PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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onthecusp
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PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby onthecusp » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:07 pm

Thank all of you for your help.
Last edited by onthecusp on Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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CG614
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Re: PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby CG614 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:22 pm

First off, I feel for your story. And my comments do not reflect anything negative about your struggles and hardships through life. But, I would seriously consider scrapping the parts about abuse and drugs. You risk making the reader uncomfortable. Plus, this essay should be more about how you have overcome hard times in your life and how you now are a better person for it. How those experiences will help you make a positive contribution to the classroom, by allowing you to provide a different perspective. I would possibly make general statements about your trials, but not go anywhere near the detail you provide. That is just my opinion. Good luck!
Last edited by CG614 on Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LAWLAW09
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Re: PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby LAWLAW09 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:31 pm

Posting here just in case someone wants to add or disagree with my feedback and so that other URMs can get something from the convo...


The story has some kick to it. Good job. I'm curious how this fits into the larger story that your application is telling. Are any of your childhood experiences connected to why you're going into law? Connected to what's on your resume? Connected to qualities that your letters of recommendations are going to touch on (have they read this?)? Connected to GPA addendum? Personal Statement? And so on and so forth.

As an isolated essay this could read as: applicant wants to go to law school just to be different, break the mold, get over his past, evoke sympathy, etc. Clearly, your this essay won't serve as your entire app but I'm leaving these comments just in case more time could be spent tweaking parts of your app so that everything fits together as a coherent and powerful story.



One line made me pause when I read it:

"Anybody who sought academics in my family would have to be a person willing to stand opposed to the truth of inevitability."

"...truth of inevitability..." <-- what does that mean? I'm sure the adcomms are smarter than me but I feel as if I'm taking a guess if I attach any meaning to that phrase. You are trying to break strong familial and racial cycles by going to law school and you're telling them not just "I can" but "I will." If that is the case, are you really facing something that is inevitable or is there some illusion of inevitability or a force of improbability that your moving against?


I rarely post on here but this is one of the few essays that I read in its entirety so I wanted to try to be helpful.

I wish you the best. Keep representing. And when you get your shot...run with it and take a few ppl with you.

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LAWLAW09
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Re: PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby LAWLAW09 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:33 pm

Posting here just in case someone wants to add or disagree with my feedback and so that other URMs can get something from the convo...




np.


If the rest of your app is strong, specifically gpa and lsat, I wouldn't close with "I'm looking for a shot." If you're not a gamble, there's no reason to risk that interpretation. If that line is in there for some of your reaches than I would still consider a sentence or two that links this to the rest of your app or why your background makes you an applicant that will improve their school. It jumps out that you can handle adversity but as a minority applicant how does your experience impact your every day thought process or how you plan to impact or use the law?

If I had your essay and another essay that said the exact same thing but gave me a few sentences not just on how the applicant wants a shot, but on how the applicant plans to transfer the benefits from getting that shot to the community he comes from, yours wouldn't be my choice.

As a urm my comments are consistent with my own personal bias (see "take a few with you" above) but I would think most would lean towards the applicant that says, "I have overcome much, will continue to, AND I'm going to make sure the next generation that faces similar undeserved challenges benefit from my opportunities."



No insult is taken if you disagree.

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bitlrc
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Re: PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby bitlrc » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:34 pm

onthecusp wrote:Any constructive criticism that anyone can offer will be greatly appreciated. This has to go out tonight.

College was a novel concept for me. My parents never graduated high school, my father dropped out after the 10th grade, along with my mother after becoming pregnant at 16; advanced educational pursuits were neither practical, nor possible. It’s not that they weren’t capable; money and avoiding homelessness became the chief concern of our small unit. Anybody who sought academics in my family would have to be a person willing to stand opposed to the truth of inevitability. Illegitimate children of Mexican American teenagers normally don’t fare well in school, and I was no different as a child.

My parents divorced when I was three years old. My mother and I moved on to live with my grandmother, hoping to garner some protection from my father who had become abusive, becoming absorbed into a gang lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. Our lifestyle remained nomadic with our inability to lay down roots anywhere absent of chaos. We did the best we could with what we had. My mother supported us through the Los Angeles County welfare program, along with a small job working at “Smart and Final”.

Eventually, my mother would move us in with her boyfriend at the time, in the hopes that he could provide us with a form of financial stability. Things were ok for awhile until he turned abusive. He would physically and verbally abuse all of us, believing this was his right, since we were staying in his home. He was a monster, holding particular disdain towards me, as I was never afraid to question his authority to abuse my family. I did this intentionally, because in doing so, I would prove successful in directing his wrath away from my mother and younger siblings onto myself. I felt at 7 years old that I was better equipped to handle the abuse then they were; my siblings were too young and my mother had endured too much; I owed it to her. Through him, I was able to reconcile to myself that I was a “mongrel, bastard, retarded, monkey looking child who would clean his bathrooms one day.” It wasn’t until allegations of child molestation emerged from my little sister before we decided to leave for good, moving back with my grandmother, and great grandmother.

I would write off his attempts to objectify me, but my psyche eventually would give way as I became more and more aware of the abnormalities of my situation compared to other kids. He was right; who was I to believe I could ever accomplish anything. I could hardly read as it was, and though I showed promise in school, I knew that we would never be able to afford college. College was for important people, and I didn’t fit the bill.

I fought depression and self esteem issues for the entirety of my child hood. I was afraid of people, and struggled to ingratiate myself into my school communities. I was broken as a child, but not destroyed. Nobody could take away my love of reading; and I read voraciously about stories of those who had overcome. Autobiographies were my favorite, as they demonstrated that the power to succeed came from within, and the walls preventing us from achievement were not unbreakable. Much later in my early 20’s I began to imagine myself as the things that I could become. I finally started to ask the question, “why not me”? Why couldn’t I become a lawyer? Why couldn’t I excel academically? What was stopping me? I resolved to myself that it was no longer about what was, or what is; it was about what could be.

I am far removed from the desperation that plagued my childhood; I have come to respect my past as a necessary variable shaping the man I have become. I am a man ready to stand opposed in the face of inevitability; grasping fully the opportunities set before me. The opportunity to attend Chapman law school is not one available to the majority of those from my background. All my life I’ve been waiting for my shot, my break to make it and finish my story. I’m ready to finish, I just need somebody to give me a shot.



the wording in the bolded part seems a little confusing to me. was it 1 particular instance or was that a pattern of behavior? if it's a single occurrence, i think it should read "my mother moved us is" otherwise you're switching up tenses which will not look great.

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LAWLAW09
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Re: PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby LAWLAW09 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:34 pm

"onthecusp wrote:

I have edited the last paragraph to make the "inevitability" portion more clear. Does this sound better?

Reality has exposed the truth that inevitability is illusory when opposed. I am a man ready to stand opposed in the face of inevitability; grasping fully the opportunities set before me."







It seems unnecessarily wordy. Not to mention it seems like something someone could want to debate just for the sake of debating. Isn't death inevitable and does opposing it change that? Most would say that opposing death will not stop it from occurring and now your left with an adcomm having an intellectual conversation in their head over what they consider to be flawed reasoning.

I'd much rather see something simple while capturing the strength of your essay:

"When given an opportunity, I make the most of it. When faced with challenges, I overcome them. This is evident in my past. More importantly, this attitude is inseparable from my core values and how I intend to live the rest of my life."



Maybe not those words but something to that effect. stylistically. You've already given them beautiful language and imagery. Give them something that an adcomm can repeat if he/she has to fight for your application in a few seconds.

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lawrencecis
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Re: PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby lawrencecis » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:49 pm

I'd have to say I would agree with the above posters. I think you make a very compelling story and I enjoyed reading it. However, if I was a person at law school reading this, I might feel kind of awkward about it. I've had to deal with some of that kind of stuff too and it sucks. If you could make it a little more up beat and constructive toward the practice of law/law school, it would be stronger.

You have to remember purpose. Why are you writing this? You are not writing an essay for a Chicano studies, nor talking to kids in the barrio, but talking to a law school. They want to know that although you're going to bring that baggage, they probably don't want to know all the specifics (some is good, too much is overwhelming). They probably want to know more about how your going to help them look good after you graduate. They probably don't want someone who sounds (not is, idk you) as pissed off as you (although you have ever right to btw). I mean no disrespect. Ten cuidado, buena suerte.

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onthecusp
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Re: PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby onthecusp » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:54 pm

.
Last edited by onthecusp on Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lawrencecis
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Re: PLEASE HELP...submitting diversity statement today....

Postby lawrencecis » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:29 pm

Yeah, dude, get it out ASAP.




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