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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

September 22, 2007

Why All LL.M. Applicants Need to Understand Harvard's Questions

After almost six years of counseling clients on US LL.M. admissions I have reached the conclusion that anyone applying to top LL.M. programs needs to understand the Harvard essays even if they are not applying there. When it comes to LL.M., I think Harvard Law School does. My reasoning is as follows:

1. Harvard Law School is the top general LL.M. program. Yale and Stanford are harder to get into, but they are small specialized programs. Harvard has the best name brand reputation of any American university in the world and so does its law school.

2. Not a single one of the LL.M. admits to Harvard I worked with or know about ever rejected it to attend Columbia, Chicago, or other top general LL.M. programs.

3. For applicants who apply to Harvard, it is the hardest application they will likely have to complete. The only other exception might be UC Berkeley because of the need to have a very detailed plan of study, but that is arguable and highly variable.

4. Most importantly, those who apply to Harvard are also applying to the other top programs and many will most likely be utilizing their Harvard content to prepare essays for other schools. The rigorous analytical and legal thinking that makes for great Harvard essays will thus impact not only their chances for admissions at other schools, but all other applicants' chances as well.

Therefore even if you don't apply to Harvard's LL.M. you need to apply the same level of intellectual rigor to your essays that a successful Harvard admit would be applying to his or her essays. Since you are competing with those who apply to Harvard, you need to write essays at the same level as required by Harvard. In my next post, I analyze Harvard Law School's four essay questions for Fall 2008.

-Adam Markus
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