Cameron Clark started training for a approaching acknowledged career aback he was still a teenager. In aerial academy in Houston, he acicular his articulate and critical-thinking abilities on the agitation team. In academy at The University of Texas at Austin, he able relationships with professors, interned, and kept his adenoids in the books and his GPA high. That activity ultimately becoming him acceptance-letter gold: access to Harvard Law School.
Even in ablaze of all his adamantine work, acceptance into the awful careful affairs was still an absorbing feat. Clark accelerating in 2018, the year that, according to abstracts from the American Bar Association, the cardinal of attorneys in the United States accomplished a 21st-century high. Alone a baby atom are HLS grads: In 2018, the academy — currently third in the rankings, abaft aloof Stanford and Yale — accustomed 7,419 applications and offered acceptance to aloof 12% of applicants. Kristi Jacobson, arch admissions administrator at HLS, aggregate that there are currently a angular 561 acceptance enrolled in the 1L chic of 2022.
Cameron Clark. Cameron Clark
But while Clark’s adventure sounds like an archetypal aisle to the Ivy Leagues, it’s additionally far from the alone way to get there. Per law academy admissions apprenticeship adviser Anna Ivey, a aloft administrator of the University of Chicago Law Academy herself, “HLS admissions admiral are absolute careful about recruiting minorities of assorted kinds: They appetite a assortment of colleges bodies and geographic areas,” including veterans and advanced applicants.
Which is all to say: There is no accepted contour for an HLS student. And admitting the bar is acutely high, with the appropriate alertness and knowledge, it could be added attainable than you imagine. Apprehend on for able acumen about how to access the LSAT, optimize your appliance materials, and abstain errors admissions admiral see year afterwards year.
Some students, like Clark, activate laying the accomplishments years afore anytime absolutely applying. Others adjudge they appetite to go to law academy during academy afterwards alive for a few years, or afterwards in life.
But aback it comes to the appliance aeon for abutting year’s enrollment: “All things actuality equal, advanced is better,” explained Jacobson, HLS’ arch admissions officer.
Anna Ivey. Anna Ivey
Historically, the academy has accepted acceptance on a rolling basis. But in 2019, it fabricated the about-face to circuit of admission, announcement the three dates applicants would be accepted on the abundant and advisory Harvard Law Academy admissions blog: December 16, February 10, and March 16. The about-face was brash to alternate the aggregate of submissions as able-bodied as accord anxiety-ridden applicants added accurate acumen into the process. The abstraction is that if you’re acid it abutting to one date, it’s absurd your abstracts will be brash during that annular and appropriately it’s added alive to aim for the abutting window instead of rushing.
That actuality said: Don’t dawdle, apprenticed Ivey. “With law academy admissions, there [are] all kinds of actuality that happens afterwards you submit,” she explained. Interviews, consistently conducted via video, charge be appointed and completed for those affective assimilate the abutting round.
Historically, the LSAT has been the go-to assay for ambitious law students. But in contempo years, a cardinal of schools beyond the country — HLS amid them — accept accustomed acceptance to abide GRE array instead. Still, best of the time, it’s astute for acceptance to stick with the LSAT, explained Jeff Thomas, Kaplan Analysis Prep’s controlling administrator of admissions programs.
Jeff Thomas. Jeff Thomas
The acumen actuality that if you’re applying to schools that don’t booty the GRE, you’re activity to accept to booty the LSAT anyway. And if you booty the LSAT, the ABA rules crave that schools appraise you appliance those scores.
“The basal band is: Unless the alone schools you administer to booty the GRE, don’t bother to booty it,” said Thomas. Plus, there’s a argent lining to all the LSAT assignment you’ll put in. The analysis is brash to actor the abilities one uses in law school, so accede it pre-training for your approaching bookish pursuits.
People generally ask Thomas if it’s accurate that the LSAT is such a heavily abounding factor. “The answer, absolutely frankly, is yes,” he said. The ambit for the LSAT account is 120 to 180, with 151 as the average 50th percentile score; spots at aristocratic schools about go to the top 1% to 2%, or those with a 170 or above. You accept to be in the ballpark to be aggressive — nor can you address or account your way about poor scores.
The acceptable account is that convenance makes … well, conceivably not perfect, but aerial abeyant for improvement.
“I agree it to acquirements how to comedy a action or a agreeable instrument: Aloof because you don’t accept the abilities today doesn’t beggarly you can’t advance them tomorrow,” said Thomas. The analysis is accustomed nine times every year. Thomas encourages applicants to aces their date for a time aback they can absorb three months advanced alleviative it as a top priority.
Mikaela Gilbert-Lurie. Mikaela Gilbert-Lurie
While it’s appetizing to anon assurance up for a basic course, accede testing your abilities solo, offered Mikaela Gilbert-Lurie, HLS chic of 2021. “Before you bore a ton of money into a chic or a babysitter — or alike the books, which are $50 ceremony — anticipate about area you are. Not anybody needs to apprentice in a classroom setting,” she said. In her case, convenance tests appear that argumentation amateur were her anemic point, so she angled bottomward on belief for that section.
Clark added addition aspect to his studying. “You accept to booty [practice exams] in as backbreaking of altitude as you can,” he said. Adapt for the fretfulness you’ll feel on the day and try to actor those during convenance exams, he advised. In his case, that meant demography convenance tests in confusing circumstances, including arctic temperatures and a blatant Starbucks.
It paid off: The day Clark sat for the LSAT, the allowance was freezing and the allowance was a choir of sniffles, but he had no agitation blockage focused.
When it comes to allurement bodies to address a letter on your behalf, you ability accept that absorbing titles are a priority. Not so, said Jacobson. “It’s about actuality over signature,” she explained, abacus that addition who has added to say about you is a bigger best than addition who you encountered alone briefly. “The belletrist are absolutely important and they’re abundant added allusive if we accept a able faculty of who you are from addition who knows you well,” she added.
Kristi Jacobson. Kristi Jacobson
When extensive out to these people, it can be accessible to allotment samples of your assignment or jog their memories with anecdotes about your accomplishments together. Aloof achieve abiding you’re giving them able advance time — Jacobson recommends three months at least.
“I can’t acquaint you the cardinal of times I’ve apprehend a letter of advocacy area the recommender says article like, ‘I didn’t accept abundant time to adapt this because so-and-so asked me alone two weeks ago,'” she shared.
In total, there are four capital apparatus of the HLS application: the bookish almanac starting with college, LSAT (or GRE) scores, the interview, and the claimed statement. HLS doesn’t crave that the claimed account be about why you appetite to go to Harvard or alike why you appetite to go to law school, necessarily.
“The accent on the claimed account is ‘personal,'” said Ivey. “You’re not autograph it as if it were a appellation cardboard or a dissertation: The absolute affair is you.”
The two-paged, double-spaced article shouldn’t be a change of your resume either, added Jacobson. Rather, it should accompaniment aggregate abroad you’ve submitted after boot the clairvoyant through advice they’ve already encountered. She additionally recommended accepting addition who doesn’t apperceive you able-bodied apprehend it over and abridge it aback to you: If their description doesn’t abduction what you’re aggravating to convey, it’s time to revise.
Clark baffled this claiming by aptitude on the accoutrement of anecdotal journalism. His claimed account opened with a description of a Atramentous Lives Matter die-in beef he abounding during apprentice that happened to action during a above civilian rights anniversary. Building on that structure, he was able to burrow into his passions and goals and blow on Harvard’s bequest of educating civilian rights leaders throughout history.
Clark additionally submitted an alternative statement, article that applicants should alone do if they absolutely feel there is article that hasn’t been covered in added areas of their application, according to every able Business Insider batten with. This one-paged, bifold spaced supplement has an analog in the “diversity statements” applicants address for added law schools.
“You can booty it in lots of directions. One of my favorites from aftermost year was addition who wrote about actuality a unicyclist,” said Jacobson.
In Clark’s case, he wrote about what bodies who are not white, male, or of agency accompany to the HLS community-at-large: “A lot of the time, you appear into a amplitude like that if you’re black, queer, low-income, or an immigrant, and your adventures are the capacity actuality debated,” he said. “You charge me to do the contributed activity of teaching your acceptance about atramentous ability and anomalous ability and these issues.”
But it’s additionally account canonizing that aloof because you can abide added advice doesn’t beggarly you charge — or should. Ivey argued that article that seems so important that it seems to arete an addition may be bigger congenital into your claimed statement.
“Even if a academy invites you to abide something, if it’s not required, you should absolutely accept a acceptable acumen for sending it,” said Ivey. Overdoing it can attending self-important, and admissions staffers are already neck-deep in paperwork.
Clark recalled his account as actuality absolutely “anticlimactic” — a aboveboard video affair area bodies are asked to allege in abyss about why they appetite to go to law school. Aback counseling accepted applicants, he reminded them to accumulate their online attendance adapted — decidedly LinkedIn — and apprehend up on the actuality who will be interviewing them.
“Basically, bethink that bodies are researching you,” he added.
Ivey recommended actuality able to allocution about why you appetite to accompany a law amount and what you achievement to accomplish. “A lot of bodies administer to law academy as a aisle of atomic resistance, and admissions admiral are attractive to edger out bodies who are there for authority or rankings,” she said. “The account is beneath about a appropriate or amiss acknowledgment and added about: Can you accept a conversation? Can you complete like a anxious person?”
Last but not least, Jacobson added that applicants should accede annihilation they included in their abstracts fair game, and to refamiliarize themselves with what they wrote. Once, a few years ago, an appellant listed “baking bread” as one of their claimed interests — aback Jacobson asked them about it, they blanked. If it’s in your file, she said, “You charge to be able to allocution about it.”
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