Pen and Chisel Q&A: A Quick Intro To the Law School Diversity Statement

Eileen ConnerAre you looking for help with your law school diversity statement? Please welcome back law school admissions essay expert Eileen Conner, founder of Pen and Chisel, who has a quick intro to the diversity statement.

If you missed any of her other admissions Q&As, check them out here.

In addition to your personal statement, you’ll likely need to write a few supplemental essays for your application to law school. One supplemental essay that often raises questions among applicants is the diversity statement. Let’s take a quick look at what the diversity statement is and why you might write one.

What is the diversity statement?

A diversity statement is a short 1-2 page application essay in which you showcase a unique quality of yours and note how it can help you contribute to a strong law school cohort. This essay gives you the opportunity to share a new and different aspect of your character or background with the admission committee at each school of your choice. Providing this extra information can help you increase the effectiveness of your overall argument for admission.

Because this essay focuses on personal characteristics, there is no one typical topic. You can choose to focus on anything that you feel explains your particular situation and gives more context for your application. While racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural topics are common, it’s possible to focus on any of a very wide variety of topics, from sex or gender identity to illness or disability to particular talents or aptitudes.

What’s the purpose of the diversity statement?

The purpose of the diversity statement is a bit more complicated than many applicants think. Instead of merely stating that you have particular diverse qualities, you’ll want to focus on showing how those qualities will help you contribute to the school and the field of law as a whole.

Law school admissions committees aren’t only looking for qualified students — they also want to build an incoming class that does them proud. That class should work together as both classmates and colleagues, and help each other succeed by contributing to a strong academic environment for all. And when the members of that class graduate, they should continue to contribute to a similarly strong and interconnected professional environment. As you draft your diversity statement, be sure to consider how your unique traits will let you best contribute to that group.

Should you write a diversity statement?

While the diversity statement is generally considered optional, it’s a good idea to write one if given the option. Why?

First, this essay gives you more space in which to create a convincing case for admission. It can be very difficult to fit all the information you want into the personal statement — not least because you should keep that essay focused on one topic to make a truly effective argument. But the diversity statement provides another page to two pages of space, nearly doubling the allowed page count. This actually gives you the opportunity to flesh out your application in even more detail.

As well, consider your competition. While not every applicant will take advantage of the opportunity to write a diversity statement, many will — strengthening their applications in the process. If you don’t write a diversity statement, you are, in effect, giving others a head up and putting yourself at a disadvantage. In contrast, writing a strong diversity statement when given the option can only be an advantage.

Now that you understand what the diversity statement is all about, it’s time to start brainstorming! By writing a strong piece about your personal diverse qualities, you’ll be able to show the admissions committee that you’ll make a great addition to a dynamic and powerful incoming class.

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Thanks, Eileen! And good luck to everyone applying!

Got an admissions question for Eileen? Leave it in the comments!

More about Eileen:
Eileen Conner is the founder of Pen and Chisel LLC, where she specializes in helping law school candidates perfect their application essays. 

A graduate of the University of Michigan’s prestigious creative writing MFA program, Eileen is the former Senior Editor for Law at Revision Editing. 

Read On:

As you embark on your law school application journey, you might want to bookmark Applying to Law School 101: What You Need to Know to Succeed.

Then check out some of the rest of the Pen and Chisel Q&A:


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