Mistakes in Law School Applications: To Fix or Not to Fix?

I received calls both yesterday and today from readers of my blog who just found mistakes in their recently submitted applications. Both were panicked about what to do, but my suggestions might have been different for each of them based on the type of mistake that was concerning them.

There are three kinds of mistakes that you could have made in your law school applications:

1. Factual – Did you put a wrong date for something or get the name of something wrong? This type of law school application mistake has the easiest solution: simply email the school(s) and let them know you made a mistake and the real date or name is “so-and-so.” No problem.

2. Typo/Grammatical – This is the most heartbreaking kind of mistake because you worked so hard to avoid it and it feels so final. One person called me yesterday and said she had repeated “the the” in a sentence in her personal statement, and another applicant called me today because she left out the word “to” in a sentence in her optional essay. If you’re going to make a mistake in your personal statement, let it be this kind. While I do advise avoiding any errors because it appears unprofessional and lacks attention to detail, it’s not the end of the world in the computer age to have a cut and paste error, etc. If you have one incident like this, just let it go. If you have something really wrong with your personal statement, you can email the school an updated copy. They will probably add it to your file but not replace the original version.

If you have an error in your resume, it can be easier to fix. Wait a week or so, say it’s an “updated resume” and send it to the schools without saying what about it is updated….they are unlikely to notice whether it’s an updated job, an honor, a description, or a typo correction.

3. Bad Judgment – If you just started reading my book or blog after submitting your applications and you are now realizing you made some rookie mistakes and wish you’d done things differently, there is not a lot you can do at this point. You can update the law school with other things, but you can’t really submit a whole new personal statement. You can add applications to other schools with improved materials, but it’s hard to do damage control after the fact. You could visit the law school and make a case for yourself in person to try to correct some perception issues and send supplemental information as appropriate (for example, if you feel you left out something crucial in your application).

Mistakes can be frustrating and cause you to lose sleep over missed opportunities, but you also have to keep it in perspective. They are part of human nature and perfection is unattainable. We just do the best we can and move on with our lives, trying to do better.

441 thoughts on “Mistakes in Law School Applications: To Fix or Not to Fix?

  1. Charlie King on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I have applied to six law schools, and while reviewing material for a seventh submission I noticed a typo on my resume. I used the present tense of a verb (lead) when I intended to use the past tense (led). I will correct this mistake going forward, but the six applications I have already submitted include the typo. I read your recommendation about resume resubmission but was wondering if you’d count this as one of those mistakes to just forget about. Thank you!

  2. Hi Ann, thanks for the article! Some great advice!

    I just noticed some stupid inconsistencies on my application form & resume and was wondering if I am displaying a pattern and will kill my chances. So on my application, I listed my gpa as 3.70 (transcript gpa) and on my resume I wrote 3.71 (LSAC gpa); for two consecutive employment entries, I had Jan-Apr 2019, Apr 2019-Present on the application form and Jan-March 2019, March 2019-Present on my resume. I’ve also forgotten to put my complete address on the resume (city and state missing).

    Do you think I should send the law school I applied an updated resume? Or should I just email them and correct the errors (I am a bit afraid that correcting too many things might be harmful to my chances). Thanks very much again!

  3. Hi Stephanie,

    Just a quick question: I realized that all of the resumes I submitted had my Undergraduate GPA (3.73) listed instead of my UGPA (3.74). Is this something I should email the school about or just leave?

    Thank you so much!

  4. Hello Ann!

    I just submitted my application and realized that on my resume I put my last known GPA (3.6) instead of my cumulative which is a 3.5. I do not know if this is something that will negatively impact my application?

    Thank you so much!

  5. Hello!

    I recently just submitted my application to law schools a couple of days ago and just realized an error on my resume. On my resume, I had written my last known GPA which is a 3.6 instead of my cumulative which is a 3.5! Is this something that would negatively impact my application?

  6. Hello Ann,

    I just noticed that within my application I reported a score for an LSAT that I claimed to have taken on September 2020. The date that should accompany the score is September 2019. I have only taken one LSAT. Given that it would be impossible for me to report a score from a September 2020, LSAT, and that they can probably see exactly when I took my LSAT elsewhere, should I worry about contacting schools to rectify this mistake? All the schools that I am applying to have applications that close prior to September 2020, so I would hope that they would not try to wait for anything. I also stated that I made the dean’s list at my undergraduate institution seven times while listing accomplishments, but now that this past semester is over, I have made the dean’s list 8 times. Are either of these things worth notifying a law school about?

    Thank you for what you do!

    • Hi – they’ll figure that out! Don’t worry!
      You can email the school about the Dean’s list 8 times and correct the LSAT score if it makes you feel better- just say you have no pending or future LSAT dates.

  7. Victoria on said:

    I used the incorrect/less commonly used version of publicly, “publically” in my personal statement and I’ve already sent it to three schools. What do i do?

  8. Forrest on said:

    Hey Ann!

    Wow I can’t believe you are still responding to comments on this.

    I mixed up my math and put my high school start year as 2010 rather than 2011. Is this worth emailing over?

    Thanks!

    Forrest

  9. Hi Ann,

    I misinterpreted a CF question on several submitted applications. I didn’t realize I had to disclose any civil proceedings following a minor traffic violation that led to accident. I was “following too closely behind in high school. It is not on my driving record, which is the main influence on why i did not initially submit. I submitted all apps like a week ago, would sending honest addendum hurt my chances at admission??

  10. Hi Ann,
    I forgot to put down my high school GPA on the education section. The GPA is 3.79. I submitted the application in November. Should I call to let them know this? Thank you!

  11. Hi Ann,

    I forgot to put down my high school GPA (3.79) under the education section. Should I call to let them know this. Thank you!

  12. Hi Ann,
    I made a mistake in my personal statement. I wrote “I am pursuing a master’s degree”. However, I just graduated and just received my master’s degree. Should I email the school and let them know this?

    Thank you!!

  13. Hi Ann,

    I am so impressed you read all of these comments! I have a quick predicament. In the volunteer section, I wrote November 2016-May 2018 during my first round of admission cycle. I ended up deferring, retaking the LSAT scoring higher, but on an application I re-did to school I applied to previously, it auto populated to the old date of my volunteer work and I didnt catch it. My resume attached as a PDF says November 2016-present because I went back to volunteering after a hiatus, and am currently on their roster of volunteers. Should I reach out with an updated resume that reflects the hiatus? Thank you so much!!

  14. ben jacob on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I misspelled a place I worked at on my resume. I wrote “Klien” instead of “Klein”. Its a four partner name, should i send updated resume or just let it go? Thanks so much!

  15. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for all your help with these questions!

    I have submitted applications to a handful schools on my list over the last couple weeks. However, I will be leaving my current employer voluntarily next week, which is not reflected on the resume is submitted because I didn’t have a confirmed exit date. Now that everything is set, I want to send an updated resume. However, in looking over the resume to update it, I noticed some small formatting issues that I want to change. Do you think it’s ok to make these changes in the updated resume without calling attention to it?

    Also, I have been disclosing an expunged misdemeanor for being a minor in possession of alcohol when I was 17. However, in the first two applications, I didn’t include some basic information like the date and location (while I did include my age, the name of the charge, the plea, and the consequences). Do you think I should write to give more accurate info?

    Finally, there is a one month discrepancy between my application (Sept 2016) and resume (Aug 2016) for the transition I made with my current (soon to be former) employer from the US to Singapore. This is because I started the responsibilities for the Singapore role in Aug 2016 from the US office, but moved to Singapore in Sept 2016. Do you think I should explain this to the schools in an email?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Max,
      You can update all parts of the resume now, yes.
      I would add the accurate information for those two schools.
      I’m less concerned about the difference between Aug/September.

  16. Hi Ann! I sent in 2 of my applications yesterday but when working on editing it for my next school I realized I uploaded them in Calibri 11 instead of times new roman 12. Should I email the schools to update it or will they not mind the incorrect font?

  17. Katherine on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I recently started submitting applications and in double-checking all of my information, I realized that the SSN on my academic/transcript summary is totally off from my actual SSN – far enough off where it wasn’t just a typo or switching up the numbers. I didn’t notice this the first time I reviewed the information, because weirdly my grades and other personal information are correct. I know for certain that my correct SSN is what I used to set up my LSAC account, to request my transcript from my undergrad university, and that I sent the correct SSN on all of my application forms. I’ve already submitted several applications, but am holding off on sending anymore because I am terrified that this discrepancy will completely cancel out my applications. How should I proceed? Should I call LSAC or my undergraduate registrar and see where corrections need to be made, or should I contact the schools I applied to already to alert them of the error? Thanks in advance!

  18. Hi Ann,
    I realized a few weeks after I submitted my applications that I marked down that I am a “US permanent resident” when in fact I am a US citizen. Should I just call the office? Thanks.

  19. Hi Ann,

    I realized a few weeks after completing my apps I had forgotten two dual credits I took in high school but never used for my degree. I’ve already called LSAC and submitted the new info to be added to my (currently completed) CAS Report so that the schools I am in review at will be given the full information. Would you advice emailing each school individually as well to give them a heads up?

    I’ve also received two acceptances. I emailed them both with an explanation of the situation with supplemental PDF copies of the transcripts to show they were both As. I apologized for the mistake and asked each school what the best course of action is, but I’m feeling so nervous…

  20. Hi Ann,

    I am applying for law schools now. Do I have to list all employment histories? Is freelance work considered a job? The problem is that I was terminated for a freelance work that lasted two months only. My contract was terminated because my performance was poor. I am really worried about that because I am trying to answer all questions honestly in the Character and Fitness section.

    Thanks!

    M

  21. Really worried here…

    I’m 61 years old. My applications have all been sent in. I just realized that I’ve left off several jobs I’ve held. I worked for my cousin at his car wash for a year while in High School, after college I worked at a target store for 5 or 6 months. Then I worked for a potato chip company for 6-9 months followed by about 2 years driving a pop delivery truck. Then, after working for a congressman I left to work for a railroad. The railroad was on and off due to the economy at the time. I went back to the congressman’s staff during one layoff. This went on for about 1.5 years. Then I landed the job I held until I had to retire due to my health. The Chief of Staff for the congressman wrote on of my recommendations and he listed my time as continuous until the congressman retired and I went to the job that I held after that. I did not put my high school job on the applications, nor the job at target, the potato chip job, the pop truck job or the railroad job on the applications or my resume. As I’ve said, I’ve sent them in, so should I go to the school if I get accepted and explain I’m old and just plain forgot those details? HELP!!!

  22. My law school application asked for my complete work history. I left off three jobs I had for less than two weeks.

    Does that need to be disclosed?

  23. Linda on said:

    Hi Anne,

    Thank you so much for a wonderful article on this issue.

    I realized after I submitted my applications that I made a mistake regarding the attendance dates for my undergrad institution. It should have said from 8/2006 to 12/2009, but I wrote 9/2006 to 2/2010 (b/c I had received my degree in Feb.)

    I have 2 questions:
    1. I am wondering if I should contact the schools to correct this mistake?
    2. I had also gotten the dates wrong on my resume (for some reason, I thought I had started in Sept, not Aug.. I realize not I should have double checked these dates with my school earlier). Do you think I should send in an updated resume?

    Thank you!

  24. Meredith on said:

    Hello Ann,

    First off, thank you for everything you do. Your site has been a great source of advice during my very stressful law school application process.

    I feel so stupid for missing this, but in getting my application materials ready to apply to another school, I noticed a typo in the first paragraph of my diversity statement. Where it should read “has” it reads “his.” I’ve corrected it, but I’ve already sent it out to one school. Is this a big enough deal to warrant sending an updated version? Thank you!

  25. Emily Maloof on said:

    I just submitted two applications a few weeks back but they haven’t been reviewed as my LSAT score was only reported today. In reviewing those apps, I found that in the application section, I misspelled “summa cume laude” but in my resume section spelled it correctly, “summa cum laude.”

    Is this something I should try to call and fix?

    Thanks!

  26. Hi Ann,

    When re-reading my PS after submitting I noticed I accidentally left out the word “to” and as a result reads as “….has allowed me gain…” when it should read “….has allowed me to gain…”

    Is this something I should be concerned about?

    Thanks for your help!

  27. niacey on said:

    I didn’t list my dismissals on my law school app. On my bar application I called to ask if these needed to be listed. She said yes . Now I graduate in 5 weeks and my law app doesn’t match my bar app.. I requested an amendment at law school to add them and now I have to go in front of a disciplinary committee for failing to timely amend, waiting to the last hour and falsifying and being misleading on law app.. I am mortified. I never had an intention to mislead or conceal. Please advise

  28. I have an error in my resume. On the employment section of my application I correctly put my start/end dates as 06/19-09/19. However, I incorrectly placed 06/19-10/19 on my resume. Should I call to fix it? I applied late in cycle, not sure if that would hurt my chances of getting in.

  29. Hello Ann,

    I’ve recently applied to law school, my application included a C&F addendum. In the addendum, I’ve included details, responsibility and reiterated regret for my actions. I’m currently waitlisted in four schools. This morning an admissions counselor advised me to write an additional C&F addendum, he called it “an addendum to an addendum.” I’m completely confused. What else can I do, considering that I’ve explained everything there is to explain? What do you advise me to do?

  30. Janesme on said:

    Hello Ann,

    First I would like to thank for your informative post.

    I recently applied to law school. My law application included a C&F addendum. In the addendum, I’ve included details, transparency, accountability, etc. I’m currently waitlisted in four law schools. This morning I spoke to an admissions counselor, he advised me to write an additional addendum regarding the C&F, he called it “an addendum to an addendum.” I’m completely confused. I’ve shared everything there is to share. What are your thoughts and/or advice.

    • Janesme, You’re welcome! I’m glad it’s helpful.
      I can’t really advise you though since I haven’t seen what you did, but why don’t you ask the counselor exactly what would be helpful because you supplied all the information.

  31. Hello Ann,

    I just submitted all of my law school applications. I didn’t think much of it at the time since many of the schools do not tell you what to put in the header of a personal statement or any of the supplemental essays, but I did not include my name or LSAC #, I just wrote “Personal Statement” as the header. Is this a major error? Will I be penalized for it? Is there anything I can do? Please help, thanks!

  32. Hi Ann,

    I don’t know if my comment went through, but I just submitted all of my law school apps on the LSAC website. I didn’t think much of it since the schools I applied to didn’t say what to put as a header on my personal statement or on any of my supplemental essays. I did not include my name or LSAC #, I just put “Personal Statement” as the header. Is this a major error? Will I be penalized for it? Is there anything I can do? Please help, thanks!

  33. Gillian on said:

    Hi Ann,

    Thank you so much for answering all these questions. Unfortunately this morning I realized my spell check was turned off on a letter of continued interest I submitted. I am a terrible speller and I had four people read it and none of them caught the four spelling mistakes in the letter! Should I call the school and explain that I accidentally had the spell check turned off or should I not mention it? I submitted the letter a month ago but this is my first choice school and I’m on the waitlist.

  34. Elias Vaoifi on said:

    Hi Ann! I have a question about whether or not this should be on my resume.
    I transferred to another undergraduate institution after my freshman year of college. Should I include that timeline and academic awards from there?
    I only received Dean’s List there, which I also have received for every semester at my current school that I am graduating from next Spring.
    I figure that schools will see my transfer grades on my transcripts, so I am just wondering if it is absolutely pertinent to my resume.
    Thanks!

  35. Hi Ann,

    I submitted my law application and went back through one of the school’s websites and noticed that they want applicants to submit and LSAT addendum if their was a score increase of 4+ points. I never submitted this addendum. I’ve emailed the school letting them know that I didn’t see it on the application instructions and that I was browsing the website again and noticed it. I asked if I can email them the addendum. They haven’t gotten back to me. I emailed them today in the afternoon and it is a long weekend. Do you think this will be ok. Most other schools had it as part of the instructions or asked to clarify if there was a drastic increase. It is super early in the admissions process and the school has yet to process my application.

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