This topic is a never-ending source of amusement / mortification / horror depending on who you are and what stage of the essay-writing process the typo was discovered in.
If it’s EssaySnark discovering it in an essay review, it may be kinda funny, or for common mistakes like messing up when “it’s” needs an apostrophe or when it’s “its” which everyone screws up from time to time it’s understandable, or it might be potentially irritating if we’ve already called out to the BSer that their writing is not up to snuff and they need to be stepping up their proofreading game before sending stuff over for review (in which case we’ll probably stop pointing out such errors, since our philosophy is that each applicant needs to be submitting their work, not the work of a paid consultant, because, like, ethics).
If it’s you the applicant discovering the typo, then it’s likely a sense of pure relief if it’s a) a really bad typo, and b) you discovered it BEFORE you submitted.
And if you discovered it after the app is in?
OH-MY-EFFING-G. That can cause massive amounts of adrenaline and panic-level emotions.
So before we present these typos to laugh about them together, we will preface things by saying you’re not going to be rejected over a typo.
Even the classic “I really want to go to Columbia” issue when it’s an essay for Wharton won’t automatically get you disqualified. Every admissions officer has seen that plenty of times. If it happens all over the essay, and all over every essay, then yeah. Not so great. They’re likely to get a little annoyed by reading the wrong school name throughout what is supposed to be your pitch to them about your undying love for their program. Also, attention to detail is important and valued, and you’re submitting a bid to be accepted to a highly esteemed school that will totally change your life if you go. Sweating the details kind of counts in this scenario. It reflects poorly to have a sloppy error like that in the essays. Every admissions reader has a different level of tolerance for it, and it really depends on how great you are everywhere else in your package. If the essay is appropriately tailored to their school in other ways, then they are more likely to overlook it. If you discover the wrong school name in an essay post-submit, then process your freak-out, and do what you can to let it go. It’s not going to doom you to a negative outcome there.
Same goes with any typo or mistake, really. If you discover one, practice some deep breathing. Try not to completely rip yourself a new one over it. We know how self-critical a lot of you are, and this issue can really put the mind into overdrive in berate-and-punish mode. Do what you can to accept it (as hard as that may be) and try to remember that you did the best you could at the time of submitting the app, and don’t hate yourself for the mistake that’s now a done deal.
We do not suggest contacting the school when you discover a typo in your essay.
If you discover an actual mistake in the data of the application itself, then that might warrant a correction (if you want our advice on what to do in a specific scenario you’re struggling with, our Private Consult is ideal for that purpose, or you can just describe the situation in a comment on this post — we accept anonymous comments — and we’ll tell you what we’d do in your shoes).
Wow, that was a very long preamble, wasn’t it?
We actually just wanted to make you laugh today! (And breathe a sigh of relief that these weren’t your mistakes — hopefully!)
Here’s a couple doozies that we saw in essays this season. In no particular order…
- For Stanford Essay A: “What matters moist to me is…”
- An intro sentence to a Harvard essay on what would you like us to know: “In this easy I will be talking about….”
- Another Stanford Essay A, talking about LGBTQ issues: “My sister, who is trains, taught me about…”
- For Haas Essay 1: “What makes me fell alive is…”
- For Columbia’s “why MBA” essay: “I went into pubic accounting after college because…”
- For Stanford Essay B: “My most important reason to want to go to Standard Business School is…”
- On a resume and our favorite: “Yogurt practitioner”
What about you? Did you catch any “OMG!” typos in your drafts as you were doing your proofreading this year? Share them with us! Post your gaffe in the comments and let us all enjoy the mistakes, too — now that you’re safely past the danger zone of submitting an application with a gotcha in it!
And in case anything in today’s post made you realize, uh-oh, there’s an actual mistake in your app: How to contact the admissions office.
Or to just read about more bad essay typos, here’s a previous set from an earlier season.