White-Guy DS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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danielhay11
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Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:32 pm

White-Guy DS

Postby danielhay11 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:03 am

I am a white male applying to mostly T14 law schools. I am debating writing a DS, but I don't want it to be forced. One idea: A hybrid story of attending an expensive private school as a scholarship student and then becoming the first in my family to attend, much less graduate from, college. I am also currently a TFA corps member and could write about the importance of diversity competency in interpersonal relationships, etc.

I feel, though, that the first would seem manufactured and the latter would be too esoteric or not sufficiently about me.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear from anyone who used a DS as a non-URM.

duckmoney
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Re: White-Guy DS

Postby duckmoney » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:16 am

I think the general consensus is if you're not a minority / poor / gay / disabled, they don't really want want a diversity statement. Its probably not going to help you very much if you do it well, and could easily make you look like an entitled ass if you don't.

The point of a diversity statement is to give the admissions office a reason that you will bring diversity to the class. "Diversity" means traditionally underrepresented categories - anything that doesn't scream rich and white and male. If you can't do this, don't submit a diversity statement.

If you feel that were socioeconomically disadvantaged growing up, and were different from the other kids around you, that could be a good diversity statement. If your family was middle class and gave you a middle class upbringing, I would veer away from it.

TFA doesn't really show diversity; thousands of TFAers apply to law school every year. It could be a good topic in your PS, but just know that its not very unique.

msu1077
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Re: White-Guy DS

Postby msu1077 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:20 am

I am a 34 year old white applicant. I applied to a few schools that really emphasized DS on their websites and viewbooks. I am also a first generation college graduate. I concentrated on the 1st gen. college graduate, my legal work experience, and my age. I would focus on overcoming being a first generation college graduate and the specifics of that challenge if I were you.

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FlanAl
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Re: White-Guy DS

Postby FlanAl » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:21 am

Penn and Mich practically require diversity statements. Maybe I didn't get in because what the above poster said but I wrote them anyway. Your background is way more compelling than mine though so I think your topic should be good.

msu1077
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:27 pm

Re: White-Guy DS

Postby msu1077 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:30 am

One more thing my wife just brought up. The TFA experience could be seen as a diversity issue, if you taught in an inner-city environment, where you were diverse from the students you were teaching. Just another way to possibly approach the topic.

berkeleykel06
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Re: White-Guy DS

Postby berkeleykel06 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:38 am

I think there is a difference between being a first generation college student and being a dirt poor first generation college student. I think white people should write a DS in the second case, but not the first. Growing up with people who were truly poor, it makes me really annoyed when white people claim to be all diverse because they were poor but what poor really means is that they had to share a computer with their family instead of getting their own, had an older model cellphone, had basic cable instead of deluxe, and lived in a small house instead of a big one.

Being middle class and getting a scholarship to go to a school with upper class kids isn't enough, in my opinion.
Now, if you truly were lower class, then I think the scholarship story is compelling.

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RMstratosphere
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Re: White-Guy DS

Postby RMstratosphere » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:58 am

Being in TFA is not "diversity" for purposes of law school admission nor is your understanding of the importance of diversity competency. I wouldn't use the "first gen. college graduate" story either.

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danielhay11
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Re: White-Guy DS

Postby danielhay11 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:22 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful (and quick) feedback, all! Very, very helpful, both with regards to writing a DS in the first place and, if I do write one, how to structure it.

Berkeleykel, you voice exactly what I was concerned about. I'm not a Princeton legacy or Rockefeller, but I also know my challenges growing up pale in comparison to the things my students (low-income urban school) face everyday. It felt insincere to write a DS, but I'd also read a few blogs that basically say "write a DS no matter what" that had me doubting skipping it.

berkeleykel06
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Re: White-Guy DS

Postby berkeleykel06 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:36 pm

To back track a little, I'm obviously not an admissions rep so I don't know what they do and don't find compelling. I was extremely poor when I was younger but middle class by the time I was in high school so I didn't write a DS (also fist gen everything), but I have wondered if it would have made a difference at some of the places where I had borderline numbers and didn't get in.




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