Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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LaBelleBarrister
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Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby LaBelleBarrister » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:11 am

One of the schools I am applying to offers a diversity statement option where the prompt is:

Please describe an aspect of your background that you feel would allow you to contribute uniquely to the school and/or your classmates.

I have already written a personal "why law" statement and there is a separate essay for "why xyz school."

For the diversity statement I have been thinking about writing about the fact that I am a (working) mother, or that I have been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease (I am only 26)... or both. I was just wondering if any other TLS members have written DS's about either being a parent or having an illness that they would be willing to share?

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IAFG
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby IAFG » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:37 am

Neither of these seem like good diversity statements. Being a parent (working or otherwise) isn't exactly unusual, broadly or narrowly in law school. I don't know what a student having Parkinson's really does to contribute to the diversity of the student body.

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LaBelleBarrister
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby LaBelleBarrister » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:00 am

I also (narrowly) managed to beat cancer but I suppose that falls into the illness category. The academic accomplishments I made I touched on in my PS.

I consider myself Caucasian so I am not sure that my racial background really warrants diversity either.

What types of things would you recommend focusing on?

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:13 am

LaBelleBarrister wrote:I also (narrowly) managed to beat cancer but I suppose that falls into the illness category. The academic accomplishments I made I touched on in my PS.

I consider myself Caucasian so I am not sure that my racial background really warrants diversity either.

What types of things would you recommend focusing on?


I think that the challenges (both past and continuing) from cancer, Parkinson's, and motherhood would be better addressed in your PS, rather than trying to shoehorn them into a DS (which is optional anyway).

A diversity statement should address ways that you're significantly different from the rest of the student body, and what those differences will bring to the student body in the form of alternate experiences and outlooks. Some examples would be if you were an URM, LGBT, born/raised in a foreign country, physically disabled, or if you're an extreme non-traditional applicant with years/decades of work experience in an interesting field.

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LaBelleBarrister
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby LaBelleBarrister » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:20 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
I think that the challenges (both past and continuing) from cancer, Parkinson's, and motherhood would be better addressed in your PS, rather than trying to shoehorn them into a DS (which is optional anyway).

A diversity statement should address ways that you're significantly different from the rest of the student body, and what those differences will bring to the student body in the form of alternate experiences and outlooks. Some examples would be if you were an URM, LGBT, born/raised in a foreign country, physically disabled, or if you're an extreme non-traditional applicant with years/decades of work experience in an interesting field.


I addressed the "why law" prompt in my PS, though I understand where you are coming from.

While I am engaged I do fall into the LBGT spectrum and could easily address that; I was a victim of a hate crime in high school and I do think my identity is shaped by my sexuality. I created a movement in school to address these issues specifically and began a GSA group in a school that didn't previously have one. My PS talks about my desire to help others (I am seeking a human right's path) so I thought I should avoid re-iterating this in my DS? Though the people I am hoping to help aren't specifically in the LBGT spectrum, so my question then is: should I write about helping others and being impacted by them in a DS when my PS is already about assisting a different type of person?

On another note, I actually have a high grade level of Parkinson's. Before my doctors figured out what it was and got me on the correct medication, my doctor had prescribed me a seated walker, and I was being fitted for a permanent wheelchair. My muscle structure was so bad that we weren't sure I was going to walk again. Though I am removed from needing a wheelchair now, and am on the proper medication, I have actually broken bones to the disease and still have days where I hit a point and am no longer able to walk without assistance. I've been dealing with this now for four years, and my doctor has even suggested implanting a Deep Brain Stimulator (similar to a pace-maker for the brain).

While I may not be classically "visually" disabled when I am on medicine and I don't tremor as much, I still view Parkinson's as being a disability, especially having been impacted at such a young age (I started tremoring when I was 22). Primarily a disease for people over the age of 40, only 11% of people with Parkinson's are under the age of 40, and only a VERY small percentage of even those people are under the age of 30. I simply thought it would be diversifying in the sense that it has shaped me as a person and that it is so unusual.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:33 pm

I would think having Parkinson's would make the OP significantly different from the rest of the student body. I have no advice about how/whether to write a DS, but I think Parkinson's would qualify.

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IAFG
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby IAFG » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:30 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I would think having Parkinson's would make the OP significantly different from the rest of the student body. I have no advice about how/whether to write a DS, but I think Parkinson's would qualify.

I have no reason to think schools value admitting students with disabilities and some reason to think the opposite.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:37 pm

IAFG wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I would think having Parkinson's would make the OP significantly different from the rest of the student body. I have no advice about how/whether to write a DS, but I think Parkinson's would qualify.

I have no reason to think schools value admitting students with disabilities and some reason to think the opposite.

Like I said, no comment on whether a disability diversity statement is helpful. Just that if you're going to do one, Parkinson's would qualify.

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LaBelleBarrister
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby LaBelleBarrister » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:05 pm

I'm not sure if this would qualify either, but I come from an excessively low-income, military household. I can actually recall digging through the school trash for food to salvage and take home because we didn't have any to eat, and even less to bring to school. Consequently, I am also the first person in my biological family to graduate from college.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: Seeking DS examples: being a parent or significant illness?

Postby mr. wednesday » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:32 pm

Being the first person in your family to go to college is much better than explaining how you have a serious and incurable illness that can be debilitating at times, because it doesn't cast any doubts about your abilities to finish law school and have a successful legal career.




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