Most law school applicants expect to write a personal statement. But, you may also have the opportunity to enhance your application with a diversity statement.
A law school diversity statement is an optional essay that some law schools offer.
It tells the admissions committee how your unique perspective will contribute to their incoming class.
Keep in mind, law school application directions vary by school. The key is to always read the application directions with a critical eye.
Do not assume that all law school application essay questions are the same. There are even differences in the directions for diversity statements.
It may seem like your diversity statement is a generic essay about your background. This is not the case.
Below are some of the key differences between your law school personal statement and diversity statement.
Some law schools give length suggestions for law school personal statements and diversity statements. Some schools do not.
If there isn’t a length suggestion, it does not give you permission to ramble.
Most law school personal statements are approximately three pages. Diversity statements are usually shorter.
These are general guidelines. Read every law school’s application for specific directions.
Less is often more in law school applications. The admissions committee has many applications to review. Be courteous of their time by making your point quickly.
Your law school personal statement provides a glimpse into who you are as a person or answers the question of why you want to go to law school. You are showing the admissions committee you're ready for law school.
In contrast, your diversity statement is about a part of your history that makes you unique.
Wait! Don’t scream, “But I’m not diverse!”
Most law school applicants can write a diversity statement. However, this depends on the prompt.
For example, you may be allowed to explain a unique part of your background.
There are obvious topics such as race, cultural heritage, or being part of an affinity group. These are all great choices for your diversity statement.
There are also other ways to bring diversity to law school. Think about what gives you a unique perspective. For example, did you grow up without much money? Were you a professional ballet dancer? Did your family raise ostriches for a living (mine did…)?
Think outside the box when crafting your diversity statement. Your perspective is unique. You can explain that to the admissions committee in your diversity statement.
But remember - always look at the application directions. Do not force yourself to write a diversity statement if the prompt does not apply to you.
Your law school personal statement should focus on your recent past and present.
Don’t mention that you want to be an attorney because you liked to negotiate prices at yard sales when you were a child.
That doesn’t help the admissions committee see who you are today. Show you are a mature, poised and confident adult ready to take on the rigors of law school.
In contrast, your diversity statement can mention experiences from childhood.
This essay is more personal in nature. It focuses on how a diverse life experience shaped your viewpoint. In fact, you may have grown-up being aware of the topic of your diversity statement.
You must submit a law school personal statement. And you should write a diversity statement if it is an option and the prompt applies to you.
A note of caution - do not submit a diversity statement if you cannot think of an appropriate topic, or if it does not show you in a good light.
Your law school personal statement and diversity statement show the admissions committee who you are and what you’ll bring to their law school.
Pay attention to the key differences. These are two separate chances to show the admissions committee why you should be admitted to law school.