Do You Need a Diversity Statement?

Do you need to write a diversity statement for your law school application?

Diversity factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Ethnic minority
  • Low-income childhood
  • Low-income existence now
  • First generation in your family to graduate from college
  • Non-traditional student (i.e., older student)
  • Single parent while attending college
  • Learning or physical disabilities
  • Immigrant
  • Grew up in an unusual neighborhood, town/city or country
  • Grew up with unusual circumstances, unusual parent(s) and/or unusual sibling(s)
  • Foster child in the past

Diversity is important to all law schools.

Why? Because law schools want to foster a rich learning environment. You cannot have a rich learning environment if you do not have different perspectives, backgrounds, experiences and philosophies contributing to the dialogue, debate and discussion in each class. Having a diverse student body is a benefit to all law students.

That said, I highly recommend that you think hard about whether you have any diversity factors. If you do, write a diversity statement.

NOTE: If the law school does not specifically ask for a diversity statement, contact the admissions office to see if they will accept one. Some schools would rather you incorporate your diversity factors into your personal statement, while others are open to a separate essay. If they allow a separate essay, and you have diversity factor(s), I recommend that you write one.

So, how do you go about writing a diversity statement?

First, watch my video above on “How do I write a law school diversity statement?”

Second, download my FREE Personal Statement Packet and read the four diversity statement samples in there. You will get a good idea of how to approach and structure a diversity statement just by carefully reading and analyzing these samples. Similar to the personal statement, the diversity statement is essentially a short story about an important aspect of yourself. Keep in mind though that your diversity statement is much shorter than your personal statement–it should generally be one page, double-spaced, with a 11- to 12-point font.

Third, read each of the diversity statements again and read the adjoining personal statements that go with them. Notice how the applicant’s diversity factor(s) might be mentioned in his or her personal statement but they are covered in more detail in the diversity statement. I recommend that you do this too. As law school officials always tell me, “Applicants need to self-identify!” And I would add, applicants need to self-identify in more than one place in their law school application.

Last but not least, when you have a draft that is ready for human consumption (usually your second or third draft), have several trusted and objective people review it. Look for patterns in the feedback given to you. If two people say the same thing, pay attention. Then revise, revise, revise until it is the best that it can be.