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How to: Write a Winning Diversity Statement for Law School (No Matter Your Background)

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Hello future lawyers, attorneys, and judges!

As you begin the admissions process for law school, you’ll likely notice that most institutions give applicants the option to submit what’s known as a “diversity statement” along with their statement of purpose (also referred to as the personal essay) and other application materials. If you’re serious about your application and want to give yourself the best shot at admission, then this diversity statement is not actually optional.

This diversity statement provides an applicant with the opportunity to discuss their unique background and identity, as well as what they will bring to the campus community.

If you’re staring at the blank page thinking to yourself, “Nothing about me is interesting enough to write about for this prompt!”, think again. The law schools you’re applying to value campus diversity, and diversifying means accepting students of all different races, ethnicities, gender identities, religions, and sexual orientations. It can also mean inviting students  to campus with unique upbringings and interests, or from a wide range of geographic locations.

Instead of asking yourself, “How am I diverse?” try asking, “What do I bring to the table? What makes me unique? What about my background or identity will allow me to introduce my fellow classmates to new perspectives or modes of thinking?” 

Because you’ll want to merge your application materials to form one cohesive application package, it’s in your best interests to consider what you’ve already written about or presented thus far on the page. If your personal statement focused on  your experience as a child of immigrant parents, you’ll likely want to center  your diversity statement on a different aspect of your background, upbringing, or identity.

Keep in mind that although admissions officers want to learn all about you, they are ultimately reading  your application to consider how you might succeed at their institution and flourish post-graduation. As such, it will best serve you to connect the salient aspects of your background or identity to both your present and future (hopefully, a future at one of the institutions you’re applying to)!

Maybe you were raised by same-sex parents, and are, in part, pursuing a career in law to protect the civil liberties that your community holds dear. Or perhaps as a kid, you were diagnosed with and treated for a rare metabolic disorder, and now you want to use the privileges you’ve been afforded to help those with fewer resources at their disposal gain access to the same quality of care.

Regardless of the direction you choose to take, always remember to edit, proofread, and get a fresh perspective on everything you write. With a sensitive topic such as identity, you’ll be wise to make sure  nothing gets lost in translation. A trusted friend, mentor, or expert Advisor will help you to focus your message and fine-tune your story.

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