A little over a week ago, my colleague Andrea Aronson found an egregious word usage error on an the supplemental essays for Clark University. Thanks to Andrea, Clark has now fixed the error.
But today while helping a student with an application to the University of Tampa, I came across more amazing proofreading errors. See if you can find four errors of punctuation and/or spelling on this application.
Please write a carefully constructed essay on ONE of the following topics:
What are your three favorite words in the English language and what do they mean to you?.
Discuss the neighborhood that you grew up in and how it shaped you as a person.
Describe how do you feel about the month of February?.
If life does exist on another planet, should we attempt to communicate with this form of life or leave well enoough alone? Why?.
If you can find them, I will ask the director of admission to either a) exempt you from having to do the English language portions of the SAT or ACT, or b) admit you without having to write these infernal essays. If the people who write the prompts can’t avoid making mistakes, do we trust that they would a) find your mistakes, or b) have the wherewithal to teach you how to avoid such mistakes?
I should note, too, that I’m not even going to count the dangling preposition in the second prompt as an error. But it is lousy syntax, nonetheless.
Sorry if I’m becoming cynical, but if a college plans to raise bar for applicants, its admissions folks had better be able to leap that bar themselves.