From the Comments: Errors, Mistakes, and Typos Oh My!

Editing

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Each week, I try to set aside at least an hour or two to personally respond to the dozens (and sometimes hundreds!) of comments my blogs usually get. These comments cover a very wide range of concerns and specific situations, but every once in a while there are a few comments that I think are worth really highlighting because they apply to so many applicants.

What To Do If You Discover A Problem

This week, I could tell that many of you are deep in the process of submitting (and stressing about) your law school applications. It seems that, very often, the moment after you finally hit submit is the moment a mistake pops out. So what to do when you discover — or realize — a problem?

First, breathe. Mistakes happen. Even in law school applications that are reviewed, re-reviewed, and read over 10 times before they are submitted, it happens.

Second, figure out exactly what the mistake is, and check each application for it. You might have simply uploaded the wrong draft to one school – your other applications might be error free. Look for that same mistake in all of the law school applications you have not yet submitted, and of course correct it before you forget. Then, decide whether the mistake is crucial. (See below for examples).

Third, if it’s a mistake worth correcting, then own up to it and correct it as simply and quickly as possible. Often times, a short email to the admission office will be sufficient.

So how about some real life examples?

A Mis-stated Year

In three applications I have submitted I listed the wrong year for a course I took at a community college between freshman and sophomore year of college. Should I e-mail the admissions offices at each school? They should have the correct date on the transcript sent by CAS. Thanks!

This is a great example of a mistake that isn’t a big deal. If it’s correct on the transcript, then schools should have the right date. This is a great example of a mistake where a simple, one-line email correction would work. Something like:
“I have found that my application has a small error, and would like to ensure it is correct; my community college attendance was in 2012, as my transcripts show, not 2011, as my application states.”

Admitted Even With Typos

Thank you so much for the information on this site. It has been invaluable. I have already submitted my applications to every school and JUST noticed an error in my personal statement. I wrote that I “poured over readings” instead of “pored over readings.” I had multiple people read through my essay and no one noticed it. I’ve already been accepted to several schools in the T14 and so far 1 in the T6. I’m wondering if I should send an updated personal statement to my reach schools that haven’t given me a decision yet, or if this would just put more attention on it?

Just ignore it! It’s a good kind of typo – one where the reader won’t be sure which is correct anyway in most cases. And since it’s obviously not hurting you at very competitive law schools, you probably don’t want to call attention to it. In the age of electronic applications, schools (usually) can’t just staple the new version on top of the old version anyway.

Getting the ID Number Wrong

I just realized that in the personal statement I submitted to a few law schools, there is a typo in my LSAC account number, which I included in the header. Is this something I should contact the schools about and try to fix? Thanks!

YES! This is an example of a mistake that you absolutely should correct. This is your personal information, and a mistake on this could lead to some application materials not being filed with your application.

Missing Words & Doubled Words

What about a missed word in your personal statement, like “the the” or misspelling a word like “ailen” for “alien” or mixing up “their” and “there”? These can be the most painful, palm-to-forehead moments for law school applicants. You can email a cleaned up document to each school explaining that it’s an “updated” version of your personal statement and hope for the best. I usually don’t worry about one issue, especially if we’re talking about safety or target schools, but if you find 2-3 of these errors in an application it can hurt your credibility as an applicant at a big reach school.

55 thoughts on “From the Comments: Errors, Mistakes, and Typos Oh My!

  1. Is June 2015 too late to retake my LSAT, even if I have already turned in my applications? I would like to start law school this Fall, but my first 2 scores are not as high as I would like for them to be…

  2. A Mistake on said:

    I just submitted applications and realized that I did not include some courses that I am taking this semester at a community college. This is my first semester at this college (I already have an undergraduate degree), and will not receive grades for my work there until May. This means that my omission of this fact does not affect my GPA for law school consideration. Should I still email the law schools and mention that I am currently taking a few courses at a community college? Thanks!

  3. David Suh on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I just found this blog. I wish I had found it sooner. I submitted all of my law school applications yesterday, but during the process, I realized that I had a typo of missing “to” in my very last sentence of the concluding paragraph for five schools that are all my “top choices.”

    It should have said “I am eager to begin my next chapter,” but it says “I am eager begin my next chapter.”

    I felt as if my heart sunk, and sent out an email to those five institutions asking them to replace my personal statement with the proper version. I admitted to them that I made an error in uploading not the final version of my personal statement, and asked them if it is okay for me to send them the final version that I intended to upload. Was this a bad idea…?

    If you could please advise me on this matter, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Sincerely,

    David

  4. Spencer on said:

    I forgot to include Phi Beta Kappa on my resume under Honors. On several applications, there was a place for Honors and I did include Phi Beta Kappa there. Should I send a brief email to explain the discrepancy? Attach a corrected resume? Do nothing?

  5. I two of my applications, under the employment section, I put Summer 2014 instead of the name of the position. Should I contact the schools?

  6. Hi Ann,

    I just submitted an application and for some reason, one sentence has a font of 11.5 when the rest of the essay is 12. The essay has a 2 page limit and I end up coming within a few spaces of going into the third page, I don’t want it to look like I was trying to pull a fast one on them (Note: even when I changed the font back to 12 it still didn’t go onto 3 pages). What are your thoughts? Thank you!!

  7. I recently submitted my applications, and I realized that I had one mistake on my interest statement and one mistake on my resume.

    Interest Statement: I wrote, “Moreover, after speaking to Ms. ________ at University of Maryland in November 2015, I became excited about the extensive externship opportunities…” I forgot to write “the” in front of University of Maryland. Should I send an updated statement because of this?

    Resume: I wrote, “Argued that ethnic diversity promotes mistrust between ethnic groups, which decrease interethnic cooperation and adversely affect economic development.” I forgot to add the “s” for “decrease” and “affect.” Should I send an updated resume for this mistake as well?

    Thank you!

  8. Hi,

    I just submitted my application to my top law school. In my personal statement, I mentioned the name of a book that was instrumental in my desire to pursue environmental law. I spelled the authors name as “Dwyer” instead of “Dyer.” Should I correct this mistake? I’m worried about calling attention to it.

      • Elizabeth on said:

        Hi,

        I submitted a personal statement for transfer. In 2 of my 4 applications I accidentally wrote “prospective” instead of “perspective.” I’m a competive applicant, but they’re still a reach. The typo is in the paragraph explaining why I want to go to the school. Should I fix it and email a new personal statement?

        Thank you,
        Elizabeth

  9. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for your help. In my application, I accidentally put August-May 2012 instead of August-December 2012 for my first college. Is this worth correcting via email, or is this something to let go because it’s on my transcript? Thanks so much.

  10. Art Suarez on said:

    Hi Anne,

    I submitted my personal statement to 3 law schools but realized that two of them reference the incorrect law school. For example, I have a sentence that states “I await to bring my experience to X Law School.”

    Is there any remedy to this mistake and how bad is it when it appears in front of admissions?

    Thank you!

    Art

    • Art! (Face palm……)
      I’m so sorry this happened. Send the updated, corrected version and hope for the best. For all my blog readers, this is why I urge you not to do school-specific personal statements unless a school asks for them!

  11. Anna Durham on said:

    I just submitted an application in which I said “University of X School of law”– that is, I didn’t capitalize the L. This happened only once (mentioned the school name or some version of it a few times); is it worth emailing the admissions office asking if I can submit an updated version? They won’t have opened the file yet, that’s for sure; just not sure if it’ll reflect poorly on me to ask for an update.

  12. Hello Ann,

    On my application to my top law school I mistakenly put that I interned from 5/2015-7/2015. However on my resume I have it as 5/2015-8/2015. Should I email them to correct this mistake?

  13. Hi Ann,

    I just submitted my applications and realized that I wrote “the more I to scrutinized my beliefs” (I had changed it and forgotten to take out “to”.) My question is whether or not it is worth it to send an updated version (I submitted my applications over the holidays so I don’t believe they’ve been looked at yet) or whether this is a small enough mistake that it would be best not to call attention to it.

    Thanks!!
    Becca

  14. Hi! I submitted my application yesterday, and realized I missed the word “raised” in “I was in raised in California.” The sentence is in my personal statement. Should I correct this?

  15. Andrew Redd on said:

    I had a mistake in my personal statement. Should I email schools with the correction ? I said “Student Government Body” instead of “Student Government Association”

  16. LSAC autopopulated my highschool into two applications – one that asked for highschool and one that did not. In both, my graduation year was off by 4 years. What is the best way to address this? Should I call? email? or ignore this?

  17. Hi Ann, I realized after I submitted two applications that the town of my college, Bethlehem, was accidentally misspelled as “Bethelehem,” Pennsylvania. Should I email the schools and fix it? It was in the education section of the application. Thanks!

  18. Hi Anne,

    Thank you for all your excellent advice, both here and in your book. Here’s my worry: I just submitted an application to UC Berkeley. Because Berkeley doesn’t have an “employment” section, they ask that applicants include a resume addendum if you can’t fit every job you had on one resume. I submitted a resume addendum, but I am just realizing now that I accidentally listed one of my jobs twice- both on my resume and on the resume addendum. Should I send a new addendum? Or is this not worth stressing over?

    Thanks again,
    Grace

  19. Not a law application, but a business school one. I accidentally reported my ending salary in the starting salary annual bonus field. It was for Teach For America so I imagine it will be obvious that it is a mistake to someone reading the application. Should I let it go or email admissions?

  20. Hi! I said “you” instead of “your” on my optional essay, does this warrant sending an updated version? Please let me know!

  21. Hi Ann,

    Thank you so much for all of your very helpful tips! I read my personal statement to discover 3 typos…and yes, I’m kicking myself over them. Thankfully I only sent the statement to one school, and am writing an email with the updated version. My questions are:
    1. Should I call and email the school, or is an email enough?
    2. What should the subject line be and is there a template you recommend for these types of emails?

    Thank you!

    • Oh no! Glad you caught it early.
      Don’t call – just explain that you are embarrassed that you attached the wrong version of your personal statement and you’re attaching the correct one. Good luck!

  22. Hi Ann,

    In the Education portion of the application, I mistakenly put the following for one of the institutions:
    Type of degree: “no answer provided”
    Date degree awarded: “XX/20XX”

    I actually didn’t get a degree at this institution, but forgot to get rid of the date. The correct information is, however, available on the transcripts that were included in the CAS report. Is this something I should email the AdCom about? My application has been complete and under review for about a week.

  23. Hi Ann,

    I think I used a word incorrectly in my personal statement-I wrote “matriculated through college” but I think it’s grammatically incorrect and should be “matriculated at [insert university name]” or “progressed in college.” It was an addition suggested by one of my professors so I assumed it was correct without double-checking. Should I email the schools I applied to with an updated personal statement? Or is this a mistake they’re unlikely to notice?

    Thank you!

  24. Hi Ann,

    I submitted two applications today–both I made in the beginning of December–and I listed all of the institutions that I attended up until then. I was supposed to take my last undergraduate course at a community college that I have attended in the past; however, at the last minute I had to take it elsewhere. I forgot to add this institution to my list. Is this something that I should contact the schools about?

    Thank you,
    Kara

  25. Hi Ann,

    I’ve submitted my application to a law school back in December 23, 2017. I’ve just now noticed that I put 99 months for the time I’ve worked since graduating undergrad school instead of 55! I was nervous the whole time while doing application for this particular school. It’s now mid-January.
    My application is under review and I received an email saying a second committee will now be looking over my application.
    Do you suggest I email and let them know the change? Or just let it be? thanks so much.

  26. Eric Hilton on said:

    Hi,

    I submitted an application and in my addenda I noticed that there was no period at the end of one of my paragraphs. Additionally, in the following paragraph where the period mistake occurred, i type “that risk that” when it should read as “the risk that”. Other than these two mistakes everything was flawless. Should I be worried and send an “updated” copy of this addenda, or should I leave it alone? This is not a T14 school.

  27. Hi Ann,

    In the personal statement I have a sentence that goes ” Receiving a legal education from, will grant me the chance and ability to help resolve disputes in a just manner.” This sentence should not have “from,” in there. several of my personal statements have this mistake in there and they are under review for over a week now. How bad is this?

    • It’s an unfortunate typo and looks obvious that you were going to include a school’s name in there… It’s probably too late but you can ask schools if you can replace your PS. How much it matters will depend on how competitive you are at the school in the first place.

  28. Hi Ann,

    I accidentally sent the incorrect version of my resume with an incomplete bullet point job description and a repeating bullet point from a copy and paste error. Is this worth sending over a new resume?

    Thanks so much,
    Joo

  29. Hari on said:

    Thank you so much for this! I had a misstated year in an education addendum explaining circumstances surrounding an LOA. I sent a one-line correction to admissions and have since been hyperventilating thinking this was a huge deal. This definitely calmed me down. Thank you.

  30. shanayde on said:

    Hi Ann,

    Does it matter that dates are incorrect for when i finished my A levels and took them? I cant remember the dates and my documents are packed away in my house (currently in uni house).

    Thanks

    shanayde

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