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Is That an Acceptance Letter in Your Pocket, or Do You Just Want My Application Fee?

4 December 2009

I’m in the process of applying to law school right now, which seems to mostly involve filling out the same information on forms over and over and over and over again, as well as gently harassing my professors to send their recommendation letters in.  I’m frankly looking forward to getting it all over with (although then I’ll just have the stress of waiting for acceptance or refusal letters).

I was almost all done with applications too, when I got an e-mail from Harvard Law encouraging me to apply.  I wasn’t even going to bother; I thought I didn’t have a chance in hell (my GPA in undergrad, while decent, wasn’t the best).  Then the following arrived in my inbox:

Dear Prospective Applicant:

The Law School Admissions Council has informed me that you may be considering law school this year.  I invite you to take a closer look at HLS and the unparalleled opportunities that are available in our legal metropolis.

Admission remains highly competitive at Harvard Law School, but each application receives individual consideration by our team of faculty members and admissions officers.  We believe that a student body with a wide range of experiences, interests, and backgrounds helps to create the best teaching and learning environment imaginable.  While this message in no way ensures your admission, we encourage you to apply.  Every year, we end up admitting students who never thought they had a chance at getting into Harvard.


Josh Rubenstein

Assistant Dean for Admissions

I don’t know if it’s just a ploy to make more on application fees (although that seems unlikely, since they still have to pay people to review my application) or if I actually have a chance of getting in, but as a result of that e-mail I sent along one more recommendation letter for my professors to fill out.  And now of course I’ve got my hopes up. Maybe I’ll be unique enough to get in!

After all, my personal statement is a little about becoming an atheist and a lot about protecting the civil rights and freedoms that religious fanatics always seem to be attacking.  I have to think that most people don’t write about that in their personal statements… at least not the atheist part. And while confessing to atheism might doom me to rejection, I have to think that the good people at Harvard are probably more open-minded and accepting of it.

So it seems I’ve put myself in a position to hope against which no logic or reason can sway me.  Odd isn’t it, how we can’t always make our brains act the way we’d like?  Things like this make it a little easier to understand how people can cling to religion.  If someone hasn’t figured out how that works already, you future biology types should look into it.  Hopefully I’ll be busy expanding civil rights!

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