Juniors, start working on your essays. But make sure your proofread and don’t trust your computer to spell check. Every admissions person on our tour ended his or her presentation with a real example of a horrendous, humorous error sent in by a careless bleary-eyed senior. Here are some dealbreaking typos from college essays, whose authors are now working at Taco Bell because they never reread their work.
Vanderbilt: "I can’t wait to attend Emory."
Duke: "I can’t wait to attend UNC."
GW: Essay writer recounted his experience volunteering in the "Big Bother" program.
NYU: One applicant wrote his whole essay on his favorite book, "The Lord of the Files". Another said he wanted to be a "Roads Scholar".
Georgetown: "I can’t wait to attend Emory." (Emory seems to be popular with sloppy proofreaders.)
Colgate: After hating broccoli his entire life, the essay writer gathered up the courage to try broccoli casserole at his girlfriend’s house. But he spelled broccoli incorrectly throughout the essay.
Northwestern: One applicant recounted her experiences as a Candy Stripper. Another spoke about how much he was influenced by his basketball couch.
The Neurotic Parent Typo Contest:
Because the stakes are so high, I’m convinced there is big money in catching typos on college applications. Fastidious app reviewers will soon be able to charge as much as SAT tutors. I invite those of you out there who are considering this promising new career to proofread my entire blog. I have purposely planted seven errors – two dangling participles, three punctuation slip-ups, one malaprop and one lame usage mistake. I offer the reader who finds all seven errors a free tour and information session at Gonzaga University.
I don’t think it’s hypocritical for us to point of typos in other places, though, because personally I don’t regard small, general errors of that nature to be indicative of a person’s intelligence.