Should I Write a Diversity Statement, And Other Questions

What’s the Goal of a Diversity Statement?

You want to tell a story about how your diversity factors shaped you. You might talk about how they gave you a unique perspective, inculcated certain values, or gave you skills that will help you succeed in the law. As with a personal statement, you also want to demonstrate that you’re a good writer.

Should I Write a Diversity Statement?

If you can write a compelling diversity statement, do so. If not, don’t.

Law schools really do want a class that’s diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, background, and experience, but your readers have finely tuned BS detectors and mountains of work. If you write an insincere diversity statement, you’ll hurt your application.

If you happen to cover all of your diversity factors in your personal statement, you don’t have to—and shouldn’t—write a separate diversity statement. Law schools aren’t testing you to see whether you can write two essays; they just want to give you a chance to say everything. Think of your application essays the way you think of your GPA: a B- diversity statement can drag down an A+ personal statement.

Ask yourself three questions: can I tell the admissions committee something they don’t already know about me? Will this information help differentiate my application? Can I write it well? If the answer is yes to all, bombs away.

What if the application doesn’t mention a diversity statement?

Diversity statement prompts aren’t always labeled as such. Harvard, for example, offers an “Optional Statement”:

The Admissions Committee makes every effort to understand your achievements in the context of your background and to build a diverse student body. If applicable, you may choose to submit an optional additional statement to elaborate on how you could contribute to the diversity of the Harvard Law School community.

You can also submit a diversity statement to an open-ended addendum prompt. Finally, you can submit a diversity statement-ish personal statement.

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