I recently submitted an application essay for a pre-college program, and was accepted. I'm particularly proud of my essay; I put my best into it.

Now, after the pre-college program, I intend to apply for one of the institute's degree programs.

I've written an essay for the application. Most of it is rewritten, but it does have a lot of similarities (the intro paragraph is nearly identical).

Would it be considered plagiarism for using my own work? If not, is it still frowned upon if there are many similarities, and could impact my chances of getting accepted?

I understand that it is likely that answers are individual to each institute, but I'd like to know what the general answer is.

I've read some sources that claim students applying to multiple schools use very similar essays for all (assuming the prompts are similar), only changing statements specific to each school. So, maybe it is alright that I do such a thing? But then again, this is the same institute I'm applying to.

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    It's not plagiarism. These essays are not published. Thank you for asking, though! It's good to be careful. – aparente001 Sep 16 '16 at 18:40
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    @aparente001 - Discrimination against youngsters? :) Sorry, though; I didn't realize that undergrads couldn't ask (even though there is a bachelor tag). Is there a site that does cater to undergrads? – Fine Man Sep 16 '16 at 18:46
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    @aparente001 - Thanks for the answer. For secondary (well, more likely primary) opinion, I contacted admissions, and they said that they didn't mind, as long as it followed the prompt. – Fine Man Sep 16 '16 at 18:47
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    Sorry, I didn't make the rules. Also, sorry, I don't know another site to point you to. Note for future use, it is sometimes possible for an undergrad to ask a question in a way that will be useful to people other than undergraduates, and such a question is likely to be accepted and answered. – aparente001 Sep 16 '16 at 18:48
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    @aparente001 This site is for undergraduate questions that can be generalized to graduate courses. Please, don't vote to close automatically. See also this meta discussion: meta.academia.stackexchange.com/q/3300/20058 – Massimo Ortolano Sep 17 '16 at 5:35

I honestly think there is nothing wrong in applying with a similar work of yours. And I think it, well, for all the reasons you've mentioned yourself, starting with the fact that it won't be considered as plagiarism, since the primary version of it is yours as well, ending with the fact that the work is sent to the same school. However, depending on whether you've made only minor changes to it or not, you might adjust the work a bit more, or expand it, or formulate some thoughts differently for the sake of back-up (say, if there is a chance that any of the members of the admissions know or have previously seen your primary work - then they might think that you weren't generous on the effort and,therefore, don't perceive the opportunity to be worth working more on that work or on additional ideas). After all, you're the creator, so it is still up to you to decide upon all the abovementioned things!


Plagiarism of one's own work is a contradiction in terms. It does not exist. However, duplicate publication is rightfully frowned upon, unless made explicit. Parallel grant application is allowed by some funding bodies and disallowed by others. Even if disallowed, the same application materials may be reused later. Parallel job or stipend applications are taken for granted, and it is perfectly acceptable to reuse the application materials. Whether it is also prudent is another matter. Applications are much more likely to succeed if they are tailored to the position.

  • There is self-plagiarism. I think it's stupid and doesn't make sense but it's actually a thing. – DSVA Nov 11 '17 at 18:12

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