Diversity Statement for USC?

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Lwoods
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Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby Lwoods » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:10 am

I'm white, middle class and straight. However, USC seems to define diversity broadly, and I do have a rather unique resume with experience in niche industries. I'd love the opportunity to sell myself some more beyond my PS, but I don't want to be dinged for writing a diversity statement when I am in no way a URM and/or being redundant as my work background is noted on my resume and mentioned in my PS.
http://lawweb.usc.edu/how/jd/admissionsInformation.cfm

For context, the predictor puts me as a Strong Consider for USC. Thoughts? I'm leaning toward sending one.

biladtreasure2
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby biladtreasure2 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:39 am

Unique experience actually does count as diversity (just being a URM isn't always a compelling case for diversity), but keep in mind that the purpose of writing this is to let USC know how you will contribute something new to their community. If by defining diversity "broadly" you mean having to really stretch the scenario to make yourself look unique, then don't bother with a diversity statement: You should have already said something unique about yourself in the personal statement.

By the way, being white, middle-class and straight doesn't necessarily mean that you are not culturally or ethnically diverse. Some of my Jewish friends talked about growing up with anti-Semitism, though they fit that description. Some of my Albanian friends talked about their dwindling cultural adherence as a community, as the first-generation youth became more and more Americanized. That's a possible consideration you may have overlooked.

Bottom line: If you really feel like you're trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat, it's probably b.s., and adcomms will pick up on it fast.

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Lwoods
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby Lwoods » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:23 am

Thanks for your feedback! It's giving me a lot to chew on.

biladtreasure2 wrote:Unique experience actually does count as diversity (just being a URM isn't always a compelling case for diversity), but keep in mind that the purpose of writing this is to let USC know how you will contribute something new to their community. If by defining diversity "broadly" you mean having to really stretch the scenario to make yourself look unique, then don't bother with a diversity statement: You should have already said something unique about yourself in the personal statement.

The most unique part of my work history is that I produced an Off-Broadway play. I think this is probably uncommon among law school applicants in general... but of all schools, USC is probably not lacking in applicants from the entertainment industry due to its location and entertainment law certificate program.
The next part is my second undergraduate degree in Fashion Merchandising and my current work in that industry.
Obviously having been a part of the entertainment and fashion industries, I know plenty of people in both. Neither seem particularly special to me as I'm a part of those worlds.
However, I think I would add a unique perspective to discussion because I've seen business from all different angles (sole proprietor, secretary to top execs at a top bank right before and during the downfall, research role in BigLaw and analyst at [successful] Fortune 500 retailer). I've gotten to see and experience what works, what doesn't and the shades of grey in between.

biladtreasure2 wrote:By the way, being white, middle-class and straight doesn't necessarily mean that you are not culturally or ethnically diverse. Some of my Jewish friends talked about growing up with anti-Semitism, though they fit that description. Some of my Albanian friends talked about their dwindling cultural adherence as a community, as the first-generation youth became more and more Americanized. That's a possible consideration you may have overlooked.

That's an excellent point, but... I've lived a charmed life. My parents, who are still happily married, had/have graduate/professional degrees, white collar careers and high 5-figure household income in a very LCOL city. My cousin was running our genealogy and discovered we're direct descendants of Millard Fillmore and King Edward II. 3 of my 4 grandparents are college educated. The 4th was valedictorian of her hs class and worked to send her brothers to school. I think my good fortune is what is truly making me hesitant.
I mean, I could speak to moving from a small Midwestern town to NYC (country mouse in the big city!), but the transition really was seamless. It would be disingenuous to imply otherwise.
biladtreasure2 wrote:Bottom line: If you really feel like you're trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat, it's probably b.s., and adcomms will pick up on it fast.

True. I'll think on this.

Thanks! :)

biladtreasure2
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby biladtreasure2 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:58 pm

Lwoods wrote:Thanks for your feedback! It's giving me a lot to chew on.

biladtreasure2 wrote:Unique experience actually does count as diversity (just being a URM isn't always a compelling case for diversity), but keep in mind that the purpose of writing this is to let USC know how you will contribute something new to their community. If by defining diversity "broadly" you mean having to really stretch the scenario to make yourself look unique, then don't bother with a diversity statement: You should have already said something unique about yourself in the personal statement.

The most unique part of my work history is that I produced an Off-Broadway play. I think this is probably uncommon among law school applicants in general... but of all schools, USC is probably not lacking in applicants from the entertainment industry due to its location and entertainment law certificate program.
The next part is my second undergraduate degree in Fashion Merchandising and my current work in that industry.
Obviously having been a part of the entertainment and fashion industries, I know plenty of people in both. Neither seem particularly special to me as I'm a part of those worlds.
However, I think I would add a unique perspective to discussion because I've seen business from all different angles (sole proprietor, secretary to top execs at a top bank right before and during the downfall, research role in BigLaw and analyst at [successful] Fortune 500 retailer). I've gotten to see and experience what works, what doesn't and the shades of grey in between.

biladtreasure2 wrote:By the way, being white, middle-class and straight doesn't necessarily mean that you are not culturally or ethnically diverse. Some of my Jewish friends talked about growing up with anti-Semitism, though they fit that description. Some of my Albanian friends talked about their dwindling cultural adherence as a community, as the first-generation youth became more and more Americanized. That's a possible consideration you may have overlooked.

That's an excellent point, but... I've lived a charmed life. My parents, who are still happily married, had/have graduate/professional degrees, white collar careers and high 5-figure household income in a very LCOL city. My cousin was running our genealogy and discovered we're direct descendants of Millard Fillmore and King Edward II. 3 of my 4 grandparents are college educated. The 4th was valedictorian of her hs class and worked to send her brothers to school. I think my good fortune is what is truly making me hesitant.
I mean, I could speak to moving from a small Midwestern town to NYC (country mouse in the big city!), but the transition really was seamless. It would be disingenuous to imply otherwise.
biladtreasure2 wrote:Bottom line: If you really feel like you're trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat, it's probably b.s., and adcomms will pick up on it fast.

True. I'll think on this.

Thanks! :)



My candid advice: If the diversity statement is not required, skip it. USC is probably going to get some good ones (e.g., a North Korean political prisoner's struggle to gain asylum and secure the American dream, a first-generation Nigerian growing up in rural Nebraska, etc.). If you think you can top that, or even come close, lots of luck. Otherwise you're right, it is disingenuous.

8ballistic
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby 8ballistic » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:25 am

Lwoods wrote:The most unique part of my work history is that I produced an Off-Broadway play. I think this is probably uncommon among law school applicants in general... but of all schools, USC is probably not lacking in applicants from the entertainment industry due to its location and entertainment law certificate program.
The next part is my second undergraduate degree in Fashion Merchandising and my current work in that industry.
Obviously having been a part of the entertainment and fashion industries, I know plenty of people in both. Neither seem particularly special to me as I'm a part of those worlds.
However, I think I would add a unique perspective to discussion because I've seen business from all different angles (sole proprietor, secretary to top execs at a top bank right before and during the downfall, research role in BigLaw and analyst at [successful] Fortune 500 retailer). I've gotten to see and experience what works, what doesn't and the shades of grey in between.

Write about your work history. As long as your writing isn't abysmal it can only help. It is an interesting element that will add something to community. Something is better than nothing. You won't be the only person with an entertainment industry background, but people still write diversity statements about being gay and there will definitely be more than one gay student.

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AnthonyNicator
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby AnthonyNicator » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:22 am

if you're already a strong consider, why bother? if you're white and middle class and haven't struggled financially, then I would probably not bother wasting your time. talk about something you've overcome, and from the vanilla background you seem to have, maybe something related to your fashion



-lived in a foreign country or spoke a language other than English at home

-have unusual career goals, employment history (perhaps military or law enforcement
experience), or educational background (including graduate study)

-demonstrate unusual extracurricular achievement (including school or community service)

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Lwoods
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby Lwoods » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:31 am

AnthonyNicator wrote:if you're already a strong consider, why bother? if you're white and middle class and haven't struggled financially, then I would probably not bother wasting your time. talk about something you've overcome, and from the vanilla background you seem to have, maybe something related to your fashion


Because I imagine this is a situation in which softs make a difference.

I'll jot a few things down and see how they feel. I realize I've never been a POW or opened an orphanage in Jaipur or been called a racial slur. Yet, they want diverse perspectives, and I do think I bring that.

Thanks for the advice, all! :)

username99
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby username99 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:55 am

I think it gives you a chance to say more about yourself. If you're white and middle class and you make up some bullshit reason why you have a diverse background (you are the only person you know who has a phobia of cantaloupe), that's bad. But if you use that space to discuss how your experiences can help add to USC's diverse community, then by all means do it. This is coming, by the way, from someone who has no definitive knowledge of this. Just repeating what I'm doing myself.

username99
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby username99 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:58 am

Actually, having just revisited the school's application, they give you a lot of space to write your personal statement (3 pages). If your usual PS is 2 pages, that's an additional - wait for it - page of experiences you can submit. With that in mind, it might be a bit much to submit even more writing to them.

masterthearts
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Re: Diversity Statement for USC?

Postby masterthearts » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:12 pm

How about hispanic diversity. I am bilingual and hispanic.
I plan on writing this type of diversity statement for law schools in the northeast. Plus I have a chronic physical illness and want to help those who face discrimination.




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