Diversity statement: don't hold back

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:28 am

Down for editing.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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francesfarmer
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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When I was eleven years old, I learned the definition of “mail-order bride” through a rumor spread about my mother by an older student at my elementary-middle school. Basing his claim off of my mother’s Asian phenotype, broken English, and marriage to a Caucasian-American man, he must not have known that my mother had lived in the United States since her mid-twenties and had earned a Masters degree from an American university several years before meeting my father. My brother and I, half-Cambodian and half-Caucasian, were the sole examples of an ethnic minority among our classmates at our small, Catholic school in most years. During childhood, my construct of “normal” this is weird was predominantly shaped by my homogenously white, conservative, and middle-class peers and neighborhood, to which my mother’s Asian ethnicity, Buddhist religion, and poorly concealed diagnosis of bipolar II disorder often drew gossip and whispers. This last sentence is unnecessarily long/wordy and has grammatical issues. As for the paragraph as a whole, I would be more up-front and less obtuse about your mother's mental illness and I would take out the mail-order bride thing. It feels just dropped in.

The exclusion I felt in childhood on ethnic and cultural grounds has provided me with a perspective I may not have gained within my community otherwise. My intimate familiarity with intolerance towards immigrant minorities and stigma surrounding mental illness has shaped a personal frame of reference to relate to others who have been granted far more challenging social positions you are trying way too hard to sound smart and you are accomplishing the opposite. As a result, I have sought to make a difference in a way that reflects my values of tolerance, equity, and dignity. Academically, I took great interest in matters pertaining to social equity and stratification, which ultimately led to a choice to double major in Sociology and Political Science as well as coursework in two sociology honors seminars regarding XX and XX topics. As Recruitment Director of Break Away, a campus student-run volunteer organization, Break Away, I centered my efforts upon seeking a more diverse demographic of students to enhance the collaborative and educational experience of participants to fill our service trips. I also credit my past experience in leading me to the classroom of a high-need, urban school, which allowed me to serve as a compassionate and patient source of support for my students enduring difficulty both inside and outside school walls. Through my work as a policy intern at XX, I constructed and researched proposals to improve outcomes for students at failing schools and low-income communities to improve their access to higher quality teachers and schools.
[tie into law degree]

Do not reiterate your resume, especially in your DS. I would avoid discussing at length how your upbringing makes you interested in equality/etc. (obvious considering the extreme homogeneity of those privileged enough to attend law school/everyone claims to want to save the world). It is obvious how your background will add to the diversity of the legal profession and you can briefly state that your experiences have made you sensitive to XXX issues.
Generally I would suggest that you be more direct and concise, since the subject matter on its own is interesting enough and you don’t want to bore adcomms when they have just read through your application and PS.

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francesfarmer
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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:38 pm

Actually, I change my mind about the mail-order bride thing. That's a good opener. Instead I think you should heavily edit these sentences, which can easily be cut down to about two lines:

Basing his claim off of my mother’s Asian phenotype, broken English, and marriage to a Caucasian-American man, he must not have known that my mother had lived in the United States since her mid-twenties and had earned a Masters degree from an American university several years before meeting my father. My brother and I, half-Cambodian and half-Caucasian, were the sole examples of an ethnic minority among our classmates at our small, Catholic school in most years.

Then I think you should write a few more sentences about your unique upbringing, bringing in your mother's mental illness, how different you felt, etc.

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joshhoward
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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby joshhoward » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:50 pm

i think you need to tie it more to how the experience was for you. did it manifest in anyways besides for whispers etc.? Its a lot about your mom's diversity (and yes, therefore you), but there is still a difference.

Anonymous User
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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:01 pm

francesfarmer wrote:who have been granted far more challenging social positions you are trying way too hard to sound smart and you are accomplishing the opposite.


I'm actually not- that's how I write. Not offended by you saying that, but can you tell me how you got that impression?

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francesfarmer
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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:who have been granted far more challenging social positions you are trying way too hard to sound smart and you are accomplishing the opposite.


I'm actually not- that's how I write. Not offended by you saying that, but can you tell me how you got that impression?

It sounds really roundabout and awkward.

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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:51 pm

Okay, point taken. My hesitation from a content perspective is whether it is in my interest to write a statement where I divulge on material that is potentially TMI. I don't think an essay where I throw a pity party for myself and seem to be conquered by adversity portrays me as someone who perseveres in the faces of challenges. This is law school, not therapy, though I could be wrong. Thoughts?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:58 pm

I'll do a modest edit soon, though I'm sure I will do many more. I know that I need to be more concise it my writing.

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francesfarmer
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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Okay, point taken. My hesitation from a content perspective is whether it is in my interest to write a statement where I divulge on material that is potentially TMI. I don't think an essay where I throw a pity party for myself and seem to be conquered by adversity portrays me as someone who perseveres in the faces of challenges. Thoughts?

You don't need to throw a pity party--just state the facts. You have obviously done well and that will come across. If there is any section of your application where it is ok (or even encouraged!) to share intimate details of your life it is in your DS.

Keep in mind how overwhelmingly homogenous law school applicants are and do not doubt that you have a diverse perspective that adcomms will appreciate.

Anonymous User
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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:03 pm

Okay, will keep that in mind.

A new one's going up soon.

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Re: Diversity statement: don't hold back

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:23 pm

Okay, so I'm rethinking the structure of my original diversity statement, in taking into account the above comments. Unfortunately, I am having difficulty tracking down information about what adcoms are looking for in a diversity statement. Here are some of my concerns:

1. I could put in details regarding my mother's bipolar disorder, as recommended above. My instinct, however, is that it is highly inappropriate and overly intimate. For instance, I could mention of her suicidal tendencies and physically abusive behavior, but as it makes me uncomfortable sharing this with strangers here, I can only imagine that it will make adcoms uncomfortable when reading it.

2. I know it's generic to talk about your interest in equality and PI and a lot of times, will not seem sincere. However, in my case, it's true that my upbringing plays a central role in my values and ambitions. It's also supported well by my resume. Wouldn't it be appropriate to talk about how the experiences that make you "diverse" contribute to who you are today, preferably in a positive way?

Feedback please. Curious.




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