Not sure what to disclose

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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nonpareilpearl
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Not sure what to disclose

Postby nonpareilpearl » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:05 pm

Right now I'm still gathering all the information I can and prepping to take the LSAT - so I'm not far along in the process. I am an LGBT student, though, and I noticed people talking about being an LGBT student here. Did any of you disclose your LGBT status to the schools you applied to while you were in the application process? Is there any advantage to doing so?

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voice of reason
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby voice of reason » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:03 am

Disclosing it is generally to your advantage because it means you'll add to a school's diversity. For the schools that accept a diversity statement, you should probably write about your LGBT status/experience. The only places where it could hurt (say, Regent) are places where you don't want to go.

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Cupidity
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby Cupidity » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:49 am

Just to give the con to this, I struck out at all of the religious schools I applied to, BC/ND...where I should have been auto-admit.

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Cupidity
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby Cupidity » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:50 am

GWU and BU loved it though.

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Cupidity
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby Cupidity » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:51 am

nonpareilpearl wrote:Right now I'm still gathering all the information I can and prepping to take the LSAT - so I'm not far along in the process. I am an LGBT student, though, and I noticed people talking about being an LGBT student here. Did any of you disclose your LGBT status to the schools you applied to while you were in the application process? Is there any advantage to doing so?


Feel free to ask me any questions via pm.

portlandpuzzle
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby portlandpuzzle » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:54 pm

Think about what you want to get out of law school, and what kind of support you want from your peers and faculty in the long run. It's not just about where you get accepted or if you get a diversity boost. You'll have to spend three years wherever you end up (or transfer...ugh).

My experiences being queer and dealing with professors who don't work well with queer students were an important part of my personal statement, mainly because I am completely unwilling to spend another dollar on intolerant faculty. I don't expect people to agree with my life choices, but I do want them to have enough respect for me in academic and professional environments to avoid cringe-worthy discussions.

As a savvy educational consumer* I applied to a wide range of schools with a very blunt presentation. If I am ever in consideration for something awesome and anyone starts digging into my personal life over the years, I want absolutely everyone who went to law school with me to be able to back me up and say "Yep, strange you'd even ask, but portlandpuzzle is queer, although we just thought of her as a scholar..." ;)

*sarcasm, if you didn't guess :)

If you or anyone else browsing wants to chat about this, PM me.

SeiferD
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby SeiferD » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:25 pm

I think it's mostly a soft boost to your application. It won't be like a full-urm status, but it might offset some minor factors. It might be an auto-reject at a few rare schools (Pepperdine, regent, BYU, etc) but I wouldn't worry about it unless you had your heart set on them.

It also gives you a good topic for your personal statement if you can integrate it into a larger theme.

One thing to keep in mind though, I believe your application is not kept private and it is also looked over when you apply to the bar. If you're closeted that's something to think about.

SeiferD
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby SeiferD » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:28 pm

From their mailings, I also got the impression that Yale is desperate for GLBT students. I'm still kicking myself for not applying.

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nonpareilpearl
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby nonpareilpearl » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:32 pm

Thanks for all the advice! I wasn't thinking it would give me the same "boost" as a "true" URM, my main concern is the one brought up by portlandpuzzle - I don't want to go to an institution that is so rigid that I will need to worry if people find out I'm gay. I want to be able to be gay and have it not matter.

Thanks for the info about the bar - I didn't even think about that. I guess I want to be able to know, ahead of time, if a school is notoriously intolerant of LGBT students. Is there any way to tell this ahead of time? Or would it be easier to make a list of schools I'd like to attend and see what other students/applicants experiences were?

SeiferD
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby SeiferD » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:03 pm

I'd say take the LSAT (or use a consistent practice score) and your GPA and figure out what range you fall in. Once you get to that point you could post a list of possible schools (from scholarship to reach) and ask.

Also, I found this chart somewhat useful: http://www.lsac.org/specialinterests/lgbt-chart.asp

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ConMan345
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby ConMan345 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:11 pm

SeiferD wrote:From their mailings, I also got the impression that Yale is desperate for GLBT students. I'm still kicking myself for not applying.


Interesting, what gave you this impression exactly??? :)


To OP, my app is covered in gay. However, be really careful how you spin it. If you're going to do anything more than mention it, it has to be tied into your story (how it affected you and how those effects got you to where you are now). Be truthful, but stay positive: think of a professor you don't know reading your app (he isn't your friend, a family member or your therapist, but he is going to look for the best in you---in other words, don't over do it, it's really easy to). Also, I would argue that mentioning it, in most cases, is a chance for you to screen out schools where you'll be miserable. Who wants to attend an institution with endemic discrimination?

SeiferD
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby SeiferD » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:21 pm

ConMan345 wrote:
SeiferD wrote:From their mailings, I also got the impression that Yale is desperate for GLBT students. I'm still kicking myself for not applying.


Interesting, what gave you this impression exactly??? :)


In addition to their regular materials, they sent two overnight letters that basically said "Hey you have good stats and your gay, why the hell haven't you applied?" Unfortunately, at that point I didn't really have the time to do their extra essay justice. Oh well.

Nice cycle btw! Grats on Stanford, I'm very jealous!

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ConMan345
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby ConMan345 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:25 pm

SeiferD wrote:
ConMan345 wrote:
SeiferD wrote:From their mailings, I also got the impression that Yale is desperate for GLBT students. I'm still kicking myself for not applying.


Interesting, what gave you this impression exactly??? :)


In addition to their regular materials, they sent two overnight letters that basically said "Hey you have good stats and your gay, why the hell haven't you applied?" Unfortunately, at that point I didn't really have the time to do their extra essay justice. Oh well.

Nice cycle btw! Grats on Stanford, I'm very jealous!


Thanks! :D I'm a bit of a pessimist, so it's gone shockingly well. :P

portlandpuzzle
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby portlandpuzzle » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:04 pm

nonpareilpearl wrote:I guess I want to be able to know, ahead of time, if a school is notoriously intolerant of LGBT students. Is there any way to tell this ahead of time? Or would it be easier to make a list of schools I'd like to attend and see what other students/applicants experiences were?

One idea that I picked up from other students is simply calling schools anonymously to ask. I haven't bothered to be anonymous since I was so explicit in my statement, but if you're really worried you might come up with a list of questions and pepper schools with them by phone. I actually ask this stuff in person. I'm posting my list, but keep in mind that I have a sweet voice and tend to hardball everyone, so these questions may not be your cup of tea. :)

Q's for my potential law schools:

Do you consider your school to be supportive of diversity? What kind of diversity? What does it bring to the student body?
* This is nice because you get to find out what they'll put on the surface and what's important to them. It's especially interesting if they don't know what category you fit in because you can easily get a general read. In my experience, schools that are honest about being interested in diverse applicants will stick up for diversity when asked.

What about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, or just generally queer students? Do you like having them at your school? Can you think of any queer students who are leaders in your student community?
* You can really tell if they don't like hearing those words said out loud...I recommend not shortening them into "LGBT." :) Hearing someone from admissions choke on one of those terms may answer your question more than any hearsay ever could! I have had good responses from schools that have openly said they are proud to have diverse students including but not limited to sexual minorities. My personal favorite schools say they take pride in having a diverse student body and think anyone they admit is ready to learn to practice law.

What do you do specifically to support students who are sexual minorities? Does career services maintain contact with LGBT lawyers who will let them know if a firm practices internal discrimination? What do you do to help your students overcome potential employment barriers in a bum market without sacrificing identity?
* A school that is committed to having diverse students will understand the importance of these concerns. I like to find out if the school has any background in working with diverse applicants without pandering -- I'd expect that anyone working hard at a good school deserves respect for their legal skills regardless of orientation, race, gender, language background etc. and career services should be ready to help all students get treated professionally. Also, I'm pushing 28 and have worked at least part-time since turning 16, so I don't feel guilty talking openly about the economy. ;)

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nonpareilpearl
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Re: Not sure what to disclose

Postby nonpareilpearl » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:05 pm

Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it! :D




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