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Author Topic: optional diversity essay  (Read 5645 times)

epicurious

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optional diversity essay
« on: July 28, 2004, 03:49:54 PM »
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jacy85

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2004, 03:57:56 PM »
I hate that they list these essays as "option" becuase really, they aren't.  By not doing the essay, it could come across as not putting enough effort into the app.

I'm not sure what to say about the pure "diversity" essay, although, from what I've seen, most schools won't ask for only race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic backtground, but will also often throw out an academic aspect as well, so there's another option for you.

jacy85

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2004, 04:20:09 PM »
Yeah, I actually might enjoy writing the Duke optional statement.  Well, as much as it's possible to enjoy writing things like that...

The Name's Dali

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2004, 04:24:02 PM »
How many schools have a separate diversity essay?  As compared to schools where you include diversity factors in the main essay?

jacy85

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2004, 04:33:12 PM »
Here are a few more examples:

BU has one asking about other relevant info in your backgroung, like particular achievements, obstacles overcome, etc that aren't previously addressed in your application.

William and Mary asks for an event in your life of which you are especially proud.

Northeastern has 4 different choices to write an option essay, some of which focus on community service, or what kind of organization you'll work for (legal service is a required part of their program) and other such questions.

nonobvious

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2004, 04:44:53 PM »
def. a fan of duke's approach... After all, writing these things doesn't just give someone an advantage by telling adcoms what 'diversity' slot they can fall into, it's also that much more time the adcoms spend reviewing your app, and that much more space for them to hear your voice and get a feel for who you are...

And actually, i think it plays very much to boalt's philosophy as ruskie characterizes it... ie, diversity of life experience, also also intellectual diversity. i think that if schools are going to play this game of having implicitly mandatory "optional" topics, there should be a fair range of choices to express your thoughts/background...

"Flying is simple. You just throw yourself at the ground and miss."

nonobvious

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2004, 05:20:11 PM »
Don't really have an answer for you epi.. have been debating that myself. I don't fit in any diversity boxes, am not from a disadvantaged family, but I *did* grow up in a small working-class town that didn't even have a high school (instead had to tuition students out to another district an hour away), and my father put in a lot of work on the campaign to build a high school... which after a series of votes and some majorly contentious political wrangling eventually came to fruition, but not till after we'd moved upstate for my dad's new job (a relocation that put me in a spoiled overachieving suburban district instead).  Watching my dad go through that experience really *was* something that taught me the value of fighting for public education etc etc, and it's the roots of why I care about social justice, but does it really count as a "diversity" essay? Or would they read it as a cheap ploy?
It's not like I'd try to pretend I fit into boxes I don't...
Gah...
"Flying is simple. You just throw yourself at the ground and miss."

nonobvious

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2004, 06:53:47 PM »
Yeah it seems like if it's at all possible you should... but other than that story, like you I don't know that I can come up with anything that wouldn't come off as a ploy (except of course intellectual diversity for Duke, but nowhere else seems to do that).

And my story does seem more of a PS topic than a 'diversity' extra, but on the other hand I don't think it's quite strong enough to actually use as a PS... I don't know that I remember enough details to make it vivid, and it runs the risk of being more of a profile of my father than about me... Right now I'm aiming for my PS to relate to the massage therapy program I completed this past spring... But again, gah... Choices, choices.

Anyone else have suggestions re: extra essays for 'bland' people?
"Flying is simple. You just throw yourself at the ground and miss."

!@#$%

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2004, 10:05:13 AM »
i like duke's optional essay:
"Academic essay Keeping in mind that we will have your academic transcripts and LSAT score as some evidence of your intellectual aptitude for law school, you should tell us in this essay more about the intellectual contribution you will make in the classroom and outside. You may choose to write about any subject that has engaged you intellectually but this essay should not be a personal narrative. You might, for example, discuss such subjects as a book you have read that had a profound influence on you; an issue in the current public debate; or an individual who has had an impact on your life."

I am applying to Duke, and since the only vaguely minority category I fit into is "women" I will be addressing the Academic essay rather than the diversity prompt.  I already talked about immigration in my PS, because that is my reason for wanting to go to law school.  One other issue of current public debate that interests me is that the judge in Kobe Bryant's case allowed the accuser's sexual history to be used as evidence by the defense.  Since I volunteer for a Sexual Assault resource center, this would be a good way to tie in my interest/activities.  However, I am hesitant to write about a legal subject.  I've heard so many times that adcoms find opinion statements on some area of the law are shallow and insincere.  It's also a hot-button topic, and one that I feel strongly about, so I think maybe I would come across as too emotional.  Any ideas?  Are they looking for an opinion, a well-reasoned argument, or just an explanation of my interest?

jacy85

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Re: optional diversity essay
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2004, 10:12:33 AM »
Eh, legal issues in a PS are always touch and go.  I read a PS in a book where a person, for an "academic diversity" essay wrote about how she loved children's literature (harry potter and the like).  I'd say find some round about way to expose your thought process that high lights the issue at hand instead of discussing the actual legal issue itself, i guess.