How Do Admissions Officers View Typos in a College Essay?

Should you be worried about typos in your application essay? 

Imagine you’re in charge of interviewing someone for a position. This person shows up in a nice outfit, but when this person greets you, you can’t help but notice a small stain on his shirt. You overlook it and find him to be a good candidate, and you decide to hire him.

Now imagine that same person greeted you, and you noticed a number of stains all over his shirt. It would be harder to overlook, and your brain will immediately come up with ideas about this person’s competency as a candidate. If this person doesn’t prepare well for an interview, how will this person prepare for the job? Regardless of whether or not this individual is a perfect fit for the position, you likely will not be able to see past his lack of attention to what he wore to the interview.

Your college application essays are a lot like this.

Admissions officers are looking for reasons to be able to admit you. They’d like to make a case for you to attend their university. When an essay or series of essays have numerous typos, it shows carelessness.

As an essay advisor, I can also say that typos can distract the reader and pull her away from the story. Outstanding essays keep the reader engaged from start to finish.

Your GPA, your standardized test scores, and your letters of recommendation are all aspects of your application that are out of your hands now. College essays are the last part of the application that you have complete control over--they should be polished.

Since you have plenty of time to write your admissions essays, you should make sure you leave enough time for someone to scan them for typos. One typo might not influence an admissions officer’s decision but several typos will.

Happy Writing!

This article was written by Jaclyn Corley, the founder of TheCollegeEssayCaptain.com.  Her mission is to empower college and career applicants tell their stories powerfully.