*updated 1-4-12* Does this work as a Div/Advers. Statement?

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3v3ryth1ng
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*updated 1-4-12* Does this work as a Div/Advers. Statement?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:04 am

Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement? I initially wasn't going to include it, but then I decided my fucked up life was worth a little mention. I'm unlike a lot of mainstream applicants in this respect, even though I'm white and from the suburbs. Please let me know what you think, provided it's constructive of course.
Thanks TLS!


REVISED VERSION POSTED DOWN THERE. PLEASE COMMENT!
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Last edited by 3v3ryth1ng on Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

bobbyh1919
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby bobbyh1919 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:26 am

I find this to be quite strong. The one thing I would do is trim down the first half, where you get a little too focused on the details of your upbringing and various struggles. I'm not sure how long this would be double spaced, 12 point font, TNR, etc., but I know a lot of schools ask for just a page here and this is surely longer than that.

I don't think you need a full paragraph to talk about your time at Winston, and the same goes for the following paragraph about LBHS. Try just talking about your diagnosis, the schools you bounced around at, and your struggles in one paragraph. Once you get to the paragraph about coming clean it's great IMO, but you just take too long to get there.

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MachineLemon
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby MachineLemon » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:45 am

A minor tweak: I think "momentous" isn't the right word to use in the first sentence. "Tremendous" would be better. "Momentous" is ordinarily used for particular occasions or events with great import for the future, like the word "consequential."

kublaikahn
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby kublaikahn » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:00 pm

This is too long. You start it out poorly by saying "I am diverse because..." I find a short statement is best when shocking the reader.

Delete all the meaningless modifiers (e.g. truly, momentous, etc.)

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:09 pm

kublaikahn wrote:This is too long. You start it out poorly by saying "I am diverse because..." I find a short statement is best when shocking the reader.

Delete all the meaningless modifiers (e.g. truly, momentous, etc.)


Got it.
I wrote it off the top of my head, and this is pretty raw. I'm sure I can consolidate some ideas and improve the overall quality.

As a concept, does this work? I'm a white and from Laguna Beach. I never thought a diversity statement might apply to me until I read an article about them last night. Does this provide any sort of a compelling argument for me adding diversity to a school? Would this be more of an adversity statement?

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:19 pm

bobbyh1919 wrote:I find this to be quite strong. The one thing I would do is trim down the first half, where you get a little too focused on the details of your upbringing and various struggles. I'm not sure how long this would be double spaced, 12 point font, TNR, etc., but I know a lot of schools ask for just a page here and this is surely longer than that.

I don't think you need a full paragraph to talk about your time at Winston, and the same goes for the following paragraph about LBHS. Try just talking about your diagnosis, the schools you bounced around at, and your struggles in one paragraph. Once you get to the paragraph about coming clean it's great IMO, but you just take too long to get there.


Dude, thank for the super helpful criticism!
It's about 900 words and I could definitely shorten it using your suggestions.
The big question I had is just basically does it work as a diversity statement? (which you've answered). I'm not sure if this is a case of "overprivileged white kid fucks his own life up and wants sympathy," (in the eyes of an adcomm) or if it would actually matter to them in the decision making process. Obviously I know stuff like this probably only matters slightly, but I'm trying to tilt the scale in my favor as much as possible, particularly in distancing myself from my 3.08 undergrad GPA.

Also, would this function as an addendum for my GPA, since it's kind of explaining it, or should that be a separate document?

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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby bobbyh1919 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:33 pm

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I think you're worrying too much about what this statement should be called. Adversity/diversity/GPA addendum.....I don't know that it matters. Obviously you would like to file it neatly into your application, but the main point is that the committee will see you in a different light, ideally admire what you can bring to the table, understand your GPA, and be more enthusiastic about admitting you (assuming your trim it up and get to your main point quicker).

As to your other question, I read it as you overcoming ADHD and succeeding in the face of it, and I think adcomms will too. Whether it makes you diverse or shows that you have overcome adverse circumstances, it's hard to classify it that way. The bottom line is it makes you a stronger candidate, regardless of what heading it's filed under.

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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:39 pm

bobbyh1919 wrote:Maybe I'm wrong here, but I think you're worrying too much about what this statement should be called. Adversity/diversity/GPA addendum.....I don't know that it matters. Obviously you would like to file it neatly into your application, but the main point is that the committee will see you in a different light, ideally admire what you can bring to the table, understand your GPA, and be more enthusiastic about admitting you (assuming your trim it up and get to your main point quicker).

As to your other question, I read it as you overcoming ADHD and succeeding in the face of it, and I think adcomms will too. Whether it makes you diverse or shows that you have overcome adverse circumstances, it's hard to classify it that way. The bottom line is it makes you a stronger candidate, regardless of what heading it's filed under.


Oh, so DS/AS/addenda all kind of fall into the category of "other" essay? I didn't know that, but that will definitely simplify it. If that's the case, it's basically like having a chance to write another PS, right?

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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby kublaikahn » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:53 pm

3v3ryth1ng wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:This is too long. You start it out poorly by saying "I am diverse because..." I find a short statement is best when shocking the reader.

Delete all the meaningless modifiers (e.g. truly, momentous, etc.)


Got it.
I wrote it off the top of my head, and this is pretty raw. I'm sure I can consolidate some ideas and improve the overall quality.

As a concept, does this work? I'm a white and from Laguna Beach. I never thought a diversity statement might apply to me until I read an article about them last night. Does this provide any sort of a compelling argument for me adding diversity to a school? Would this be more of an adversity statement?


This is an obstacles/adversity statement, but overcoming obstacles is a diverse experience from most candidates at elite schools. But get away from using this piece to explain your undergrad GPA. There is a document for that and it will obviously tie together.

I would leave out Laguna Beach. It is not necessary and, as you notice, contrasts with your message (apparently only people from Santa Ana have troubles.) You are a good writer and you need to think deeply about the balance between formality and pathos. I also don't prefer the way you talk about self-efficacy. I think it is more emotional and complex than they way you describe. Did you think yourself a failure or did you have ambivalence and dissonance about where you were and where you knew you could be? Did you know you could do better, but then feel discouraged? You have the ability with your writing skill to go deeper.

I like the story and how it draws attention to certain issues. How do you help a struggling kid with talent, but that cannot seem to put it together? Only asking, but when you got a diagnosis, albeit incorrect, did that create a certain relief or angst?

I think you can leave your mom out of it and focus on the steps down the ladder and then the steps back up. Did your experience weigh in your decision to teach?

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:42 pm

kublaikahn wrote:
3v3ryth1ng wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:This is too long. You start it out poorly by saying "I am diverse because..." I find a short statement is best when shocking the reader.

Delete all the meaningless modifiers (e.g. truly, momentous, etc.)


Got it.
I wrote it off the top of my head, and this is pretty raw. I'm sure I can consolidate some ideas and improve the overall quality.

As a concept, does this work? I'm a white and from Laguna Beach. I never thought a diversity statement might apply to me until I read an article about them last night. Does this provide any sort of a compelling argument for me adding diversity to a school? Would this be more of an adversity statement?


This is an obstacles/adversity statement, but overcoming obstacles is a diverse experience from most candidates at elite schools. But get away from using this piece to explain your undergrad GPA. There is a document for that and it will obviously tie together.

I would leave out Laguna Beach. It is not necessary and, as you notice, contrasts with your message (apparently only people from Santa Ana have troubles.) You are a good writer and you need to think deeply about the balance between formality and pathos. I also don't prefer the way you talk about self-efficacy. I think it is more emotional and complex than they way you describe. Did you think yourself a failure or did you have ambivalence and dissonance about where you were and where you knew you could be? Did you know you could do better, but then feel discouraged? You have the ability with your writing skill to go deeper.

I like the story and how it draws attention to certain issues. How do you help a struggling kid with talent, but that cannot seem to put it together? Only asking, but when you got a diagnosis, albeit incorrect, did that create a certain relief or angst?

I think you can leave your mom out of it and focus on the steps down the ladder and then the steps back up. Did your experience weigh in your decision to teach?


Oh, so you think GPA addenda should be separate documents? Forgive me, I'm really unclear on these extra docs because I never considered using one before yesterday.

To answer your questions...

I never thought of myself as smart or capable until my 3rd year of college. Pretty much no one did in high school except for a few teachers, but I figured they just said that to everyone. I wrote this piece with the impression that a DS/AS is supposed to be less of an artistic piece and more of a straightforward explanation. At least the samples I looked at had it that way. I could certainly add more emotional depth if it's prudent here.

I can also probably talk about the medications a little more, because they definitely messed with my head. I basically never needed a diagnosis other than "asshole." ADHD is real, but it's manageable, which is why I shy away from it as an explanation for my failure.

Actually, I thought the AS part was the fact that I had a deficient skill set. Is it better to talk more about the emotional/developmental aspect? I can explain my lack of academic skills causally but not my emotional issues.

Now the part about my decision to teach... my experience directly influenced it, but I talk about it in my PS. I think I'd be mixing purposes too much with that one.

Again, thanks for all the thoughtful analysis. It's been super helpful! Do you have a PS on here?

bobbyh1919
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby bobbyh1919 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:46 pm

It's going to be specific for each school. If you want to do an additional GPA addendum that's similar to this, that's fine. My point was that you shouldn't fret if the school calls their optional essay a "diversity statement" or if they just want to hear more about why you're a good candidate. In that sense it is like another personal statement I suppose. Unless there is a specific question (why do you want to come to School XXXXXX?) you should be fine sending this in.

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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement?

Postby kublaikahn » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:31 pm

3v3ryth1ng wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:
3v3ryth1ng wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:This is too long. You start it out poorly by saying "I am diverse because..." I find a short statement is best when shocking the reader.

Delete all the meaningless modifiers (e.g. truly, momentous, etc.)


Got it.
I wrote it off the top of my head, and this is pretty raw. I'm sure I can consolidate some ideas and improve the overall quality.

As a concept, does this work? I'm a white and from Laguna Beach. I never thought a diversity statement might apply to me until I read an article about them last night. Does this provide any sort of a compelling argument for me adding diversity to a school? Would this be more of an adversity statement?


This is an obstacles/adversity statement, but overcoming obstacles is a diverse experience from most candidates at elite schools. But get away from using this piece to explain your undergrad GPA. There is a document for that and it will obviously tie together.

I would leave out Laguna Beach. It is not necessary and, as you notice, contrasts with your message (apparently only people from Santa Ana have troubles.) You are a good writer and you need to think deeply about the balance between formality and pathos. I also don't prefer the way you talk about self-efficacy. I think it is more emotional and complex than they way you describe. Did you think yourself a failure or did you have ambivalence and dissonance about where you were and where you knew you could be? Did you know you could do better, but then feel discouraged? You have the ability with your writing skill to go deeper.

I like the story and how it draws attention to certain issues. How do you help a struggling kid with talent, but that cannot seem to put it together? Only asking, but when you got a diagnosis, albeit incorrect, did that create a certain relief or angst?

I think you can leave your mom out of it and focus on the steps down the ladder and then the steps back up. Did your experience weigh in your decision to teach?


Oh, so you think GPA addenda should be separate documents? Forgive me, I'm really unclear on these extra docs because I never considered using one before yesterday.

To answer your questions...

I never thought of myself as smart or capable until my 3rd year of college. Pretty much no one did in high school except for a few teachers, but I figured they just said that to everyone. I wrote this piece with the impression that a DS/AS is supposed to be less of an artistic piece and more of a straightforward explanation. At least the samples I looked at had it that way. I could certainly add more emotional depth if it's prudent here.

I can also probably talk about the medications a little more, because they definitely messed with my head. I basically never needed a diagnosis other than "asshole." ADHD is real, but it's manageable, which is why I shy away from it as an explanation for my failure.

Actually, I thought the AS part was the fact that I had a deficient skill set. Is it better to talk more about the emotional/developmental aspect? I can explain my lack of academic skills causally but not my emotional issues.

Now the part about my decision to teach... my experience directly influenced it, but I talk about it in my PS. I think I'd be mixing purposes too much with that one.

Again, thanks for all the thoughtful analysis. It's been super helpful! Do you have a PS on here?


I would change this to talk about perspective and show the contrast between remedial education/lock up and grad school/teaching. Most high achievers do not yet know what it is to struggle and I think that might be your unique perspective.

The college grades, if low, should be addressed in another page. You should have a GPA addendum separate and distinct from your diversity statement. I think you want to focus that on the behavioral issues and the ADHD and not so much on the drugs. (personally I would leave the drugs out). I think your approach should be to show that people took interest in you all along the way (because that shows that they saw some hidden untapped potential). Do that in the GPA addendum, not the diversity statement.
Last edited by kublaikahn on Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement? (REVISED)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:55 am

Draft deleted (see most current one below)
Last edited by 3v3ryth1ng on Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

bmore
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement? (REVISED)

Postby bmore » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:08 pm

You definitely have an interesting story. 2 comments.

"I quit drugs and drinking permanently" Perhaps you should mention drugs and alcohol earlier, when describing your issues. I don;t think you ever mention using them prior to quitting.

I wouldn't say this "because many people from similar circumstances never recover to the extent I have". If you want to include it make less of a "fact" such as "might never...."

Good luck.

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JoeMo
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement? (REVISED)

Postby JoeMo » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:13 pm

I like it, I think it's very strong.

I would change "mother" to "my mother" but that's just personal preference.

Also... I would introduce your drug use. The first mention is you telling the reader that you quit but we never knew you had a drug problem.

And btw, congratulations on overcoming your obstacles. I really admire people like you.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement? (REVISED)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:35 pm

JoeMo wrote:I like it, I think it's very strong.

I would change "mother" to "my mother" but that's just personal preference.

Also... I would introduce your drug use. The first mention is you telling the reader that you quit but we never knew you had a drug problem.

And btw, congratulations on overcoming your obstacles. I really admire people like you.


Thank you! I appreciate it.

I meant to put "my mother" (IMO it sounds kind of creepy to just refer to her as "mother"), so thanks for catching that.

I agree about the drug use. Some other posters recommended I not focus on it, but the fact is it was an extremely important decision that affected my life.
Or...
Should I maybe not mention drugs at all, delete any references, and use the space I saved to add details elsewhere? I can just have my HS graduation be the sole catalyst for my change. I know some users think adcomms look unfavorably upon drug use. What do you think?

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement? (REVISED)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:38 pm

bmore wrote:You definitely have an interesting story. 2 comments.

"I quit drugs and drinking permanently" Perhaps you should mention drugs and alcohol earlier, when describing your issues. I don;t think you ever mention using them prior to quitting.

I wouldn't say this "because many people from similar circumstances never recover to the extent I have". If you want to include it make less of a "fact" such as "might never...."

Good luck.


Thanks!
Agreed. I may sound a little arrogant there. I'll mess with the wording a little.

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JoeMo
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement? (REVISED)

Postby JoeMo » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:54 am

3v3ryth1ng wrote:Thank you! I appreciate it.

I meant to put "my mother" (IMO it sounds kind of creepy to just refer to her as "mother"), so thanks for catching that.

I agree about the drug use. Some other posters recommended I not focus on it, but the fact is it was an extremely important decision that affected my life.
Or...
Should I maybe not mention drugs at all, delete any references, and use the space I saved to add details elsewhere? I can just have my HS graduation be the sole catalyst for my change. I know some users think adcomms look unfavorably upon drug use. What do you think?


On a personal note, I was told the same thing and left it out. However, I don't necessarily think it would look unfavorable if you do include it. My mention of it was very brief and I wasn't going to be able to do it any justice really so I opted for leaving it out.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: Does this work as a diversity/adversity statement? (REVISED)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:40 am

Here's the latest (almost final) draft!


------------------------------------------------------------------------
Diversity/Adversity Statement

As result of immense emotional and developmental obstacles in my childhood, I entered community college without a base of academic skills. I had to learn, in college, what I should have learned in high school. While a dysfunctional childhood and learning disability contributed to these obstacles, they were also consequences of my immaturity and poor decision-making.

I spent most of middle school locked in residential treatment centers due to my incorrigible behavior and failing grades. Here, doctors diagnosed and attempted to medicate a variety of alleged conditions. The effects of these powerful medications combined with a fragmented classroom experience diminished the value of my education. A constant focus on my weaknesses demoralized me. At 13, I began to view myself as a chronic failure.

Upon release from residential treatment, I moved between various special education programs. These programs were not prepared to handle my volatile disposition, and I was frequently dismissed or suspended. I developed drug habits outside of school, which added to my classroom difficulties. Counselors removed me from core classes like Algebra II and Chemistry, deeming them “too difficult.” Instead, they enrolled me in “Academic Support,” a class where I did little except draw or sleep. In this classroom, I was sheltered from the general student population so I would not slow them down.

My fractured home life, exacerbated by my drug use, increasingly deteriorated. Because of a toxic relationship with my mother, I spent several disjointed months living in a local youth shelter. My academic performance suffered further, and I graduated high school with a class rank of 145 out of 174.

Nonetheless, my graduation represented a significant milestone. I gained enough confidence from this success to make dramatic lifestyle changes. On March 17th, 2001, I quit drugs and drinking permanently. Drug use masked unresolved emotional turmoil, and at 18, I began the process of honestly addressing these deep-seated issues.

My decision to attempt college was risky because I had internalized a certainty of classroom failure. Initially, my lack of an academic base proved a formidable obstacle to success. I had to “figure out” how to take notes, ask questions, and write essays. During my junior year at UCI, an instructor was surprised to find that I did not know what a thesis was.

Through years of introspection and maturing, I have resolved the underlying emotional and developmental issues that hindered my past academic performance. My academic skills are now strong enough to handle the rigors of all post-graduate study, including law. In many respects, with a graduate degree (3.92 GPA), an accomplished teaching career, and 11 years sobriety, I am a different person.

I do not excuse my past behaviors, and I accept responsibility for their consequences. However, my experience is exceptional because many people from similar circumstances never recover. My overcoming of these challenges attests to my resilience and drive. May this account shed light on what I, and many others, believe to be a record of numbers that drastically understates my potential.




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