Personal Statement Versus Diversity Statement
When applying to law school, the personal statement is a critical part of the application. Yet, a number of schools also require another essay called the diversity statement.
Before writing, it’s important that applicants understand how the two statements relate and differ from one another.
Julie Ketover, a contributor at U.S. News and law school admissions counselor at Stratus Admissions Counseling, recently discussed the key similarities and differences between a personal statement and a diversity statement.
Both Require Introspection
According to Stratus Admissions Counseling, the diversity statement is typically an optional essay that “provides law schools details about you: your personal experiences, your unique voice, and how you will add a diverse perspective to their class.”
Similar to a personal statement, a diversity statement should be about your own personal experience. Ketover says that both require introspection and reflection.
“Once you find those persuasive and personal topics, steer clear of providing an investigative report or high-level overview of the experience you’re writing about,” Ketover writes. “Instead, look at the topic from the inside out.”
Diversity Statement is More Personal
While both statements should draw from personal introspection, the diversity statement should be more personal. Ketover says the diversity statement should draw from your own personal identity and how your identity will add value to a law school. On the other hand, a personal statement should be more professionally-oriented.
Ketover describes a recent client whose personal statement focused on her interest in children’s literature. In her personal statement, the client discusses this interest and how she developed it through professional endeavors at school.
In contrast, the client’s diversity statement focused on her identity as an African-American woman and a member of the LGBTQ community.
“In this essay, she wrote about what that identity means to her and the ways in which her perspective will enrich the dialogue in law school,” Ketover writes. “Arguably, her diversity statement was far more personal in nature than her personal statement.”
While both statements should draw from personal experiences, it’s important to note that a diversity statement should focus more on personal identity while a personal statement should focus on professional development.
Sources: US News, Stratus Admissions Counseling