, and more efficiently. This tool analyzes your writing style and makes suggestions for improving your word choices while also pointing out errors and typos.

People who speak English as a second language may also find LanguagePro helpful since it can translate content into more than 25 languages using a multilingual keyboard.


GPTionary is a free, smart thesaurus that suggests words or phrases after the user inputs a descriptive prompt.

For example, you might ask, "What is a word used to describe a feeling of great passion or intensity?" And GPTionary would reply with a suggested word, definition, synonyms, antonyms, trivia, and example sentences.

This tool is one way for students using AI to write essays without a hint of plagiarism or cheating. It can also benefit English language learners by providing new vocabulary words.


Eli5 is short for "explain like I'm five." This AI-powered tool is fueled by OpenAI, the same company that owns ChatGPT. It uses machine learning and large language models to simplify concepts, explaining complex ideas in basic terms that beginners can understand.

Students who want to learn more about artificial intelligence can benefit from this tool as can researchers in all fields.


When it comes to writing, ProWritingAid does it all. This tool improves sentence flow, checks grammar, analyzes sentence structure, and makes word-choice recommendations.

The free version offers 10 rephrases and a full array of checks on 500 words a day. Students who upgrade to the premium package get 20% off.

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Frequently Asked Questions About AI Essay Writing Tools

How can I use this tool in a way that helps me learn?

Use these tools to augment your human creativity, not to replace it. AI writers do a fantastic job of generating ideas, offering research directions, checking grammar, and streamlining the writing process.

As you learn to form better queries for your AI tools, you will also discover how to make your writing tighter and more focused. Almost anything you do with AI beyond copy-and-paste jobs has the potential to teach you something.

Can Turnitin detect AI writing?

Yes, Turnitin has released an AI writing detection solution trained to evaluate text produced by GPT-3 and GPT-3 language models, including ChatGPT. Turnitin's solution cannot pinpoint machine-generated language with 100% accuracy, but it can generally determine if a human, a robot, or a combination of the two wrote the piece.

Do AI writing tools work well with different citation styles, such as APA or MLA?

The answer depends on the tool you use. Most AI writing tools can work seamlessly in whatever citation style you request. Solutions that focus on creating bibliographies and citations are especially well suited to shift to your preferred citation style.

How do AI writing tools compare to traditional grammar-checking software or writing tutors?

Traditional grammar-checking software scans human-written work for possible grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. An in-person writing tutor makes suggestions and assists as you write your copy. AI writing tools such as ChatGPT actually generate written content for you based on your input.

Can AI writing tools help with language translation or writing a language in another language other than English?

Some AI writing tools can help with language translation, and some can write in languages other than English. Google Translate, DeepL, Alexa Translations, and Taia Translations are all examples of AI writing tools that can translate from one language to another.

Page last reviewed September 16, 2023.

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