7 Key Takeaways From Harvard College’s Law School Panel

The FAS Mignone Office of Career Success hosted its 8th annual panel in November 2022 for students and alumni interested in applying to Law School. The event provided an opportunity for students to connect with 10 top Law programs around the country through a panel discussion and a virtual networking session in breakout rooms. 

In attendance were the Deans and Directors of Admission from Boston University, University of Michigan, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, Berkeley, Columbia, UChicago, and Harvard Law School.

The panelists had ample advice for undergraduate students who are considering applying to law school and below are the 7 key takeaways from the event:

  1. When trying to appeal to a law school admissions officer, don’t simply do what you think they want to see. All of the panelists heavily emphasized being yourself and showing your personality through your application. Candidates should have a clear understanding of their story or demonstrate authenticity in their application.

  2. The admissions officers are looking for you to tell your individual story and communicate your passions rather than looking for specific prestigious internships. Instead of trying to discern the internship pattern of past applicants, choose internships that will help you grow and are part of your narrative. People have vastly different stories to tell and it is better to place value on experiences rather than internships.

  3. When choosing the right law school for you, do your research. Ignore the rankings and Reddit posts and other arbitrary opinions and find what is best for you. Keep in mind what you want to do with your law degree and recognize that not all law schools are created equal. It is important to find the right fit, both culturally and personally. Your classmates become your lifelong network.

  4. In terms of opportunities to familiarize yourself with law schools before applying, there are endless ones! Many of the law schools do virtual recruiting in the fall and it is highly encouraged that you attend them. Many of the panelists emphasized the importance of talking to current students to gauge the culture of the school and ask them questions about aspects that are most important to you. It can even be as simple as going to the law school’s homepage and looking to be inspired.

  5. In regards to deferral programs, there is no general right answer for whether a student should go straight from college into law school or take time off. It is an individual decision and needs to be what’s right for you. If you want to take time off and pursue other interests, that’s great, and if you don’t, that’s great too!

  6. When asked about advice for law school interviews, many of the panelists echoed the same sentiment that they expressed in the application process: be yourself and tell your story. If you receive an interview invitation, the school is interested in getting to know you and wants to hear about your interests and what you plan to do with them. It’s important that you know  your resume and application well, bring questions, and enjoy the conversation. Remember the interview process works both ways – they are seeing if you are a good fit for their school and you are seeing if their school is a good fit for you.

  7. Law school is an investment of time and money but there are many options for students looking for financing outside of need-based aid. Students can also look for external scholarships and merit-based scholarships. Be proactive about applying for these scholarships and keep deadlines in mind. Loan repayment assistance plans can also be helpful because they help manage loans, but they are a significant decision.

By Sydney Bloch ’25, MCS PAF

By Nicole Satyanarayan
Nicole Satyanarayan Assistant Director, Law, Government, Non-Profits, Foundations, and Military Service