Myth: I Can Just Reuse Essays On Multiple Scholarships

Recycle symbol - beware recycling college scholarship essays. Reusing essays may not be the best idea

Flickr user Bill Smith

The essay is arguably the most important component of your scholarship application. It’s a chance to tell your story and help you stand out among all the other applicants. but writing them is also time-consuming. This is where many applicants are tempted to reuse the same college scholarship essay on multiple applications. It’s understandable; so many scholarships require essays and many of the prompts are a bit similar. But that isn’t a go-ahead to reuse your essays.

Here’s why it’s a bad idea to simply recycle the same exact essay on multiple scholarships:

Scholarship Essays are Specific

Your scholarship essay must explicitly address the topic or answer the prompts mentioned in the scholarship requirements. It should also meet all other requirements including the word count. Different scholarships are going to have different essay prompts and word requirements. Though many prompts are similar, they are still ultimately different from each other. Your essay is not a one-size-fit-all for the different prompts.

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Each Scholarship Sponsor is Different

An unsaid requirement is that your essay must also align with the scholarship organization’s mission and values. Let’s say you are applying for a scholarship being funded by an organization that is big on environmental conservation. Writing an essay that demonstrates your passion towards this cause is sure to give your application a tremendous boost. Not only does it make you stand out to the person reading your essay, you’re showing your passion and interest to the judges, who want to award someone they think fits their values. On the other hand, sending a generic essay that you’ve sent to all other scholarships will do nothing to impress the reader.

Tailoring a College Scholarship Essay

With hundreds of applications for every scholarship opportunity, it is important to take the time to craft an essay that is relevant to the essay prompt provided. Scholarship organizations want you to work hard for the prize money. Submitting a well-written, super-relevant essay is one way to show that you have put in the required effort and are deserving of the prize money. You want to show your dedication and effort, and that’s reflected in your essay.

How to Properly Recycle an Essay

That all being said: you can reuse essays. IF you edit them to fit the scholarship you’re applying for. Some essay prompts will be similar, and it’s silly to spend time building something from scratch when you can just re-purpose it instead. Pay close attention to the detailed requirements and your custom edits. Make doubly sure everything still fits when you go to submit your essay. Even if you reuse your essay, make sure that it’s tailored to the scholarship. Don’t submit the same essay over and over again. Again, your essay is how you stand out to the scholarship judges, so make sure that you show just how much you deserve the award.

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