So, any advice for writing my Diversity Statement?
For your Diversity Statement, do these things:
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 usually about your culture (ethnicity, religion, shared interests, etc.), but it can be about any aspect of your background that will show the admission committee how you will make their law school more diverse by your presence.
2. To frame your statement, it may help to start with these two questions:
1. How are you different from your peers? What facts of your history—your own experience or family or culture—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 (or other) factors set you apart? Does your religious belief inform your culture or history? 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? What does your diversity teach me about who you are and what you'll do at my law school?
4. Show me that you’re not a stereotype. If you have cultural influences that 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, particularly on cultural differences. 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 and what you will bring to law school, 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.