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
- 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.
All of your tips are so useful!
In your opinion, would a near-death experience be a suitable topic to discuss in a diversity statement?
Thanks, Kaley! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found my tips to be helpful!
In regards to your question, a near-death experience might be a good thing to write about for your personal statement if it changed you in tangible ways; however, it would not necessarily be a good topic for a diversity statement (DS). The DS is more about your upbringing, family, ethnic, socioeconomic and/or sociocultural background.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Do you think an essay about growing up without a father is appropriate for a diversity statement?
Thanks for your question, Kelle!
Growing up without a father might be a good thing to write about for your diversity statement (DS) if it is connected closely with your ethnic background and/or socioeconomic and/or sociocultural background. As I’ve mentioned before, the diversity statement highlights the underrepresented factors in your life or upbringing. It is a chance for you to show the admissions committee what it is about your background and life experiences that is very different from the majority. It’s also a chance for you to explain how your diversity factors will help you in law school and how they can enrich the legal community.
If growing up without a father changed you in a significant way and it is not related to other diversity factors in your life, then you might want to see if it would be a better fit for your personal statement. Download the FREE personal statement packet from my blog or TIPS page when you get the chance. Let me know if you have any other questions, Kelle!