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