Preparing for College

I Cheated Myself Out of Community Service Hours on My Applications!

Question: I realized after I submitted my Common App to almost all of my schools that I had accidentally put the number of hours I did PER DAY for an extracurricular instead of per week like I was supposed to. This made my hours go to 1/5 of what they are supposed to be. An example is that I put 8 hrs per week when it should have been 40 hrs per week. How can I go about correcting this, or should I not?

There seems to be a significant difference between the hours you actually served and the hours that you wrote on your application … a difference that might work against you (at least slightly) at decision time, if you don’t correct it.

So I suggest that you send a brief note (either by email or snail mail) to every college to which you’ve already applied. You might want to keep it light and “cute” … e.g., try something like this:

Although I’m acing calculus and English, it seems like I’ve forgotten how to multiply … or maybe I just can’t read! The number of community service hours I recorded on my application was the DAILY total when the application actually asked for the WEEKLY total. So the figures you received are just 20% of what they should be. Sorry for the confusion at a busy time of year for you.

This certainly isn’t a big deal, but it makes sense to provide the colleges with accurate information, given that you spend a lot of time doing community service, which won’t be apparent from your applications without the amendment.

(posted 1/10/2013)