- September 6, 2018
- Posted by: Stratus Admissions
- Category: Law-Blog
Get a head start on your essays now, especially if you do not like writing! The law school Diversity Statement is typically an optional essay, a companion to your required “Personal Statement.”
The Diversity Statement provides law schools details about you: your personal experiences, your unique voice, and how you will add a diverse perspective to their class. Keep the following tips in mind to write an effective Diversity Statement.
1. It’s About You.
The Diversity Statement conveys to law schools deeper dimensions of who you are, what circumstances and events have shaped your life. While your Personal Statement communicates why you want to go to law school and what qualifications/experiences/accomplishments prepare you for this endeavor, the Diversity Statement is more personal in nature.
Diversity Statement topics can range from overcoming hardship (poverty, illness, abuse, death in the family, etc.), volunteering to serve the community, encounters with other cultural or sub-cultural groups, and more.
One former Stratus Admissions client wrote about a religious pilgrimage through Spain that he participated in during his senior of college. Through this pilgrimage, he learned about his own heritage, as well as modern day poverty in Spain. This experience cultivated his desire to go to law school and become an advocate for human rights.
Begin by thinking about what the most formative experiences of your life have been. Jot them down in a Word document or in a journal.
2. Start with an Outline.
Like your Personal Statement, you should outline your Diversity Statement before you begin writing.
Pick one major life experience or event, summarize that event in an introduction, then use each body paragraph to provide details about the experience or event and the various ways it has shaped who you are.
Conclude with your reflection: How has your unique experience shaped your perspective and how will this add to a law school’s diversity?
Do not repeat information that you’ve already included in your Personal Statement.
3. Stories Add Value.
All essays can benefit from anecdotes and stories, but this is especially true for the Diversity Statement. Incorporating details and dialogue can make an essay even more compelling.
For example, if you write about growing up in a poor rural community, share stories about the people who you grew up with. What was a typical day in your life like? How far did you have to drive just to get to the supermarket? Did you have access to legal aid if you needed it? These details can bring your essay to life.
4. Keep It Brief.
Typically, the Diversity Statement is only 1-2 pages double-spaced (while most Personal Statements run 2-4 pages). Formatting varies from school to school, so be sure to double check what each school’s requirements.
5. Ask for Feedback.
Just like with your Personal Statement, obtaining feedback is important for a strong Diversity Statement. Ask someone you trust — a professor who is writing your letter of recommendation; a colleague– to review the essay and provide detailed feedback. Take sufficient time to evaluate their feedback and make necessary edits.
And always, always proofread before you submit your Diversity Statement. Typos and errors will not be well received by Law School Admissions Committees and will weaken your application.
A strong Diversity Statement can convey to law school admissions committees a deeper sense of who you are, what has shaped your values, and how you will bring diversity to their classroom. Getting a head start well before applications are due ensures that you will have the strongest Diversity Statement possible.