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Using the same essay for different college scholarships

Is it possible to use the same essay for different college scholarship applications?

Yes! With a bit of careful editing, you absolutely can use the same essay to apply for different college scholarships!

You may not be able to submit the exact same essay over and over again for every scholarship you apply to. However, editing and reusing essays will save you time when you apply for scholarships.

On top of writing your college admissions essays and supplemental essays, plus completing your college applications, you have to write essays for merit aid. Even some scholarships that are based on financial need may require extra essays.

With the cost of higher education today, there’s no doubt that students need to put in the time and their best effort to earn the most money possible towards their college education!

However, if you write new essays for every scholarship you apply for, at all the colleges you apply to, it’s an overwhelming number of essays!

But what if there was a way to make the scholarship essay writing process a little easier and less time-consuming?

Well, that’s where the idea of using the same essay for multiple scholarship applications comes into play!

While each college scholarship you apply for may have its own unique set of requirements, prompts, and expectations, you can create a well-crafted essay that can be tailored to fit multiple scholarship applications.

If you’re wondering: 

Can I use the same essay for different scholarship applications? 

Do I have to write a different essay for each scholarship application? 

Will scholarship committees know if I use the same essay?

This article will answer some frequently asked questions about using the same essay to apply for different scholarships. 

Can you use the same essay for different college scholarships?

Unless a scholarship application specifically states that you must submit a unique essay, you are not required to write a different essay for each college scholarship application.

While you are allowed to use the same essays for scholarship applications, you might not actually be able to use the same essays for different scholarships.

The prompt for each scholarship essay might be so specific that you can’t reuse your essays. Colleges try very hard to create unique essay questions!

Even if the scholarship prompt is pretty general, you’ll want to be sure your essay shows your passion for the values and goals of the organization. 

If you are writing an essay to apply for a scholarship at a university, you’ll want your essay to reflect your commitment to the values championed by the scholarship, as well as your passion for the university.

So if you can’t just resubmit scholarship essays for different scholarships, what can you do? One way to make the most of the essays you’ve written for scholarships is to reuse parts of them. 

Who are you writing scholarship Essays for?

First, let’s clarify who you are writing scholarships essays for.

As you conduct your scholarship search, keep in mind that every scholarship provider is looking for scholarship recipients who match their selection criteria.

You’ll be writing scholarship essays for two types of scholarship providers:

External scholarships

External scholarships are scholarships from businesses, organizations, or independent scholarship organizations.

Your essay should focus on the goals and mission of the organization offering the scholarship. Be sure your essay responds to the prompt and relates to the reason for the scholarship.

Internal scholarships

Internal scholarships are offered by the colleges you’re applying to. These may also be considered competitive merit aid or merit scholarships.

Your essay should focus on the values of the university and the specific scholarship program, if known.

Your essay should demonstrate that you are just the type of student that college is looking for, you would represent the college well, and you are worthy of this scholarship.

How average students can get merit scholarships!

Is it a good idea to reuse scholarship essays?

You may be able to use the same scholarship essays (or variations of them) for different scholarships. College is expensive, so you’ll probably be applying for lots of scholarships.

If you can win scholarships, you’ll basically get free money towards the cost of college. So it’s work the extra effort to apply for scholarship money.

It makes sense to edit and reuse your scholarship essays whenever possible. This will save time and effort.

When should you not reuse a scholarship essay?

You should write different essays for each scholarship application at the same college.

Similarly, you should write unique essays if you are applying for multiple scholarships offered by the same company, organization, or external scholarship fund.

Simply put, do not reuse a scholarship essay for multiple scholarship applications from the same scholarship provider. Take the time to to write a new essay for each different scholarship you apply for from the same university or business.

It’s also a bad idea to try to reuse an essay when it just doesn’t fit the new essay prompt. You’re better off just starting fresh on a new essay, rather than trying to force an old essay to work for a new scholarship prompt.

What’s The Best Way To Recycle Essays For College Scholarships?

Many colleges and scholarship organizations request scholarship essays on a rather specific topics.

Scholarship committees try to ask creative questions for their essay prompts, so you will have to write a new essay. Sometimes the questions are so unusual that you’re unlikely to see the same question for different scholarships.

So, you might find it difficult to reuse the full essays. (But if you did have the opportunity to reuse them, you could.)

However, there are lots of times when you can reuse a scholarship essay. 

You can make the most of the essays you’ve written for scholarships by reusing parts of them. 

How To reuse scholarship Essays–the smart way

In order to keep track of all your extra essays, I recommend that you save every version of every essay you submit. Here are all the steps to take to reuse essays at different colleges: 

1. Read The Essay Guidelines Closely

Note what the essay requirements are and what the word count should be. Be sure you answer the question. Use all the words allowed, but don’t go over the limit. 

Make sure you’re eligible for the scholarship.

  • Is the scholarship for high school seniors who will be entering the college as first-time freshmen?
  • Can transfer students apply for the scholarship?
  • Is the scholarship for college students already enrolled at that institution?
  • Will international students be considered for the scholarship?

2. Start By Writing The Essay In A Word File Or Google Doc 

Do not write the essay directly into the essay submission box!

  • Writing in Word or a Google doc will make it easier to edit the essay. 
  • Countless students have written essays into submission forms and saved their work, only to find out that the website or system glitched and their hard work is gone!
  • To reuse your scholarship essay, you need to save it where you’ll be able to access it easily.

3. Review The Prompt And Make Sure You Stayed On Topic

Always write an essay that answers the question posed by the prompt.

It’s especially important to check that you answered a specific question when you’re trying to repurpose an essay written for a different scholarship.

4. Make Sure The Essay Is College Specific 

If possible, reference the school’s values, organizations, and unique programs. Personalize the essay by mentioning the college’s name. 

Always try to connect your essay response to the specific college you’re applying to. Colleges are looking for students who want to fully participate in that school’s social and academic culture. 

A scholarship essay is a a great opportunity to mention your career goals, volunteer work that’s important to you, and any additional information you want the scholarship committee to know about you.

5. Edit, Revise, And Proofread 

The importance of editing cannot be overstated. Avoid grammatical errors, incomplete thoughts, or typos. 

If you reuse an essay, be very careful to remove any reference to another college or scholarship! Pay very close attention to any details that would reveal you originally wrote the essay for another school!

Show each final draft of a scholarship application essay to your English teacher, a family member, or your best friend to read. They might catch any errors that you missed.

6. Save The Essay 

Use the name of the college and a word that will help you remember what the essay is about. 

By keeping a copy of all your scholarship essays (and other college essays), you’ll be able to craft new essays more quickly and efficiently. 

7. Copy And Paste 

After you’re done revising, and you’re ready to submit the essay, copy and paste the essay into the application’s essay response box. 

Never copy and past scholarship essays before carefully evaluating the text to be sure you’re copying the right essay! 

Make sure the formatting is okay and all the text is there before clicking submit. 

8. Refer Back 

When you have to write another supplemental essay with a similar prompt, look through your files to find previously written essays that could be relevant. 

Also remember to look at old creative writing assignments to see if you could adapt them for a scholarship essay subject.

9. See What You Can Reuse

Review the new prompt, guidelines, and word count. See if you can edit and reuse an old essay. 

10. Either Edit And Reuse The Old Essay As A Whole, Or…

11. Pull Paragraphs Or Ideas From The Old Essay To Help You Craft A New Essay 

Sometimes, to write on an essay topic, you may be able to expand upon an idea that was part of an earlier essay.

12. Start Over With Step One For The New Essay 

Always be sure each new scholarship essay answers the prompt!

And even though you are so done with writing essays, always do your best work and be sure to edit each essay.

Advantages of reusing scholarship essays

If you end up having to write more scholarship essays for any one college, you’ll quickly be able to find your original essay. Then, you can be sure to write about something different in any later essays you submit for scholarships.

By the time you complete the college application process, you are likely to have many files with variations of the same themes. By carefully editing essays before reusing them, each essay will be tailored to each specific scholarship to you apply for.

will scholarship Committees Know If You Use The Same Essay?

College scholarship committees don’t have any way to know if you submit the same essay for different scholarships. 

Here are three tips for submitting the same or repurposed essays for different scholarships.

1. Don’t plagiarize

Only submit essays that you wrote. Scholarship committee members read a lot of essays. They will have a pretty good idea of what your voice sounds like compared to a slick internet-famous essay that you’ve copied.

Submitting a plagiarized essay will get you disqualified from that scholarship competition. And it might even cause your offer of admission to be revoked. Just write your own essay.

2. Answer the question

Each scholarship you apply for will have a different essay prompt. Be sure that the essay you submit is relevant.

3. Check the details

Be sure you don’t name the wrong college or scholarship in your essay! Double and triple check before you submit!

Be sure your essay aligns with the values of the scholarship benefactors. You can usually find out more about the scholarship and the priorities of the donors from the organization’s website.

Allow plenty of time to write your scholarship essays—and revise, edit and proofread them! 

Can I use my common App essay for a scholarship essay?

You can reuse or adapt your Common Application essay for external scholarships only.

Do not reuse your main personal statement essay for college scholarships. The scholarship committee may have access to your personal statement. Or the admissions committee might help decide about scholarship awards.

Take the time to craft a new essay specific to any college scholarships you want to apply for, rather than reusing the same college application essay you originally submitted for that college.

What else do I need to apply for scholarships?

When colleges are awarding scholarship money to incoming students, they require one or two well-written essays, one or more letters of recommendation, and a resume or list of your community service and extracurricular activities.

If the scholarship awards are based on academic merit, they may also require test scores (ACT or SAT from the college board) or your GPA.

Final Thoughts On Using The Same Essay For Different Scholarship Applications

It’s okay to send the same essay (or parts of it) to different scholarship programs. You can recycle a scholarship essay and use it to apply for scholarships at different universities.

⭐️ Never submit the same essay for different scholarships at one college. Assume that each essay you submit is part of your portfolio, and don’t duplicate your work.

⭐️ Scholarship committees are looking for candidates who demonstrate a genuine interest in and alignment with their specific goals, values, and missions.

⭐️ Colleges want to know that every merit scholarship they award is going to someone who’s a good fit for their institution. So be sure to tailor your scholarship essays to the different schools you apply to.

⭐️ Always write about your personal experiences. Scholarship committees want to read a personal essay about your life experiences.

With everything you need to do during your senior year of high school for the college admission process, it’s a good idea to craft strong essays that will work for multiple writing prompts.

As you complete college admission essays, complete applications for numerous colleges, and fill out financial assistance forms, writing scholarship essays will be the last thing you want to do.

So a good rule of thumb is to work smarter, not harder! Simplify the college scholarship essay writing process by strategically editing and adapting essays you’ve already written.

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