OPINION: Would Elle Woods have gotten into Harvard?

An argument at a staff meeting leads to a face-off between friends.
ILLUSTRATION: Elle Woods
ILLUSTRATION: Elle Woods
Luci DiBonaventura ’25
What, like it’s HARD?

Luci DiBonaventura ’25

The movie “Legally Blonde” directed by Robert Luketic tells the story of a girl, Elle Woods, who gets into Harvard Law to prove to her ex-boyfriend that she is smart.

It has been a wide debate since this movie came out about whether it was realistic or not for Elle Woods to get into Harvard Law. Rumors are that Elle Woods is not capable of getting into this prestigious school because of her looks, and she’s stereotyped as a “dumb blonde.”

Junior Emily Reilly responded to the doubt of Elle Woods getting into Harvard Law.

“Elle Woods is a very smart person,” Reilly said. “She graduated at the top of Harvard Law. What more is there to prove that she is a smart person? When people are saying she couldn’t get in, it is simply because of the way she looks, which is going against the complete point of the movie, not judging a book by its cover.”

When she applied to this school, she had a 4.0 GPA with a 179 on the LSAT, the two most important things when applying to law school. The average LSAT score for students applying to Harvard is 174, meaning she got above the average.

She also shows great leadership as she is the president of her sorority and is involved in philanthropy. Her major, being fashion, also doesn’t make her any less smart when it comes to applying to law school. Harvard Law likes a diverse range of law students.

She also came from a wealthy background and went to a very prestigious college, UCLA, in the musical version, all of which played important factors in her chances of getting into Harvard Law.

Senior Jo Kelly believes that it is realistic Elle got into Harvard Law.

“My mom went to a selective school,” Kelly said. “Having first hand reference I know an idea of how hard it is to get into a school like Harvard. I think that Elle could get in considering her stats. It is part lottery getting into these prestigious schools and she had just as an equal chance getting in as anyone else applying with similar stats.”

In 2001, after the movie came out, Harvard Law Bulletin published an article “In Defense of Blondes” that responded to the stereotype, stating that a lot of people were judged in Harvard Law on their intelligence based on their looks, and they hope that this movie helps change that.

At the end of the day, Harvard Law does not care about Elle carrying a little Chihuahua or her love for pink, but her GPA and LSAT. Not to mention, the movie displays how smart she is, as she graduated at the top of law school. This clearly shows how she was able to get into Harvard Law.

It’s literally HARD-vard

Lorelei Karn ’27

Elle Woods would not have gotten accepted to Harvard Law School. Harvard Law School is a very competitive school with one of the top-ranked law courses in the country.

While a 4.0 undergraduate GPA might align with Harvard’s standards, Elle’s undergraduate major was in fashion merchandising.  A major in political science might be a more typical undergraduate degree appropriate for law school.  And while fashion merchandising might be challenging in some institutions, it’s not likely she had the same qualifications and experiences with a degree unrelated to government and law.

In addition, at no point in the movie does it state what college Elle Woods attends. There is a ‘West Coast Cali’ vibe to her attire and setting, but no reference to the institution. Only in the musical is it stated that Elle Wood attends UCLA. So, in the movie, she could be coming from a far less rigorous college.

In the movie, Elle Woods can be seen not participating in her usual sorority events and instead studying diligently. This may be impressive, but this does not account for her work ethic in general.

At one point in the movie, Elle states, “I once had to judge a tighty-whitey contest for Lambda Kappa Pi. Trust me, I can handle anything.”

Elle Woods clearly hadn’t needed to work very hard for anything in her life previously if the most difficult task she’s had to accomplish was judging a tighty-whitey contest.

In addition, Elle didn’t even submit the correct application requirements. By normal standards, this would have eliminated her application immediately. Harvard Law School requires every applicant to submit a written statement about themselves but instead, Elle submits a video. This is unbelievably unrealistic. Harvard admissions would never accept an applicant who couldn’t even submit all the application requirements in full.

Moreover, another character in the movie, Warner, is Elle’s ex-boyfriend. He is a Harvard legacy with long-term aspirations of attending Harvard Law School.  It is revealed later in the movie that he was originally waitlisted when he first applied. At the beginning of the movie, Warner is far more passionate about law, and generally more qualified than Elle to attend Harvard.

It also puts the admissions office into further context. If they would hesitate to accept Warner, they wouldn’t be likely to accept Elle, and you can’t say that officers would accept her because they were generally more lenient.

From a feminist standpoint, one would feel morally inclined to vote in favor of Elle Woods attending Harvard. This can create a mindset that a hot blonde girl can do anything she sets her mind to, which is simply unrealistic in Elle Woods’s case.

Elle Woods is only applying to Harvard to win her ex back, she has no long-term goals besides marrying Warner. In fact, at the start of the movie, she has no goals or ambitions of her own besides trying to get married.

For the fifth ranked law school in America with an acceptance rate of 12.3% (in 2001), a Harvard Law student should have larger goals than just trying to get back together with their ex. It should be a privilege to attend such a prestigious school, not just a play to ‘get him back.’

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About the Contributor
Luci DiBonaventura ‘25
Luci DiBonaventura ‘25, Detours Editor
Luci is a junior and this is her third year writing for Panther Press. In her free time she enjoys painting, playing piano and dancing.
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