Preparing for College

Will Mistakes on School Profile Hurt My Admission Chances?

Question: Thank you for reading my question. I'm an international student and my school doesn't have an "official" profile. So my school counselor, who is not a native English speaker, created a profile to send to my U.S. colleges. She made lots of grammar mistakes and spelling errors. She also named colleges in a wrong way (for example, Purdue university as Perdue university or University of Chicago as Chicago University). And the most critical mistake she made is that she named my school wrong! Also, she mentioned that my school offers AP courses and anatomy courses for seniors, which is not true. Do you think these mistakes will hurt my application a lot?

Don’t worry. These mistakes will not hurt your chances. In fact, they may even work in your favor a very tiny bit. (Once admission officials see how little English your counselor knows and how unfamiliar she is with U.S. colleges, it may show them some of the challenges you’ve faced in applying to American schools.)

The grammar and spelling mistakes mean nothing. Likewise, misnaming the U.S. colleges will not affect you in the least and might even give the admission staff a chuckle. (“Perdue” is a well known brand of chicken. ;) )

However, I do feel it would be worthwhile to write to your colleges and correct the errors your counselor made regarding the curriculum. It could be helpful for them to know that your school does NOT offer AP classes, if there aren’t any AP classes. The same is true for anatomy and any other curricular mistakes the counselor made.

As long as you are writing to the colleges anyway, you can include a short apology for your counselor’s other mistakes. For instance, you might write something like this:

My high school [fill in CORRECT school name] does not have an official school profile. Therefore, my counselor, [fill in her name], who does not speak English well, created her own profile for my college applications. I noticed afterwards that she misnamed several U.S. colleges in this profile and that the profile was also full of many small errors, such as in grammar and spelling. I apologize on her behalf for these.

I would also like to correct several more important errors. These have to do with our school curriculum. [Now list the mistakes]

You should send your letter BY E-MAIL to all of the U.S. colleges on your list. If you know the name of the staff member who handles international applications, send it directly to him or her. If you don’t know the name (and can’t get it easily by telephoning the admission office or looking on the Web site), just address it to the main admissions email address, which should be easily found on the Web site.


Again, this isn’t a big deal, but it would still be helpful for the admission committees to get the true information on the AP’s and other curriculum errors.

(posted 2/15/2012)