Mistake in MLA 2020 Application Portfolio - Consequences?



I applied for the MLA program this past admissions cycle. When I reduced the number of pages for my UPenn portfolio down to 20, I combined two pages of artwork and changed the orientation of one set of three images that work together. I just realised that I forgot to adjust the text accordingly. It says from "left to right" instead of "top to bottom", and the caption order of the three images is also therefore incorrect. 

I have a social sciences background and this whole process and world is new to me so I am pretty worried that will look like a big error that should have been changed. 

I am hoping that something like this will not affect a decision but could those of you who have some idea of admissions let me know your thoughts — I would greatly appreciate it!

Some other information: My academic profile from a top-tier liberal arts college and recommendations are both very strong. The projects in my portfolio range from design-build and printmaking to curatorial work and museum research. 

Thanks a lot!

Jan 22, 20 12:55 am

I think it should be fine, maybe shoot them an email indicating the situation, that way at least they have an idea when reviewing your portfolio. Shouldn't be that big of a problem!

Jan 22, 20 3:49 am

Thanks for your response @chuckluck!

Non Sequitur

few will actually read the text so I think you’re fine. 

Jan 22, 20 5:46 am

I hope so! Thanks @NonSequitur


That's the sort of huge, glaring visual error that does get some candidates cut, especially in the early rounds, and especially when it's someone who doesn't have a strong architecture or visual arts background, because then it's seen as evidence of a lack of aptitude.  But I wouldn't email about it, as that sort of pestering also gets people cut, by branding themselves as high-maintenance problem children.

Jan 22, 20 9:17 am

Oh gosh. I know it is an obvious error, but I guess there is nothing I can do but hope for the best. Do you think if the overall application and portfolio is strong, this can be overlooked?


It just depends on whether anyone notices. In the early rounds the committee may spend less than 2 minutes per applicant - so if that's what they notice then you're probably done for, but there's just as much chance they won't notice. At that point they're just going for the easy-pickings to thin the herd. When I've done admissions we don't even usually have the rec letters or much else in front of us for the first round of cuts - just a half-page summary of check-boxes for whether all application items have been received for that person, so the first round of cuts were 100% based on a brief impression of the portfolio and a complete and timely application.

But - at least in later rounds - all the portfolios are usually divided up among the committee members, to be reviewed on their own time in between committee meetings, so at least one person is likely to spend a little more time with it and with the rest of your application - which might hurt or help you in this situation, it's hard to say.


Thanks for the explanation — helpful to know!


I made a similar mistake with my MLA application, so you aren't alone. The above answers are slightly reassuring but fingers crossed for both me and you! 

Jan 22, 20 2:01 pm

Good luck to you too! :)


At least it's not the wrong school name.. obviously a death kiss. During a GSD information session they said they have received plenty of those and they just go straight into the reject pile. So at least you're not in that group!

Jan 22, 20 2:08 pm

I really hope not. The whole process has honestly been such a blur I cant be sure of any errors at this point.


Uhh well could be worse...much worse

Jan 31, 20 12:59 am

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: