Diversity Statement Draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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NoodleyOne
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Diversity Statement Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:16 am

Alright, you all were an IMMENSE help with my PS, so hopefully you can do the same thing for my Diversity Statement. It's based on my socio-economic status, but I don't know if I should also include the abuse from my mom or not. I'll bow to TLS judgement on that one. I also don't know how... perfect the DS has to be in relation to the PS, so yeah, tell me if it's redundant or not.

Edit: I think this one is a little better, but I'm worried it's too much of a laundry list. Anyway, rip it apart.

I don’t remember my father. He left my family before I turned one, and no one in my family has seen him since. Then, less than six months later, my oldest brother was killed by a drunk driver while he was crossing the street in my hometown. I was so young that I don’t remember either of these events at all, but they ended up having a severe and long lasting impact on my life.
Obviously, being left by her husband and having her oldest son die within the span of a year took a severe toll on my mother. She spiraled into a deep depression that she never sought help for, professionally or otherwise. We lived on welfare as she laid on the couch, leaving me and my other brother, just three years older than me, to fend for ourselves. We ended up doing everything. At the age of four I learned how to cook hot dogs, because my mother would not feed us. My brother and I walked about a mile to the closest grocery store to spend our food stamps. My brother, aware of how our situation was perceived, always made me go through the line to pay, and I never minded. To me, there was nothing weird about it.
It was more than just being poor, though. My mom took everything out on us, and she took it out on me in particular. I reminded her of my father. I looked more like him than my brother, and I evidently acted more like him too. Every misstep, and I was a mischievous child so there were a lot of missteps, was met with a belt, a hangar, an open hand, or a closed fist. She would say “spare the rod, spoil the child” to justify the beatings. She certainly didn’t spare the rod.
Despite all of those challenges, I was actually a fairly happy kid until I started spending the night at friends’ houses when I got older. That’s when I started realizing that my situation was not normal. I became very angry, but that anger was always a motivation to get out of my circumstances and follow my dreams. As I grew older, the anger lessened but the motivation remained. All of these events shaped me, and they gave me a unique perspective on the world.
Last edited by NoodleyOne on Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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fl0w
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Re: Diversity Statement Draft

Postby fl0w » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:40 am

NoodleyOne wrote:Alright, you all were an IMMENSE help with my PS, so hopefully you can do the same thing for my Diversity Statement. It's based on my socio-economic status, but I don't know if I should also include the abuse from my mom or not. I'll bow to TLS judgement on that one. I also don't know how... perfect the DS has to be in relation to the PS, so yeah, tell me if it's redundant or not.

Our cupboards, when they actually had food, were largely empty except for the stacks of potted meat. Potted meat comes in a can that looks a lot like one that cat food comes in and its contents doesn’t do very much to dispel the comparison. If the bread was moldy, which was often the case, I just picked out the molded parts. Cereal was often served with water instead of milk, although I never had the stomach for that so I just ate the cereal dry.
Clothes were a similar story. My socks, all three pairs, seemed more hole than sock. It was actually an embarrassment in gym class. We could afford to do laundry pretty rarely, so I wore those socks a lot, and after a few days they would start to stink. My shoes also had holes, as did my jeans, my shirts, and everything else. My clothes were defined by their holes.
It’s odd how stuff like that affects you. The food issue was one that to this day doesn’t bother me very much. My palate adapted. While I don’t eat potted meat anymore, it’s not something that really had any long lasting effects on me as a person. Clothing is a different story. I’m certainly not wealthy now, but I have a job and I occasionally have money to buy some clothes. So what do I spend it on? Socks. I have two dresser drawers full of socks. Having to wear those stinky, crusty, holey socks for all of those years left me with a hatred for dirty socks. I often change socks during the day now if I feel that my feet were sweatier than normal. If a sock gets a hole in it I throw it away without hesitation.


Up to this point, you could probably condense all of that into a paragraph. Like 5 sentences. So far I get a feeling of "you were poor and it made you like socks." Nothing has been particularly compelling yet.

NoodleyOne wrote: The fact is, I grew up absolutely impoverished. My father abandoned my family when I was a baby and did not pay child support. He has not been seen by anyone in my family in 26 years, and he very well may be dead now. I have no clue. My mother was on welfare until I was a teenager, when she got her college degree and became a teacher. That was the first time she held a job in twenty years.


This paragraph was the most compelling part; although (and this applies throughout your statement) the use of such informal writing style actually detracts from the content of the story.

NoodleyOne wrote: I know my story isn’t particularly unique, but I also know that it is far from typical. I grew up in the type of poverty that many people probably do not realize exists in the United States today. The fact that my mom finally got an education, getting her Bachelor’s at the age of 40, and for the first time was able to provide for our family without government assistance is the type of experience that gives me a different perspective on the world from the typical law school student. If I had to describe what makes my situation one that could add to the diversity of a law school, I would put it like this: I know what potted meat tastes like.


Bit about your mom finally getting her bachelor's at 40 could be inspiring. did it inspire you? I don't know because you don't say. I would not end with the line that you ended with. Excuse the pun, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Overal, it is my opinion that the writing style is entirely too informal. You spend a too much time with examples of how poor you were. If I were to restructure I might do:
we were of little means -> daddy left -> things get worse -> how that created hardship for me -> mommy inspired me -> how i overcame
(and yes, i would tie in the abuse if you have room after a rewrite)

Submitting a statement that says "we were dirt poor" just doesn't cut it. You have to bring out some attributes that show how you worked hard to rise above it all.

Trying to be blunt with my feedback. Hope some of it helps.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Diversity Statement Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:09 am

Alright, thanks. I like puking stuff out on the page and seeing what I can salvage, so I don't take any of it personally. It does seem informal and a little too... cute, I guess. I also don't want it to be a laundry list of bad stuff though. Also, since this is a diversity statement instead of a PS, do I need to do the overcome bit or isn't that fairly obvious from the fact I'm applying to law school?

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fl0w
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Re: Diversity Statement Draft

Postby fl0w » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:51 am

NoodleyOne wrote:Alright, thanks. I like puking stuff out on the page and seeing what I can salvage, so I don't take any of it personally. It does seem informal and a little too... cute, I guess. I also don't want it to be a laundry list of bad stuff though. Also, since this is a diversity statement instead of a PS, do I need to do the overcome bit or isn't that fairly obvious from the fact I'm applying to law school?


the meat of it is in the how
I overcame because I won the lottery and am now one of the 1%
or
I overcame because I saw X as a role model and worked tirelessly despite my dire conditions to raise myself above the poverty line and put myself in a position to succeed.
or
I still am fairly destitute but have prioritized academics above all other things because i value the importance of becoming a valuable contributing member of society... or something...

They read differently. The how matters.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Diversity Statement Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:57 am

fl0w wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:Alright, thanks. I like puking stuff out on the page and seeing what I can salvage, so I don't take any of it personally. It does seem informal and a little too... cute, I guess. I also don't want it to be a laundry list of bad stuff though. Also, since this is a diversity statement instead of a PS, do I need to do the overcome bit or isn't that fairly obvious from the fact I'm applying to law school?


the meat of it is in the how
I overcame because I won the lottery and am now one of the 1%
or
I overcame because I saw X as a role model and worked tirelessly despite my dire conditions to raise myself above the poverty line and put myself in a position to succeed.
or
I still am fairly destitute but have prioritized academics above all other things because i value the importance of becoming a valuable contributing member of society... or something...

They read differently. The how matters.


I dont want to just reiterate my PS which covers some of that... hmmm. Have some thinking to do.

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fl0w
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Re: Diversity Statement Draft

Postby fl0w » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:22 am

yeah it's not easy. for me, i had 5yrs of work experience so my PS was more centered around that. diversity statement was more along the lines of the poverty race stuff

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Diversity Statement Draft

Postby NoodleyOne » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:19 am

Bump for edited OP.

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applemaroon
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Re: Diversity Statement Draft

Postby applemaroon » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:33 pm

NoodleyOne wrote: Alright, you all were an IMMENSE help with my PS, so hopefully you can do the same thing for my Diversity Statement. It's based on my socio-economic status, but I don't know if I should also include the abuse from my mom or not. I'll bow to TLS judgement on that one. I also don't know how... perfect the DS has to be in relation to the PS, so yeah, tell me if it's redundant or not.

Edit: I think this one is a little better, but I'm worried it's too much of a laundry list. Anyway, rip it apart.

I don’t remember my father. He left my family before I turned one, and no one in my family has seen him since. Then, less than six months later, my oldest brother was killed by a drunk driver while he was crossing the street in my hometown. I was so young that I don’t remember either of these events at all, but they ended up having a severe and long lasting impact on my life.
Obviously, being left by her husband and having her oldest son die within the span of a year took a severe toll on my mother. She spiraled into a deep depression that she never sought help for, professionally or otherwise. We lived on welfare as she laid on the couch, leaving me and my other brother, just three years older than me, to fend for ourselves. We ended up doing everything. At the age of four I learned how to cook hot dogs, because my mother would not feed us. My brother and I walked about a mile to the closest grocery store to spend our food stamps. My brother, aware of how our situation was perceived, always made me go through the line to pay, and I never minded. To me, there was nothing weird about it.
It was more than just being poor, though. My mom took everything out on us, and she took it out on me in particular. I reminded her of my father. I looked more like him than my brother, and I evidently acted more like him too. Every misstep, and I was a mischievous child so there were a lot of missteps, was met with a belt, a hangar, an open hand, or a closed fist. She would say “spare the rod, spoil the child” to justify the beatings. She certainly didn’t spare the rod.
Despite all of those challenges, I was actually a fairly happy kid until I started spending the night at friends’ houses when I got older. That’s when I started realizing that my situation was not normal. I became very angry, but that anger was always a motivation to get out of my circumstances and follow my dreams. As I grew older, the anger lessened but the motivation remained. All of these events shaped me, and they gave me a unique perspective on the world.


This sentence kind of sounds like you just crammed it in at the end. You say nothing about how/why your anger lessened and what exactly this unique perspective is (looking at the world from a poor child's perspective? What about it? Why is that so unique?). I think you should expand a little on this point.




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