Sunday, November 19, 2006

Notes on my application process.

I t has been a law-school-application-heavy weekend as I'm rushing to get my applications done by my self-imposed deadline of Thanksgiving.

I'm torn on the "Diversity Essay," where several of my schools offer me the chance to write an optional essay about how I contribute to the diversity of the law school. I am loath to not do anyting that the admissions office says I could, but I'm honestly not a terribly diverse person in the demographic sense. I'm a white married chick who grew up above the below and below the upper in a suburb of Washington DC. I'm white, anglo-saxon AND was raised protestant. I am a member of a small and somewhat unusual religion, but UUism's culture isn't so different from the mainstream culture.

I think I will contribute to the diversity of anyplace I am in an intellectual sense, but to submit a diversity essay about that seems like reaching and I don't want my application to come off as desperate. But I could be wrong there. Maybe "intellectual diversity" essays are expected from mainstream white people. Maybe it differs with the school.

I know someone who does admissions work who will know the answer to this and will call her on Monday, but several of my schools could stand to be clearer on the point.

In other news, I called up the Chalicerelative to talk Thanksgiving logistics yesterday.

"So did you get your law school test results back?" She asked.

"Oh yeah, a couple of weeks ago."

"You never told me, you pill," she said. "How did you do?"

"I got a 171, that's 98th percentile."

"Wow!" the Chalicerelative said. "That's amazing, Miss Sue!*"

"I was OK with it."

"I mean that do you so well. I just can't believe it!"

"Well, I did always have a knack for logic stuff."

"Still, how on Earth did you manage to do that well?"

Usually, when someone on my Dad's side of the family wants to compliment my intelligence, they say I'm almost as smart as my father, so I'm sort of used to that line of thinking, but her obviously sincere shock was a lot to take.


*Only the Chalicerelative can call me that. So don't. And don't put "Whatever you want, Miss Sue" in the comments. That's not cute, it's obnoxious.


Joel Monka said...

I've always believed that intellectual diversity is the only form that should be considered. Judging by color, we'd have people insisting that Rice and Albright have nothing in common because of their differing skin colors, or that an inner city teenage single mother and a downstate corporate farmer have the same background because they have the same skin color. Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of irrational belief some "diversity" programs call for; you're right to wait and ask first- it's no longer safe to assume rational thinking in higher education.

Bill Baar said...

The goal with these essays is not to show you're different, but to show how your unique and how you'll share that uniqueness with the school. How you'll contribute a new viewpoint and experience which helps everyone's time at school.

Just getting quotes filled of this category of student who sits in their own worlds isn't really the goal.

Lilylou said...

Wow, what great scores, CC! Congratulations-------you are obviously one smart cookie!

Anonymous said...

I do believe diversity of experiences is important. A person who grew up in a wheelchair, for example, is going to have some different perspectives than a person who did not, even if they have many other things in common. A person who grew up in a household of lawyers is going to bring something different to law school than a person who grew up in a household of criminals.

I don't know that intellectual diversity alone suffices.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps inelletual divesity *should* b eleant. (I think it is.) But it is NOT
con sidered to be relevant by academic institutions.

Sorry, CC. My pragmatic advice is to either play their game with th divesity essay of don't bother submitting one. (It IS optional isn' it. IIRC, legally, things like that have to be.)

fausto said...

Not too many other WASPs who apply to law school maintain a religion blog and share your commitment to social justice.

Steven Rowe said...

Unless the area around St. A's college has changed, you went to school in the rural south - that's diverse for folks in the big cities (uh, that is where you went to school isnt it?).

Steven R (still in the rural south)

Anonymous said...

Does growing up with your brothers constitute diversity?
did they give you some unique perspectives?

Anonymous said...

Intellectual diversity is probably not going to fly in law school. Don't know where you are planning to apply, but I went to a top 20 law school and just having some work experience and a few years of life experience out of the undergrad experience put me in a distinct minority. That was 10 years ago. Also your interest in family law and public interent law works as well.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I have to say that I'm not nearly as glum as some in assuming that law schools are interested only in whether you're a racial minority. I basically wrote all of my essays about different aspects of being geographically diverse (growing up in a small town in East Texas). One of my essays was serious and began with talking about the death of James Byrd; my short essay for Yale was about the word "y'all." I think a strong religious identity, particularly in a religion of which they probably get few applicants (good law schools seem to get a LOT of Mormons), is a characteristic worth writing about it, especially because you are comfortable writing about your religion already. I think open-mindedness about politics also would be great. I'd strongly recommend that you write an essay about working for Republicans even though you disagree with them, and being annoyed with the liberalism of UUs even though you agree with them. Joel et al.'s stereotypes about higher education notwithstanding, I've found people at my law school to be happily surprised by someone who does Election Protection, the journal of gender & law and the Federalist Society all at once :-) I think internal intellectual diversity -- your own array of non-uniform ideas and tolerances -- is the most interesting kind to read about.