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On this webpage, you will find our advice and guidance for approaching the optional statement and addendum components of the application.

Instructions

Optional Statement

The Admissions Committee makes every effort to understand your achievements in the context of your background and to build a diverse student body. If applicable, you may choose to submit an optional additional statement to elaborate on how you could contribute to the Harvard Law School community.

We ask that you limit your optional statement to one page, double-spaced, using a font size that is comfortable to read (not less than 11-point font). If an optional statement runs over one page, it will be read. However, we ask that you use your best judgment to determine whether or not your optional statement should exceed the one-page allotment.

Addendum

We encourage you to provide any relevant information that may be helpful to us in making an informed decision on your application. Any information that you believe to be relevant to your application is appropriate. Examples of information that may be relevant to individual cases include unusual circumstances that may have affected academic performance, a description or documentation of a physical or learning disability, an explicit history of standardized test results accompanying a strong academic performance, or a history of educational or sociological disadvantage.

It is very helpful for you to provide as much information as possible on the online form itself before referring the reader to additional materials.

  • Optional Statements: An Opportunity, But Optional

    Considering whether to write an optional statement? If you complete your personal statement and still feel that you have more to share, an optional statement provides you with an opportunity to do so. Here is our advice to determine whether submitting an optional statement is the right choice for your application.

    October 18, 2019

Podcast Advice

Miriam Ingber (Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Yale Law School) and Kristi Jobson (Assistant Dean for Admissions at Harvard Law School) provide candid, accurate, and straightforward advice about law school admissions — direct from the source. They will be joined by guest stars from other law schools to discuss application timing, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and more.

Miriam and Kristi share their thoughts on the so-called “softs” – and explain why these aspects of your application may be the most important of all. This episode includes lots of resume tips, and a discussion of when to include, and how to maximize, a diversity statement.
Nkonye Iwerebon (Columbia Law School) joins Miriam and Kristi to dig into addenda, character and fitness issues, contacting admissions offices, and all things judgment related. Good judgment is a key to every application and this episode will talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Sandy Williams (NYU), Miriam, and Kristi offer their candid advice on how to be the best applicant you can be.

FAQs

  • What is the optional statement?

    While the personal statement is a required component of the application, the optional statement, as the name suggests, is not. The Admissions Committee makes every effort to understand your achievements in the context of your background and to build a diverse student body. To that end, you may choose to submit an optional statement to elaborate on how you could contribute to the Harvard Law School community.