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

Posted by Ann Levine | October 21, 2013

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.

Categories: Law School Application Tips, Law School Personal Statements, Law School Resume, Law School/Career Advice, Uncategorized

10 Comments »

Tags: applying to law school, law school advice, law school application advice, law school personal statements, law school resume, mistakes in law school applications


10 Responses to “Mistakes in Law School Applications: To Fix or Not to Fix?”

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Ann,
    I realized that I left out a hyphen on my personal statement. I submitted the personal statement to 2 schools so far. Do you think I should try to contact these schools?
    Thanks,
    Sarah

  2. Sarah says:

    To clarify, I said “high growth” instead of “high-growth”
    Thank you!
    Sarah

  3. Tom says:

    Hi Ann,

    I hope that all is well! I am a long time fan of your blog, and purchased your book, The Law School Admission Game, to guide me through the application process. I just began applying to schools, and realized I forgot to include a part-time job I had for two weeks. It was in no way significant, however I completely forgot to mention it. What should I do?

  4. Mike says:

    Ann,

    I have 3.7x GPA and a 176 LSAT. I’ve applied to most of the t14, including Harvard and Stanford, with 1 typo in my Personal Statement. I wrote “the the” in one sentence. For these very elite schools, is it worth resubmitting my PS with the extra “the” removed? I’m terrified that I’ve ruined my chances after all this hard work.

    Best,
    Mike

    • Ann Levine says:

      Mike, I really think, if this is the weakest thing in your application, all will be fine. Really. Yes, if this is what you get dinged for, then a school was just looking for an excuse to ding you….I think you’ll start to feel better when acceptances start coming in shortly.

  5. Laura says:

    I forgot about a course I took 4 years ago during the summer. I already contacted LSAC and sent in the transcript. Should I email each school also?

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