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Harvard Law School Maintains 2018 Application Spike

Law School in The Summer
Students eat lunch outside of the Harvard Law School Library. The Harvard Law School Class of 2022 is 50 percent women and 45 percent people of color.

Last year’s Harvard Law School application increase may not be a one-off — the high application numbers have stuck around for another cycle.

The Law School received 7,419 applications for the juris doctor Class of 2022, compared to 7,578 applications from the Class of 2021, and the 5,755 applications it received from the Class of 2020. Of the 7,419 applicants, 12 percent were accepted.

Though application numbers are down 2.1 percent from last year, the number of applicants to Harvard Law remains significantly higher than in years past — last year saw a 32 percent increase over the previous year. During the application cycle following the 2016 election, there was a nationwide 8.3 percent spike in law school applications that led some experts to dub the trend a “Trump Bump” in response to President Donald Trump’s election.

In 2018, Harvard Law School Assistant Dean for Admissions and Chief Admissions Officer Kristi L. Jobson said she thought that Harvard Law admission’s spike had less to do with the national increase and more to do with Harvard-specific initiatives.

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“We don’t attribute the 32 percent increase that we saw to a parallel to the national increase because it was much higher,” Jobson said at the time. “We think that our office has engaged in a systematic strategy in knocking down barriers to legal education.”

Starting in 2018, Law School applicants were able to apply with the GRE test instead of the traditional LSAT if they chose. The Law School also added video interviews as part of their application. Seat deposits were eliminated the previous year.

This year, half of the matriculating class will be women. Roughly 45 percent of the Class of 2022 are students of color, and 14 percent of the Class of 2022 are international students.

The Law School also attracted applicants from a variety of academic and career backgrounds. Of the matriculating students, 24 students are current or former members of the United States Armed Forces, and 27 earned a graduate fellowship — including the Rhodes Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, and Truman Scholarship — and 1 competed on the television show “Survivor.”

Consistent with Harvard Law’s recent emphasis on “work experience,” more than 75 percent of the class spent at least one year out of college before matriculating to Harvard Law.

The Law School had 561 first-year students begin classes on September 3.

—Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at michelle.kurilla@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.

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