Our regular J.D. application deadline passed last month, and the admissions team is deep in the process of reviewing files. But we are also excited to start thinking about our upcoming Junior Deferral Program (JDP) candidates. Now that the JDP application is open, I wanted to share some insights into the admissions process.

Why apply as a junior?

This decision is up to you. If you know you want to head to law school, but also want a chance to explore other opportunities, this could be a great option. This way you can go and do something you love, and not feel like you have to build your resume.

When to hit submit

Unlike our regular J.D. application, the JDP application is NOT rolling. The application will close on April 1st, and there is no advantage to applying earlier. You might consider submitting a few days ahead of the deadline so that you have time to check your work and not feel rushed – but that’s your call.

The application review

The review process will be the same as for the standard pool. Each file will get a thorough evaluation based on the totality of the information you share. There are no “cutoff” test scores or GPAs to be considered. My post about the review process, though published a few years back, is still a great way to understand what’s happening along the way.

This is an opportunity to feel out what’s right for you. If you ultimately decide you want to apply in a later cycle, you should feel confident in that decision knowing there is absolutely no penalty for not applying as a junior. And if you want to apply now but don’t get in, we strongly encourage you to reapply next year or after some further education or full-time work experience. We can even have an advising chat to help you understand how your application could be strengthened.

Good luck, we look forward to hearing your stories.


Filed in: Inside the Black Box, Junior Deferral Program

Contact the J.D. Admissions Office

Website: hls.harvard.edu/jdadmissions

Email: jdadmiss@law.harvard.edu