Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

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kellythegiant
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Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby kellythegiant » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:47 pm

I have all my transcripts, scores, addenda, etc. in order, and I'm ready to start applying. But I have a bit of hesitation over my personal statement. I am confident in its quality, both in subject matter and in the clarity of my writing, but here's the issue: I make several references (none of which I'm able to eliminate without compromising the story) to my conservative, Christian upbringing and beliefs. I know at places like Baylor and George Mason this won't be an issue, but if I submit this same personal statement to less conservative universities, will I find that a liberal bias eliminates me from acceptance? Or are there certain historically liberal universities that may be seeking conservative minds to spice up the debate? I have experienced, as has many a conservative college student before me, a palpable level of discrimination for my political and/or religious stances, but I'm not sure how strongly, if at all, this would affect me in this application process. Any insights?

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Mce252
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby Mce252 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:51 pm

I would say most law schools look for diversity in belief systems but just don't tell them that Grover Norquist has all the answers. If your personal statement is reasonable and you mention your beliefs for a purpose, it shouldn't matter.

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WhatSarahSaid
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby WhatSarahSaid » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:51 pm


snehpets
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby snehpets » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:51 pm

kellythegiant wrote:I have all my transcripts, scores, addenda, etc. in order, and I'm ready to start applying. But I have a bit of hesitation over my personal statement. I am confident in its quality, both in subject matter and in the clarity of my writing, but here's the issue: I make several references (none of which I'm able to eliminate without compromising the story) to my conservative, Christian upbringing and beliefs. I know at places like Baylor and George Mason this won't be an issue, but if I submit this same personal statement to less conservative universities, will I find that a liberal bias eliminates me from acceptance? Or are there certain historically liberal universities that may be seeking conservative minds to spice up the debate? I have experienced, as has many a conservative college student before me, a palpable level of discrimination for my political and/or religious stances, but I'm not sure how strongly, if at all, this would affect me in this application process. Any insights?


Generally speaking, your numbers are what will matter. The most important thing about your personal statement is that it's well-written. People do usually advise against contentious subject matter, but if you're not being aggressive about it I don't know why it would cause you much trouble. As long as you're not offensive/talking about how non-Christians are going to hell, I would be extremely surprised if it was a problem. Bottom line, they want good scores and good grades. Perhaps some will disagree. You'd be worse off writing a strongly atheist personal statement and applying to Notre Dame.

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Antrim
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby Antrim » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:52 pm

LSAT and GPA don't have political leanings

nsbane
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby nsbane » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:55 pm

I agree with everyone above. Also, when you put those statements in your essay, and are later rejected, you are not allowed to blame or even hint that your beliefs were what got you axed.

Plenty of bleeding heart liberals who cry every night for the spotted owl get rejected too.

nsbane
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby nsbane » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:58 pm

Further thought - contact the Federalist society at your top reach school. Ask them what they think about the atmosphere and you putting in your conservative beliefs in your statement. My guess is they will tell you to totally go for it, and law schools admissions want lots of different view points.

kellythegiant
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby kellythegiant » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:34 pm

Excellent. Thank you, everyone!

justinp
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby justinp » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:11 am

Not quite as far outside of the law school political mainstream as you, but I mentioned my more-or-less libertarian political stance in various supplemental materials and have been having a pretty good cycle so far. Christian conservative is a bit farther afield, but I don't think it's really going to affect your app one way or the other.

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fundamentallybroken
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby fundamentallybroken » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:27 am

Law schools will not care about your beliefs. Your fellow law students, on the other hand, will dearly wish you would STFU about them, conservative or otherwise.

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captainwasabi09
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby captainwasabi09 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:24 am

I don't think it should be a problem as long as you don't offend anyone. In my personal statements to Michigan, Columbia, and Harvard, I did mention my strong Christian affiliation. While mine was in a liberal Christian direction, I don't think it makes my mention that much different from yours. We were both honest about something that is a big part of our lives, something that includes religion and politics, which are two things you are never supposed to bring up at the dinner table. If we were worried about being discriminated against, we could have found a way to circumvent it. But we didn't because we wanted to be honest and provide a complete picture about ourselves. There is nothing to be ashamed of for that.

Also it is mostly about the numbers so don't forget about that.

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Flips88
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby Flips88 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:28 am

kellythegiant wrote: I have experienced, as has many a conservative college student before me, a palpable level of discrimination for my political and/or religious stances...

Thanks for the lol

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Gail
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby Gail » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:03 am

I would advise against it. Personal experience.

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danielhay11
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby danielhay11 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:56 am

One thing adcomms look for in the PS is maturity. So while politics and religion do not make good dinner party conversation, they can be a part of an effective PS provided you discuss it in a mature and appropriate way - ie, make sure its germane to the rest of your essay.

For example, "My faith tradition instructs me to love mercy and practice charity" or "My work for X primarily focused on the concepts of federalism and subsidiarity, looking at ways to devolve various federal programs to the states" shouldn't cause you any problem. Discussing the various religious groups that you think are going to hell or bemoaning welfare queens and anchor babies is likely to hurt your chances - not because you discussed religion or politics, but because you did so in an immature way. Not having read your PS, it sounds from your statements ITT that you approach these topics with sobriety and maturity, in which case it is unlikely to be problematic.

(As anecdotal evidence, I have read more and more admissions deans/admissions blogs/etc discuss the idea of intellectual diversity, which I think is a welcome development. Whether this is merely PR or a genuine commitment is still up in the air...)

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Observant_Poster
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Re: Political/Religious Bias in Admissions

Postby Observant_Poster » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:30 pm

http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html

I had written a personal statement on how my struggle with religion, and eventually declaration as an atheist has led me to where I am today, but then scratched it after the above link explicitly states to avoid politics and religion. The one I re-wrote ended up being much better anyways, so it ended up working out for me. Good Luck!




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