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The  Junior Deferral Program (JDP) application is now open, so we asked five recent admits to share their thoughts and reflections on why they chose to apply to HLS through the Junior Deferral Program. We hope you will find their insights helpful as you consider this option.

Why should undergraduate students, specifically college juniors, consider applying to the Junior Deferral Program?

James Holloway, 2015 JDP: “You should apply if you know you want to go to law school, you want a break between undergrad and law school, and you don’t want the stress of applying to law school looming over you after you graduate.  For me, it was an easy decision to apply because I figured I didn’t have much to lose. The worst that could happen was that I would be rejected and reapply to law schools down the line with the benefit of the JDP application experience behind me.”

Luna Floyd, 2018 JDP: “For me, the Junior Deferral Program gave me the flexibility to pursue work after graduation without considering the rigor of law school applications. I was able to jump into a high pressure paralegal job without worrying if I would have adequate time to study for the LSAT. Whether you’re accepted or not, applying for the Junior Deferral Program is a good way to get some of the hardest parts of the law school application process done before you’re out of college.”

Arvind Ashok, 2019 JDP: “The Junior Deferral Program is a great opportunity to gain flexibility after completing your undergraduate degree to pursue your interests without having to worry about eventually applying to law school. The law school application process is an arduous one, and the great thing about JDP is that it lets you complete it upfront and dedicate full attention to other educational and career experiences during senior year and following graduation.

Kristen Walker, 2018 JDP: “As a junior at Spelman College, I applied to the Junior Deferral Program because I knew law school was for me. The JDP is vital for juniors who are confident in their aspirations to apply to law school, but also want to explore additional professional/academic realms before attending. As a JDP applicant, I can truly say that this program allowed me the space to apply to law school, while also recognizing the great importance of expanding my network and experiences prior to matriculating. Therefore, I applied to the JDP not only because I knew I wanted to attend law school, but also because I knew this process required exploration at the forefront.”

Angela Li, 2019 JDP: “The Junior Deferral Program is an amazing opportunity to lock Harvard Law School into your future and secure at least two years of freedom to explore your interests without having to worry about how doing so might affect a law school application later. With the peace of mind that a world-class legal education is waiting for you, you can dream big, take big risks, experience the real world, and authentically embark on the life and career path meant for you.”

What is your favorite thing about the Junior Deferral Program?

James Holloway, 2015 JDP: “My favorite thing was the sense of freedom and peace it gave me after graduation.  With law school secured, I could focus on the here and now without the spectre of application deadlines, LSATs, essays, and letters of recommendation. Looking back, I am so grateful I had the space and peace of mind after graduation to just focus on my job and building a full life in a new city.”

Luna Floyd, 2018 JDP: “I’m the kind of person who likes to have a plan, and the Junior Deferral Program let me make the sort of long term academic and professional commitment that gives me peace of mind. I have also enjoyed connecting with HLS alumni before getting to Cambridge – everyone has a slightly different impression of the 1L year, and I’m excited to see how my experience stacks up.”

Arvind Ashok, 2019 JDP: “My favorite thing about JDP is that it lets applicants have the best of both worlds in terms of applying at a convenient time during college – when you are closer to your recommenders – while also providing time before law school to dip your toes into other valuable endeavors.”

Kristen Walker, 2018 JDP: “What I truly love about the JDP is the reassurance of knowing you have been accepted into law school. With this reassurance, you are truly able to maximize your gap years before attending, and thoroughly explore your crafts and talents within the professional realm before attending a professional/academic school. I have multiple friends who have applied to law school post-graduation who constantly discuss the challenges of having a full-time job while studying for the LSAT and preparing an excellent law school application. The JDP allows you to complete this process while finishing your undergraduate courses and remaining active on campus to gain further experiences.”

Angela Li, 2019 JDP: “Getting to relax! I’m so grateful to have gotten things like studying for and taking the LSAT, drumming up recommendation letters, and writing application essays out of the way while I was still an undergrad on an academic schedule. In my deferral period, I’m satiating my intellectual curiosities at my own speed. Not having to multi-task while I’m working lets me devote my entire mental energy towards getting the most out of my time before I start at HLS.”