First off, I'm not a URM, so I'm already a little weary of writing a diversity statement.
Secondly, here is Penn's "diversity statement:"
Describe how your background or experiences will enhance the diversity of the Penn Law community (e.g., based on your culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ideology, age, socioeconomic status, academic background, employment, or personal experience).
Thirdly, this is a first and rough draft, so comments on it would be appreciated.
Finally, I decided to go an "untraditional" route. My essay focused on the role of Penn and my family. Am I just way off on this one?
I don't mind scrapping this optional essay because I will also be submitting their "Dean Fitts...core strength" essay, but if this is unique enough, maybe it would add to my application? My main concern is that it's not necessarily 100% "about me." My intention was that it would be about my family background and how that contributes to my overall commitment to Penn and the Philadelphia community.
“Where are you from?”
“I grew up in the U.S.”
“No, I mean, where is your family from?”
I have had to answer this question, in some form or another, countless times during my life. It was generally out of genuine curiosity from the part of the inquirer based on reading my last name or hearing me speak to my family in Farsi. My simple answer, “Iran,” belies the story of just how my family found themselves transplanted from their native country – a story in which The University of Pennsylvania played a crucial role – changing the paths of their lives and the lives of generations to come.
In 1970, my uncle, Dr. X, returned to the United States after graduating from medical school in Shiraz. He was set to begin his internship and would soon find himself returning to The University of Pennsylvania for his residency, where he had spent a year as an international student previously. His arrival in Philadelphia would prove to be a significant point for the rest of my family still back in Iran. When the 1979 Iranian Revolution occurred, my family was separated not just by physical distance, but also by the chilling of political ties between the two countries. While it took several years for all of my family to become reunited again, my uncle's presence in Philadelphia served as an anchor in resettling my family far away from their native country. The opportunity the University of Pennsylvania presented my uncle went far beyond his personal growth as a student - the university was instrumental in the path my own life eventually took.
Given its role in my family's history, the opportunity to study at the University of Pennsylvania holds a special place in my heart. Additionally, studying at Penn Law will once again give me an opportunity to contribute to my community and it is my hope that I will be able to contribute to the community that originally gave so much to my family and myself.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Your background is certainly worthy of a diversity statement, but what you wrote explains very little about your diversity and how it will contribute to the law school. Focus less on your uncle and more on you and your experiences.
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