Most law schools welcome all applicants and promote a diverse and inclusive community. In fact, you may find that the choices available to you are somewhat overwhelming. As a savvy consumer of legal education, you will ultimately want to attend the law school that is the best fit for you, which means doing some research and asking a lot of questions. You’ll want to ask questions pertaining to the classroom experience, the student population, career issues, and overall support from the law school you may attend.
The law school’s admission and promotional materials provide some evidence of the extent of this support, but cannot provide the full picture. It is important that you do your homework to learn as much as possible about the schools in which you are interested before choosing. There are numerous other resources available, including the individual law schools.
Coming Out on Your Application
Questions to Consider
When making a decision about where to apply or how out to be on your application, consider carefully each school that interests you:
- Do you feel that the school will value the diversity you may bring as an LGBTQ student?
- Does the school value the perspectives that LGBTQ people bring to the classroom?
- How are members of the admission committee likely to consider this information about you?
Ultimately, you may be out on some applications and not out on others. The choice is yours.
How to Convey Your Message
Remember, different law schools are looking for different things in the personal statement, so read the application requirements carefully. Regardless of what you choose to write about, your statement should be personal—admission committees use this essay as a way to learn about you, your background, what you will bring to their law school, and how you will enhance and fit in with the school’s culture and community.
If you choose to be out on your application, you will have to decide how to convey that message. You may want to focus your personal statement on your experiences as an LGBTQ individual. Perhaps your identity is the main motivation for attending law school. Will your sexual orientation be the central theme of your personal statement or just get a mere mention?
Topics you may want to write about are
- significant accomplishments;
- community activism;
- employment with LGBTQ-related organizations;
- discrimination or adversity you have faced because of your identity; or
- future career goals shaped by your sexual orientation or transgender status.
There are less obvious ways to be out on your application, such as mentioning LGBTQ activities or involvement on your résumé. You may also want to discuss with your recommendation letter writers your choice about being out on your applications.
If you have trouble making the decision, try seeking the advice of a recruiter from each school that interests you. You can meet many recruiters at one time at the Law School Forums held throughout the country each year by LSAC. Explain your situation and ask how they would respond. If you prefer to seek the information anonymously, you can call the schools’ admission offices. If you are able to locate LGBTQ students at each school, ask them how they addressed this issue.