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I’m really freaked out. My professors and manager have submitted my LOR’s to colleges. When I asked one of my professors to send me the letter she wrote for me, I noticed that she mentioned the paper we published together (to which I have also provided a link and PDF as part of my application) but the name of the journal mentioned seems to be incorrect. I am sure its a genuine mistake and a mix up of names but will this look bad on my application?

The rest of the information is strong and talks about everything else I have achieved. I have also added this paper to my portfolio as proof and provided a link to it in my resume. What should I do now? I am really hoping this isn't going to hurt my application.

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  • 3
    You didn't name a country, but just btw, in some (like the US), it would be rude to ask. Jan 16, 2023 at 23:00
  • 7
    wow… incredible that a referee should share such a letter. If I were to know this I would consider this more more negatively than an error in a journal name. Jan 17, 2023 at 0:10
  • 6
    As someone who interviews PhD candidates, I would probabnly not even notice that the journal was wrong. I don't read references for details like that, I go with the CV. I read references to see 1) whether the candidate is good enough to get people to write a reference that isn't boilerplate, and then 2) what the person's impressions are of them. Jan 17, 2023 at 11:39
  • 4
    ''I'm really freaked out'' Sounds like you need to calm down a bit before assessing the situation
    – Tom
    Jan 17, 2023 at 12:25
  • 8
    It's perfectly normal to see your LORs in the UK. So if you ever hired a candidate coming out of the UK system they might have read their LOR before you. And yet the world kept on turning. Jan 18, 2023 at 5:55

3 Answers 3

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Don't worry. The letters will be read by members of a committee who are of course familiar with academia and know that writing letters of recommendation is a bit of a chore. An error such as this (if even noticed) would be immaterial and attributed to an overworked professor.

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    Indeed. I doubt it would be noticed or fact checked. There are many applications to go through. Taking time for something this miniscule would be a colossal waste of time. Jan 17, 2023 at 1:16
  • 1
    Great, I am going to keep this thought aside till there is an actual problem then. Thank you for replying :)
    – Krithi
    Jan 17, 2023 at 13:47
20

This is unlikely to have any effect other than possibly asking you about it. Since you have the correct information in the application materials it should be recognized as a simple mistake. Just be prepared for the question, should it arise.

Some places might be able to accept a correction from the letter writer. People make mistakes. Other people recognize that.

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    Okay sounds good, this is so relieving to hear. I have provided my actual paper publication pdf, link in my resume, my online portfolio as well as my SOP. If contacted I will let them know the correct source. Thanks alot for replying:)
    – Krithi
    Jan 17, 2023 at 13:45
5

If your professor made a minor mistake, that doesn't reflect badly on you at all. The only way that this might conceivably hurt your application is if the incorrect name is also the name of a journal, but one significantly weaker than the actual journal. Then if someone doesn't notice the error they might think the paper is less impressive than it really is.

Even in this case, I wouldn't bother to mention it - it is more important to avoid annoying your professor.

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    The incorrect name is actually a name of another journal. They’re both at par. I am hoping that this isn’t a big deal even if noticed. I have provided links, pdfs with my application material in my CV, portfolio and SOP. I hope that’s more than enough. Either ways, thank you for replying :)
    – Krithi
    Jan 17, 2023 at 13:50
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    @Krithi, in that case, you're totally fine. If anyone notices (and I doubt they will! Nobody's got time to cross-check citations across your application), it'll be treated as the tiny mental lapse that it is--and it's not even yours! Fix yourself a cup of tea, a slice of cake and relax! (And best of luck with the rest of your apps).
    – Matt
    Jan 17, 2023 at 23:42
  • I'd imagine naming a "superior" journal could also backfire since it would risk making the recommender look like a liar (albeit one without much tact).
    – commscho
    Feb 4, 2023 at 14:57

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