When applying to law school, the diversity statement is typically an optional essay that serves as a companion to your required personal statement essay. The diversity statement provides law schools details about you: your personal experiences, your unique voice, and how you will add a diverse perspective to their class. Keep the following tips in mind to write an effective diversity statement:
1. Remember, it’s about YOU!
The diversity statement conveys to law schools deeper dimensions of who you are as well as what circumstances and events have shaped your life. While your personal statement communicates why you want to go to law school and what qualifications, experiences, and accomplishments have prepared you for this endeavor, the diversity statement is more personal in nature and focuses on what makes you unique and how you would help increase diversity in the classroom.
Diversity statement topics can range from overcoming hardship (poverty, illness, abuse, death in the family, etc.) or volunteering to serve your community to encounters with other cultural or sub-cultural groups. These are just examples; be sure to focus on what makes your story uniquely yours.
One former Stratus Admissions client wrote about his experience on a religious pilgrimage through Spain during his senior of college. Through this pilgrimage, he learned about his own heritage as well as modern-day poverty in Spain. This experience cultivated his desire to go to law school and become an advocate for human rights.
To begin drafting your diversity statement, think about the most formative experiences of your life and jot them down digitally or in a journal.
2. Start with an outline.
Like your personal statement, you should outline your diversity statement before you begin writing.
Pick one major life experience or event, summarize that event in an introduction, and then use each body paragraph to provide details about the experience or event and the various ways it has shaped who you are.
Conclude with your reflection: How has your unique experience shaped your perspective, and how will this add to a law school’s diversity?
However, here is one caveat: do not repeat information that you’ve already included in your personal statement.
3. Include stories that add value.
Most essays can benefit from anecdotes and stories, and this is especially true for the diversity statement. Incorporating details and dialogue can make an essay even more compelling.
For example, if you write about growing up in a poor rural community, share stories about the people with whom you grew up. What was a typical day in your life like? How far did you have to drive just to get to the supermarket? Did you have access to legal aid if you needed it? These details can bring your essay to life.
4. Keep it brief.
Typically, the diversity statement is only one to two pages double-spaced (while most personal statements run two to four pages). Formatting varies from school to school, so be sure to confirm each school’s requirements.
5. Ask for feedback.
Just like with your personal statement, obtaining feedback is important to build a strong diversity statement. Ask someone you trust—perhaps a professor who is writing your letter of recommendation or a colleague—to review the essay and provide detailed feedback. Take sufficient time to evaluate their feedback and make necessary edits.
Always, always proofread your diversity statement before you submit. Typos and errors will not be well received by law school admissions committees and will weaken your application.
A strong diversity statement can convey to law school admissions committees a deeper sense of who you are, what has shaped your values, and how you will bring diversity to their classroom. Getting a head start well before applications are due ensures that you will have the strongest possible diversity statement to support your candidacy for law school.