What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:33 pm

I'm sure this has been asked before, but I would like recent input from someone that knows anything about this. I've read the stats of Harvard's admissions, and I saw that the number of people who took a year or two off after University had a higher admissions rate than those that went K-JD. I would also like to know how it can be possible to get in without taking a year or two off.

I'm trying to apply right after University if I could, but I would wait it off if it means they are more likely to admit me if I took the other route.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5640
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:36 pm

The first trick is to stop focusing on getting admitted to Harvard. There are a number of top law schools.

The second trick is to not take a year or two "off" to increase your chances of admission. Take some time after undergrad to work, live, mature, etc. You will become a more competitive candidate for law school, but you may also find out that you're interested in doing something else. There's no rush. Law school isn't going anywhere.

User avatar
Dcc617

Gold
Posts: 2373
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby Dcc617 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:39 am

Yeah, I don't think there's a higher admission rate because it's lower standards, I just think people with a few years out of school are better candidates overall.

Kaziende

Bronze
Posts: 206
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:10 am

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby Kaziende » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:20 am

criminologygeek wrote:I'm sure this has been asked before, but I would like recent input from someone that knows anything about this. I've read the stats of Harvard's admissions, and I saw that the number of people who took a year or two off after University had a higher admissions rate than those that went K-JD. I would also like to know how it can be possible to get in without taking a year or two off.

I'm trying to apply right after University if I could, but I would wait it off if it means they are more likely to admit me if I took the other route.


Step 1: Have a GPA at or above 3.9
Step 2: Have an LSAT at or above 173
Step 3: ... ?
Step 4: Profit.

User avatar
QuentonCassidy

Silver
Posts: 592
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:58 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby QuentonCassidy » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:55 am

Dcc617 wrote:Yeah, I don't think there's a higher admission rate because it's lower standards, I just think people with a few years out of school are better candidates overall.

+1 to this. Harvard lives and dies by the stats, so this is almost certainly a situation of correlation without causation. As the poster above said, the only route to reliably getting into Harvard is to have a very high GPA and LSAT.

User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:38 pm

QuentonCassidy wrote:
Dcc617 wrote:Yeah, I don't think there's a higher admission rate because it's lower standards, I just think people with a few years out of school are better candidates overall.

+1 to this. Harvard lives and dies by the stats, so this is almost certainly a situation of correlation without causation. As the poster above said, the only route to reliably getting into Harvard is to have a very high GPA and LSAT.

Yes I think that's honestly my best shot. Do you go to Harvard?

User avatar
Dcc617

Gold
Posts: 2373
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby Dcc617 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:22 pm

I think we both do.

User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:30 pm

Dcc617 wrote:I think we both do.

Awesome. So you've seen it first-hand where the majority of Harvard students aren't straight from undergrad?

User avatar
Dcc617

Gold
Posts: 2373
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby Dcc617 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:19 pm

I have. What exactly are you asking though? The point is that people not straight through have taken more time to gain cool experience, actually decide on law rather than falling into it, and of course taken the time to maximize LSAT scores. Plus Harvard says that it likes people with experience.

You can get in straight through, but most people on here would advise you not to for reasons wholly unrelated to admission rates.

User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:29 pm

Dcc617 wrote:I have. What exactly are you asking though? The point is that people not straight through have taken more time to gain cool experience, actually decide on law rather than falling into it, and of course taken the time to maximize LSAT scores. Plus Harvard says that it likes people with experience.

You can get in straight through, but most people on here would advise you not to for reasons wholly unrelated to admission rates.


Sorry for being vague, but that was honestly my question besides asking about things I should do in the near future to maximize my chances at getting accepted. I know it's not taboo to go straight into law school (harvard in particular), I would prefer not take time off. I know they prefer someone with a list of experiences, but if it's possible to get into the school without having to take years off, why not aim high? And I know some people stress on taking time off after undergrad to be sure law school is what you want to get into and commit to so you don't waste time and money--and that it would give you more time to perfect your lsat score.

But if I get a score above Havard's median, I would want to apply without second guessing.

eck456

Bronze
Posts: 331
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:07 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby eck456 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:00 am

criminologygeek wrote:
Dcc617 wrote:I have. What exactly are you asking though? The point is that people not straight through have taken more time to gain cool experience, actually decide on law rather than falling into it, and of course taken the time to maximize LSAT scores. Plus Harvard says that it likes people with experience.

You can get in straight through, but most people on here would advise you not to for reasons wholly unrelated to admission rates.


Sorry for being vague, but that was honestly my question besides asking about things I should do in the near future to maximize my chances at getting accepted. I know it's not taboo to go straight into law school (harvard in particular), I would prefer not take time off. I know they prefer someone with a list of experiences, but if it's possible to get into the school without having to take years off, why not aim high? And I know some people stress on taking time off after undergrad to be sure law school is what you want to get into and commit to so you don't waste time and money--and that it would give you more time to perfect your lsat score.

But if I get a score above Havard's median, I would want to apply without second guessing.


I mean one thing about Harvard is 1) they’re big enough to take some people who don’t meet the stats and not lose their ranking. So for the people in the class who aren’t above the medians, IME they’re very interesting and have done crazy cool stuff and tend to be older, whereas the straight through people right out of (a traditional) undergrad uniformly have ridiculously high scores.

So I would say while of course it’s possible to do cool stuff during undergrad (I like to think I did) you’re not really competing with the army officer with a bronze star, or the international activist who founded their own org. They have some flexibility on scores bc Harvard being Harvard they leave a certain number of spots every year for people that’ll get featured in the news that Harvard is the school they’re getting their degree at. Some of those people have really low scores in one area or another (I know someone from my section who scored low 150s on the LSAT) but Harvard takes that hit because that same person was featured on a ton of blogs, news articles, etc when they started bc of their background, and they’re going to do really amazing things that gets Harvard in the news pretty immediately after that person graduates.

Now, the vast majority of people accepted are not in that group, but they’re kind of a mix - people with a few years of experience who have done v cool stuff but also have generally high scores. They’re the “middle ground” - they stand a good shot of doing cool things v soon (NEVER UNDERESTIMATE how much Harvard likes a good press release) but they’re also generally helping the averages needed for rankings not hurting them. Then, you’ve got this relatively small group coming straight from undergrad, and they don’t have the weighing factors that someone with even a few years out might have. The only real thing they’re looking at in that case is grades and lsat, and the number of spots they have open is relatively small since they’ve intentionally moved away from more than 1/5 the class being people coming straight through. So if that’s definitely your plan, think about the fact that you’re competing for about 20% of the spots against people who are basically just like you (I’m assuming based on the above that you aren’t an international pop star making a pivot or someone with 1,000 undergrad publications or something and you’re more or less a typical successful college student). In that case, it’s still important to get leadership experience and get perfect (or as close as you can) grades and lsat because you’re just competing for a relatively small number of spots against other people like you, and Harvard reserves it’s risky numbers for people who are going to more immediately pay out in terms of media attention, flashy fellowships, etc.

And this is actually part of why I think going straight through is a really bad idea - once you get into Harvard, are you going to want the really flashy opportunities and fellowships and research internships? Because you’ll be 22 competing with 540 other people not just for grades, but for the really cool job with the director of the clinic you like, or the fellowship to go study something you’re really interested in over jterm, or even at OCI against people with really excellent interviewing skills and demonstrated success st full time work experience whose lsat might not be as high as yours, but with one or two exceptions most big law firms interviewing at Harvard couldn’t give a shit and just care that they’re at Harvard, their grades are good, and now they’re not super awkward at a professional interview and would be fine to bring in front of clients. On that alone I definitely think younger/ right out of undergrad people often do worse at OCI just bc they haven’t honed their interview skills yet and they’re just not that pleasant to interact with or don’t know how to pivot if there’s suddenly a behavioral interview or something they didn’t prep for. That doesn’t mean they’ll strike out, it just might mean if it’s them vs someone with more experience, it’ll often go to that other person, so the younger person winds up at a firm or practice area that might not be as good a fit for what they wanted, and what they might have gotten with even a year or two of full time professional experience or even just growth and learning outside a classroom.

So first, seriously consider the pool of applicants you’re in and what could get you a step ahead among other applicants like you (college seniors, more or less successful but haven’t won an Oscar, etc). Second, think really critically about how to maximize your ability to take advantage of the school once you’re there, and unfortunately all 540 students are competing for some of the same stuff because the school systematically under-resources certain programs or opportunities. Someone coming in with more experience and demonstrated success outside of an academic environment just has more doors open to them here, and you don’t want to graduate in 3 years and realize you missed out on a lot of opportunities or spent so much time on the just out of undergrad learning curve that you didn’t get to do all the really cool stuff that can come with going to a university like Harvard.

So I would honestly not just think about if there’s a way to get in straight through, but also if you’re going to be able to have the experience you want and success you want at the school even if you do get in right away. When you talk about “aiming high” you should be thinking about your long term outcomes, not just how excited you’ll be the September after you graduate to put Harvard on your resume. If your career goals necessitate the costs and sacrifices of going to Harvard over a cheaper school in the first place, you want to make sure you’re going to be competitive for those opportunities within the larger school. I’ve watched friends coming straight through or only one year out really struggle to navigate internships, OCI, and on campus opportunities they were interested in because they just don’t have the work/life experience to play the game and know how to maximize their own competitiveness for those things. Now you might be the exception and would interview better than someone who’s been working full time for 5 years, but coming straight through undergrad it’s just unlikely. So yes, there are ways to come straight through, I would just seriously think about why you’re doing it and what you plan to get out of it

Kaziende

Bronze
Posts: 206
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:10 am

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby Kaziende » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:24 am

The above post is excellent, and everyone considering going straight through should read it, take it seriously, and then adjust their life plans to include at least two years of solid work experience before law school.

User avatar
Dcc617

Gold
Posts: 2373
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby Dcc617 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:55 am

Kaziende wrote:The above post is excellent, and everyone considering going straight through should read it, take it seriously, and then adjust their life plans to include at least two years of solid work experience before law school.

eck456

Bronze
Posts: 331
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:07 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby eck456 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:59 am

Kaziende wrote:The above post is excellent, and everyone considering going straight through should read it, take it seriously, and then adjust their life plans to include at least two years of solid work experience before law school.


Lol the very small benefits of first week back insomnia -thx team

User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:20 pm

eck456 wrote:
criminologygeek wrote:
Dcc617 wrote:I have. What exactly are you asking though? The point is that people not straight through have taken more time to gain cool experience, actually decide on law rather than falling into it, and of course taken the time to maximize LSAT scores. Plus Harvard says that it likes people with experience.

You can get in straight through, but most people on here would advise you not to for reasons wholly unrelated to admission rates.


Sorry for being vague, but that was honestly my question besides asking about things I should do in the near future to maximize my chances at getting accepted. I know it's not taboo to go straight into law school (harvard in particular), I would prefer not take time off. I know they prefer someone with a list of experiences, but if it's possible to get into the school without having to take years off, why not aim high? And I know some people stress on taking time off after undergrad to be sure law school is what you want to get into and commit to so you don't waste time and money--and that it would give you more time to perfect your lsat score.

But if I get a score above Havard's median, I would want to apply without second guessing.


I mean one thing about Harvard is 1) they’re big enough to take some people who don’t meet the stats and not lose their ranking. So for the people in the class who aren’t above the medians, IME they’re very interesting and have done crazy cool stuff and tend to be older, whereas the straight through people right out of (a traditional) undergrad uniformly have ridiculously high scores.

So I would say while of course it’s possible to do cool stuff during undergrad (I like to think I did) you’re not really competing with the army officer with a bronze star, or the international activist who founded their own org. They have some flexibility on scores bc Harvard being Harvard they leave a certain number of spots every year for people that’ll get featured in the news that Harvard is the school they’re getting their degree at. Some of those people have really low scores in one area or another (I know someone from my section who scored low 150s on the LSAT) but Harvard takes that hit because that same person was featured on a ton of blogs, news articles, etc when they started bc of their background, and they’re going to do really amazing things that gets Harvard in the news pretty immediately after that person graduates.

Now, the vast majority of people accepted are not in that group, but they’re kind of a mix - people with a few years of experience who have done v cool stuff but also have generally high scores. They’re the “middle ground” - they stand a good shot of doing cool things v soon (NEVER UNDERESTIMATE how much Harvard likes a good press release) but they’re also generally helping the averages needed for rankings not hurting them. Then, you’ve got this relatively small group coming straight from undergrad, and they don’t have the weighing factors that someone with even a few years out might have. The only real thing they’re looking at in that case is grades and lsat, and the number of spots they have open is relatively small since they’ve intentionally moved away from more than 1/5 the class being people coming straight through. So if that’s definitely your plan, think about the fact that you’re competing for about 20% of the spots against people who are basically just like you (I’m assuming based on the above that you aren’t an international pop star making a pivot or someone with 1,000 undergrad publications or something and you’re more or less a typical successful college student). In that case, it’s still important to get leadership experience and get perfect (or as close as you can) grades and lsat because you’re just competing for a relatively small number of spots against other people like you, and Harvard reserves it’s risky numbers for people who are going to more immediately pay out in terms of media attention, flashy fellowships, etc.

And this is actually part of why I think going straight through is a really bad idea - once you get into Harvard, are you going to want the really flashy opportunities and fellowships and research internships? Because you’ll be 22 competing with 540 other people not just for grades, but for the really cool job with the director of the clinic you like, or the fellowship to go study something you’re really interested in over jterm, or even at OCI against people with really excellent interviewing skills and demonstrated success st full time work experience whose lsat might not be as high as yours, but with one or two exceptions most big law firms interviewing at Harvard couldn’t give a shit and just care that they’re at Harvard, their grades are good, and now they’re not super awkward at a professional interview and would be fine to bring in front of clients. On that alone I definitely think younger/ right out of undergrad people often do worse at OCI just bc they haven’t honed their interview skills yet and they’re just not that pleasant to interact with or don’t know how to pivot if there’s suddenly a behavioral interview or something they didn’t prep for. That doesn’t mean they’ll strike out, it just might mean if it’s them vs someone with more experience, it’ll often go to that other person, so the younger person winds up at a firm or practice area that might not be as good a fit for what they wanted, and what they might have gotten with even a year or two of full time professional experience or even just growth and learning outside a classroom.

So first, seriously consider the pool of applicants you’re in and what could get you a step ahead among other applicants like you (college seniors, more or less successful but haven’t won an Oscar, etc). Second, think really critically about how to maximize your ability to take advantage of the school once you’re there, and unfortunately all 540 students are competing for some of the same stuff because the school systematically under-resources certain programs or opportunities. Someone coming in with more experience and demonstrated success outside of an academic environment just has more doors open to them here, and you don’t want to graduate in 3 years and realize you missed out on a lot of opportunities or spent so much time on the just out of undergrad learning curve that you didn’t get to do all the really cool stuff that can come with going to a university like Harvard.

So I would honestly not just think about if there’s a way to get in straight through, but also if you’re going to be able to have the experience you want and success you want at the school even if you do get in right away. When you talk about “aiming high” you should be thinking about your long term outcomes, not just how excited you’ll be the September after you graduate to put Harvard on your resume. If your career goals necessitate the costs and sacrifices of going to Harvard over a cheaper school in the first place, you want to make sure you’re going to be competitive for those opportunities within the larger school. I’ve watched friends coming straight through or only one year out really struggle to navigate internships, OCI, and on campus opportunities they were interested in because they just don’t have the work/life experience to play the game and know how to maximize their own competitiveness for those things. Now you might be the exception and would interview better than someone who’s been working full time for 5 years, but coming straight through undergrad it’s just unlikely. So yes, there are ways to come straight through, I would just seriously think about why you’re doing it and what you plan to get out of it


Wow...lots of good information, thank you for taking the time to help me. I wasn't really aware Harvard like good press release or anything about that. It's kind of overwhelming because i'd like to think i'm a "successful" college student, but this just reminds me how i'll be one of the thousands of people competing for the same spot; and my application would probably drown in the thousands of stacks of students that are also like me, who have done even more cool things to stand out....

I think my best shot is to definitely do whatever I can to take on leadership roles and do as much unique and interesting things that will help me maximize my chances at being considered. It's just that I wouldn't know where to start. I still have time left, and i'm sure it will look better to not cram internships, leadership roles, and joining random clubs during senior year of University because it would probably appear to Harvard that i'm "trying hard" to stack random things to fill up my resume.

As for the interviewing skills after being admitted to Harvard, I agree with you saying someone with little to no work experience can interview
better than someone with a list and years of experience (although it's unlikely as you mentioned). I don't think that's at my top list of concerns but it's definitely something you're right about. I'm sure many people rushing to get into HLS come from little to no work background, so they end up with no interview skills.

The reason why I want to go straight through is because I feel like I don't need to take years off to gain work experience when it could be done during undergrad. I could probably learn the same set of skills applying for interniships/taking on any leadership roles at my University than working a 9-5 post grad. Though, I guess Harvard doesn't look at it that way and would much rather prefer someone who waits.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5640
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:56 pm

criminologygeek wrote:I could probably learn the same set of skills applying for interniships/taking on any leadership roles at my University than working a 9-5 post grad.


Trust me, you can't.

Also, why are you focused on Harvard to the exclusion of all other law schools? What do you want to do that you think will only be possible from Harvard?

nixy

Silver
Posts: 1024
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby nixy » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:32 pm

criminologygeek wrote:I think my best shot is to definitely do whatever I can to take on leadership roles and do as much unique and interesting things that will help me maximize my chances at being considered. It's just that I wouldn't know where to start. I still have time left, and i'm sure it will look better to not cram internships, leadership roles, and joining random clubs during senior year of University because it would probably appear to Harvard that i'm "trying hard" to stack random things to fill up my resume.

Right. Don't do things because you think they'll maximize your chances at being considered. Do things because they interest you or challenge you - for their own inherent value. Pretty sure the most successful candidates are those who have compelling narratives about why they've done what they've done - what their motives were and what drove them. If you pick things because you think they'll be helpful law school softs you are already going to be falling behind. (For instance: what *actually* interests you? Travel, music, art, sports, journalism, etc etc? Do something because it's interesting and speaks to you and you value the experience, not because it's a credential. The irony is that this will make it actually a better credential than checking off a box.)

The reason why I want to go straight through is because I feel like I don't need to take years off to gain work experience when it could be done during undergrad. I could probably learn the same set of skills applying for interniships/taking on any leadership roles at my University than working a 9-5 post grad.

So, cav already said this, and it's not unusual that you'd think this at your stage in life, but no. No. No. Living on your own and working a permanent 9-5 job as a non-student is just fundamentally different from internships and leadership roles while a student. The reason why Harvard views this differently is because it *is* different.

User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:47 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
criminologygeek wrote:I could probably learn the same set of skills applying for interniships/taking on any leadership roles at my University than working a 9-5 post grad.


Trust me, you can't.

Also, why are you focused on Harvard to the exclusion of all other law schools? What do you want to do that you think will only be possible from Harvard?

It's just a school of preference. I'm sure we all have our preferences and that is mine. If it doesn't work out i'll look at other top law schools...but i'm set on wanting to go to Harvard.

User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:52 pm

nixy wrote:
criminologygeek wrote:I think my best shot is to definitely do whatever I can to take on leadership roles and do as much unique and interesting things that will help me maximize my chances at being considered. It's just that I wouldn't know where to start. I still have time left, and i'm sure it will look better to not cram internships, leadership roles, and joining random clubs during senior year of University because it would probably appear to Harvard that i'm "trying hard" to stack random things to fill up my resume.

Right. Don't do things because you think they'll maximize your chances at being considered. Do things because they interest you or challenge you - for their own inherent value. Pretty sure the most successful candidates are those who have compelling narratives about why they've done what they've done - what their motives were and what drove them. If you pick things because you think they'll be helpful law school softs you are already going to be falling behind. (For instance: what *actually* interests you? Travel, music, art, sports, journalism, etc etc? Do something because it's interesting and speaks to you and you value the experience, not because it's a credential. The irony is that this will make it actually a better credential than checking off a box.)

The reason why I want to go straight through is because I feel like I don't need to take years off to gain work experience when it could be done during undergrad. I could probably learn the same set of skills applying for interniships/taking on any leadership roles at my University than working a 9-5 post grad.

So, cav already said this, and it's not unusual that you'd think this at your stage in life, but no. No. No. Living on your own and working a permanent 9-5 job as a non-student is just fundamentally different from internships and leadership roles while a student. The reason why Harvard views this differently is because it *is* different.


That was my point, I don't want to add a stack of random things on my resume just to look like a better candidate, i'd much rather do things I actually enjoy...and I would definitely not want to do 9-5 just to gain experience, there's other alternatives. Living on your own and having a job is fine, but I would rather just focus on maintaining my high GPA and getting an LSAT score in the 173-178 as that would already make me a competitive candidate.

nixy

Silver
Posts: 1024
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby nixy » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:33 pm

criminologygeek wrote:
nixy wrote:
criminologygeek wrote:I think my best shot is to definitely do whatever I can to take on leadership roles and do as much unique and interesting things that will help me maximize my chances at being considered. It's just that I wouldn't know where to start. I still have time left, and i'm sure it will look better to not cram internships, leadership roles, and joining random clubs during senior year of University because it would probably appear to Harvard that i'm "trying hard" to stack random things to fill up my resume.

Right. Don't do things because you think they'll maximize your chances at being considered. Do things because they interest you or challenge you - for their own inherent value. Pretty sure the most successful candidates are those who have compelling narratives about why they've done what they've done - what their motives were and what drove them. If you pick things because you think they'll be helpful law school softs you are already going to be falling behind. (For instance: what *actually* interests you? Travel, music, art, sports, journalism, etc etc? Do something because it's interesting and speaks to you and you value the experience, not because it's a credential. The irony is that this will make it actually a better credential than checking off a box.)

The reason why I want to go straight through is because I feel like I don't need to take years off to gain work experience when it could be done during undergrad. I could probably learn the same set of skills applying for interniships/taking on any leadership roles at my University than working a 9-5 post grad.

So, cav already said this, and it's not unusual that you'd think this at your stage in life, but no. No. No. Living on your own and working a permanent 9-5 job as a non-student is just fundamentally different from internships and leadership roles while a student. The reason why Harvard views this differently is because it *is* different.


That was my point, I don't want to add a stack of random things on my resume just to look like a better candidate, i'd much rather do things I actually enjoy...and I would definitely not want to do 9-5 just to gain experience, there's other alternatives. Living on your own and having a job is fine, but I would rather just focus on maintaining my high GPA and getting an LSAT score in the 173-178 as that would already make me a competitive candidate.

I mean, that's great, and I hope that works out for you, but you will be missing out on the non-getting-into-Harvard benefits of work experience. Because actually, the only way to get experience living on your own and working a real job full time is actually living on your own and working a real job full time.

Also why is Harvard your preference? It's not like liking potato chips more than ice cream or red more than blue - there has to actually be a reason behind it.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 1910
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:42 pm

nixy wrote:Also why is Harvard your preference? It's not like liking potato chips more than ice cream or red more than blue - there has to actually be a reason behind it.

I think OP answered that in a previous thread. OP wants to go K-JD, and recognizes that they are unlikely to get into YS as a K-JD, so "settled" on Harvard as the top school they can shoot for.

Of course, that explains "why Harvard," but doesn't explain the apparent "Harvard-or-bust" attitude. Like, when I was a 0L, Yale was my preference, but I didn't have a "Yale-or-bust" attitude (or even a YSH-or-bust attitude).

I assume OP's "Harvard-or-bust" attitude, like that of many other 0Ls we've seen here over the years, stems from Harvard College's lay prestige and a fervent desire to impress Gramps, Gran, the overly critical great aunt, and the clerk at the corner gas station.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5640
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:57 am

criminologygeek wrote:It's just a school of preference. I'm sure we all have our preferences and that is mine. If it doesn't work out i'll look at other top law schools...but i'm set on wanting to go to Harvard.


Yes, we all have preferences. For example, I prefer redheads. And although that preference is totally irrational, it doesn't have any real impact on my life.

The law school you go to does have an impact on your life. The reason people are asking why you so strongly prefer ("fixate on" might be more accurate) Harvard is because it's very common for 0Ls to develop the idea that a Harvard Law degree is important solely because the name seems so impressive. It indicates that you aren't thinking about law school as a means to an end (your career as a lawyer) but rather as the goal in and of itself. That's a recipe for disaster, and it's one of the other reasons that people are recommending you don't plan on going straight through.

Law school is three years of your life. Where you go is important, but what you do afterwards is much more important. And unless you've identified a career goal that cannot be achieved from Columbia (for example) but can be achieved from Harvard, then it's a really bad idea to develop this Harvard-first mentality. Most students and lawyers on these boards will be happy to tell you that such careers don't exist, or to the extent they do, they're about way more than your Harvard degree.

All this is really to ask: What do you want to do with your JD?

Npret

Gold
Posts: 1900
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:42 am

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby Npret » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:19 am

Great advice in this thread. It will benefit readers who have the willingness to listen.

OP is still a college freshman with one semester of 4.0, a “planned on”178 and Harvard goal.

My guess is OP wants Harvard because they watched Suits and probably all they know about practice is the biglaw starting salary.

Just a guess.

User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:28 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
criminologygeek wrote:It's just a school of preference. I'm sure we all have our preferences and that is mine. If it doesn't work out i'll look at other top law schools...but i'm set on wanting to go to Harvard.


Yes, we all have preferences. For example, I prefer redheads. And although that preference is totally irrational, it doesn't have any real impact on my life.

The law school you go to does have an impact on your life. The reason people are asking why you so strongly prefer ("fixate on" might be more accurate) Harvard is because it's very common for 0Ls to develop the idea that a Harvard Law degree is important solely because the name seems so impressive. It indicates that you aren't thinking about law school as a means to an end (your career as a lawyer) but rather as the goal in and of itself. That's a recipe for disaster, and it's one of the other reasons that people are recommending you don't plan on going straight through.

Law school is three years of your life. Where you go is important, but what you do afterwards is much more important. And unless you've identified a career goal that cannot be achieved from Columbia (for example) but can be achieved from Harvard, then it's a really bad idea to develop this Harvard-first mentality. Most students and lawyers on these boards will be happy to tell you that such careers don't exist, or to the extent they do, they're about way more than your Harvard degree.

All this is really to ask: What do you want to do with your JD?


I get why people would think that, and while Harvard is pretty extravagant just by the name itself, that's not the reason why I want to attend.
Also, a disclaimer, Harvard is NOT my only choice of preference. I have other schools in mind as well; so this is not a scenario where I rush out of undergrad and run to apply to HLS, and if I don't get in, I sigh and put my hands in the air in defeat and run off to bed and cry in agony. I get that "0L's" have that mentality because they see Harvard being portrayed in movies as a ~fancy~ school but to categorize me with that group is irrational, just because I had asked how it can be possible to go right through to HLS.

As for your question, I plan on doing what most people who get a JD do, become a lawyer a live a regular life. So it does matter what Law School you go to because it pretty much shapes the rest of your life, and getting into one of the oldest operating and highly well-known law schools in the nation does open up some really nice doors, wouldn't you think so?

User avatar
criminologygeek

New
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Re: What are ways to get admitted into Harvard without taking a year or two off post grad?

Postby criminologygeek » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:32 pm

Npret wrote:Great advice in this thread. It will benefit readers who have the willingness to listen.

OP is still a college freshman with one semester of 4.0, a “planned on”178 and Harvard goal.

My guess is OP wants Harvard because they watched Suits and probably all they know about practice is the biglaw starting salary.

Just a guess.


1. My GPA is actually 3.9, but thank you for rounding my GPA.
2. Never heard of Suits.
3. Have a nice day



Return to “Law School Admissions Forum?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: chillout3456 and 6 guests