adMISSION: HLS

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 Harvard” essay. Please, don’t submit one. We don’t ask for one in our application instructions, and there’s no silent or secret expectation that we’d like to see one. 

As for discussing HLS in your personal statement, we do not recommend it. The admissions team knows a lot about Harvard Law School — but we don’t know much about you quite yet. Your personal statement is only two pages long, double-spaced. It’s valuable real estate in your application. Don’t let information about HLS eat up a good chunk of that space when you could be using it to share more about your goals, motivations, and vision for your law degree.

No need for an addendum either unless there’s something truly unusual that you need to share, such as the need to be in the Boston area to serve as a caregiver. 

If you reach the interview stage of the application process, rest assured you will be asked about your interest in HLS. Have a great answer prepared for that question if you interview. Again, no need to share this information in your written materials. 

All the advice above pertains to regular J.D. applicants in the initial application submission stage. If you are a waitlisted applicant or a transfer applicant reading this, know that our thoughts on this topic sing a different tune. But that is a blog post for another day. 

– KJ

Filed in: Inside the Black Box