In our last post, we highlighted a sometimes-overlooked piece of law school admissions applications – the optional essay. One of the most common prompts for the optional essay will ask you about how you’ll contribute to a law school’s campus and class diversity. The law school diversity statement challenges many people who get caught up on what diversity is and how they can possibly contribute to it when they don’t belong to a certain race, ethnicity, or gender.
Also, be sure to check out our advice for underrepresented minority law school applicants as well as our complete guide to getting into law school!
Now without further ado, let’s jump in and look at some tips for writing a diversity statement!
Broaden your definition of diversity
To write an effective diversity statement, you’ll first need to think outside the box a little. Ignore any of the parameters of diversity that you’ve been taught to stay within. For example, just because you’re not a member of a minority group doesn’t mean you’re not a candidate with diverse skills, talents, and experiences!
Think about parts of your character or aspects of your background that make you stand out from other applicants. If that happens to be your commitment to voicing the cause of underrepresented groups, that’d make for great content for this essay. But by no means is that the only thing that qualifies as a diverse experience. If you grew up in a major city, you could discuss how that environment transformed you by giving you the opportunity to work and study alongside people from varying socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Or if you’ve spent time volunteering in another country, reflect on how your encounters broadened your horizons. Experience abroad isn’t a prerequisite for diversity, either – plenty of volunteer and work exposure right in your own backyard can be eye-opening.
You might also choose to write about a personal challenge that you’ve faced, which has helped build your resilience and character. Instead of focusing on the challenge, though, focus on how you overcame it and showed strength despite adversity. That is, don’t get so caught up with telling admissions officers about any struggles you’ve experienced that you forget to illustrate how your perspectives and ideas have matured.
And last but not least, you could write about a talent you have that sets you apart from others. A hobby or interest that you’ve really excelled at can make for an engaging diversity statement topic. It’s all in how you frame your story.
Use space wisely
Your personal statement should take center stage. While your diversity statement should be just as well-edited and just as polished, it’s oftentimes shorter than the personal statement. We’ve highlighted the importance of conciseness in the personal statement, and this goes for the diversity statement even more. Typically, the diversity statement is about one to one-and-a-half pages, double-spaced. Make your words count!