October 15, 2012
From online degrees to high-tech classrooms, technology has changed the way college students learn and is now transforming the admissions process. Starting next year, Harvard Law School will begin conducting admissions interviews by videoconference, according to the ABA Journal.
For the past six years, the school has conducted interviews by telephone. This newest option expands the ways that students and admission officers can remotely communicate. Other law schools, such as Northwestern and Vanderbilt, have also taken such steps to include videoconferencing in their interview process, according to the JD Journal.
Harvard Law School officials hope that the inclusion of videoconferencing will give admissions officers increased opportunities to assess a candidate's qualities. The school will also make interview opportunities available to more students than previously allowed.
"The job of the HLS Admissions Office is to find the students who will become leaders in their chosen fields and will contribute to the advancement of justice and the well being of society, especially through teamwork and collaboration," Assistant Dean and Chief Admissions Officer Jessica Soban said in a Harvard Law School press release. "...The interview is one more tool that allows us to assess an applicant's ability to communicate ideas and engage well with others."
The process will also give students an opportunity to participate in live conversations and to talk about their strong points.
"We expect that these face-to-face conversations will offer candidates a more personal and satisfying way to let the Admissions Office learn about their strengths," Soban explained in the press release.
The new interview option is part of other expanded changes occurring at Harvard, including a broadening of the school's clinical and pro bono program as well as of its Public Service Venture Fund. School administration is also working to increase its focus on graduating attorneys who are well-trained in communication, collaboration and teamwork, skills considered essential to real world practice.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the use of video is a growing trend in the law school admission process. New York Law School, for instance, encourages potential students to include a four-minute interview with their application, while Northwestern allows candidates for some legal degree programs to interview via Skype or other videoconferencing tools.
Compiled by Aimee Hosler
"Harvard Law School announces expansion of J.D. admissions interview process," harvard.edu, October 11, 2012
"Harvard Law School Announces it Will Begin Conducting Video Interviews," usnewsuniversitydirectory.com, October 15, 2012, Catherine Groux
"Harvard Law School Launches Video Interviewing of J.D. Applicants," jdjournal.com, October 13, 2012
"Harvard Law School to Interview Applicants by Videoconference in Expanded Program," abajournal.com, October 12, 2012, Debra Cassens Weiss