Harvard wants UNM graduates.

The Harvard Law School Dean of Admissions, Joshua Rubenstein, traveled to campus Friday to make the Ivy League school seem less pretentious.

“My goal is to talk to as many students as possible,” Rubenstein said. “I want to replace a lot of the myths about the admissions process and make sure they get accurate information.”

North campus was one of Rubenstein’s many stops in a week-long effort to market the Harvard Law experience to prospective law students throughout the Southwest. The UNM chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity sponsored his visit.

Rubenstein said stereotypes attached to the Harvard name are inaccurate. He said the law school, although challenging and extremely selective, isn’t as impossible to be accepted into as commonly perceived.

Rubenstein said the potential for academic success and leadership are the two main factors reviewers look for in an application. Rubenstein also touted the importance of diversity and said a specific undergraduate discipline does not factor into law school acceptance.

“We love the fact that our students come from so many different fields of study,” Rubenstein said. “Shape your undergraduate experiences around what you’re interested in.”

The diversity of Harvard Law has been historically well-proportioned. In 2009, the entering freshmen class was from 19 foreign countries and 44 states, including New Mexico, according to a pamphlet provided at the event, and around three percent of all students enrolled this past fall came from the Mountain West region.

Vanessa Strobbe, former opinion editor at the Daily Lobo, graduated last year and attends Harvard Law.

During his hour-long talk to students on Friday, Rubenstein also advocated getting a law degree in the weak economy. He said a law degree is versatile.

Rubenstein cited a number of high ranking alumni — including President Barack Obama — who graduated from Harvard Law after working as a Chicago community organizer. Five of the current Supreme Court justices attended Harvard Law, he said.

Ashley Mackenzie, president of the fraternity, said speeches like Rubenstein’s help pre-law students strengthen their resumes and applications before applying.

“We want to help the pre-law community add new things to their application for law school — anything we can do to help prepare them for law school,” she said.
Mackenzie said the fraternity is trying to establish a community of students who have law school in mind after they graduate.

In addition to bringing speakers to campus, the chapter also organizes free practice LSAT exams, giving pre-law students tips to improve their application with extra-curricular activities and strong test scores, Mackenzie said.

*Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity