On this webpage, you will find our advice and guidance for approaching the optional statement and addendum components of the application.
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.
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.
Should you include a “why Harvard” statement in your application?
Each year at this time, we receive questions about how applicants should express interest in Harvard Law School. Include a “Why Harvard” essay? Talk about HLS in the personal statement? Maybe an addendum on this topic? The answer to all these questions is the same: no, that’s not necessary. Let’s start with the separate “why
December 2, 2022
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
Navigating Law School Admissions with Miriam & Kristi
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.
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.