"Diversity" statement - help much appreciated!

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"Diversity" statement - help much appreciated!

Postby soesghost » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:41 pm

Ok been having a lot of trouble writing a diversity statement. I am a much older, non trad student (optimistically), who is not a URM but came from very poor background. I have searched these sites for examples of something similar and havent rly found it, so I am trying to put something together. This is the first draft, but as my PS and LOR's are done, I am getting these apps in THIS WEEK so I have to polish this up a bit if I can - and yes i would rather have it than not, if i cant hurt me.

Thanks so much in advance! ::::

I have long held to the belief that the world is comprised of two types of people: those who let circumstance dictate their lives, and those who realize that circumstance is a result of choices and decisions they made. Sometimes, you are forced to this realization earlier than you should, as was the case with me.
I grew up in a home that on the surface seemed a stable, loving one. My father was a NYC firefighter, heroic and respected in his field. My mother was president of the PTA and very active in our community. What seemed like a Norman Rockwell painting on the surface was really just a thin veneer hiding a house full of strife. When I was eight, my parents divorced and we were plunged into a life of extreme poverty. Though my mother tried her best, without my father’s income, we could not make ends meet. I am thankful now that I was too young at the time to fully understand that, because want was all I knew. It wasn’t until middle school, where sociology begins to override civility, that I became aware of our situation, thanks to the observations of my classmates. Trying to succeed in school when your world is literally crumbling around you becomes secondary to survival.
At one point I could even have been considered homeless. After we were forced to sell our house, I lived for two years in a building with broken windows and no heat or hot water. I wasn’t there by choice, but I had no other option, and was essentially a squatter. No matter how successful I may become in my life, nothing will ever make me forget those years of no money, no food, no hope – the crushing despair of bleak poverty. As I found, it is rarely as simple as “Why don’t you just get a job?” Though this time in my life was difficult, I did not become bitter. Instead, I was left with a firm resolve to raise myself up, and a strong empathy for those who are less fortunate than others.
At this stage of my life, I am by far a non-traditional student. I will turn forty in my first year of law school. I have had two careers at this point, first on Wall Street for ten years, and now with the FDNY for the last eight. I have started companies, employed a staff of 15, and handled millions of dollars in incredibly risky situations. I have had companies bought from under me, and found myself unemployed overnight. I have hung from a rescue harness eighty feet in the air, and crawled down a burning hallway filled with choking black smoke. I have reunited scared pets with their distraught owners after a fire, seeing in their gratitude the reason I took the job in the first place.
While I may not represent “diversity” in some of the more common definitions, I am certain I bring it to the table. Diversity shouldn’t be as simple as the color of your skin, or nature of your heritage, but rather what it is about you that is beneficial to the overall experience. In my opinion, the extreme hardship I endured at the start of my life laid a resolute, compassionate groundwork for the rest of my days. Combined with the myriad experiences I have had in both the financial industry and civil service, I feel I am well suited to bring a unique, valuable, and yes, diverse perspective to a law school class.

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Re: "Diversity" statement - help much appreciated!

Postby MrSparkle » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:36 pm

Good story, but I think the first half is kind of muddled. I think there needs to be a stronger central drive/narrative. I don't like the opening line because it is too cliche. Though the rest of the essay substantially supports your belief, it puts me in the wrong mood to read that first.

- Perhaps begin with your poverty, rather than the path leading down to it, and explore that more fully.
- You don't have to say you're non-traditional. By being 40 it's apparent.
- "Sociology overrides civility." This is the definition of sociology: "the study of the development, organization, functioning, and classification of human societies." I think you meant to use a different word?
- Schools know that diversity is not limited to skin, that's why they don't define it. You don't need to say "it's not limited to skin." I think you can use that space to talk more about yourself.
- When you say "Thanks to the obs of my classmates," this sarcasm is a little bit unclear. I had to think whether you meant it or not.
- You could even talk about your poverty in relation to your Wall Street job, the irony of handling millions of other people's money. That could be brilliant if written well.

With a lot of work it can be even better, hopefully you have the time because I think this adds a lot to who you are.

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Re: "Diversity" statement - help much appreciated!

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:49 pm

Paragraph three is well done; paragraphs one, two & four need to be redone.

Overall this is an average diversity statement. The primary problem stems from your opening sentence which may run counter to many readers' experiences & beliefs. Your "view of the world" should be guided by a more reasonable & credible foundation.

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