Typo Tyranny

by on December 12th, 2009

Ok, so you should have run spell check one last time. And maybe you should’ve taken up your mom’s offer to proofread your essays before you hit send. And you definitely shouldn’t have sent off your final application before your Accepted.com editor gave you that last seal of approval.

But you did. And THEN you found a typo. And now you’re freaking out.

First, take a deep breath. It’s not the end of the world and your acceptance to your dream school is not (necessarily) doomed.

For an otherwise perfect application, one spelling mistake, a single missed comma (or even two), or any other minor error will do absolutely nothing to your chances of acceptance.

But what if the error is not so minor? If your mistake falls into one of the following three categories, then, well, you’d better keep your fingers crossed.

  1. You don’t have just one or two typos, but a whole slew of them. A single typo shows that you made a mistake, which is excusable. If “typos” become the theme of your application, though, then you’ll appear careless and sloppy: not exactly the picture of the quintessential conscientious business student.
  2. Your typo changes the meaning of a word, and therefore changes the meaning of your statement. For example, I once received a memorable draft from a client in which he wrote, “Through research I exorcized my mind…” Yes, we all get tripped up on how to spell the word “exercise”—one mistake like this may slide, but do make sure that it’s not just your spelling that is correct, but meanings too. Replacing “raise” with “raze,” just to give another example, could completely reverse the meaning of your entire essay!
  3. You used the wrong school name in your essay, even once. If you’re reusing essays from one school to another, be sure to change EACH appearance of the school name to the appropriate one. In fact, it’s a good idea to do a search for the wrong school name just to make sure you didn’t miss it.

These three no-no’s generally connote rejection.

So what should you do if you find a major typo after you hit SUBMIT? There’s really only one thing you can do, but this can only work if you catch the error quickly enough: Immediately contact the school and explain that you accidentally submitted the wrong draft of your essay. If you’re lucky, you’ll get someone generous soul on the other line who’ll let you resubmit the corrected draft.

Of course reading this post in advance should remind you to DOUBLE, TRIPLE, and QUADRUPLE check your essays. And then none of this will be relevant anyways!

Take advantage of Accepted’s free resources on submitting quality MBA essays:

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