Personal Statement

Applicants present themselves, their backgrounds, experiences, and ideas to the Admissions Committee in a Personal Statement. Because people and their experiences are diverse, you are the best person to determine the content of your own statement. It is for you to decide what information you would like to convey, and the best way for you to convey it. Whatever you write, readers will be seeking to get a sense of you as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Harvard Law School. In this context, it is generally more helpful to write what you think readers should know to have a better sense of who you are rather than writing what you think the readers want to read.

The Personal Statement can be an opportunity to illuminate your intellectual background and interests, or to provide information about yourself and your achievements that may not be fully evident through other information provided in the application. In many ways, you are preparing a case. As in legal writing, it is important to be persuasive, clear, and succinct. There are few substitutes for careful forethought and planning in this process.

We understand that it can be difficult to discuss yourself on paper, but our experience is that written statements are valuable in the selection process. Candid, forthright and thoughtful statements are always the most helpful.

Last modified: August 26, 2010

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