Admissions Haiku


One day last year, while browsing the Harvard Square Barnes and Fauxbles, I encountered a thought provoking book: 65 Successful Harvard Business School Application Essays: With Analysis by the Staff of the Harbus, the Harvard Business School Newspaper. Hey, I thought, there’s no reason why the Record can’t do the same thing, if only because we have a much less silly name.

True, law school admissions essays don’t really count for anything, but when has that stopped law students from stressing over anything? What a brilliant way to make money for me . . . umm . . . I mean, a scholarship fund for struggling Record writers who didn’t do OCI and thus have no job prospects, by which I mean, well, me. And, possibly, Andrea.

Unfortunately, this summer I, and the rest of the law school, got an e-mail from the Editor-in-Chief of the Crimson, soliciting essays for the law school version of the book. Like any good law student, my first thought was “Sue, sue, sue!” Then I remembered that (a) I don’t actually know any copyright or trademark infringement law and (b) like any good law student, I was hungry for the external validation that comes from having a 19-year-old college sophomore telling you your stupid application essay was better than your peers’ stupid application essays. (This is as good a time as any to point out that I never heard back from the Crimson staff. I can only assume that they were so impressed by my brilliance that they went ahead and stole my essay to publish under their own name (since we know they’re into that over at the College)) So I sent my essay in, thus rendering my moral outrage more or less null and void.

But, I started thinking, it’s not like there’s a limit on the number of law school applications books the market will bear. After all, law students will buy anything that someone tells them is necessary for success. (See e.g., Atticus Falcon, PLANET LAW SCHOOL II, Fine Print Press (2003)) So I decided that there was no reason I couldn’t do my own book after all. Most of the obvious contenders are already taken (Law School Confidential, Law School for Dummies, Law School on Crystal Meth, Law School: It Will Kill You and Eat Your Brains), but I came up with a less conventional prospect. I think it really has potential, so I’m providing a short excerpt for potential publishers to peruse at their leisure.

65 Harvard Law School Haiku Application Essays that Worked: With Analysis by the Staff of the Harvard Law School Record.

1) The wind swept Yard isFilled with undergraduatesLike me. Let me in.

Analysis: Some 25% of Harvard Law students actually went to Harvard College as well. Pointing out this fact can only help (an alternate haiku might focus on your prep school of choice).

2)Leaves fall from their postPulled downwards by a frigid windTunnels keep me warm.

Analysis: Admissions people like to see that you’ve really researched the school before applying. This haiku praises the innovative architectural design of the school, namely the underground tunnels that keep Harvard students from having to see the sun for weeks at a time. Your research of Harvard’s unique architecture (hint: work in renowned architect Walter Adolph Gropius for extra bonus points) will really show that you customized your haiku for Harvard in particular. Furthermore, the fact that you are aware that 75% of Harvard Law Students are, in fact, vampires that do not emerge during daylight will show that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Note: You may notice that the second line actually has eight syllables. That’s okay; lawyers can’t do math and will never notice. That’s why they went to law school instead of medical school.

3) My LSAT is high.US News ranked Harvard third.So, you have no choice.

Analysis: This poem, while sparse in form, does a brilliant job of elucidating one of the fundamental truths of law school, namely that law schools are LSAT whores. Except, perhaps, Yale, who can afford not to be (and who thus can also afford not to admit you). Remember, “LSAT” should always be pronounced as “el-sat” rather than “ell-ess-ey-tee.” This heightens the emotional impact of the poem by twisting the rhythmic structure in an unexpected direction and also saves you on the syllable count.

4) A shallow blue pondHardens for one winter weekAh, time. Man’s folly!

Analysis: This profound poem examines the superficial nature of time as it is marked off in arbitrary increments by humankind, governing our lives, when really it is relative, entwined with the very fabric of the universe itself. Also, you wouldn’t want to appear like the kind of whiner who, if admitted, will write column after column in the school paper complaining that there are no freezing coils at the bottom of the ice skating rink. Nobody wants more of those.

5) Truth, Holy Father!Can I find God’s graceIn my Torts casebook?

Analysis: While it is possible that this poem was composed with the author’s roommate’s “Religious Magnetic Poetry” kit while she was waiting for the microwave to beep, that does not detract from the fundamental nature of the question it poses. The answer, of course, can be found in many, many lawyer jokes that need not be repeated in this space, but you’re probably not supposed to know that until you actually start law school.

Katie Mapes, 2L, would like the Coop to carry a legal magnetic poetry kit.