Underrepresented Minority

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Autonomous
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Underrepresented Minority

Postby Autonomous » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:04 pm

Hi so I am planning on going to Law School (only a Upper Junior now), I have signed up for the LSATS, and looking through the long application process I have found that Underrepresented Minority's get a significant LSAT score boost, and other benefits. To explain my situation, I am half puerto-rican; however I have NEVER told anyone about this. It is a sore topic for me as my mother (who is puerto-rican) abandoned my family when I was a child. On all my undergrad forums and pretty much anywhere and everywhere I have had to put down an ethnicity I have put down White or Caucasian (my fathers side of the family all hail from the Russia). I was lucky to have a combination of financial aid and scholarships so I will be graduating with 0 debt. However with Law school I fear with my GPA (3.5) I would need an extremely high LSAT score of 168+ to get a full ride. Here in lies my dilemma, if I put down that I am half puerto-rican it would help me significantly. I would like to go to either Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn, or St. Johns and would need a full ride to go to any of them. I am really wondering about the ethics of me using this seeing as how I have never told anyone about this, and also would like to know how it would effect me in law school. Would anyone be able to find out my "status"? Please understand that the emotional trauma my mother, and to an extent her side of the family put me through has made me ashamed and embarrassed to represent myself as a puerto-rican, however I desperately need a full ride and would love to go to Fordham, Cardozo, or Brooklyn. Should add I look white and no one has ever even questioned it, would that be a problem, in so far as I would have to prove my mother's heritage?

Thanks for any help you can offer

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esq
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby esq » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:11 pm

You either are or aren't half-Puerto Rican, doesn't matter what your mom did after you were born. It's not dishonest to claim your ethnicity.

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Fresh
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby Fresh » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:12 pm

If you've noted your ethnicity as Caucasian for your whole life, wouldn't it look odd if you all of a sudden marked Puerto Rican?

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alexonfyre
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby alexonfyre » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:17 pm

Fresh wrote:If you've noted your ethnicity as Caucasian for your whole life, wouldn't it look odd if you all of a sudden marked Puerto Rican?

I wrestled with the same issue recently, and quite honestly, the way I answered was that it never really mattered before. This year was the first year I participated in the census and the first time having Mexican blood really meant anything officially. Unofficially I have always been secretly proud of my bloodline, but never made a lot of public claim due to the embarrassing facts that I don't speak Spanish and haven't visited Mexico (yet.) In all honestly, these simple bubble sheets have actually made me go back and speak with my grandmother about being Mexican and learn more about the history of that side of my family.
Despite this, I was worried about the authentication as well, would I have to find my grandmother's Mexican birth certificate? Would they ask about family traditions, etc?
I found out that the answer to all of this is "no." Unless you are Native American, there is no actual verification required. The one time it could come up (and I don't know if this is factual) is with the Bar Association's Character and Fitness Board. They may ask you about it before you are allowed to pass the bar, with your story I don't think they would have any issues. The fact is, you are a Puerto Rican, the population percentage of Puerto Ricans in law school is lower than their percentage in the population at-large, and therefore you are more desirable to law schools as they attempt to correct this issue. It sounds like you have struggled with your Puerto Rican heritage your entire life, isn't it about time that it meant something positive?

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Hobbes89
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby Hobbes89 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:55 am

If you're willing to share your story with adcoms, I think that it sounds like you could write a very good diversity statement regarding your Puerto Rican heritage.

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almightypush
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby almightypush » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:11 pm

Autonomous wrote: Would anyone be able to find out my "status"?



After choosing your ethnicity on the app, just scribble “Don’t out me, bro” right underneath… you should be fine.

Keeper1125
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby Keeper1125 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:52 pm

Claim yourself as an URM and write a kick-ass essay detailing the issues you've described.

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glewz
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby glewz » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:54 pm

Keeper1125 wrote:Claim yourself as an URM and write a kick-ass essay detailing the issues you've described.


Hobbes89 wrote:If you're willing to share your story with adcoms, I think that it sounds like you could write a very good diversity statement regarding your Puerto Rican heritage.


This & that

southernsnapp
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby southernsnapp » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:51 pm

I know this may sound harsh but…

How does the act of one person make you want to ignore a whole ethnic group, except when you think it will benefit you? Whatever your mother's ethnicity may have been, she has to have been something, correct? I think that the purpose of that URM effect on admissions (whatever it may be) is for people who actually have been impacted by their URM status. You haven't. I doubt you'd tell the adcomms "I'm so hurt by my mother that I've never acknowledge that I'm half Puerto Rican, but I need this money so I'll let you know that I am." I think the decision to say that you are Puerto Rican on your application would be ethically wrong. We all "need full rides" but some of us have to suck it up and take a loan.

However, just do you. If you're fine with lying to get money, go for it. You're the only one who will have to deal with the consequences, so do what you feel comfortable doing.

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esq
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby esq » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:18 pm

southernsnapp wrote:I know this may sound harsh but…

How does the act of one person make you want to ignore a whole ethnic group, except when you think it will benefit you? Whatever your mother's ethnicity may have been, she has to have been something, correct? I think that the purpose of that URM effect on admissions (whatever it may be) is for people who actually have been impacted by their URM status. You haven't. I doubt you'd tell the adcomms "I'm so hurt by my mother that I've never acknowledge that I'm half Puerto Rican, but I need this money so I'll let you know that I am." I think the decision to say that you are Puerto Rican on your application would be ethically wrong. We all "need full rides" but some of us have to suck it up and take a loan.

However, just do you. If you're fine with lying to get money, go for it. You're the only one who will have to deal with the consequences, so do what you feel comfortable doing.

False. If it was about how you had been impacted, they would ask about that. They are smart enough to articulate what they want to know about your ethnicity, and some will ask for how you've been impacted - it's called a diversity statement, and you actually do have a concrete statement about how it affected you.

The fact is that most law schools simply ask you to check a couple of boxes. One will say you're Puerto Rican, one will say you're White. Even if you are 1/10000 of an ethnicity, you are still 1/10000 of that ethnicity. There is nothing ethically wrong about the fact that your mother is Puerto Rican, your father White, and hence you are half Puerto Rican. What the adcomms choose to do with this information is their choice, but it is simply not a lie to tell them what is absolutely true about your ethnic background.

thegreatk
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Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:17 am

Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby thegreatk » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:19 pm

southernsnapp wrote:I know this may sound harsh but…

How does the act of one person make you want to ignore a whole ethnic group, except when you think it will benefit you? Whatever your mother's ethnicity may have been, she has to have been something, correct? I think that the purpose of that URM effect on admissions (whatever it may be) is for people who actually have been impacted by their URM status. You haven't. I doubt you'd tell the adcomms "I'm so hurt by my mother that I've never acknowledge that I'm half Puerto Rican, but I need this money so I'll let you know that I am." I think the decision to say that you are Puerto Rican on your application would be ethically wrong. We all "need full rides" but some of us have to suck it up and take a loan.

However, just do you. If you're fine with lying to get money, go for it. You're the only one who will have to deal with the consequences, so do what you feel comfortable doing.


I completely disagree. OP is playing by the rules of the game. Law schools genuinely don't give a crap how your URM status has affected your life; they care about how it will pad their stats, just like every other relevant piece of information we put forth in order to get acceptances.

As long as you aren't lying in your personal statement, I'd say you are ethically in the clear.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby alexonfyre » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:18 am

southernsnapp wrote:I know this may sound harsh but…

How does the act of one person make you want to ignore a whole ethnic group, except when you think it will benefit you? Whatever your mother's ethnicity may have been, she has to have been something, correct? I think that the purpose of that URM effect on admissions (whatever it may be) is for people who actually have been impacted by their URM status. You haven't. I doubt you'd tell the adcomms "I'm so hurt by my mother that I've never acknowledge that I'm half Puerto Rican, but I need this money so I'll let you know that I am." I think the decision to say that you are Puerto Rican on your application would be ethically wrong. We all "need full rides" but some of us have to suck it up and take a loan.

However, just do you. If you're fine with lying to get money, go for it. You're the only one who will have to deal with the consequences, so do what you feel comfortable doing.


It is "Under-Represented Minority," not "Under-Privileged Minority." If you were negatively impacted by anything in your life, you get a boost by talking about how you overcame it in your PS.
OP is Puerto Rican AND he can talk about how his path to law school has been more difficult because of his mom, those kind of softs = Half-Ride at a handful of T25s and maybe a T14.
Don't be jelly.
/thread

NoJob
Posts: 237
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby NoJob » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:45 am

Autonomous wrote:Hi so I am planning on going to Law School (only a Upper Junior now), I have signed up for the LSATS, and looking through the long application process I have found that Underrepresented Minority's get a significant LSAT score boost, and other benefits. To explain my situation, I am half puerto-rican; however I have NEVER told anyone about this. It is a sore topic for me as my mother (who is puerto-rican) abandoned my family when I was a child. On all my undergrad forums and pretty much anywhere and everywhere I have had to put down an ethnicity I have put down White or Caucasian (my fathers side of the family all hail from the Russia). I was lucky to have a combination of financial aid and scholarships so I will be graduating with 0 debt. However with Law school I fear with my GPA (3.5) I would need an extremely high LSAT score of 168+ to get a full ride. Here in lies my dilemma, if I put down that I am half puerto-rican it would help me significantly. I would like to go to either Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn, or St. Johns and would need a full ride to go to any of them. I am really wondering about the ethics of me using this seeing as how I have never told anyone about this, and also would like to know how it would effect me in law school. Would anyone be able to find out my "status"? Please understand that the emotional trauma my mother, and to an extent her side of the family put me through has made me ashamed and embarrassed to represent myself as a puerto-rican, however I desperately need a full ride and would love to go to Fordham, Cardozo, or Brooklyn. Should add I look white and no one has ever even questioned it, would that be a problem, in so far as I would have to prove my mother's heritage?

Thanks for any help you can offer


Dude, don't do it. Google the NY Times article on how bad the field is; also find at the article on the computer program that will displace all our doc reviewers; and take a look at the article I just posted from the WSJ.

You will be entering an incredibly saturated field with a ton of debt and few job prospects. This is even worse with legal outsourcing and with that damn computer program.

My advice. Don't go down this road.

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Alex-Trof
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby Alex-Trof » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:52 am

NoJob wrote:
Dude, don't do it. Google the NY Times article on how bad the field is; also find at the article on the computer program that will displace all our doc reviewers; and take a look at the article I just posted from the WSJ.

You will be entering an incredibly saturated field with a ton of debt and few job prospects. This is even worse with legal outsourcing and with that damn computer program.

My advice. Don't go down this road.


Out of curiosity, are you on a crusade to show the light to the misguided ones? We get it. You think law school is a waste of time. Don't be that annoying guy with a banner "accept Jesus or go to Hell".

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Alex-Trof
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby Alex-Trof » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:57 am

southernsnapp wrote:I know this may sound harsh but…

How does the act of one person make you want to ignore a whole ethnic group, except when you think it will benefit you? Whatever your mother's ethnicity may have been, she has to have been something, correct? I think that the purpose of that URM effect on admissions (whatever it may be) is for people who actually have been impacted by their URM status. You haven't. I doubt you'd tell the adcomms "I'm so hurt by my mother that I've never acknowledge that I'm half Puerto Rican, but I need this money so I'll let you know that I am." I think the decision to say that you are Puerto Rican on your application would be ethically wrong. We all "need full rides" but some of us have to suck it up and take a loan.

However, just do you. If you're fine with lying to get money, go for it. You're the only one who will have to deal with the consequences, so do what you feel comfortable doing.


How would you know if URM status has impacted him? Maybe he has a Hispanic look or name and faced more challenges because of it. Besides he is not lying, he is Puerto Rican by blood, to not disclose that would be more lying than disclosing it.

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SMA22
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby SMA22 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:22 am

Truth is, not everyone's experience as a minority is the same, even in the same group, and there are a variety of reasons in the US why people choose to hide their identity or potentially downplay it for a portion of their lives. Growing up in a homogenous, non-minority community can cause children minimize their cultural heritage. Parents of a certain generation may discourage their children from speaking native languages and acting anything less than "American." In the case of families that are mixed race, one family may dominate another due to nothing but typical family dynamics ("I hate your grandmother--you are NOT going over there for Christmas!") This is why so many people hesitate to define what a URM really is--who are they to say?

The minority experience for every candidate is not static--there are a variety of sociological, economic, generational, educational, and familial differences that at any time in one's life may alter how one perceives his/her identity.

That said, just as it is possible to minimize an identity, there's never a better time than before law school starts to reclaim one's cultural identity :D Take the trip to your mom's native country, ask your grandma about her childhood, brush up on your language skills, or read some literature.

(In the same boat as OP--family tensions caused being Mexican to be a sore subject in my family through part of my childhood. I wound up going around my mother and growing closer to my aunt to understand who were were and where my family came from.)

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minnbills
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Re: Underrepresented Minority

Postby minnbills » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:20 pm

Either you're a minority or you're not. Whether or not it seriously impacted you is beside the point for admissions.

My aunt is half Cuban and got a full ride to ls for it. You would never know unless she told you. And believe me, she was not disadvantaged one bit because of it. But she had no problems writing it on her app.

I know a couple of guys who got into yale and harvard for ug, claiming aa status on their apps. Their mom owns a hedge fund.




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