Write a DS or not?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
yuant

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Write a DS or not?

Postby yuant » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:38 am

Just wondering if I should write a DS at all. Female Chinese. Born and raised in Beijing and went to a Chinese university for undergrad. I can potentially write about my international experiences: traveled to thirty-some countries, lived in Damietta, Egypt for a 5-week volunteer program, in Paris for an exchange semester, and in NYC for 3 years (grad school+work). Nothing unique other than that. Any advice?

Thanks!!

cavalier1138

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Re: Write a DS or not?

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:28 am

Sounds like a decent theme for a diversity statement. I don't think it'll move the needle much, but it can't hurt.

yuant

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Re: Write a DS or not?

Postby yuant » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:27 am

cavalier1138 wrote:Sounds like a decent theme for a diversity statement. I don't think it'll move the needle much, but it can't hurt.


Thanks. Just hesitating because it might take me another week or longer to write and finalize the DS, while I certainly would like to submit ASAP...

nixy

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Re: Write a DS or not?

Postby nixy » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:08 am

Your app will still be early even a week from now. Anything before Thanksgiving is pretty early.

QContinuum

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Re: Write a DS or not?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:18 pm

yuant wrote:Just wondering if I should write a DS at all. Female Chinese. Born and raised in Beijing and went to a Chinese university for undergrad. I can potentially write about my international experiences: traveled to thirty-some countries, lived in Damietta, Egypt for a 5-week volunteer program, in Paris for an exchange semester, and in NYC for 3 years (grad school+work). Nothing unique other than that. Any advice?

Thanks!!

What would the DS focus on, though? I don't see anything particularly compelling based on your paragraph above. There's nothing "diverse" (for law school admissions purposes) about growing up in Beijing, attending university in China, traveling to many different countries, studying/working in NYC, volunteering in Africa, or studying abroad in Paris. (To be clear: These are all great life/educational experiences, and I don't mean to demean them at all. They just aren't something you can/should base a diversity statement on.) Chinese applicants aren't underrepresented in the law school applicant pool, and a plurality (or even majority) of applicants will be well-traveled, have studied/lived/worked in a large city, and have studied/volunteered abroad.

If you've had any memorable (good or bad) experiences due to your gender or race, that could make for a good DS. If you faced extra struggles growing up due to poverty or due to being a first-generation college student, that could make for a good DS. But if not, then I wouldn't bother writing one.

enz2103

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Re: Write a DS or not?

Postby enz2103 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:49 pm

QContinuum wrote:What would the DS focus on, though? I don't see anything particularly compelling based on your paragraph above.


I was not going to say anything because I am also applying to law schools, but as an undergraduate admissions consultant who works here in China, I almost always tell my students to avoid optional diversity prompts for the reasons offered by QContinuum. Chinese students do not contribute diversity by virtue of being Chinese, and being well-traveled does not make for a great topic. In fact, it could make you come off as spoiled if your essay reads like "these are all the places where I took vacations."

Again, you are not a high school student applying to undergrad, but I would wager that any effort to write a diversity statement based on being Chinese would either have no impact or a negative impact on your application (if poorly written). This might not be the case if you are one of the 55 ethnic minorities that do not include Han.

QContinuum

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Re: Write a DS or not?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:56 am

enz2103 wrote:Again, you are not a high school student applying to undergrad, but I would wager that any effort to write a diversity statement based on being Chinese would either have no impact or a negative impact on your application (if poorly written). This might not be the case if you are one of the 55 ethnic minorities that do not include Han.

Thanks very much for sharing this perspective. Overall, of course, law school admissions is a very different beast from college admissions. BUT, as best as I can tell, the way law schools and colleges view diversity is actually pretty similar (except that law school adcoms likely weigh diversity somewhat less heavily than college adcoms). So enz2103's expertise here is really helpful.

yuant

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Re: Write a DS or not?

Postby yuant » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:45 am

QContinuum wrote:
enz2103 wrote:Again, you are not a high school student applying to undergrad, but I would wager that any effort to write a diversity statement based on being Chinese would either have no impact or a negative impact on your application (if poorly written). This might not be the case if you are one of the 55 ethnic minorities that do not include Han.

Thanks very much for sharing this perspective. Overall, of course, law school admissions is a very different beast from college admissions. BUT, as best as I can tell, the way law schools and colleges view diversity is actually pretty similar (except that law school adcoms likely weigh diversity somewhat less heavily than college adcoms). So enz2103's expertise here is really helpful.

Thanks for the advice. I get it. My initial thought was to write about some experiences working/studying as a foreigner in different cultural contexts and how these experiences provided me with perspectives that could be beneficial for law school discussions, etc. I'm not an ethnic minority in China and certainly did not struggle with my identity or anything like that. I guess in the context of law school admission I shouldn't bother writing one.



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