Reusing Writing Samples

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by carolina, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. carolina

    carolina Member

    Jan 1, 2014
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    I am a college freshman reapplying to USAFA. Most of the application has to be redone, but I was just wondering if I could use the same writing samples? I feel like they were some of the best writing I have done and want to reuse some of it. But would USAFA consider that plagiarism? I would obviously change some things, because a lot has changed in a year. But I was just wondering if I should just not use it to avoid any accusations of plagiarism.

    Thank you!
  2. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

    May 10, 2011
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    Call your advisor-they'll have the best answer.
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    May 21, 2008
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    You can't plagiarise your own writing. And if you think its an essay you wrote that captures the thoughts you want to convey, then there's nothing wrong with reusing it.
  4. nolifepilot

    nolifepilot USAFA Cadet

    Oct 13, 2013
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    Some courses here prohibit you from reusing your own writing. Or at the least they require you to cite yourself. I doubt usafa admissions would see you reusing your own essays as plagiarism, but like BlahuKahuna said, the only person who will know for sure is your admissions counselor.
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Nov 28, 2007
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    I always wonder why someone would resubmit the same essay if they are reapplying?

    I guess I see it as you may think it was outstanding, but they may not have taken the same view.
    ~ Caveat, for an SA appointment it is a WCS, and something else could have been the ding.

    However, when you say it is the best in your opinion, it still makes me ask what did your ALO say? Did you even show it to them? Did they say OMG it is outstanding? Or did they say it is strong?

    I wouldn't call/email admissions regarding this question. I would call/email my ALO and ask them to read it. They have the experience. The word Liasion exists for the reason that they are the ones between you and the AFA.
    ~ Yes, some ALOs are minimally involved, but I would think as a reapplicant they will give you the time of the day.
    ~~ If not you could pm posters like Christcorp, Flieger, heck I believe Member is an USMA ALO equivalent, or maybe it is MedB (can't recall), and there also a USNA XYZ poster that is a BGO (too many USNA with a year behind it to remember which one is).

    The point is there are posters here that are AFA ALO equivalents and maybe willing to give a quick look for a poster. Yes, you are saying in your essay why the AFA, but I believe that if it is written properly they can insert their branch and get the same feeling.

    I will still hold one posters essay (USNA) as the best I read EVER! It had no mention of the following:
    ~ All my life since I can remember, I wanted to be an officer...
    ~ The SA will give me the best opportunity...
    ~ I can bring...

    Instead, this is what I read it as:
    It was a story about how they ran track, and enduring the pain of the run. As a runner they have time to think and they thought about as a long distance runner they would have to make it through the pain and push on instead of quitting. Their goal will not be easy. How during that run enduring cramping and not in first place they pushed on to never stop, be it first place or finishing, because they made that commitment to their school and their team.

    I wanted to meet this kid and say WoW you are the epitome of what is great about our future!

    Just saying, think about it....that may be your competition. Your opinion is important, but did it stick with others as the best?
    ~FWIW, DS had to write an essay about anyone living or dead and one question you could ask them. As a proud Momma, I thought he had the best essay ever before I read that one.
    ~~ His essay was asking Truman, knowing the deaths of dropping the first bomb, how did you come to terms with dropping the second on Japan? It was thought provoking, but still I walked away with the other thinking they know how to push through the pain, and if I have to put odds down on one of the DS wouldn't be the one! That is a proud Mom of an 02 C130J pilot!
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    I'm not familiar with USAFA requirements. If you are writing an essay as part of your application, I would redo it. The reason is that, after acceptances/rejections, starting college, leaving home, etc. you are a different, more mature person than you were as a 17-yr-old h.s. student a year ago. That will come out in your essay and you want USAFA to see it.

    If you're asked for examples of your writing -- i.e., papers you wrote for English class in h.s., and you're happy with them and have not written anything better since then, there's no harm in submitting them.
  7. MedB

    MedB Parent

    Dec 26, 2012
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    Thanks, Pima. Good advice as usual. For the record... I think it's Member that has served on several MOC nomination committees. And I'm the one with two kids through the AFA process including a DD that wrote about running and introspection. :smile:


    As you are already well aware, being selected for an SA or ROTC is incredibly competitive. Your essays are one of the few opportunities you have in the process to be seen as a unique individual and stand out from the crowd. If you think your prior writing truly sets you apart, then reuse it. But maybe after having been through this whole thing once already you have even more to write about it and can set yourself apart from first-time applicants by sharing that new-found perspective in your essay.

    In any case, congrats on staying with your goals and good luck!
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014

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