Each year, we receive many applications from candidates who previously applied to Harvard Law School and admit a number of them to the incoming class. The Admissions Committee does not view multiple applications negatively, and there are a number of significant ways a candidate can improve aspects of their file from year to year. Reapplying to law school is a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate your growth, determination, and commitment to the legal profession.
If you are considering this path, the information shared in this blog post will offer clarity and guidance for you to consider as you craft your new application. We hope you will embrace the reapplication journey with optimism, and we look forward to reading your application soon!
- Applicants may apply for admission to Harvard Law School through the regular J.D. application no more than three times. Applications submitted via the Junior Deferral Program (JDP) and the J.D. Transfer pathways do not count towards this cap.
- Please note that we do not re-read previously submitted application(s) alongside your most current submission. However, we may review responses to Character and Fitness questions from your previous application(s) to Harvard Law School before a final decision is reached on your candidacy.
- We strongly suggest recent Junior Deferral Program (JDP) applicants wait at least one year before reapplying. Given the purpose of the Junior Deferral Program is to allow students the opportunity to gain post-graduate experience before 1L year, we expect that previous JDP applicants who choose to reapply will do so after taking time to work, volunteer or engage in graduate study. Read our Reapplying after JDP blog post for additional guidance.
- Take time to reflect on your previous application. Certain application components, such as your academic record, are set in stone; however, assess what you can improve upon this cycle. To start, you could compare your previous application components to the advice we offer in our application toolkit, which compiles guidance from our previous blog posts and podcasts. Some candidates may choose to revise and refresh the materials they previously submitted. Others may choose to start from scratch. A fresh start can be a good thing!
- Review our application guidelines. When considering whether to reapply, remember that it is important to review the application instructions. Requirements and policies may have changed since your previous application. This is particularly important for the 2023–2024 application cycle, as we have revised our essay requirements. Our Changes to the J.D. Program Application Components blog post outlines our new prompts, and our Written Statement Toolkit offers advice and a brainstorming activity to help get you started.
- Share new insights with the Admissions Committee. We completely understand that some pieces of your application may not change from your previous attempt. For example, you may have the same employer and title at work, or you may feel strongly that your previous recommenders are best suited to highlight your strengths. That is OK! However, recycling all aspects of your previous application will likely end with the same result. In particular, we suggest revising your written statements. Consider meaningful experiences you have had since your last application. Since previously applying, what have you done this past year to explore your interest in law? How have you grown? How has your candidacy changed? These questions may be helpful to reflect on as you consider what direction to take your essays.
How many times may I re-apply to the J.D. program?
Applicants may apply for admission to Harvard Law School through the regular J.D. application no more than three times. Applications submitted via the Junior Deferral Program (JDP) and the J.D. Transfer pathways do not count towards this cap.
Do you review previous applications submitted by reapplicants?
We do not re-read previous applications submitted by reapplicants. Please note, however, that we may review responses to Character and Fitness questions from your previous application(s) to Harvard Law School before a final decision is reached on your candidacy.
Will you still have my official test scores on file from my previous application?
It depends on the timing of your previous application. Feel free to check-in with us via email to see if we still have that information on file.
Should I submit new essays?
We recommend reapplicants submit new or refreshed statements since their last application. You are the best person to determine what changes will best serve your candidacy. Note that we do not reference or re-read previously submitted statements.
Should I submit new letters of recommendation?
While we do not re-read previously submitted letters of recommendation when you reapply, it can be useful for the Admissions Committee to read a recommendation that offers a more recent evaluation of your successes and accomplishments. We would not recommend that your letter writer simply re-submit a recommendation they wrote years ago. Instead, ask them to refresh the content with recent anecdotes, or ask someone new to submit a recommendation who can speak to your current work and/or achievements.