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Harvard Law School Removes The Personal Statement Requirement

When the Supreme Court handed down its decision on affirmative action earlier this summer, the higher ed community knew the ripple effects would be swift. Likely the biggest one thus far in the law school admissions world comes from Harvard Law School–it’s dumped the traditional personal statement requirement for law school applicants and replaced it with two new essays: the Statement of Purpose and the Statement of Perspective. 

But what does this mean for all you aspiring Elle Woods and Harvey Specters out there? Grab your metaphorical legal briefcases, and let’s analyze this change.

Statement of Purpose: Motivation, Goals, and Dreams

So, you want to be a lawyer, huh? The Statement of Purpose is where you get to channel your inner Atticus Finch. In one to two pages, you need to [elegantly] spill the beans on what’s motivating you to dive headfirst into the legal field. 

Are you in it for the thrill of the courtroom drama, the chance to argue like a boss, or because you’ve secretly binge-watched every legal drama on Netflix? We recommend you find a stronger motivation than that last one. 

Basically, Harvard wants to know what is driving you and how attending their law school aligns with your ambitions, goals, and vision for your future. 

Statement of Perspective: Who Are You, Really?

It might seem hard to believe, but law schools are not just interested in your LSAT score and GPA. No, they want to understand the deepest, quirkiest corners of your soul. Enter the Statement of Perspective. 

In another one to two pages, you’ll need to unveil how your life experiences, background, and interests (i.e. all those aforementioned Netflix shows) have shaped you. Think of it as reflection therapy but with the potential for a J.D. degree at the end.

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Tips for Completing the New Harvard Law School Essays

If you got this far and are thinking these just sound like a deconstructed personal statement, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Although these essays are not exactly the same as a traditional law school personal statement, there are a number of overlaps. You still shouldn’t write a laundry list of achievements or a “Why you need to accept me” essay. You should also go through various rounds of drafts and edits. 

Ultimately, the same goals apply. Try to demonstrate that you are the kind of candidate that would benefit Harvard Law School and vice versa. It’s your chance to showcase your unique experiences, your aspirations, and everything that makes you, well, you.

Why Did Harvard Law School Remove The Personal Statement?

In response to the SCOTUS affirmative action decision, Harvard Law School is aiming to have a broader approach to its admissions questions. The goal is to inform admissions officers both of the students’ justification for law school as well as to provide insight into the perspectives of their potential student body. 

If you need help with the new essays, Blueprint’s Law School Admissions Consultants are here to help! And if you want to make sure your application stands out before admissions committees even read your essays, enroll in the Blueprint LSAT 170+ Course to get a guaranteed 170 LSAT score.