Our Meet the Team series continues! Next up, our Assistant Director Alexandra Feinson. – Kristi
KJ: Tell me about your experience in admissions.
AF: I joined my first admissions office after graduating college, and was privileged to work at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Working at your college is an easy way to get hooked on admissions! After working in undergraduate admissions for four years, I pursued a masters in higher education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and joined the Harvard Business School MBA Admissions office. And last year, I transitioned to this role at the Law School.
KJ: You clearly love working in admissions – why?
AF: The quintessential liberal arts student, I studied psychology and performing arts. I found that the combination of public speaking (which can be like performing) and understanding others made admissions a great professional fit to my academic interests.
I am also incredibly enamored with the broader higher education community. I am surrounded by people who get up in the morning because they care deeply about educational opportunity. It’s a community of lifelong learners – people who want to keep understanding the landscape of higher education, especially issues of access and affordability.
KJ: What do you like about law school admissions, specifically?
AF: There’s such a wide range of factors that draw people to law school. Everywhere along that spectrum, the person is passionate about something. That translates in the applications I read, the interviews I conduct, and the current HLS students with whom I work who volunteer to help us recruit and yield students – it all feels very passion-driven.
KJ: How many applications do you think you have read in your career (including undergraduate and graduate programs)?
AF: In seven years, probably read just shy of 10,000.
KJ: You interview applicants for the regular JD cycle. What are some of your favorite interview questions?
AF: One of the things I love is that our interviews are unique to each candidate and what we hope to learn about them. There is no one question I ask consistently every time, but I often like to ask how you act in a situation where you’ve tackled a tough conversation. One of my other favorites is: “Tell me one thing about yourself that you didn’t share in your application.” When I ask that question, I am mostly interested in learning something fun – that one time you ate garlic ice cream or that you were in an opera flash mob. Something that might be fun for a future classmate of yours to learn about you. (And I’ll admit it, both of those examples are about me!)
KJ: What jumps out at you when you read a personal statement or optional statement?
AF: Your personality. Regardless of what you’ve written about, if I feel like I’ve met you in some way through your writing, it is compelling.
KJ: You run our social media, website, and manage communications. Tell me more about your social media work.
AF: I try make sure visible presence of our office is helpful (and hopefully enticing). We’ve made a lot of changes, and will continue to make changes in coming year, including our brand new Instagram account. We hope our social media shows that we are humans, this is a human process. We want to know you and want you to know us – we’re ultimately on the same team. It may not always feel that way as an applicant, but for our admissions team, we are enthusiastic about every application.
KJ: What is your favorite Twitter or Instagram post you’ve done since joining the office?
AF: Probably Remy, the HLS cat. We have a cat at Harvard Law who lounges around campus. I don’t know to whom he belongs, but he has been around for a while. Check out our Twitter for a photo of Remy in a mortar board on graduation.
KJ: What do you like to do for fun?
AF: I like to cook and go out to eat. If you meet me on the road, I will ask you for the cool place to get food in town. I’m also a tap dancer, and I love being a part of the Boston tap dance community. I am one of the chairs of a college readiness nonprofit in the Boston area, Minds Matter. I spend Saturdays with high-achieving, low-income high schoolers who join our program to gain access to mentorship and resources on the path to college success. Last year I was able to have a few HLS folks speak to my high schoolers and I felt so lucky to be a part of both communities.