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    Can You Use the Same Essay for Multiple College Apps?

    By Cece Gilmore

    Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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    Reviewed by Bill Jack

    Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: October 3rd, 2023
    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!

    Don’t miss: How to ask for letters of recommendation for college and scholarships

    Proofread!! 

    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” 

    Also see: How many colleges should I apply to? and 10 tips for successful college applications

    Additional resources

    Congratulations on starting your applications to college! Remember, Scholarships360 has resources that can help you pay for college too! High school seniors can take advantage of specific scholarship opportunities. Some scholarships require essays and applications, but others are no-essay or easy to apply for scholarships. Scholarships360 is here to provide valuable resources and access to scholarships for students. Try our handy dandy search platform and apply for all the scholarship you qualify for! 

    Start your scholarship search
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    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

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