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While researching scholarships and scholarship application tips, you may have come across the phrase “tailor your essays” or “personalize your application.” But what exactly does that mean, and how do you do it?

What are Tailored / Personalized Essays?

When something is “tailor-made” it means it was specially made for a specific person or reason. The same concept applies here. A tailor-made scholarship essay is one specifically designed to appeal to that scholarship’s sponsor.

Sometimes the phrase “personalized” is used instead, but it means the same thing. Your essay is personalized towards that specific sponsor. It’s not generic, it’s specialized.

Why You Should Tailor Your Essays

It sounds tedious to ensure that every application or essay you make fits each place you submit to. A one-size-fits all method sounds a lot easier, right? However the benefit of tailoring your essays are well worth the extra effort.

By personalizing your essays, you not only show the scholarship’s sponsor that you’re willing to go the extra mile, but that you’ve done your research and truly embody whatever they’re trying to promote.

How to Tailor Your Essays

If a local company sponsors a scholarship about community service, you’ll want your essay to reflect the importance of community service and teamwork. If you just copy + paste an essay about hard work, without tweaking it to make it specific to them, they’ll be able to tell. You may not lose points, per se, but you won’t gain extra ones. 

Do your research into these sponsors. Visit their websites to see what values they emphasize. It might be right there in the name of the scholarship, or under their “mission statement.” Find an element that they value and make sure it appears in your essay.

Does That Mean I Have to Write a Brand New Essay for Every Single Scholarship?

No. If you already have an essay that fits a certain prompt, you can reuse it. You can tailor your pre-existing essays by adding a few new details, or rewriting a paragraph or two to fit the new sponsor’s goals. (Just make sure everything still flows well and that the essay fits their prompt).

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