- What is the transfer application process?
Transfer admissions is an opportunity for rising 2L students to join the Harvard Law School community after completing their 1L year at another law school.
- Who is eligible to apply as a transfer?
Applicants for transfer admission must meet the following criteria:
- Applicants have completed one year of full-time study in a J.D. program (or one-third of the total credits required in a part-time program) at a United States law school.
- Applicants attend a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).
- I applied to HLS previously. Am I eligible to apply as a transfer student?
Yes. Each year we have a number of students who previously applied to HLS that are successful in the transfer application process. Please rest assured that the Admissions Committee does not view multiple applications negatively. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis for all applications.
- Can I begin my studies at HLS in the spring semester?
No. Students may apply for transfer to begin the second year of J.D. studies in the fall semester only.
- How do I apply?
All interested candidates will apply online through the online application found on the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) website. The application typically opens in early May. You can find precise dates and deadlines on the Application Components page.
- What are the application requirements?
Please see the Application Components page to review the application requirements.
- What is the application deadline?
The transfer application typically opens up in early May and the submission deadline is usually in mid-June. For precise dates, please see the Application Components page.
- When can I expect to hear a decision on my application?
We typically aim to release admission decisions to all transfer applicants in early July. You can find the exact date on the Application Components page.
- If I am accepted as a transfer applicant, how much time do I have to respond to the offer of admission?
We aim to give admitted students about one week to respond to their offer of admission.
- Is there an application fee?
Yes. We require an application fee of $85.00.
- Are application fee waivers available?
Yes. Fee waivers may be requested prior to June 10. Please complete the Transfer Fee Waiver Request Form to request an application fee waiver from HLS.
- Which standardized test scores should I submit with my application?
All applicants to the J.D. program must submit any LSAT and/or GRE scores utilized for their 1L application.
- How should I submit my LSAT and/or GRE score(s) to HLS?
LSAT scores will be submitted via the LSAC 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.
- What if I don't have my 1L spring semester grades yet?
We require law school grades from your entire first year. Although we prefer an official transcript, we realize that it may be difficult in some cases to obtain one until late summer. Therefore, we will consider photocopies or screenshots of your grade reports or some other account of your grades.
Although we may be able to reach a tentative decision to admit on the basis of unofficial grades, we are not able to offer admission to any applicant without first receiving an official transcript. Once official grades become available, please submit them via your application status checker.
- How should I communicate my summer plans?
We ask that you share your 1L summer plans on your resume.
We understand that many summer internships have been impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If your internship will start later than anticipated, please notate the future start dates on your resume.
If your summer plans have fallen through, please include a short explanation of the situation in an addendum that explains how you will be filling your time.
- Who should write my letters of recommendation?
We require two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a law professor at your current law school. Although you may use one letter from a previous application in your transfer application, you must still provide a letter of recommendation from a professor at your current law school.
- How do I find out whether a document has been received or if my application is complete?
Given the number of applications we receive and the limited time we have available to process, authenticate, and review each of them, it is not possible for us to reply to individual inquiries asking us to verify receipt of application materials or confirm the status of your application.
Instead, you should refer to your online status checker to review the progress of your application and receipt of all required items. Please note, your status application page will only become available after your application form has been submitted.
- Can you explain more about the interview process?
Evaluative interviews are available by invitation only. All interviews are conducted by phone. If you are selected to interview, you will be notified by email with more detailed information.
- What should I submit if I applied to HLS in a previous year?
We retain application records for three academic years after the original year of your submission. Should an applicant choose to reapply within that time frame, our office will fully consider any previous applications alongside the current one. Your file will contain everything you’ve previously submitted within the past three years.
Applicants who wish to reapply will have to submit a new application, an updated resume, a new personal statement, and any updated and new transcripts. One previous letter of recommendation can be re-used, but we require one new letter to be from a law professor at your current law school. Reapplicants will also need to pay the current application fee.
Reapplicants who have received a new GRE score(s) since the time of their original application will need to contact ETS and select Harvard Law School as the recipient of the new score(s) using the reporting code: 2135. If there are no new GRE scores to report, reapplicants will not need to resubmit scores that were included in their original application and that remain valid in the current application cycle. Please note, LSAC automatically reports new LSAT scores.
Please rest assured that the Admissions Committee does not view multiple applications negatively. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis for all applications.
- How is financial aid awarded at HLS?
Financial aid at Harvard Law School is exclusively need-based; there are no “merit” or “full-ride” scholarships available. All students who demonstrate financial need according to a combination of federal and institutional guidelines receive adequate financial assistance to complete their course of study. For more information about financial aid, visit the HLS Student Financial Services Office website. Similarly, refer to the Standard Student Budget to review an estimate of total cost, including living expenses, and tuition for the upcoming academic year.
The Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP) is one of the most generous loan forgiveness programs in the nation. This program helps relieve the burden of repayment of educational loans for J.D. graduates in lower income employment options. Qualifying jobs include all full-time jobs in non-profits, government, or academia, as well as law-related jobs in the private sector.
- How will the financial aid process work for transfer students?
Students will receive information on applying for financial aid directly from the HLS Student Financial Services Office after they have been admitted.
- Will I know my financial aid package before I have to make an enrollment decision?
Given the condensed decision timeline for transfer applicants, we are unable to notify students of their financial aid package before the enrollment deadline.
- Am I eligible to participate in Harvard's Early Interview Program (EIP) as a transfer student?
Yes. Harvard’s Early Interview Program typically takes place during the summer and enrolling transfer students are able to participate.
March 2020 Update: Due to the developing COVID-19 pandemic, the Early Interview Program has been moved to January 2021.
- Do I have to be the top-ranked student at my law school to get into HLS?
No, you are not required to be the top-ranked student in your 1L class to be admitted. Academic performance in your 1L courses is one indicator of your ability to successfully transition to HLS and is an important part of the application review process.
- What is the typical transfer class profile?
Transfer students come to Harvard Law School from a wide range of backgrounds, and a variety of different undergraduate institutions and 1L law schools. You can find more information on current 2L and 3L students who transferred to HLS after their 1L year on our Transfer Cohort page.
- Can I join the Harvard Law Review as a transfer student?
Yes. The Harvard Law Review encourages transfer applicants to apply for membership on the Review.
If you wish to be considered for membership, you must participate in the Writing Competition. Those admitted transfer students who are selected to join the Harvard Law Review must return to Cambridge in early August to begin work. Further instructions on taking the Writing Competition may be found in Membership Details. Please note that the Writing Competition is typically in mid-May. Be sure to reach out to the Harvard Law Review staff well before then for information on this process.
Questions on this process should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Can I join the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) as a transfer student?
Yes. HLAB typically reserves one or two spots for transfer applicants. Information on the application process is found on the HLAB website.
Questions about HLAB and the application process should be directed to email@example.com.
- How will the Admissions Committee review coursework that has been impacted by school closures, transitions to online course formats, and optional or compelled grading changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic?
We understand that many law schools are making tough decisions to adapt to the evolving 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The Admissions Committee wholeheartedly respects the decisions of institutions and individual students as we all navigate this situation. We remain committed to taking a holistic, flexible approach to evaluating each application. This is applied to all applicants and to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
You do not need to explain any pandemic-related changes to your coursework or grades for spring 2020. If you would feel more at ease by submitting a brief (half-page to one-page) addendum explaining any changes, you are more than welcome to do so.
Our goal in navigating this situation is to make the application process as simple as possible for you.
- What if my spring semester grades are Pass/Fail due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
We understand many educational institutions have shifted their grading policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We respect the decisions of institutions and individual students as we all navigate this unprecedented situation. You will not be penalized in the HLS admissions process if your institution has adopted mandatory pass/fail grading for this semester, nor will you be penalized if you elect into an optional pass/fail system for the semester.
- My summer plans are uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Will this impact my chance for admission?
Many people are having to put their academic, professional, and personal plans on hold for the time being. We understand this and realize that it might impact summer 2020 internships opportunities.
If your summer plans have been or might be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, please upload a brief addendum to your application explaining your situation and how you plan to fill your time.