Diversity Statement Help!!!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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Diversity Statement Help!!!!

Postby Hfv1800 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:10 pm

Any help reviewing my Diversity Statement would be greatly appreciated!

My upbringing was fairly picturesque. My parents, sacrificed their own pursuits to secure the white picket-fenced, two-story house in which I was fortunate enough to live. I grew up playing football, performing in violin recitals, and trading Pokémon cards. This was truly the achievement of the “American Dream.” As a child it was not obvious to me that my last name ending with a ‘Z’ or the fact that my parents spoke Spanish all that different from other families. But for everything that was seemingly “American” it became very apparent that my family was not, and as I grew up, I began to see how similar my surroundings were and I tried my hardest to fit within the mold. By the time I reached high school, I had all but assimilated to what I thought it meant to be an American. I spoke eloquently in English, was a member of every extra-curricular club, and had even decided to pursue learning German in an effort to distance myself from Spanish altogether.

This desire to remove myself from my heritage in an effort to seem Americanized left me in a true identity crisis. To my family, I was not Mexican enough and to my friends, I was Mexican, “but not really Mexican.” It seemed to me that the understanding of what it meant to be American and Mexican were based on a stereotype that I lived, on the one hand, and something from which I tried to disassociate, on the other. The struggle to find a place where I fit coincided with my inability to connect with any aspect of either identities: American or Mexican. It was not until I was in college that I began to see the true benefit of blending and redefining what it meant to be a Mexican-American. I began to explore my culture by listening to stories of how my great-grandparents had been a part of Texas prior to its acquisition by the United States. I began to understand the need to reconnect with my heritage but also to bridge the gap between what it means to be a part of both American and Mexican culture.

To the University of Houston-Law Center, I bring the experience as a “multi-heritage American” struggling through a true identity crisis. I see the true value of immersing myself in cultures that are so rich and full of history, and absorbing them to fit within my own experience. These understandings have led me to pursue a passion revolving around immersing myself in the international community. The University of Houston-Law Center provides an abundance of cultures with which I can continue to immerse myself. I have pushed myself to become fluent multiple languages including, Spanish, German, and Italian, while still learning Portuguese. My aptitude for learning language has been furthered by my interest in other cultures and in that same way, allowed me to reconnect with my own heritage. The ability to continue to explore other cultures in a legal capacity is something I see as an opportunity to continue to pursue a passion while still focusing on my career in law.

Perhaps I am not “Mexican enough” in the stereotypical sense, and I may not represent what the standard depiction of an “American.” But through this tug-of-war with my cultural identity, I can say that I want to break those stereotypes of what it means to be a Mexican-American. I live my life striving to learn more about other cultures and provide an understanding of how interconnected our world has truly become. It is this understanding and experience that I hope to bring to the incoming class at the University of Houston- Law Center in the hopes to further its international reach and promote its continued diversity.

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Re: Diversity Statement Help!!!!

Postby ljalba » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:36 pm

I'm not sure if UH has a page limit but as it is you're DS is running at two pages long.

P1: I assimilated
P2: Gary Soto/Sandra Cisneros identity crisis a la Edward James Olmos "too Mexican for the Americans, too American for the Mexicans"
P3: What my identity crisis brings to the school
P4: Summarize P1-3

Imo, the major concern with your current draft is a classic issue of telling instead of showing. For example, when did it become apparent that your family was not "American"? You use that to explain why you tried to fit the "American" mold and hence assimilate and even distance yourself from Spanish, but what made it apparent and why did you subsequently try to fit the mold? You tell me these things but you don't show me how they came about.

You list a lot of things but I don't get to "see" what happened. Some form of narrative helps a lot with this because you get to tell a story instead of presenting a list of events and characteristics—which is what your DS sounds like right now. Considering the above example, you can tell me you tried to fit the mold or you can discuss the feelings and motivations behind how you stopped eating your mom's food and opted for McDonald's or how you began pronouncing your name differently, or found yourself rooting for [insert sport] U.S. team because you didn't want to be associated with [insert sport] Mexican team, etc. (I'm using my experiences as an example).

Also, is your contribution to the UH student body the fact that you're 1) MA, 2) someone going through an identity crisis, 3) someone who is worldly? I ask this because you first two paragraphs give the feel that your diversity stems from being MA/struggling through what it means to be MA but then there's a shift to how passionate you are about general cultures in the third paragraph—like your lists of languages. Listing what languages you know is something great for your resume but does not fit well into a DS focused on being/struggling with an MA identity.

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Re: Diversity Statement Help!!!!

Postby arroznueve » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:28 pm

First, make sure you proofread. There are misplaced or missing commas, missing words, etc. Also, I would avoid "picturesque" in the first sentence—it's an odd adjective for "upbringing," and you want the personal statement to sound like you (a formal you, but still you).

As for the content, I feel as though there is no resolution. You build a story in the first two paragraphs, about an identity crisis, but don't give us anything concrete about what has changed, and therefore what you bring to the school in terms of diversity. If you can tie your diversity statement into why you want to go to law school/to that specific school, or into the area of law you want to practice, it would be a lot better.

In sum, tell a story in your statement. Right now, it tells us that you are someone who adds to the diversity of the school, then tells us that you like that the school is diverse/immersing yourself in other cultures.

Good luck!

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