Summary: Sexual orientation can be a sensitive and private matter that should be discussed in an application with purpose.
As an LGBTQ student, knowing when to reveal that detail in a law school application may not always be obvious. Generally, LGBTQ students gravitate to law schools that are already LGBTQ friendly for reasons of support groups, career options, and more. U.S. News explores what LGBTQ law school candidates need to consider in their applications.
- A personal statement is supposed to be personal so discussing your sexual orientation would be appropriate. Many choose to discuss this subject in their diversity statement but a personal statement is an option too. You donâ€™t have to force the subject but if you have an experience involving LGBTQ matters that played a large part in your career goals, then donâ€™t be afraid to discuss it.
- Never feel like you must reveal your personal identity. It is something that is private and does not have to be shared. This may especially true if you are applying to a law school that is not as LGBTQ friendly. You may opt for writing more than one version of your personal statement that can be used for different law schools.
- Consider if a diversity statement will enhance your application. If you already covered your sexual identity in the personal statement, a diversity statement may come off as repetitive. Personal statements are about life experiences and how they directed you to a career in law. A diversity statement is intended to be an opportunity to demonstrate how you will aid in the schoolâ€™s heterogeneity and student body.
- A diversity statement does not have to be about only your sexual orientation. If there are things that set you apart from the average law student, such as race, birthplace, etc., then discuss how that has created challenges in relation to your sexual orientation.
- Fully research the data from each law school on the number of LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff. Also look into what opportunities there are like clubs, clinics, classes, and journals there are for the LGBTQ community.
- Your career comes first. Donâ€™t discount a law school just because they donâ€™t have the best LGBTQ programs but have other programs you are very interested in. Smaller schools may not have the resources or numbers to develop big LGBTQ programs but thisÂ does not mean they are unfriendly towards the community. Instead, one of these law schools is a great opportunity to make a difference. You can start a club at the law school, building a program for others to take advantage and gain support from.
Do you think LGBTQ applicants should be emphasizing their sexual orientation in their applications or casually mentioning it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
To learn more about LGBTQ programs and popular issues at law schools, read these articles:
- First-Annual Conference for LGBTQ Law Students at Northeastern
- Gay Marriage Controversy Reaches UM Law School
- Women Empowering Women Conference Held at Yale Law School