weird DS question

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illnevertell

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weird DS question

Postby illnevertell » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:48 pm

hello! question about diversity statements - I am somewhat concerned my application will read as privileged white girl because of my background (elite boarding school, ivy league college), so I wrote a short diversity statement about being middle class in an elite environment. i was teased in high school for having an 'ethnic' (read: non-waspy) last name, implication of 'low class' or even 'undeserving' (which totally fueled me to shut everyone up by overachieving and getting into my dream school early). my mother was on food stamps growing up (is this relevant?), which definitely shaped me, as i do not come from a line of privilege. i'm a few years out of college, a splitter w/ fine softs, great PS, applying to T14. i also have always worked - worked a part time job in college, have had to hustle throughout & post college working unglamorous jobs at times (retail, restaurant, private tutor) that I KNOW a lot of my classmates would find beneath them. there's something refreshing about connecting with people no matter their background, whether that's been my super wealthy friends in school or the sous chef i worked with from the projects, but maybe law schools don't give a shit about that, or about being down to earth. anyway, would love a reality check - i definitely don't want to paint any picture of me as a victim; I have loving, awesome parents and am super grateful! but i also don't want to be looked at as someone who's had everything handed to her; i.e, don't want to be roped into the same category as a lot of my college friends, who have relied on family connections to land jobs, have traveled the world, etc. is any of this going to add to my application? also, i'm totally cognizant that it's late in the game, and this is the only part of my application to finish. if I don't like the outcome of this round, i plan to gain more direct legal experience & reapply early in the fall. any advice appreciated, thanks!

FN-2187

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Re: weird DS question

Postby FN-2187 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:55 pm

If you think you bring a diverse experience to the law schools you're applying to and/or to the study of law, I say go for it. Just make sure the DS doesn't make you come across as a privileged white girl grasping straws to appear as she is not a privileged white girl.

Edit to say that a DS will not be the reason you get accepted/waitlisted/rejected.
Last edited by FN-2187 on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

cavalier1138

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Re: weird DS question

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:47 pm

FN-2187 wrote:Just make sure the DS doesn't make you come across as a privileged white girl grasping straws to appear as she is not a privileged white girl.


This is precisely the reason I would not write this DS. That was my immediate impression reading about the trials and tribulations of only being middle class.

If you're questioning writing a DS, probably don't do it.

illnevertell

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Re: weird DS question

Postby illnevertell » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:56 pm

totally valid, but don't different schools have different philosophies on what constitutes diversity, or am I totally off-base? It almost seems as if some schools are wanting you to write one (Berkeley springs to mind), as if a candidate admitting she isn't diverse in some aspect equates to bringing nothing of distinct interest to the community. or is the DS strictly an opportunity to discuss hardship?

cavalier1138

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Re: weird DS question

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:02 pm

illnevertell wrote:totally valid, but don't different schools have different philosophies on what constitutes diversity, or am I totally off-base? It almost seems as if some schools are wanting you to write one (Berkeley springs to mind), as if a candidate admitting she isn't diverse in some aspect equates to bringing nothing of distinct interest to the community. or is the DS strictly an opportunity to discuss hardship?


The diversity statement is your opportunity to let the admissions committee know about anything that makes you diverse. It's optional for a reason.

Middle-class white girls generally aren't diverse.

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emkay625

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Re: weird DS question

Postby emkay625 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:48 pm

Middle class white girl here.

So it seems like the diverse characteristics you're planning to write about are:

-You are middle class.
-You have had part time jobs.

These sort of seem like you're grasping at straws.

As to the food stamps thing - I want to make sure I'm right: it's not that your family was on food stamps when you were a child, it's that your mother's family was when she was a child? If that is correct, I would not write about it.

Edited to ask:

You went to an elite boarding school. Who paid your tuition? I would be skeptical reading an essay from anyone who claimed to be not rich who went to a fancy boarding school. Even if you were not as rich as some other people in your school, you are certainly more rich than say, 95% of the American public. This changes, of course, if you were on a full scholarship to the school or something. So if you do plan to write about your experience at boarding school, if you were a scholarship kid, you should definitely mention that.

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TooMuchTuna

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Re: weird DS question

Postby TooMuchTuna » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:57 pm

Did you use any uppercase letters in your DS?

ETA: Agree with the others. So far it reads like you're grasping for straws.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: weird DS question

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:05 pm

Totally totally agree with emkay’s entire post.

I think you could talk about some of this in a personal statement but that it doesn’t work as a diversity statement.

For instance lots and lots and LOTS of people have worked retail, tutoring, and restaurant jobs. I get that the people you’re in school with may see those jobs as below them, but diversity isn’t about comparison with the people you went to school with.

Jjbb938483

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Re: weird DS question

Postby Jjbb938483 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:36 pm

Your background sounds very similar to the majority of applicants. I would assume most are white, middle class kids that have held jobs in the past. It's unlikely anyone would read it and think you'd bring much diversity because of those things. You'd be better off talking about a unique hobby than your upbringing. Feel free to write a draft and send it my way though. You might be able to write something convincing.

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Mullens

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Re: weird DS question

Postby Mullens » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:33 pm

Don’t write a diversity statement. It won’t help your application and will almost certainly hurt it if you include it. If you want to write about the stuff in your initial post then do it in your personal statement.

cashinapig

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Re: weird DS question

Postby cashinapig » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:30 pm

I agree that it seems like you're grasping at straws, but I disagree with the assertion that you shouldn't write a diversity statement at all. If your experiences mean you have a different perspective to share, then write about it (there are a LOT of things that constitute diversity). The particular points you're making are about events, not about how they influence the way you see the world. I'd start there *shrug*

cavalier1138

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Re: weird DS question

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:19 pm

cashinapig wrote:I agree that it seems like you're grasping at straws, but I disagree with the assertion that you shouldn't write a diversity statement at all. If your experiences mean you have a different perspective to share, then write about it (there are a LOT of things that constitute diversity). The particular points you're making are about events, not about how they influence the way you see the world. I'd start there *shrug*


That may be true in life and biglaw diversity associate applications, but it is not true for law school. If your "different perspective" is that you were slightly less wealthy than a bunch of really wealthy people, then you aren't diverse, you're just extremely lucky. It will play badly.

DrGlennRichie

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Re: weird DS question

Postby DrGlennRichie » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:03 pm

illnevertell wrote:hello! question about diversity statements - I am somewhat concerned my application will read as privileged white girl because of my background (elite boarding school, ivy league college), so I wrote a short diversity statement about being middle class in an elite environment. i was teased in high school for having an 'ethnic' (read: non-waspy) last name, implication of 'low class' or even 'undeserving' (which totally fueled me to shut everyone up by overachieving and getting into my dream school early). my mother was on food stamps growing up (is this relevant?), which definitely shaped me, as i do not come from a line of privilege. i'm a few years out of college, a splitter w/ fine softs, great PS, applying to T14. i also have always worked - worked a part time job in college, have had to hustle throughout & post college working unglamorous jobs at times (retail, restaurant, private tutor) that I KNOW a lot of my classmates would find beneath them. there's something refreshing about connecting with people no matter their background, whether that's been my super wealthy friends in school or the sous chef i worked with from the projects, but maybe law schools don't give a shit about that, or about being down to earth. anyway, would love a reality check - i definitely don't want to paint any picture of me as a victim; I have loving, awesome parents and am super grateful! but i also don't want to be looked at as someone who's had everything handed to her; i.e, don't want to be roped into the same category as a lot of my college friends, who have relied on family connections to land jobs, have traveled the world, etc. is any of this going to add to my application? also, i'm totally cognizant that it's late in the game, and this is the only part of my application to finish. if I don't like the outcome of this round, i plan to gain more direct legal experience & reapply early in the fall. any advice appreciated, thanks!


Make sure somebody reads your PS. This whole post and subsequent post made me worry about that



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