Is it Diversity or diversity?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
delusional
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Is it Diversity or diversity?

Postby delusional » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:36 am

I want to write a diversity statement because I feel that a certain event in my life will indeed contribute to the diversity of the school, in the sense that it's a unique experience. But it is not an experience that was related to Diversity in the sense of discrimination. Does it qualify for a diversity statement?

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verklempt
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Re: Is it Diversity or diversity?

Postby verklempt » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:10 pm

Adcomm wants to hear about real challenges that you have successfully met. In addition to the obvious (race, national origin) diversity can include sexual orientation, disabilities (physical or psychological), or socioeconomic background. If you grew up in Antarctica, that might be worthy of a diversity statement.

If your "diversity" is anything that might be construed as boasting -- zipped through 2000 books last summer, climbed a lot of mountains, visited 57 foreign countries, had dinner at the White House a dozen times -- then, sorry, it is not diversity, and mentioning it will only irritate the adcomm. If you've started your own (real) company, published your novel, or raised $5 million for a nonprofit -- ie accomplished something truly impressive -- then you should find a place to mention it. But not in a diversity statement.

Bottom line: if you're questioning whether or not you need a diversity statement, you probably don't.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Is it Diversity or diversity?

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:51 pm

I have a similar question - specifically, to what degree does being a non-traditional applicant qualify as "diversity"? When I start LS, I'll be a middle-aged white guy (44 years old), coming off of a twenty-year career in the Navy (both as an enlisted man and an officer), with a master's degree in physics.

There have been plenty of obstacles and adversities along the way, but I don't know whether to write a separate diversity statement or just work them all into my personal statement/resume. The big ones I'm thinking of are:

1) long deployments away from home
2) the Navy nuclear power training program, with a 50%+ washout rate, and then flight training
3) a year of physical therapy after a near-crippling accident before I could get back into a flying status
4) SERE school (there's nothing like standing outside naked in 6 °F weather with eighty complete strangers and getting beaten/interrogated for the sake of "training")

So, are these (and many other similar life/work experiences worthy of a diversity statement, or should I just fit them in elsewhere?

delusional
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Re: Is it Diversity or diversity?

Postby delusional » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:34 pm

verklempt wrote:Adcomm wants to hear about real challenges that you have successfully met. In addition to the obvious (race, national origin) diversity can include sexual orientation, disabilities (physical or psychological), or socioeconomic background. If you grew up in Antarctica, that might be worthy of a diversity statement.

If your "diversity" is anything that might be construed as boasting -- zipped through 2000 books last summer, climbed a lot of mountains, visited 57 foreign countries, had dinner at the White House a dozen times -- then, sorry, it is not diversity, and mentioning it will only irritate the adcomm. If you've started your own (real) company, published your novel, or raised $5 million for a nonprofit -- ie accomplished something truly impressive -- then you should find a place to mention it. But not in a diversity statement.

Bottom line: if you're questioning whether or not you need a diversity statement, you probably don't.

My topic would be something in between. I'm referring to a unique and challenging series of events that is related somewhat to law. It taught me various lessons, among them, some which are law-related.

I'm also asking specifically for a app that needs one supplementary essay. I can BS a "why X" or I can write a moving "experience" statement, which is not one of the options. So I need to know if it qualifies as diversity.

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verklempt
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Re: Is it Diversity or diversity?

Postby verklempt » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:13 pm

The only options are "why x?" or a diversity statement? If so, perhaps you can work your "unique and challenging series of events that is related somewhat to law" into a Why X essay. If the school wanted an essay about a moving experience, they would offer that as an option. They have reasons for framing the prompts the way they do (even if those reasons may not be clear to us). Give them what they ask for, or you risk coming across as someone who either can't follow directions or who is recycling an essay that was written for another school.

ScottRiqui,I am in a similar situation and am working some of that into my PS. It's hard when you are older and have done so much -- you have to edit carefully or your PS will resemble a fly by of your life, not very compelling. I would try to home in on some adversities that are unique to you vs fairly common challenges like long deployments or procrustean training tactics. (3) on your list looks promising in particular as I imagine you had to overcome emotional/psychological as well as physical setbacks, and you can use that to let the reader see your character and strength.

delusional
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Re: Is it Diversity or diversity?

Postby delusional » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:42 pm

verklempt wrote:The only options are "why x?" or a diversity statement? If so, perhaps you can work your "unique and challenging series of events that is related somewhat to law" into a Why X essay. If the school wanted an essay about a moving experience, they would offer that as an option. They have reasons for framing the prompts the way they do (even if those reasons may not be clear to us). Give them what they ask for, or you risk coming across as someone who either can't follow directions or who is recycling an essay that was written for another school.

ScottRiqui,I am in a similar situation and am working some of that into my PS. It's hard when you are older and have done so much -- you have to edit carefully or your PS will resemble a fly by of your life, not very compelling. I would try to home in on some adversities that are unique to you vs fairly common challenges like long deployments or procrustean training tactics. (3) on your list looks promising in particular as I imagine you had to overcome emotional/psychological as well as physical setbacks, and you can use that to let the reader see your character and strength.

Okay, I didn't want to get too specific, but it's Penn and here are the options.

Diversity statement, in which they specifically mention work experience and etc. as possible topics.

Work of art or literature that most inspired you to become a lawyer. My options for this are legally blonde and WTF.

How you see Penn Law as fitting into your five year plan, which is easy to write, but hard to write well.

Of the above, my personal experience with a scenario that led me to conclusions about personal identity as well as right and wrong and crime and punishment is the most compelling, and it fits best into the "etc." clause of the diversity statement. I have no doubt at all that it matches the definition of diversity as being of varying backgrounds and experience. On the other hand, it does not fit into diversity in the sense of discrimination. Hence, my question.

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verklempt
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Re: Is it Diversity or diversity?

Postby verklempt » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:09 pm

That's an unusual way to define diversity, but if those are their parameters, sounds like you're fine.

ixwad
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Re: Is it Diversity or diversity?

Postby ixwad » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:26 pm

I'm confused about the Penn Law --> five year plan thing.




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