How To Get Into Harvard Law
Harvard Law is a notoriously difficult place to gain admission.
The recently admitted J.D. class of 2022 had a 12% acceptance rate with the 75th percentile of admits averaging a 3.96 GPA and an LSAT score of 175.
Business Insider recently spoke to experts on what it takes exactly to get into the prestigious law school.
LSAT OVER GRE
Experts close with the Harvard Law admissions process say that while a number of law schools have changed their policies to accept the GRE for admissions, it’s still wise for applicants to stick with the LSAT.
Jeff Thomas, Kaplan Test Prep‘s executive director of admissions programs, says that not all schools accept the GRE. If you’re already planning to apply to those types of schools, you’ll have to take the LSAT regardless.
“The bottom line is: Unless the only schools you apply to take the GRE, don’t bother to take it,” Thomas tells Business Insider.
PICK A RECOMMENDER WHO REALLY KNOWS YOU
Applicants may think that picking recommenders who carry a high title is a wise move.
However, experts say, it’s more important to pick someone who can really highlight your accomplishment. In other words, pick someone who knows you well.
“It’s about substance over signature,” Kristi Jacobson, the chief admissions officer at HLS, tells Business Insider. “The letters are really important and they’re much more meaningful if we have a strong sense of who you are from someone who knows you well.”
On top of picking a recommender who is close to you, it’s important to ensure they have ample time to write a strong letter.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read a letter of recommendation where the recommender says something like, ‘I didn’t have enough time to prepare this because so-and-so asked me only two weeks ago,’” Jacobson tells Business Insider.
THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
According to Harvard Law, the personal statement provides “an opportunity for you to present yourself, your background, your ideas, and your qualifications to the Admissions Committee.”
Experts say it’s important to approach the personal statement exactly as the name states – personally.
“The emphasis on the personal statement is ‘personal,'” law school admissions coaching consultant Anna Ivey tells Business Insider. “You’re not writing it as if it were a term paper or a dissertation: The actual topic is you.”
Additionally, experts say, it can be helpful to keep an open mind when it comes to what you’ll talk about in your statement.
“Sometimes it makes sense to talk about your journey to applying to law school and why you want to attend,” according to a blog post by HLS admissions. “Other times, you would rather share a personal story or other aspects of your past. As long as we are learning about you and your experiences, we truly have no preference about what approach you take. Our main concern is that you write about something that is quintessential to us understanding who you are.”