LSAT Kung Fu Blog / 5 Hot Tips for an Awesome Diversity Statement
5 Hot Tips for an Awesome Diversity Statement
Hey, Dave, should I write a Diversity Statement?
You are you, which means you're not me or her or him. That means you're diverse, and you should tell your prospective law school why you are and why that matters.
Think about your diversity statement as being another chance for you to win the argument that you belong in law school X. One way in which you're not diverse is that you want that extra chance to make your case. You have the chance; use it.
Here are 5 things you can do (well, 4 plus 1 thing you shouldn't do) to make your Diversity Statement awesome:
1. Tell me where you come from. Your Personal Statement is about who you are. Your Diversity Statement is about how your background shaped you. It’s primarily about your culture (ethnicity, religion, shared interests, etc.)
2. To frame your statement, start with these two questions:
1. How are you different from your peers? What facts of your family or cultural history make you different from the people around you? Or, if you come from a strongly unitary cultural enclave (you’re a Mormon from Salt Lake, or an African American attending Howard), it may help to phrase the question like this:
2. How are you and your peers different from the larger American culture? What cultural factors set you apart? Does your religious belief inform your culture? Are you stereotyped by others?
3. Show me how those differences have made you who you are. Was being different hard for you? Did it make your life easier? Did it improve your ability to assimilate or did it provide challenges you had to overcome?
4. Show me that you’re not a stereotype. If your cultural influences make you different from the majority, how are you different from other people who share your cultural influences? Imagine a small box (your cultural heritage) inside a bigger box (the majority culture). You need to talk about how the small box changes your relationship to the big box, and you also need to talk about how you fit within the small box.
5. Don’t lecture me. Yes, the current state of American cultural intolerance seems to be at a low ebb, but this is not the appropriate venue for your treatise on race- or gender- or religion-relations in the US. This is about you. Keep the spotlight on how your diversity has shaped you, not how you think things ought to be in the world.
Do those things, and you’ll accomplish your goal of a winning Diversity Statement that gives law schools more information about you and more reasons to want you.