August is here, and that means the J.D. Admissions Office is finalizing our application for the 2023–2024 cycle before it opens on September 15. One exciting change for this year: we have reworked our essay requirements and prompts.
Beginning this year, every applicant must submit both a Statement of Purpose and a Statement of Perspective. Each Statement must be one to two pages in length, using double-spacing, one-inch margins, and a legible font size (no smaller than 11 point). We expect every applicant to use at least one full page for each Statement. Without further ado, here are the new prompts:
Statement of PurposeWhat motivates you to pursue law? How does attending law school align with your ambitions, goals, and vision for your future?
Statement of PerspectiveThe Admissions Committee makes every effort to understand who you are as an individual and potential Harvard Law School student and graduate. Please share how your experiences, background, and/or interests have shaped you and will shape your engagement in the HLS community and the legal profession.
The Admissions Committee seeks not only to identify and recognize characteristics that are important to academic success in law school, but also qualities that will contribute to the range of perspectives and experiences, general excellence, and vitality of the student body. We hope these new essay prompts will inspire you to reflect upon your motivations for attending law school, as well as the contributions you will bring to the HLS community and the legal profession. Our team can’t wait to read your stories and reflections.
For those who have additional questions on our new Statement prompts, please refer to the FAQs below. And, as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by email if we can share more.
Must I submit both a Statement of Purpose and a Statement of Perspective with my application?
Yes, every applicant must submit both a Statement of Purpose and a Statement of Perspective.
Will I be disadvantaged if I don’t use two full pages for each essay?
We expect every applicant to submit at least one full page for each Statement. If you need more space for either piece, you can use up to two full pages. Because applicants and their experiences differ, you are the best person to determine what length of Statement is appropriate. Please do not exceed the two-page limit per essay.
Should I provide extensive detail about my particular interest in HLS?
Given the space limitations for the Statements, we ask that the focus of both pieces center on you as an individual. While either essay might reference resources, opportunities, or organizations at HLS that appeal to your interests or goals, the substance of the essay should not simply detail the offerings at Harvard Law School. We know all about HLS—the goal of these Statements is to learn more about you!
What if my motivation for applying to law school is inspired by my experiences or background? Can I write about that in the Statement of Purpose?
Absolutely! As mentioned above, you are the best person to determine the content of your Statements. If your experiences or background inspired your motivation for attending law school, you can certainly write about that in your Statement of Purpose. The two statements should not be duplicative of one another, however.