On this webpage, you will find our advice and guidance on the transcript and standardized testing components of the application.
Harvard Law School accepts either the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). We do not have a preference for either exam. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) reports all LSAT scores from the past five years. Similarly, applicants who choose to submit a GRE General Test score (instead of, or in addition to, the LSAT) are required to report all valid test scores from the previous five-year period.
We require official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work.
Final official transcripts, with a degree and conferral date (if applicable) displayed, from all undergraduate and graduate academic institutions are required.
Application Insights: Academic Profile
Real Talk: What Exactly is “Holistic” Review?
Our final entry in the “Real Talk” series covers the “holistic” admissions process at HLS.
December 15, 2020
Putting Your Grades in Context
This fall, we will discuss each major component of your application in a series of blog posts. Our next topic is transcripts. Like your test scores, your grades are a component of your application that we look at when we are trying to get a sense of your academic abilities. We know that you are
October 15, 2018
Overrated/Underrated Part 2
This week, we continue our Underrated Approaches to the Application series with some additional advice.
October 21, 2021
So how do we think about test scores, anyway?
This fall, we will discuss each major component of your application in a series of blog posts. First up: test score(s).
October 2, 2018
Yes, HLS will continue to accept the GRE this year.
We’ve received a few questions this week about the GRE from those who have been following the active discussions about the role of standardized testing in admissions.
August 8, 2018
The GRE @ HLS: Five Reflections on Year One
It’s summertime in Austin Hall, but we know many of you are thinking ahead to the 2018 – 2019 cycle. One question we’ve heard a lot this summer: How did the GRE pilot shake out in 2017 – 2018?
July 16, 2018
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.
Standardized Testing FAQs
How should I submit my LSAT and/or GRE score(s) to HLS?
Candidates must apply to the regular J.D. program via the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and must participate in the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). When we receive and process your application, HLS will request your CAS report, which includes your LSAT score(s), academic transcripts, LSAT writing sample(s), and letters of recommendation.
Applicants who elect to take the GRE (instead of or in addition to the LSAT) must instruct the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send HLS all GRE test scores from the preceding five-year period. Applicants who have taken the GRE can log into their ETS account and select Harvard Law School as a recipient of GRE results using the school code: 2135.
How important are test scores in the admissions process?
Admission decisions are based on the Admissions Committee’s experienced judgment applied to individual cases, and many aspects are considered. Quantitative factors, while informative, are not dispositive in our selection process.
The LSAT and GRE are both designed to measure some of the acquired skills that are important to successful graduate school study. Within broad limits, both exams provide a reasonable assessment of these skills. Standing alone, however, the LSAT and/or GRE provide only a partial measure of an individual’s promise for legal study. In the context of the broader range of information contained in a complete application for admission, the LSAT and/or GRE is helpful in assessing individual promise and in making meaningful comparisons among those who apply for admission.
Please note, we have no computational methods for making admission decisions, no mechanical shortcuts, and no substitutes for careful assessment and good judgment applied to individual cases. We try to assess intangible qualities— concern for the welfare of others, energy, ambition, sound judgment, and high ideals. We have also found merit in allowing several strong factors to offset another factor on which an applicant may perform only modestly in comparison with other applicants. As a result, we emphasize that there are no “cut-off” GPAs or standardized test scores below which an application will not be considered in its entirety.
While applicants need only take either the LSAT or the GRE, HLS does require all those test results from the past five years.
When should I take either the LSAT or GRE?
We strongly recommend that you sit for your standardized test well in advance of the application deadline. To be considered for the March 1 deadline, you must take either the LSAT or GRE no later than the February administrations of these tests.
The LSAT is administered multiple times per year. Please visit the Law School Admission Council website for more information.
The GRE is administered year-round. Please visit the Educational Testing Service website for more information.
Please note, we are not able to hold a decision on your application for any additional test scores. Applications will be considered complete once we have received at least one score from the exam(s) indicated in your HLS application, and we have processed your complete CAS report with all requisite materials. Your application will only be eligible for review once it is deemed complete.
If your completed application has been submitted and remains under consideration, you are welcome to send additional materials (including test scores). They will be added to your file and included in the review process. However, additional test scores cannot be considered once a final decision has been rendered on an application.
Should I retake the LSAT or GRE?
You need only take the LSAT or GRE once, however, if you take multiple tests, the Admissions Committee will consider all LSAT and/or GRE scores presented as part of your application.
Please note, while the GRE is composed of multiple sections, no one section will be weighted more heavily than the others. Similarly, each test score is reviewed individually; we do not “super-score”, average, or consider the highest composite score exclusively.
We consider any information an applicant provides about their scores. If you feel that one or more of your scores is not representative of your capabilities, you may address your concerns in an addendum attached to your application. If you have already submitted your application, you may submit an addendum via your status checker with your name and LSAC number. This will be automatically added to your file – therefore, there is no need to email the office.
Which standardized test does HLS prefer?
We do not have a preference for either exam. Similarly, a candidate is not considered more committed by taking both exams or disadvantaged by taking the same exam multiple times. We do not have a preference for either exam. Similarly, a candidate is not considered more committed by taking both exams or disadvantaged by taking the same exam multiple times. Individuals considering either test should explore several factors, including whether they intend to apply to other law schools that may only accept the LSAT, timing and geographic location, and any other plans they may have for graduate study.
Individuals considering either test should explore several factors, including whether they intend to apply to other law schools that may only accept the LSAT, timing and geographic location, and any other plans they may have for graduate study.
Are there “cut-off” GPAs or standardized test scores below which applications are not considered?
No. There are no “cut-off” GPAs or standardized test scores below which an application will not be considered in its entirety. We have no computational methods for making admission decisions, no mechanical shortcuts, no substitutes for careful assessment and good judgment.