We invited some of our recent Junior Deferral Program (JDP) students to share their advice on the application process with you. From Brandeis and the University of Idaho to Columbia and Spelman, we hope these tips are helpful for you as you prepare your Junior Deferral Program applications!

Pursue Your Passions
In your application, you want to show not only how JDP is right for you, but also how you have already taken advantage of opportunities available to you in college or elsewhere. The Junior Deferral Program looks for people who take initiative and who will make the most of the opportunity the program provides. Pursue your passions outside the classroom and make them clearly visible in your application.

Daniel A.
Class of 2019, Brandeis University
Class of 2024, Harvard Law School

Get Feedback from Others
My advice to someone working on their JDP application is to get your personal statement in front of as many eyes as possible. The personal statement is an important tool to showcase who you are and what makes you uniquely qualified to apply for JDP. Ask those close to you (family, friends, classmates, professors, etc.) to review your personal statement. Those who are closest to you are in the best position to recognize the things that make you unique, and will help highlight your strengths. They will also help you refine the language of your statement so you are putting your best foot forward on your application.

Nathan B.
Class of 2019, Brigham Young University

Class of 2024, Harvard Law School

Plan Early, Be Yourself

Try to make an application plan early, both to plan out your next steps and to determine whether going through the application process as a junior is feasible and compatible with your other goals. It is probably better to wait to apply to law school than to submit a weaker application to JDP. For example, letters of recommendation can often be stronger for more senior undergraduates. Seminar-style classes in which professors and students interact substantively often come later in your college career, so if you know you’re interested in JDP you should be sure to develop strong relationships with lecturers and other professors earlier. That way your junior-year application is as strong as a senior-year application would be.

Make sure that you don’t get lost in the application. It’s great to have others proofread essays and offer feedback, but make sure you are always representing yourself and not what you, or others, think will appeal to admissions officers. It isn’t a numbers game, so don’t plan your life around solving an imaginary formula–there is no magic combination of GPA and test scores that guarantees admission, so don’t get lost trying to earn the perfect GPA and the 180 LSAT score. Instead, focus on developing your academic and extracurricular interests, work hard, and be proud of where that gets you. Your interests and talents are far more interesting than your LSAT score–apply with this in mind.

Jessica G.
Class of 2019, Columbia University
Class of 2024, Harvard Law School

Give Yourself Credit
The advice that I would give to someone considering the Junior Deferral Program would be simply to go for it! Give yourself due credit for the hard work that you have so far put into your academics, extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities, and your personal development. Do not count yourself out of the game before you even play and do not let fear or self-doubt hold you back. Take a risk and apply for this program because the result just might be a life-changing surprise!

Ayomipo K.
Class of 2019, University of Idaho
Class of 2024, Harvard Law School

Consider the Benefits
If you are considering applying to the Junior Deferral Program, I can absolutely say it was one of the most worthwhile decisions I’ve ever made. This program allows you the reassurance of knowing you have been accepted into law school while allowing you the space to grow and develop before entering to reaffirm your own self and purpose. In regards to the application, choose recommenders that can speak to you and your passions, and do not be afraid to be personal when writing your personal statement. Your entire application should tell your own unique story because Harvard Law wants each seat in the classroom to be filled with bright yet authentic individuals.

Kristen W.
Class of 2019, Spelman College
Class of 2024, Harvard Law School

Filed in: Junior Deferral Program

Contact the J.D. Admissions Office

Website: hls.harvard.edu/jdadmissions

Email: jdadmiss@law.harvard.edu