Diversity statements for law school are optional. No really, they truly are optional! The purpose of a diversity statement is to explain to admissions how your past diverse experiences have contributed to your personal and professional growth. A diversity statement is not a personal statement. Personal statement focuses on why you want a law degree based on your personal experiences leading you to that decision. Now that you are aware of the difference between a personal and diversity statement, there are three steps you can use to write an effective diversity statement.
Step 1: Consider your unique identity that separates you from the average/typical applicant
When thinking of a diverse identity, it is easier to frame it by thinking about what makes you unique as a law school applicant. Additionally, your statement should explain how you have dealt with adversity based on your identity, and how those experiences have shaped your personal and professional growth. Some common diverse identities used in diversity statements are gender, sexual orientation, race, socio-economic status, and being first-generation American and/or first-generation immigrant.
However, you can also write about your diverse identity outside of the common diversity statement topics. When you think about what makes a person unique from the average law school applicant, you can generate a topic of our own. For example, not growing up in the nuclear family structure (i.e. being raised by a single mother or grandparents) can serve as a strong basis for a diversity statement. Other examples could include growing up in a rural town, being an older applicant compared to the standard age of the law school population, or growing up in an urban town with unique issues. All of these situations can potentially make for a strong basis for a diversity statement.
Step 2: Create snapshot or chronological journey
This step relates to the organization of your diversity statement. Strong diversity statements take the admissions officers on a journey. You can organize your statement by providing a snapshot or a chronological journey how you have dealt with adversity based on identity. A snapshot journey would highlight a moment of adversity you faced. A chronological journey can illustrate some continual adversity you faced and how that has shaped you as a person and future legal professional.
Step 3: Add in forward-looking contributions
Your diversity statement should end with how your unique identity will create future contributions to the law school community and/or the legal field. Law schools are interested in learning how your unique identity will enrich the law school community, the law school clinical practice, and/or the legal field because the law community hopes to create more diverse attorneys who can better represent and relate to our diverse population.