First generation diversity statement

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etramak

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First generation diversity statement

Postby etramak » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:57 pm

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us3rnam3

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby us3rnam3 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:14 pm

etramak wrote:I've read that first generation college grads might get a slight bump at [/i]some[/i] law schools. I've also seen some sites suggest these applicants include a diversity statement. While neither of my parents went to college, union wages have been kind to my family and I had, all things considered, a pretty average suburban working class upbringing. My point is, I don't know how I could incorporate this into my law school application. Would I be doing myself a disservice if I were to not write a diversity statement? If there is any slight bump at all, would my first gen status go unnoticed by adcoms?

If i remember correctly most (if not all) of the apps asked the level of education your parents completed. Do you think them not going to college had a negative effect on you?

etramak

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby etramak » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:24 pm

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YBF-W

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby YBF-W » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:47 pm

I like the way you explained this and it sounds familiar to someone else I know. Not everyone can extrapolate from this type of experience to genuinely say there's something they will add to their class as a result. I think it's also not hard to tell while reading when a point is articulated as if it's not personally meaningful. My bet is it wouldn't hurt to write one, but it also wouldn't help you.

I think it's also likely to be different if you're an immigrant whose family did not arrive to the US speaking English or if poverty/affordability was such a hurdle but you managed to beat that challenge or if you didn't first attend college because family duties were more important at the time or something else that would actually make your experience a disadvantage. Being able to thrive in spite of all this would say something about your determination, strength, etc. Even if you have these characteristics, it sounds like it came from elsewhere.
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Rigo

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Rigo » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:55 pm

I don't have a good answer on if you should write a diversity statement or not.
I'm not first gen but I didn't write a diversity statement for LGBT because I grew up in a super supportive community and had a great family so I never personally felt oppressed. I checked the box and moved on. I could have dropped the ball.
Maybe tackle it as more of a "this is what it means to me and my family"/American Dream angle than an adversity angle.

I remember apps did go into parental details though, so if they are looking out for first gen students, they will surely pick up on you even without a supplemental essay. I remember Berkeley's app in particular. They especially like first gen students and even have special full-ride scholarships for them.

etramak

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby etramak » Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:54 pm

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LoganCouture

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby LoganCouture » Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:27 pm

Wrote my PS about diversity and first gen type things. Definitely can be tricky to strike the proper tone bc you want to convey that you are overcoming obstacles that set you apart from other applicants while at the same time not sounding "woe is me" bc I'm obviously hella proud of my family and appreciate how hard they've worked for me to get here. If you can balance those considerations it can be a strong statement IMO. There are very few people I know at my school (and schools I was applying to) who come from families that are not upper middle class and where going to grad/professional school is not the norm.

Monday

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Monday » Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:13 pm

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etramak

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby etramak » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:47 pm

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Nebby

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Nebby » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:49 pm

Listen, if you can't easily think of a way your identity led you to adversity to overcome, then you probably shouldn't write one.

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Shakawkaw

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Shakawkaw » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:04 pm

There's nothing wrong with drafting it, and then posting it for feedback. It's hard to say definitely yes or no, because it's unclear what angle you are going to take with it.

tinyvessels

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby tinyvessels » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:06 pm

etramak wrote:I've read that first generation college grads might get a slight bump at some law schools. I've also seen some sites suggest these applicants include a diversity statement. While neither of my parents went to college, union wages have been kind to my family and I had, all things considered, a pretty average suburban working class upbringing. My point is, I don't know how I could incorporate this into my law school application. Would I be doing myself a disservice if I were to not write a diversity statement? If there is any slight bump at all, would my first gen status go unnoticed by adcoms?


You should 100 percent write a diversity statement. I think applicants that don't at least try to draft something and get feedback are doing a big disservice to themselves. Law schools love bragging about shit like having first generation students. Also, diversity statement prompts are so vague most of the time, that you can really spin it into whatever you like and still have it count as 'being diverse.' It doesn't need to be about being oppressed or fighting adversity. They literally just want students who come from different walks in life to discuss said walks.

Your experience of not having the same guidance as your peers whose parents had experience applying and attending a four year college, most definitely is something you can and should address if you decide to write a diversity statement which you def. should. In the interviews I went on this cycle, multiple ad coms referenced my personal statement and diversity statement as something that set me apart from the crowd for them. This really helps differentiate applicants.

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bcostin

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby bcostin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:03 am

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Easterbork

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Easterbork » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:13 am

I had similar parental support and was also a first generation college student. The fact that you see your experience as "paying your way through college" is completely nuts.

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Nebby » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:17 am

LJL that someone whose parents paid for their tuition thinks they had it hard

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bcostin

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby bcostin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:26 am

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Easterbork

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Easterbork » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:57 am

bcostin wrote:
Easterbork wrote:
bcostin wrote:I'm not sure if writing a diversity statement about being a first generation college student really makes a difference... Numbers are most important, but sure, if it's between yourself (a first generation student) and a cis white male with an unexciting background you might get the nod over him.

I actually wrote a diversity statement about being a first generation college student for every law school I applied to this cycle. I'm a white male that attended a "public ivy," but since my parents were uneducated they viewed college as an institution that operates as a business. Not only did my parents not want me to go away for college they also flipped shit about me majoring in philosophy, a major they viewed (probably correctly) as useless. Given my parents cynical perspective on higher education they reluctantly paid my tuition (so my upbringing was anti-intellectual not financially destitute), but I was forced to finance all of my living expenses during my time as an undergraduate. I worked in the service industry a solid 30 hours a week and even became a manager at my job (I've also worked in the service industry since I was 16). In my diversity statement and in my personal statement I argued that my passion for philosophy allowed me to overcome the challenges of "paying my way" through college. I went on to point to the many extra-curricular activities I participated in from an internship to club leadership roles as evidence of my passion and dedication to academics. I also said that my years of experience working in the service industry taught me to be humble and never to judge people. I spoke about my experience working with people living in halfway houses, drug addicts, and just everyday people trying to make it. Long story short, I was waitlisted at just about every school I wanted to attend (even schools where my number were at or marginally below their 50%). *DISCLAIMER* I applied in late January/early February, so I think this also played a role in some of my outcomes. The upshot is that I was waitlisted by a few schools I'd consider a big reach given my numbers. I also landed a scholarship at one school that I'd also consider above average for someone with my numbers. On a less positive note, I toured a law school that waitlisted me and when the adcom asked if there was anything that I'd like her to highlight in my application, I quickly responded that my work ethic is what makes me different. I reiterated that I worked the entire time I was in school. Honestly, she didn't really seem to give a shit. She gave me some BS response about how it will "benefit me in the long run..." No shit, since I owe my UG institution $0. Of course, that is my experience with one single law school adcom...

On the whole, I'd say go for it. However, as a previous poster suggested there's a fine line between brilliant and bitchy. The entire time I was working on my diversity statement I kept reworking it so that it wouldn't seem like I was a spoiled brat complaining about working part-time in college. Yet, at the same time I would think of the large portion of the student body at my alma matter that sat on their asses at the frat house living on their folk's or the bank's money. I grinded to get my degree and I wanted to make that explicit.


I had similar parental support and was also a first generation college student. The fact that you see your experience as "paying your way through college" is completely nuts.


What would you consider paying your way through college then? Taking loans? Or paying the entire amount of your tuition? To me, the term is in itself ambiguous. If you are below a certain class threshold you'd qualify for grants and your tuition would be covered, well at least at the school I attended. I have several friends (including my partner) from lower income households who pay $0 for undergrad. Those same friends also received sizable grants that covered the majority of their bills and many don't work at all.

Nebby wrote:LJL that someone whose parents paid for their tuition thinks they had it hard


How many hours did you work as an undergraduate?

The only thing that I was spared from was debt, which is a burden in the future. Had I been able to take loans and exclusively focus on school I'm confident my GPA would've been .2/.3 points higher. The bottomline is that the experience of being a first generation student and having to work to finance one's living expenses as an undergrad is different from the status quo.



Also, I was instate at a public school, so my tuition was only around $4k a semester...


Yeah man I'm sensitive to how elite schools (imo) fuck over hardworking, successful families by making tuition free for families that, for example, make less than 80k at Harvard, or otherwise reduce it. And that is worsened in a first generation family that isn't willing to expend its resources on helping their kids thru college because of the "tough love" type thinking that is more prevalent among them because they don't look at college as the necessity that other families do.

But you didn't pay your way through college. The fact that you didn't pay tuition makes it not even close. You didn't pay your way through college.

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Rigo » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:16 am

I can only imagine just how he cast his parents who paid his tuition as completely unsupportive monsters. Saying that you paid your own way is pretty dishonest. Like damn, man.

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bcostin

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby bcostin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:23 am

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Nebby

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Nebby » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:58 am

bcostin wrote:

24 to 32 hours a week, plus the joy of debt because my single parent couldn't afford to pay for any of my education.

Did you work hard? Yes. Was your experience particularly unique to justify a diversity statement? lol no

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby albanach » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:46 am

etramak wrote:I used to work a manual labor job during summers (same job as my dad). Maybe I can pull a story from that experience, work out how i ended up where i am now, and use it as my PS.


I think this would be good if you can make a captivating start that really gives the reader an idea of what it's like working in the summer heat. But then you want to move on quickly and show how it built you, you don't regret it and that you have experience from it that others won't and which will contribute to the incoming class.

etramak

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby etramak » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:14 am

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Shakawkaw

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby Shakawkaw » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:17 am

@bcostin: Um. I am a first generation college student and immigrant. My parents wanted me to go to a local city college, I didn't. I financed my own education with loans, several years of saved earnings (I worked since I was 14) and merit grants. I went to a out of state private LAC and was not on speaking terms with my parents for making this decision. I had a work study job during the week, and a job on the weekends. So no, I don't think your situation is unique, and I'm not surprised you were WL at every school this cycle. I think you paint a very unfair picture of what your situation was actually like. Stop giving people bad advice. And no, I didn't write a diversity statement.

albanach

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Re: First generation diversity statement

Postby albanach » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:38 pm

etramak wrote:I don't plan on even drafting an essay until June, but the angle that I was thinking about taking wasn't that it was grueling, hard work. Instead, I might start off with how I wasn't really that good at it, and how that affected me, what I did about it, how I grew, how I ended up applying to Law School X, etc. The context here is that I was pretty useless doing a job my dad and his dad made a living doing


Generally I'd want to avoid introducing myself by talking about things I'm not good at. Law schools are full of folk who believe themselves to be pretty much good at everything they put their hand to (with the possible exception of mathematics).



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