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Can You Use the Same Essay for Multiple College Apps?

You might be asking yourself, “can you use the same essay for multiple colleges?” The short answer is yes, but that it sometimes depends on a few factors. It is important to ensure that the essay you are reusing is general enough to be used for multiple college apps. Read more in our guide about instances where it makes sense to use the same essay for multiple college applications. 

Before we start, we should recognize that the college admission process often involves writing multiple responses, including personal statements, Common App essays, college specific essays, supplemental essays, and more. 

Can you submit the same personal statement to different schools? 

The good news is that you can submit the same personal statement to different schools. 

The personal statement is usually attached to the Common Application and the Coalition Application. The personal statement aims to get to know the applicant as a unique person. Students can do this by writing about a unique aspect of their lives, an accomplishment they are most proud of, or ultimately anything that shows who they are. It would be unnecessary to write a different personal statement for every college since the personal statement is all about you. 

Also see: How to write a successful college essay by showing, not telling

Can you submit the same college-specific supplemental essays for multiple college applications? 

“Why us?” question

The “Why us” essay questions typically will not be able to be reused. This is because they are specifically designed to elicit a response regarding the uniqueness of their college. “Why us?” questions are supposed to be answered by sharing specific aspects of the school the applicant enjoys such as the campus, a specific course, the alumni connection, etc. Therefore, since every college is unique in its own way, it is nearly impossible to write a “Why us?” response that would work for multiple college applications. 

Supplemental essays

There is a chance you can reuse a supplemental essay for multiple college applications. Colleges ask supplemental questions on a variety of topics, and some questions are broader than others. This is a time to be very careful, as you don’t want any kind of a mix-up like praising the perpetually warm and sunny weather at the University of Minnesota!

Related: How to write about yourself

Tips for using the same essay for multiple college applications

Read the essay question carefully

To begin, you must read the question carefully to ensure that any previous essay you have written will answer all parts of the question. It is critical that you are not ignoring parts of the question just because you have an essay that answers the other part of the question. 

Make sure that your response is college specific

If the question asks specifically about the college it is important to put specific details into your essay. You should be as detailed as possible when responding to a college specific question to show that you care about attending that college!

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It is so important to read over your essay to ensure that there is no mention of a different college in it. Proofreading your essay will also avoid any grammatical errors and typos. 

Write a new essay if necessary

When in doubt, the best thing to do is completely write a new essay. This will result in the most specific and detail oriented essay possible that does not seem to be general or non-question specific. Reusing essays is an efficient way to fill out college applications, but it may not always be the one that results in the best essays. So, when in doubt, write a new essay! 

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • Reusing your personal statement essay for multiple colleges is not only allowed, but sometimes encouraged
  • When in doubt, write a new essay and do not reuse!
  • Always proofread before submitting a supplemental essay to ensure you did not leave any “College A” specific details when submitting something to “College B” 
Key Takeaways

Also see: How many colleges should I apply to?

Frequently asked questions about using the same essay for multiple college apps

Do colleges know if you use the same essay?

Colleges do not have a way to determine whether you submit the same essay to multiple colleges. This is because admissions officers are too busy reading their own schools’ applications to compare the essays with other schools. Therefore, a college will not reject an applicant for using the same essay for multiple college applications.

Can you use the same essay for the Common Application and the Coalition Application?

Yes! You can use the same personal statement essay for the Common Application and the Coalition Application. In addition, you can also use the same personal statement for any college that does not utilize the Common or Coalition Application

Don’t miss: 10 tips for successful college applications