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

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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.

13 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!



  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!

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