For my medical school applications, I made a large folder on my drive labeled Medical School Applications. In this folder, I made a subfolder for each of the schools that I applied to and put the respective essays in each subfolder. Even after interviews were all finished, I remember students younger than me asking me for help with personal statements. I was able to easily look through and find personal statements for schools and help them out.
Make a Table
I also made a table with each school listed and all of the application dates and when I submitted secondary applications. I always felt really organized and never overwhelmed during the process because I knew exactly where to look for important information. Here is an example of the type of table I used and how I filled it out:[table id=4 /]
As you can see, I wrote down the essay topics so that if a school sent me a secondary application, then I would be able to scan through the essays that I had already completed for other schools and see if I could reuse any of them. This way, it did not take me a long time trying to look through all of my essays, I could just skim through my table.
Something I did not do that I would if I did it all over again was write down which questions were asked during each interview. This would have helped me when going to the next interview because I could prepare with questions that were already asked of me. Some people are able to remember specifics from interviews but I realized that I would forget by the next day.
Reuse Personal Statements
It is completely fine to take personal statements that you used for certain schools and edit them to use for other schools. It would be very difficult to write 20+ essays from scratch. I think it is better to spend more time on a couple and then edit them rather than writing 20 fresh ones. The quality of the couple you write will be significantly better than trying to write 20 different ones. Granted, some people enjoy writing and want to write a bunch of different ones and if you are one of those people, keep doing whatever works for you.