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  • How to Write a Diversity Essay | Tips & Examples

How to Write a Diversity Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on November 1, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on May 31, 2023.

Table of contents

What is a diversity essay, identify how you will enrich the campus community, share stories about your lived experience, explain how your background or identity has affected your life, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

Diversity essays ask students to highlight an important aspect of their identity, background, culture, experience, viewpoints, beliefs, skills, passions, goals, etc.

Diversity essays can come in many forms. Some scholarships are offered specifically for students who come from an underrepresented background or identity in higher education. At highly competitive schools, supplemental diversity essays require students to address how they will enhance the student body with a unique perspective, identity, or background.

In the Common Application and applications for several other colleges, some main essay prompts ask about how your background, identity, or experience has affected you.

Why schools want a diversity essay

Many universities believe a student body representing different perspectives, beliefs, identities, and backgrounds will enhance the campus learning and community experience.

Admissions officers are interested in hearing about how your unique background, identity, beliefs, culture, or characteristics will enrich the campus community.

Through the diversity essay, admissions officers want students to articulate the following:

  • What makes them different from other applicants
  • Stories related to their background, identity, or experience
  • How their unique lived experience has affected their outlook, activities, and goals

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Think about what aspects of your identity or background make you unique, and choose one that has significantly impacted your life.

For some students, it may be easy to identify what sets them apart from their peers. But if you’re having trouble identifying what makes you different from other applicants, consider your life from an outsider’s perspective. Don’t presume your lived experiences are normal or boring just because you’re used to them.

Some examples of identities or experiences that you might write about include the following:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Nationality
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Immigration background
  • Religion/belief system
  • Place of residence
  • Family circumstances
  • Extracurricular activities related to diversity

Include vulnerable, authentic stories about your lived experiences. Maintain focus on your experience rather than going into too much detail comparing yourself to others or describing their experiences.

Keep the focus on you

Tell a story about how your background, identity, or experience has impacted you. While you can briefly mention another person’s experience to provide context, be sure to keep the essay focused on you. Admissions officers are mostly interested in learning about your lived experience, not anyone else’s.

When I was a baby, my grandmother took me in, even though that meant postponing her retirement and continuing to work full-time at the local hairdresser. Even working every shift she could, she never missed a single school play or soccer game.

She and I had a really special bond, even creating our own special language to leave each other secret notes and messages. She always pushed me to succeed in school, and celebrated every academic achievement like it was worthy of a Nobel Prize. Every month, any leftover tip money she received at work went to a special 509 savings plan for my college education.

When I was in the 10th grade, my grandmother was diagnosed with ALS. We didn’t have health insurance, and what began with quitting soccer eventually led to dropping out of school as her condition worsened. In between her doctor’s appointments, keeping the house tidy, and keeping her comfortable, I took advantage of those few free moments to study for the GED.

In school pictures at Raleigh Elementary School, you could immediately spot me as “that Asian girl.” At lunch, I used to bring leftover fun see noodles, but after my classmates remarked how they smelled disgusting, I begged my mom to make a “regular” lunch of sliced bread, mayonnaise, and deli meat.

Although born and raised in North Carolina, I felt a cultural obligation to learn my “mother tongue” and reconnect with my “homeland.” After two years of all-day Saturday Chinese school, I finally visited Beijing for the first time, expecting I would finally belong. While my face initially assured locals of my Chinese identity, the moment I spoke, my cover was blown. My Chinese was littered with tonal errors, and I was instantly labeled as an “ABC,” American-born Chinese.

I felt culturally homeless.

Speak from your own experience

Highlight your actions, difficulties, and feelings rather than comparing yourself to others. While it may be tempting to write about how you have been more or less fortunate than those around you, keep the focus on you and your unique experiences, as shown below.

I began to despair when the FAFSA website once again filled with red error messages.

I had been at the local library for hours and hadn’t even been able to finish the form, much less the other to-do items for my application.

I am the first person in my family to even consider going to college. My parents work two jobs each, but even then, it’s sometimes very hard to make ends meet. Rather than playing soccer or competing in speech and debate, I help my family by taking care of my younger siblings after school and on the weekends.

“We only speak one language here. Speak proper English!” roared a store owner when I had attempted to buy bread and accidentally used the wrong preposition.

In middle school, I had relentlessly studied English grammar textbooks and received the highest marks.

Leaving Seoul was hard, but living in West Orange, New Jersey was much harder一especially navigating everyday communication with Americans.

After sharing relevant personal stories, make sure to provide insight into how your lived experience has influenced your perspective, activities, and goals. You should also explain how your background led you to apply to this university and why you’re a good fit.

Include your outlook, actions, and goals

Conclude your essay with an insight about how your background or identity has affected your outlook, actions, and goals. You should include specific actions and activities that you have done as a result of your insight.

One night, before the midnight premiere of Avengers: Endgame , I stopped by my best friend Maria’s house. Her mother prepared tamales, churros, and Mexican hot chocolate, packing them all neatly in an Igloo lunch box. As we sat in the line snaking around the AMC theater, I thought back to when Maria and I took salsa classes together and when we belted out Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” at karaoke. In that moment, as I munched on a chicken tamale, I realized how much I admired the beauty, complexity, and joy in Maria’s culture but had suppressed and devalued my own.

The following semester, I joined Model UN. Since then, I have learned how to proudly represent other countries and have gained cultural perspectives other than my own. I now understand that all cultures, including my own, are equal. I still struggle with small triggers, like when I go through airport security and feel a suspicious glance toward me, or when I feel self-conscious for bringing kabsa to school lunch. But in the future, I hope to study and work in international relations to continue learning about other cultures and impart a positive impression of Saudi culture to the world.

The smell of the early morning dew and the welcoming whinnies of my family’s horses are some of my most treasured childhood memories. To this day, our farm remains so rural that we do not have broadband access, and we’re too far away from the closest town for the postal service to reach us.

Going to school regularly was always a struggle: between the unceasing demands of the farm and our lack of connectivity, it was hard to keep up with my studies. Despite being a voracious reader, avid amateur chemist, and active participant in the classroom, emergencies and unforeseen events at the farm meant that I had a lot of unexcused absences.

Although it had challenges, my upbringing taught me resilience, the value of hard work, and the importance of family. Staying up all night to watch a foal being born, successfully saving the animals from a minor fire, and finding ways to soothe a nervous mare afraid of thunder have led to an unbreakable family bond.

Our farm is my family’s birthright and our livelihood, and I am eager to learn how to ensure the farm’s financial and technological success for future generations. In college, I am looking forward to joining a chapter of Future Farmers of America and studying agricultural business to carry my family’s legacy forward.

Tailor your answer to the university

After explaining how your identity or background will enrich the university’s existing student body, you can mention the university organizations, groups, or courses in which you’re interested.

Maybe a larger public school setting will allow you to broaden your community, or a small liberal arts college has a specialized program that will give you space to discover your voice and identity. Perhaps this particular university has an active affinity group you’d like to join.

Demonstrating how a university’s specific programs or clubs are relevant to you can show that you’ve done your research and would be a great addition to the university.

At the University of Michigan Engineering, I want to study engineering not only to emulate my mother’s achievements and strength, but also to forge my own path as an engineer with disabilities. I appreciate the University of Michigan’s long-standing dedication to supporting students with disabilities in ways ranging from accessible housing to assistive technology. At the University of Michigan Engineering, I want to receive a top-notch education and use it to inspire others to strive for their best, regardless of their circumstances.

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Academic writing

  • Writing process
  • Transition words
  • Passive voice
  • Paraphrasing

 Communication

  • How to end an email
  • Ms, mrs, miss
  • How to start an email
  • I hope this email finds you well
  • Hope you are doing well

 Parts of speech

  • Personal pronouns
  • Conjunctions

In addition to your main college essay , some schools and scholarships may ask for a supplementary essay focused on an aspect of your identity or background. This is sometimes called a diversity essay .

Many universities believe a student body composed of different perspectives, beliefs, identities, and backgrounds will enhance the campus learning and community experience.

Admissions officers are interested in hearing about how your unique background, identity, beliefs, culture, or characteristics will enrich the campus community, which is why they assign a diversity essay .

To write an effective diversity essay , include vulnerable, authentic stories about your unique identity, background, or perspective. Provide insight into how your lived experience has influenced your outlook, activities, and goals. If relevant, you should also mention how your background has led you to apply for this university and why you’re a good fit.

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Kirsten Courault

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Other students also liked, how to write about yourself in a college essay | examples, what do colleges look for in an essay | examples & tips, how to write a scholarship essay | template & example.

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How to Write a College Diversity Essay – Examples & Tips

diversity essays examples

What is a diversity essay for college?

If you are preparing for your college application, you have probably heard that you sometimes need to submit a “diversity essay,” and you might be wondering how this is different from the usual admission essay. A diversity essay is a college admissions essay that focuses on the applicant’s background, identity, culture, beliefs, or relationship with a specific community, on what makes an applicant unique, and on how they might bring a fresh perspective or new insights to a school’s student body. Colleges let applicants write such essays to ensure diversity in their campus communities, to improve everyone’s learning experience, or to determine who might be eligible for scholarships that are offered to students from generally underrepresented backgrounds. 

Some colleges list the essay as one of their main requirements to apply, while others give you the option to add it to your application if you wish to do so. At other schools, it is simply your “personal statement”—but the prompts you are given can make it an essay on the topic of diversity in your life and how that has shaped who you are.

To write a diversity essay, you need to think about what makes you uniquely you: What significant experiences have you made, because of your background, that might separate you from other applicants? Sometimes that is obvious, but sometimes it is easy to assume our experiences are normal just because we are part of a community that shares the same circumstances, beliefs, or experiences. But if you look at your life from the perspective of someone who is not part of that community, such as an admissions officer, they can suddenly be not-so-common and help you stand out from the crowd.

Diversity Essay Examples and Topics

Diversity essays come in all shapes and formats, but what they need to do is highlight an important aspect of your identity, background, culture, viewpoints, beliefs, goals, etc. You could, for example, write about one of the following topics:

  • Your home country/hometown
  • Your cultural/immigration background
  • Your race/ethnicity
  • Your unique family circumstances
  • Your religion/belief system
  • Your socioeconomic background
  • Your disability
  • Your sex/gender
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Your gender identity
  • Your values/opinions
  • Your experiences
  • Your extracurricular activities related to diversity

In the following, we ask some general questions to make you start reflecting on what diversity might mean for you and your life, and we present you with excerpts from several successful diversity-related application essays that will give you an idea about the range of topics you can write about.

How does diversity make you who you are as a person or student?

We usually want to fit in, especially when we are young, and you might not even realize that you and your life experiences could add to the diversity of a student campus. You might think that you are just like everyone around you. Or you might think that your background is nothing to brag about and are not really comfortable showcasing it. But looking at you and your life from the point of view of someone who is not part of your community, your background, culture, or family situation might actually be unique and interesting. 

What makes admission committees see the unique and interesting in your life is an authentic story, maybe even a bit vulnerable, about your lived experiences and the lessons you learned from them that other people who lived other lifes did not have the chance to learn. Don’t try to explain how you are different from others or how you have been more privileged or less fortunate than others—let your story do that. Keep the focus on yourself, your actions, thoughts, and feelings, and allow the reader a glimpse into your culture, upbringing, or community that gives them some intriguing insights. 

Have a look at the excerpt below from a diversity essay that got an applicant into Cornell University . This is just the introduction, but there is probably no admissions officer who would not want to keep reading after such a fascinating entry. 

He’s in my arms, the newest addition to the family. I’m too overwhelmed. “That’s why I wanted you to go to Bishop Loughlin,” she says, preparing baby bottles. “But ma, I chose Tech because I wanted to be challenged.” “Well, you’re going to have to deal with it,” she replies, adding, “Your aunt watched you when she was in high school.” “But ma, there are three of them. It’s hard!” Returning home from a summer program that cemented intellectual and social independence to find a new baby was not exactly thrilling. Add him to the toddler and seven-year-old sister I have and there’s no wonder why I sing songs from Blue’s Clues and The Backyardigans instead of sane seventeen-year-old activities. It’s never been simple; as a female and the oldest, I’m to significantly rear the children and clean up the shabby apartment before an ounce of pseudo freedom reaches my hands. If I can manage to get my toddler brother onto the city bus and take him home from daycare without snot on my shoulder, and if I can manage to take off his coat and sneakers without demonic screaming for no apparent reason, then it’s a good day. Only, waking up at three in the morning to work, the only free time I have, is not my cup of Starbucks.  Excerpt from “All Worth It”, Anonymous, published in 50 Successful IVY LEAGUE Application Essays Fourth Edition, Gen & Kelly Tanabe, SuperCollege, 2017 .

How has your identity or background affected your life?

On top of sharing a relevant personal story, you also need to make sure that your essay illustrates how your lived experience has influenced your perspective, your life choices, or your goals. If you can explain how your background or experience led you to apply to the school you want to submit the essay to, and why you would be a great fit for that school, even better. 

You don’t need to fit all of that into one short essay, though. Just make sure to end your essay with some conclusions about the things your life has taught you that will give the admissions committee a better idea of who you now are—like the author of the following (winning) admissions essay submitted to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) .

[…] I always thought that I had it the worst out of all my family members because I was never allowed to get anything lower than what my brother or a cousin had gotten in a class. My parents figured if they could do it, so could I, and if not on my own then with a little of their help. It was not until recently that I realized the truth in this. In my short life I have seen my father go from speaking no English to excelling in it. I have heard countless stories about migrant farmers such as Cesar Chavez and my grandfather who had nearly nothing, yet persisted and succeeded. […] When I had trouble speaking Spanish and felt like abandoning my native tongue, I remembered my mother and how when she came to the United States she was forced to wash her mouth out with soap and endure beatings with a ruler by the nuns at her school for speaking it. When I couldn’t figure out tangents, sines, and cosines I thought about my father and how it took him nearly a year to learn long division because he was forced to teach it to himself after dropping out and starting to work in the 4th grade. […] All these people, just from my family, have been strong role models for me. I feel that being labeled “underprivileged” does not mean that I am limited in what I can do. There is no reason for me to fail or give up, and like my parents and grandparents have done, I’ve been able to pull through a great deal. My environment has made me determined, hard working, and high aiming. I would not like it any other way. From “Lessons From the Immigration Spectrum”, Anonymous, MIT, published in 50 Successful IVY LEAGUE Application Essays Fourth Edition, Gen & Kelly Tanabe, SuperCollege, 2017 .

How will your diversity contribute to the college campus and community?

The admissions committee would like to know how your identity or background will enrich the university’s existing student body. If you haven’t done so, researching the university’s organizations and groups and what specific courses the university offers might be a good idea. If you are applying to a large public school, you could mention that you are looking forward to broadening not just your horizon but also your community. Or maybe your college of choice has a specialized program or student organization that you feel you will fit right into and that you could contribute to with your unique background.

Tailoring your answer to the university you are applying to shows that you are serious and have done your research, and a university is obviously looking for such students. If you can’t find a way to make your essay “match” the university, then don’t despair—showing the admissions committee that you are someone who already made some important experiences, has reflected on them, and is eager to learn more and contribute to their community is often all that is needed. But you also don’t need to search for the most sophisticated outro or conclusion, as the following excerpt shows, from an admission essay written by an applicant named Angelica, who was accepted into the University of Chicago . Sometimes a simple conviction is convincing enough. 

[…] The knowledge that I have gained from these three schools is something I will take with me far beyond college. My roommate, across-the-hall mates, and classmates have influenced my life as much as I hope to have impacted theirs. It is evident to me that they have helped me develop into the very much visible person I am today. I have learned to step outside of my comfort zone, and I have learned that diversity is so much more than the tint of our skin. My small mustard-colored school taught me that opportunity and success only requires desire. I would be an asset to your college because as I continue on my journey to success, I will take advantage of every opportunity that is available to me and make sure to contribute as much as I can, too. Now I am visible. Now I am visible. Now I am visible, and I want to be seen. From “No Longer Invisible” by Angelica, University of Chicago, published in 50 Successful IVY LEAGUE Application Essays Fourth Edition, Gen & Kelly Tanabe, SuperCollege, 2017 .

how to write a diversity essay, small globe being held, kids in a hallway

Tell stories about your lived experience

You might wonder how exactly to go about writing stories about your “lived experience.” The first step, after getting drawing inspiration from other people’s stories, is to sit down and reflect on your own life and what might be interesting about it, from the point of view of someone outside of your direct environment or community.

Two straightforward approaches for a diversity-related essay are to either focus on your community or on your identity . The first one is more related to what you were born into (and what it taught you), and the second one focuses on how you see yourself, as an individual but also as part of society.

Take some time to sit down and reflect on which of these two approaches you relate to more and which one you think you have more to say about. And then we’d recommend you do what always helps when we sit in front of a blank page that needs to be filled: Make a list or draw a chart or create a map of keywords that can become the cornerstones of your story.

For example, if you choose the “community” approach, then start with a list of all the communities that you are a part of. These communities can be defined by different factors:

  • A shared place: people live or work together
  • Shared actions: People create something together or solve problems together
  • Shared interests: People come together based on interests, hobbies, or goals
  • Shared circumstances: people are brought together by chance or by events

Once you have that list, pick one of your communities and start asking yourself more specific questions. For example: 

  • What did you do as a member of that community? 
  • What kinds of problems did you solve , for your community or together?
  • Did you feel like you had an impact ? What was it?
  • What did you learn or realize ? 
  • How are you going to apply what you learned outside of that community?

If, instead, you choose the “identity” approach, then think about different ways in which you think about yourself and make a list of those. For example:

My identity is as a… 

  • boy scout leader
  • hobby writer
  • babysitter for my younger siblings
  • speaker of different languages
  • collector of insightful proverbs
  • Japanese-American
  • other roles in your family, community, or social sub-group

Feel free to list as many identities as you can. Then, think about what different sides of you these identities reveal and which ones you have not yet shown or addressed in your other application documents and essays. Think about whether one of these is more important to you than others if there is one that you’d rather like to hide (and why) and if there is any struggle, for example with reconciling all of these sides of yourself or with one of them not being accepted by your culture or environment.

Overall, the most important characteristic admissions committees are looking for in your diversity essay is authenticity . They want to know who you are, behind your SATs and grades, and how you got where you are now, and they want to see what makes you memorable (remember, they have to read thousands of essays to decide who to enroll). 

The admissions committee members likely also have a “sixth sense” about whose essay is authentic and whose is not. But if you go through a creative process like the one outlined here, you will automatically reflect on your background and experiences in a way that will bring out your authenticity and honesty and prevent you from just making up a “cool story.”

Diversity Essay Sample Prompts From Colleges

If you are still not sure how to write a diversity essay, let’s have a look at some of the actual diversity essay prompts that colleges include in their applications. 

Diversity Essay Sample #1: University of California

The University of California asks applicants to choose between eight prompts (they call them “ personal insight questions “) and submit four short essays of up to 350 words each that tell the admission committee what you would want them to know about you . These prompts ask about your creative side (#2), your greatest talent (#3), and other aspects of your personality, but two of them (#5 and #7) are what could be called “diversity essay prompts” that ask you to talk about the most significant challenge you have faced and what you have done to make your community a better place .

The University of California website also offers advice on how to use these prompts and how to write a compelling essay, so make sure you use all the guidance they give you if that is the school you are trying to get into!

UC Essay prompt #5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

Things to consider: A challenge could be personal, or something you have faced in your community or school. Why was the challenge significant to you? This is a good opportunity to talk about any obstacles you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from the experience. Did you have support from someone else or did you handle it alone?

UC Essay prompt #7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?  

Things to consider: Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team, or place—like your high school, hometown, or home. You can define community as you see fit, just make sure you talk about your role in that community. Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community? Why were you inspired to act? What did you learn from your effort? 

Diversity Essay Sample #2: Duke University

Duke University asks for a one-page essay in response to either one of the Common Application prompts or one of the Coalition Application prompts, as well as a short essay that answers a question specific to Duke. 

In addition, you can (but do not have to) submit up to two short answers to four prompts that specifically ask about your unique experiences, your beliefs and values, and your background and identity. The maximum word count for each of these short essays on diversity topics is 250 words.

Essay prompt #1. We seek a diverse student body that embodies the wide range of human experience. In that context, we are interested in what you’d like to share about your lived experiences and how they’ve influenced how you think of yourself. Essay prompt #2. We believe there is benefit in sharing and sometimes questioning our beliefs or values; who do you agree with on the big important things, or who do you have your most interesting disagreements with? What are you agreeing or disagreeing about? Essay prompt #3. What has been your best academic experience in the last two years, and what made it so good? Essay prompt #4. Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you’d like to share with us more about your identity in this context, feel free to do so here.

Duke University is looking for students with a variety of different experiences, backgrounds, interests, and opinions to make its campus community diverse and a place where ambition and curiosity, talent and persistence can grow, and the admissions committee will “consider what you have accomplished within the context of your opportunities and challenges so far”—make sure you tell them!

Diversity Essay Sample #3: University of Washington

The University of Washington asks students for a long essay (650 words) on a general experience that shaped your character, a short essay (300 words) that describes the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of your future university and allows you to submit additional information on potential hardships or limitations you have experienced in attaining your education so far. The University of Washington freshman writing website also offers some tips on how to (and how not to) write and format your essays.

Essay prompt [required] Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

Short response prompt [required] Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. “Community” might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the UW.

Additional information about yourself or your circumstances [optional] You are not required to write anything in this section, but you may include additional information if something has particular significance to you. For example, you may use this space if:

– You have experienced personal hardships in attaining your education

– Your activities have been limited because of work or family obligations

– You have experienced limitations/opportunities unique to the schools you attended

The University of Washington’s mission is to enroll undergraduates with outstanding intellectual abilities who bring different perspectives, backgrounds, and talents to the campus to create a “stimulating educational environment”. The diversity essay is your chance to let them know how you will contribute to that.

Diversity Essay Sample #4: University of Michigan

At the University of Michigan, a diversity college essay that describes one of the communities (defined by geography, religion, ethnicity, income, or other factors) you belong to is one of two required essays that need to be submitted by all applicants, on top of the Common Application essay. 

Diversity essay prompt. Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.

The University of Michigan prides itself in “looking at each student as a whole package” and recruiting the most dynamic students, with different backgrounds, interests, and passions, into their college, not just the ones with the highest test scores. They also give consideration to applicants from currently underrepresented groups to create diversity on campus and enrich the learning environment for all students—if that sounds like you, then here is your opportunity to tell your story!

Frequently Asked Questions about Diversity Essays

What topics should i avoid in my college diversity essay.

Since the point of a diversity essay is to show the admissions committee who you are (behind your grades and resume and general educational background), there are not many topics you need to avoid. In fact, you can address the issues, from your own perspective, that you are usually told not to mention in order not to offend anyone or create controversy. 

The only exception is any kind of criminal activity, especially child abuse and neglect. The University of Washington, for example, has a statement on its essay prompt website that “ any written materials that give admissions staff reasonable cause to believe abuse or neglect of someone under the age of 18 may have occurred must be reported to Child Protective Services or the police. ”

What is most important to focus on in my diversity essay?

In brief, to stand out while not giving the admissions committee any reason to believe that you are exaggerating or even making things up. Your story needs to be authentic, and admissions officers—who read thousands of applications—will probably see right through you if you are trying to make yourself sound cooler, more mature, or more interesting than you are. 

In addition, make sure you let someone, preferably a professional editor, read over your essays and make sure they are well-written and error-free. Even though you are telling your personal story, it needs to be presented in standard, formal, correct English.

How long should a diversity essay be?

Every school has different requirements for their version of a diversity essay, and you will find all the necessary details on their admissions or essay prompts website. Make sure you check the word limit and other guidelines before you start typing away!

Prepare your college diversity essay for admission

Now that you know what a diversity essay is and how you find the specific requirements for the essays you need to submit to your school of choice, make sure you plan in advance and give yourself enough time to put all your effort into it! Our article How to Write the Common App Essay can give you an idea about timelines and creative preparation methods. And as always, we can help you with our professional editing services , including Application Essay Editing Services and Admission Editing Services , to ensure that your entire application is error-free and showcases your potential to the admissions committee of your school of choice.

For more academic resources on writing the statement of purpose for grad school or on the college admission process in general, head over to our Admissions Resources website where we have many more articles and videos to help you improve your essay writing skills.

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diversity essays examples

May 11, 2023

Writing an Excellent Diversity Essay

What is the diversity essay question and how do you answer it

What is the diversity question in a school application, and why does it matter when applying to leading programs and universities? Most importantly, how should you respond?

Diversity is of supreme value in higher education, and schools want to know how every student will contribute to it in their community. A diversity essay is an essay that encourages applicants with disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds, an unusual education, a distinctive experience, or a unique family history to write about how these elements of their background have prepared them to play a useful role in increasing and encouraging diversity among their target program’s student body and broader community.

In this post, we’ll cover the following topics: 

How to show you can add to diversity

Why diversity matters at school, seven examples that reveal diversity, how to write about your diversity, diversity essay example, want to ensure your application demonstrates the diversity that your dream school is seeking.

If you are an immigrant to the United States, the child of immigrants, or someone whose ethnicity is underrepresented in the States, your response to “How will you add to the diversity of our class/community?” and similar questions might help your application efforts. Why? Because you can use it to show how your background will add a distinctive perspective to the program you are applying to.

Download this sample personal background essay, and see how one candidate won over the adcom and got accepted into their top-choice MBA program.

Of course, if you’re not from a group that is underrepresented in your field or a disadvantaged group, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to write about in a diversity essay.

For example, you might have an unusual or special experience to share, such as serving in the military, being a member of a dance troupe, or caring for a disabled relative. These and other distinctive experiences can convey how you will contribute to the diversity of the school’s campus.

You could be the first member of your family to apply to college or the first to learn English in your household. Perhaps you have worked your way through college or helped raise your siblings. You might also have been an ally to those who are underrepresented, disadvantaged, or marginalized in your community, at your previous school, or in an earlier work experience. 

As you can see, diversity is not limited to one’s religion, ethnicity, culture, language, or sexual orientation. It refers to whatever element of your identity  distinguishes you from others and shows that you, too, value diversity.

Admissions officers believe diversity in the classroom improves the educational experience of all the students involved. They also believe that having a diverse workforce better serves society as a whole.

The more diverse perspectives found in the classroom, throughout the dorms, in the dining halls, and mixed into study groups, the richer the discussions will be.

Plus, learning and growing in this kind of multicultural environment will prepare students for working in our increasingly multicultural and global world.

In medicine, for example, a heterogeneous workforce benefits people from previously underrepresented cultures. Businesses realize they will market more effectively if they can speak to different audiences and markets, which is possible when members of their workforce come from different backgrounds and cultures. Schools simply want to prepare graduates for the 21st century job market.

Adcoms want to know about your personal diversity elements and the way they have helped you develop particular character and personality traits , as well as the unusual experiences that have shaped you.

Here are seven examples an applicant could write about:

  • They grew up with a strong insistence on respecting elders, attending family events, or learning their parents’ native language and culture.
  • They are close to grandparents and extended family members who have taught them how teamwork can help everyone thrive.
  • They have had to face difficulties that stem from their parents’ values being in conflict with theirs or those of their peers.
  • Teachers have not always understood the elements of their culture or lifestyle and how those elements influence their performance.
  • They suffered from discrimination and succeeded despite it because of their grit, values, and character.
  • They learned skills from a lifestyle that is outside the norm (e.g., living in foreign countries as the child of a diplomat or contractor; performing professionally in theater, dance, music, or sports; having a deaf sibling).
  • They’ve encountered racism or other prejudice (either toward themselves or others) and responded by actively promoting diverse, tolerant values.

And remember, it’s not just about who your parents are. It’s about who you are – at the core.

Your background, influences, religious observances, language, ideas, work environment, community experiences – all these factors come together to create a unique individual, one who will contribute to a varied class of distinct individuals taking their place in a diverse world.

Your answer to the diversity question should focus on how your experiences have built your empathy for others, your embrace of differences, your resilience, your character, and your perspective.

The school might well ask how you think of diversity or how you can bring or add to the diversity of your school, chosen profession, or community. Make sure you answer the specific question posed by highlighting distinctive elements of your profile that will add to the class mosaic every adcom is trying to create. You don’t want to blend in; you want to stand out in a positive way while also complementing the school’s canvas.

Here’s a simple, three-part framework that will help you think of diversity more, well, diversely:

  • Identity : Who are you? What has contributed to your identity? How do you distinguish yourself? Your identity can include any of the following: gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion, nontraditional work experience, nontraditional educational background, multicultural background, and family’s educational level.
  • Deeds : What have you done? What have you accomplished? This could include any of the following: achievements inside and/or outside your field of study, leadership opportunities, community service, , internship or professional experience, research opportunities, hobbies, and travel. Any or all of these could be unique. Also, what life-derailing, throw-you-for-a-loop challenges have you faced and overcome?
  • Ideas : How do you think? How do you approach things? What drives you? What influences you? Are you the person who can break up a tense meeting with some well-timed humor? Are you the one who intuitively sees how to bring people together? 

Learn more about this three-part framework in this podcast episode.

Think about each question within this framework and how you could apply your diversity elements to the classroom, your school, or your community. Any of these elements will serve as the framework for your essay.

Don’t worry if you can’t think of something totally “out there.” You don’t need to be a tightrope walker living in the Andes or a Buddhist monk from Japan to pass the diversity test!

And please remember, the examples I have listed are not exhaustive. There are many other ways to show diversity!

All you need to write successfully about how you will contribute to the rich diversity of your target school’s community is to examine your identity, deeds, and ideas, with an eye toward your personal distinctiveness and individuality. There is only one you .

Want our advice on how you can best show diversity?

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Take a look at this sample diversity essay, and pay attention to how the writer underscores their appreciation for and experience with diversity. 

When I was starting 11 th grade, my dad, an agricultural scientist, was assigned to a 3-month research project in a farm village in Niigata (northwest Honshu in Japan). Rather than stay behind with my mom and siblings, I begged to go with him. As a straight-A student, I convinced my parents and the principal that I could handle my schoolwork remotely (pre-COVID) for that stretch. It was time to leap beyond my comfortable suburban Wisconsin life—and my Western orientation, reinforced by travel to Europe the year before. 

We roomed in a sprawling farmhouse with a family participating in my dad’s study. I thought I’d experience an “English-free zone,” but the high school students all studied and wanted to practice English, so I did meet peers even though I didn’t attend their school. Of the many eye-opening, influential, cultural experiences, the one that resonates most powerfully to me is experiencing their community. It was a living, organic whole. Elementary school kids spent time helping with the rice harvest. People who foraged for seasonal wild edibles gave them to acquaintances throughout the town. In fact, there was a constant sharing of food among residents—garden veggies carried in straw baskets, fish or meat in coolers. The pharmacist would drive prescriptions to people who couldn’t easily get out—new mothers, the elderly—not as a business service but as a good neighbor. If rain suddenly threatened, neighbors would bring in each other’s drying laundry. When an empty-nest 50-year-old woman had to be hospitalized suddenly for a near-fatal snakebite, neighbors maintained her veggie patch until she returned. The community embodied constant awareness of others’ needs and circumstances. The community flowed!

Yet, people there lamented that this lifestyle was vanishing; more young people left than stayed or came. And it wasn’t idyllic: I heard about ubiquitous gossip, long-standing personal enmities, busybody-ness. But these very human foibles didn’t dam the flow. This dynamic community organism couldn’t have been more different from my suburban life back home, with its insular nuclear families. We nod hello to neighbors in passing. 

This wonderful experience contained a personal challenge. Blond and blue-eyed, I became “the other” for the first time. Except for my dad, I saw no Westerner there. Curious eyes followed me. Stepping into a market or walking down the street, I drew gazes. People swiftly looked away if they accidentally caught my eye. It was not at all hostile, I knew, but I felt like an object. I began making extra sure to appear “presentable” before going outside. The sense of being watched sometimes generated mild stress or resentment. Returning to my lovely tatami room, I would decompress, grateful to be alone. I realized this challenge was a minute fraction of what others experience in my own country. The toll that feeling—and being— “other” takes on non-white and visibly different people in the US can be extremely painful. Experiencing it firsthand, albeit briefly, benignly, and in relative comfort, I got it.

Unlike the organic Niigata community, work teams, and the workplace itself, have externally driven purposes. Within this different environment, I will strive to exemplify the ongoing mutual awareness that fueled the community life in Niigata. Does it benefit the bottom line, improve the results? I don’t know. But it helps me be the mature, engaged person I want to be, and to appreciate the individuals who are my colleagues and who comprise my professional community. I am now far more conscious of people feeling their “otherness”—even when it’s not in response to negative treatment, it can arise simply from awareness of being in some way different.

What did you think of this essay? Does this middle class Midwesterner have the unique experience of being different from the surrounding majority, something she had not experienced in the United States? Did she encounter diversity from the perspective of “the other”? 

Here a few things to note about why this diversity essay works so well:

  • The writer comes from “a comfortable, suburban, Wisconsin life,” suggesting that her own background might not be ethnically, racially, or in other ways diverse.
  • The diversity “points” scored all come from her fascinating  experience of having lived in a Japanese farm village, where she immersed herself in a totally different culture.
  • The lessons learned about the meaning of community are what broaden and deepen the writer’s perspective about life, about a purpose-driven life, and about the concept of “otherness.” 

By writing about a time when you experienced diversity in one of its many forms, you can write a memorable and meaningful diversity essay.

Working on your diversity essay?

Want to ensure that your application demonstrates the diversity that your dream school is seeking? Work with one of our admissions experts and . This checklist includes more than 30 different ways to think about diversity to jump-start your creative engines.

Related Resources:

•  Different Dimensions of Diversity , a podcast episode • What to Do if You Belong to an Overrepresented Applicant Group • Med School Admissions Advice for Nontraditional Applicants: The Experts Speak

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Cultural Diversity Essay & Community Essay Examples

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If you’ve started to research college application requirements for the schools on your list, you might have come across the “cultural diversity essay.” In this guide, we’ll explore the cultural diversity essay in depth. We will compare the cultural diversity essay to the community essay and discuss how to approach these kinds of supplements. We’ll also provide examples of diversity essays and community essay examples. But first, let’s discuss exactly what a cultural diversity essay is. 

The purpose of the cultural diversity essay in college applications is to show the admissions committee what makes you unique. The cultural diversity essay also lets you describe what type of “ diversity ” you would bring to campus.

We’ll also highlight a diversity essay sample for three college applications. These include the Georgetown application essay , Rice application essay , and Williams application essay . We’ll provide examples of diversity essays for each college. Then, for each of these college essays that worked, we will analyze their strengths to help you craft your own essays. 

Finally, we’ll give you some tips on how to write a cultural diversity essay that will make your applications shine. 

But first, let’s explore the types of college essays you might encounter on your college applications. 

Types of College Essays

cultural diversity essay

College application requirements will differ among schools. However, you’ll submit one piece of writing to nearly every school on your list—the personal statement . A strong personal statement can help you stand out in the admissions process. 

So, how do you know what to write about? That depends on the type of college essay included in your college application requirements. 

There are a few main types of college essays that you might encounter in the college admissions process. Theese include the “Why School ” essay, the “Why Major ” essay, and the extracurricular activity essay. This also includes the type of essay we will focus on in this guide—the cultural diversity essay. 

“Why School” essay

The “Why School ” essay is exactly what it sounds like. For this type of college essay, you’ll need to underscore why you want to go to this particular school. 

However, don’t make the mistake of just listing off what you like about the school. Additionally, don’t just reiterate information you can find on their admissions website. Instead, you’ll want to make connections between what the school offers and how you are a great fit for that college community. 

“Why Major” essay

The idea behind the “Why Major ” essay is similar to that of the “Why School ” essay above. However, instead of writing about the school at large, this essay should highlight why you plan to study your chosen major.

There are plenty of directions you could take with this type of essay. For instance, you might describe how you chose this major, what career you plan to pursue upon graduation, or other details.

Extracurricular Activity essay

The extracurricular activity essay asks you to elaborate on one of the activities that you participated in outside of the classroom. 

For this type of college essay, you’ll need to select an extracurricular activity that you pursued while you were in high school. Bonus points if you can tie your extracurricular activity into your future major, career goals, or other extracurricular activities for college. Overall, your extracurricular activity essay should go beyond your activities list. In doing so, it should highlight why your chosen activity matters to you.

Cultural Diversity essay

The cultural diversity essay is your chance to expound upon diversity in all its forms. Before you write your cultural diversity essay, you should ask yourself some key questions. These questions can include: How will you bring diversity to your future college campus? What unique perspective do you bring to the table? 

Another sub-category of the cultural diversity essay is the gender diversity essay. As its name suggests, this essay would center around the author’s gender. This essay would highlight how gender shapes the way the writer understands the world around them. 

Later, we’ll look at examples of diversity essays and other college essays that worked. But before we do, let’s figure out how to identify a cultural diversity essay in the first place. 

How to identify a ‘cultural diversity’ essay

cultural diversity essay

So, you’re wondering how you’ll be able to identify a cultural diversity essay as you review your college application requirements. 

Aside from the major giveaway of having the word “diversity” in the prompt, a cultural diversity essay will ask you to describe what makes you different from other applicants. In other words, what aspects of your unique culture(s) have influenced your perspective and shaped you into who you are today?

Diversity can refer to race, ethnicity, first-generation status, gender, or anything in between. You can write about a myriad of things in a cultural diversity essay. For instance, you might discuss your personal background, identity, values, experiences, or how you’ve overcome challenges in your life. 

However, don’t feel limited in what you can address in a cultural diversity essay. The words “culture” and “diversity” mean different things to different people. Above all, you’ll want your diversity essays for college to be personal and sincere. 

How is a ‘community’ essay different? 

cultural diversity essay

A community essay can also be considered a cultural diversity essay. In fact, you can think of the community essay as a subcategory of the cultural diversity essay. However, there is a key difference between a community essay and a cultural diversity essay, which we will illustrate below. 

You might have already seen some community essay examples while you were researching college application requirements. But how exactly is a community essay different from a cultural diversity essay?

One way to tell the difference between community essay examples and cultural diversity essay examples is by the prompt. A community essay will highlight, well, community . This means it will focus on how your identity will shape your interactions on campus—not just how it informs your own experiences.

Two common forms to look out for

Community essay examples can take two forms. First, you’ll find community essay examples about your past experiences. These let you show the admissions team how you have positively influenced your own community. 

Other community essay examples, however, will focus on the future. These community essay examples will ask you to detail how you will contribute to your future college community. We refer to these as college community essay examples.

In college community essay examples, you’ll see applicants detail how they might interact with their fellow students. These essays may also discuss how students plan to positively contribute to the campus community. 

As we mentioned above, the community essay, along with community essay examples and college community essay examples, fit into the larger category of the cultural diversity essay. Although we do not have specific community essay examples or college community essay examples in this guide, we will continue to highlight the subtle differences between the two. 

Before we continue the discussion of community essay examples and college community essay examples, let’s start with some examples of cultural diversity essay prompts. For each of the cultural diversity essay prompts, we’ll name the institutions that include these diversity essays for college as part of their college application requirements. 

What are some examples of ‘cultural diversity’ essays? 

Now, you have a better understanding of the similarities and differences between the cultural diversity essay and the community essay. So, next, let’s look at some examples of cultural diversity essay prompts.

The prompts below are from the Georgetown application, Rice application, and Williams application, respectively. As we discuss the similarities and differences between prompts, remember the framework we provided above for what constitutes a cultural diversity essay and a community essay. 

Later in this guide, we’ll provide real examples of diversity essays, including Georgetown essay examples, Rice University essay examples, and Williams supplemental essays examples. These are all considered college essays that worked—meaning that the author was accepted into that particular institution. 

Georgetown Supplementals Essays

cultural diversity essay

Later, we’ll look at Georgetown supplemental essay examples. Diversity essays for Georgetown are a product of this prompt: 

As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you. 

You might have noticed two keywords in this prompt right away: “diverse” and “community.” These buzzwords indicate that this prompt is a cultural diversity essay. You could even argue that responses to this prompt would result in college community essay examples. After all, the prompt refers to the Georgetown community. 

For this prompt, you’ll want to produce a diversity essay sample that highlights who you are. In order to do that successfully, you’ll need to self-reflect before putting pen to paper. What aspects of your background, personality, or values best describe who you are? How might your presence at Georgetown influence or contribute to their diverse community? 

Additionally, this cultural diversity essay can be personal or creative. So, you have more flexibility with the Georgetown supplemental essays than with other similar diversity essay prompts. Depending on the direction you go, your response to this prompt could be considered a cultural diversity essay, gender diversity essay, or a college community essay. 

Rice University Essays

cultural diversity essay

The current Rice acceptance rate is just 9% , making it a highly selective school. Because the Rice acceptance rate is so low, your personal statement and supplemental essays can make a huge difference. 

The Rice University essay examples we’ll provide below are based on this prompt: 

The quality of Rice’s academic life and the Residential College System are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspective would you contribute to life at Rice? 

Breaking down the prompt.

Like the prompt above, this cultural diversity essay asks about your “life experiences,” “cultural traditions,” and personal “perspectives.” These phrases indicate a cultural diversity essay. Keep in mind this may not be the exact prompt you’ll have to answer in your own Rice application. However, future Rice prompts will likely follow a similar framework as this diversity essay sample.

Although this prompt is not as flexible as the Georgetown prompt, it does let you discuss aspects of Rice’s academic life and Residential College System that appeal to you. You can also highlight how your experiences have influenced your personal perspective. 

The prompt also asks about how you would contribute to life at Rice. So, your response could also fall in line with college community essay examples. Remember, college community essay examples are another sub-category of community essay examples. Successful college community essay examples will illustrate the ways in which students would contribute to their future campus community. 

Williams Supplemental Essays

cultural diversity essay

Like the Rice acceptance rate, the Williams acceptance rate is also 9% . Because the Williams acceptance rate is so low, you’ll want to pay close attention to the Williams supplemental essays examples as you begin the writing process. 

The Williams supplemental essays examples below are based on this prompt: 

Every first-year student at Williams lives in an Entry – a thoughtfully constructed microcosm of the student community that’s a defining part of the Williams experience. From the moment they arrive, students find themselves in what’s likely the most diverse collection of backgrounds, perspectives, and interests they’ve ever encountered. What might differentiate you from the 19 other first-year students in an Entry? What perspective would you add to the conversation with your peer(s)?

Reflecting on the prompt.

Immediately, words like “diverse,” “backgrounds,” “perspectives,” “interests,” and “differentiate” should stand out to you. These keywords highlight the fact that this is a cultural diversity essay. Similar to the Rice essay, this may not be the exact prompt you’ll face on your Williams application. However, we can still learn from it.

Like the Georgetown essay, this prompt requires you to put in some self-reflection before you start writing. What aspects of your background differentiate you from other people? How would these differences impact your interactions with peers? 

This prompt also touches on the “student community” and how you would “add to the conversation with your peer(s).” By extension, any strong responses to this prompt could also be considered as college community essay examples. 

Community Essays

All of the prompts above mention campus community. So, you could argue that they are also examples of community essays. 

Like we mentioned above, you can think of community essays as a subcategory of the cultural diversity essay. If the prompt alludes to the campus community, or if your response is centered on how you would interact within that community, your essay likely falls into the world of college community essay examples. 

Regardless of what you would classify the essay as, all successful essays will be thoughtful, personal, and rich with details. We’ll show you examples of this in our “college essays that worked” section below. 

Which schools require a cultural diversity or community essay? 

Besides Georgetown, Rice, and Williams, many other college applications require a cultural diversity essay or community essay. In fact, from the Ivy League to HBCUs and state schools, the cultural diversity essay is a staple across college applications. 

Although we will not provide a diversity essay sample for each of the colleges below, it is helpful to read the prompts. This will build your familiarity with other college applications that require a cultural diversity essay or community essay. Some schools that require a cultural diversity essay or community essay include New York University , Duke University , Harvard University , Johns Hopkins University , and University of Michigan . 

New York University

cultural diversity essay

NYU listed a cultural diversity essay as part of its 2022-2023 college application requirements. Here is the prompt:

NYU was founded on the belief that a student’s identity should not dictate the ability for them to access higher education. That sense of opportunity for all students, of all backgrounds, remains a part of who we are today and a critical part of what makes us a world class university. Our community embraces diversity, in all its forms, as a cornerstone of the NYU experience. We would like to better understand how your experiences would help us to shape and grow our diverse community.

Duke university.

cultural diversity essay

Duke is well-known for its community essay: 

What is your sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you? If there’s something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well.

cultural diversity essay

A top-ranked Ivy League institution, Harvard University also has a cultural diversity essay as part of its college application requirements: 

Harvard has long recognized the importance of student body diversity of all kinds. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, personal development, or the intellectual interests you might bring to your Harvard classmates.

Johns hopkins university.

cultural diversity essay

The Johns Hopkins supplement is another example of a cultural diversity essay: 

Founded in the spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests, and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you (your interests, your background, your identity, or your community), and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins. 

University of michigan.

cultural diversity essay

The University of Michigan requires a community essay for its application: 

Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong and describe that community and your place within it. 

Community essay examples.

The Duke and Michigan prompts are perfect illustrations of community essay examples. However, they have some critical differences. So, if you apply to both of these schools, you’ll have to change the way you approach either of these community essays. 

The Duke prompt asks you to highlight why you are a good match for the Duke community. You’ll also see this prompt in other community essay examples. To write a successful response to this prompt, you’ll need to reference offerings specific to Duke (or whichever college requires this essay). In order to know what to reference, you’ll need to do your research before you start writing. 

Consider the following questions as you write your diversity essay sample if the prompt is similar to Duke University’s

  • What values does this college community have? 
  • How do these tie in with what you value? 
  • Is there something that this college offers that matches your interests, personality, or background?  

On the other hand, the Michigan essay prompt asks you to describe a community that you belong to as well as your place within that community. This is another variation of the prompt for community essay examples. 

To write a successful response to this prompt, you’ll need to identify a community that you belong to. Then, you’ll need to think critically about how you interact with that community. 

Below are some questions to consider as you write your diversity essay sample for colleges like Michigan: 

  • Out of all the communities you belong to, which can you highlight in your response? 
  • How have you impacted this community? 
  • How has this community impacted you?

Now, in the next few sections, we’ll dive into the Georgetown supplemental essay examples, the Rice university essay examples, and the Williams supplemental essays examples. After each diversity essay sample, we’ll include a breakdown of why these are considered college essays that worked. 

Georgetown Essay Examples

cultural diversity essay

As a reminder, the Georgetown essay examples respond to this prompt: 

As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you.

Here is the excerpt of the diversity essay sample from our Georgetown essay examples: 

Georgetown University Essay Example

The best thing I ever did was skip eight days of school in a row. Despite the protests of teachers over missed class time, I told them that the world is my classroom. The lessons I remember most are those that took place during my annual family vacation to coastal Maine. That rural world is the most authentic and incredible classroom where learning simply happens and becomes exponential. 

Years ago, as I hunted through the rocks and seaweed for seaglass and mussels, I befriended a Maine local hauling her battered kayak on the shore. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had found a kindred spirit in Jeanne. Jeanne is a year-round resident who is more than the hard working, rugged Mainer that meets the eye; reserved and humble in nature, she is a wealth of knowledge and is self-taught through necessity. With thoughtful attention to detail, I engineered a primitive ramp made of driftwood and a pulley system to haul her kayak up the cliff. We diligently figured out complex problems and developed solutions through trial and error.

After running out of conventional materials, I recycled and reimagined items that had washed ashore. We expected to succeed, but were not afraid to fail. Working with Jeanne has been the best classroom in the world; without textbooks or technology, she has made a difference in my life. Whether building a basic irrigation system for her organic garden or installing solar panels to harness the sun’s energy, every project has shown me the value of taking action and making an impact. Each year brings a different project with new excitement and unique challenges. My resourcefulness, problem solving ability, and innovative thinking have advanced under her tutelage. 

While exploring the rocky coast of Maine, I embrace every experience as an unparalleled educational opportunity that transcends any classroom environment. I discovered that firsthand experience and real-world application of science are my best teachers. In school, applications of complex calculations and abstract theories are sometimes obscured by grades and structure. In Maine, I expand my love of science and renourish my curious spirit. I am a highly independent, frugal, resilient Mainer living as a southern girl in NC. 

Why this essay worked

This is one of the Georgetown supplemental essay examples that works, and here’s why. The author starts the essay with an interesting hook, which makes the reader want to learn more about this person and their perspective. 

Throughout the essay, the author illustrates their intellectual curiosity. From befriending Jeanne and creating a pulley system to engineering other projects on the rocky coast of Maine, the author demonstrates how they welcome challenges and work to solve problems. 

Further, the author mentions values that matter to them—taking action and making an impact. Both facets are also part of Georgetown’s core values . By making these connections in their essay, the author shows the admissions committee exactly how they would be a great fit for the Georgetown community. 

Finally, the author uses their experience in Maine to showcase their love of science, which is likely the field they will study at Georgetown. Like this writer, you should try to include most important parts of your identity into your essay. This includes things like life experiences, passions, majors, extracurricular activities for college, and more. 

Rice University Essay Examples

cultural diversity essay

The Rice University essay examples are from this prompt: 

The quality of Rice’s academic life and the Residential College System are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspective would you contribute to life at Rice? (500-word limit)

Rice university essay example.

Like every applicant, I also have a story to share. A story that makes me who I am and consists of chapters about my life experiences and adventures. Having been born in a different country, my journey to America was one of the most difficult things I had ever experienced. Everything felt different. The atmosphere, the places, the food, and especially the people. Everywhere I looked, I saw something new. Although it was a bit overwhelming, one thing had not changed.

The caring nature of the people was still prevalent in everyday interactions. I was overwhelmed by how supportive and understanding people were of one another. Whether it is race, religion, or culture, everyone was accepted and appreciated. I knew that I could be whoever I wanted to be and that the only limitation was my imagination. Through hard work and persistence I put my all in everything that I did. I get this work ethic from my father since he is living proof that anything can be accomplished with continued determination. Listening to the childhood stories he told me, my dad would reminisce about how he was born in an impoverished area in a third world country during a turbulent and unpredictable time.

Even with a passion for learning, he had to work a laborious job in an attempt to help his parents make ends meet. He talked about how he would study under the street lights when the power went out at home. His parents wanted something better for him, as did he. Not living in America changed nothing about their work ethic. His parents continued to work hard daily, in an attempt to provide for their son. My dad worked and studied countless hours, paying his way through school with jobs and scholarships. His efforts paid off when he finally moved to America and opened his own business. None of it would have been possible without tremendous effort and dedication needed for a better life, values that are instilled within me as well, and this is the perspective that I wish to bring to Rice. 

This diversity essay sample references the author’s unique life experiences and personal perspective, which makes it one example of college essays that worked. The author begins the essay by alluding to their unique story—they were born in a different country and then came to America. Instead of facing this change as a challenge, the author shows how this new experience helped them to feel comfortable with all kinds of people. They also highlight how their diversity was accepted and appreciated. 

Additionally, the author incorporates information about their father’s story, which helps to frame their own values and where those values came from. The values that they chose to highlight also fall in line with the values of the Rice community. 

Williams Supplemental Essay Examples

cultural diversity essay

Let’s read the prompt that inspired so many strong Williams supplemental essays examples again: 

Every first-year student at Williams lives in an Entry—a thoughtfully constructed microcosm of the student community that’s a defining part of the Williams experience. From the moment they arrive, students find themselves in what’s likely the most diverse collection of backgrounds, perspectives and interests they’ve ever encountered. What might differentiate you from the 19 other first-year students in an entry? What perspective(s) would you add to the conversation with your peers?

Williams college essay example.

Through the flow in my head

See you clad in red

But not just the clothes

It’s your whole being

Covering in this sickening blanket

Of heat and pain

Are you in agony, I wonder?

Is this the hell they told me about?

Have we been condemned?

Reduced to nothing but pain

At least we have each other

In our envelopes of crimson

I try in vain

“Take my hands” I shriek

“Let’s protect each other, 

You and me, through this hell”

My body contorts

And deforms into nothingness

You remain the same

Clad in red

With faraway eyes

You, like a statue

Your eyes fixed somewhere else

You never see me

Just the red briefcase in your heart

We aren’t together

It’s always been me alone

While you stand there, aloof, with the briefcase in your heart.

I wrote this poem the day my prayer request for the Uighur Muslims got denied at school. At the time, I was stunned. I was taught to have empathy for those around me. Yet, that empathy disappears when told to extend it to someone different. I can’t comprehend this contradiction and I refuse to. 

At Williams, I hope to become a Community Engagement Fellow at the Davis Center. I hope to use Williams’ support for social justice and advocacy to educate my fellow classmates on social issues around the world. Williams students are not just scholars but also leaders and changemakers. Together, we can strive to better the world through advocacy.

Human’s capability for love is endless. We just need to open our hearts to everyone. 

It’s time to let the briefcase go and look at those around us with our real human eyes.

We see you now. Please forgive us.

As we mentioned above, the Williams acceptance rate is incredibly low. This makes the supplemental essay that much more important. 

This diversity essay sample works because it is personal and memorable. The author chooses to start the essay off with a poem. Which, if done right, will immediately grab the reader’s attention. 

Further, the author contextualizes the poem by explaining the circumstances surrounding it—they wrote it in response to a prayer request that was denied at school. In doing so, they also highlight their own values of empathy and embracing diversity. 

Finally, the author ends their cultural diversity essay by describing what excites them about Williams. They also discuss how they see themselves interacting within the Williams community. This is a key piece of the essay, as it helps the reader understand how the author would be a good fit for Williams. 

The examples provided within this essay also touch on issues that are important to the author, which provides a glimpse into the type of student the author would be on campus. Additionally, this response shows what potential extracurricular activities for college the author might be interested in pursuing while at Williams. 

How to Write a Cultural Diversity Essay

You want your diversity essay to stand out from any other diversity essay sample. But how do you write a successful cultural diversity essay? 

First, consider what pieces of your identity you want to highlight in your essay. Of course, race and ethnicity are important facets of diversity. However, there are plenty of other factors to consider. 

As you brainstorm, think outside the box to figure out what aspects of your identity help make up who you are. Because identity and diversity fall on a spectrum, there is no right or wrong answer here. 

Fit your ideas to the specific school

Once you’ve decided on what you want to represent in your cultural diversity essay, think about how that fits into the college of your choice. Use your cultural diversity essay to make connections to the school. If your college has specific values or programs that align with your identity, then include them in your cultural diversity essay! 

Above all, you should write about something that is important to you. Your cultural diversity essay, gender diversity essay, or community essay will succeed if you are passionate about your topic and willing to get personal. 

Additional Tips for Community & Cultural Diversity Essays

cultural diversity essay

1. Start Early

In order to create the strongest diversity essay possible, you’ll want to start early. Filling out college applications is already a time-consuming process. So, you can cut back on additional stress and anxiety by writing your cultural diversity essay as early as possible. 

2. Brainstorm

Writing a cultural diversity essay or community essay is a personal process. To set yourself up for success, take time to brainstorm and reflect on your topic. Overall, you want your cultural diversity essay to be a good indication of who you are and what makes you a unique applicant. 

3. Proofread

We can’t stress this final tip enough. Be sure to proofread your cultural diversity essay before you hit the submit button. Additionally, you can read your essay aloud to hear how it flows. You can also can ask someone you trust, like your college advisor or a teacher, to help proofread your essay as well.

Other CollegeAdvisor Essay Resources to Explore

Looking for additional resources on supplemental essays for the colleges we mentioned above? Do you need help with incorporating extracurricular activities for college into your essays or crafting a strong diversity essay sample? We’ve got you covered. 

Our how to get into Georgetown guide covers additional tips on how to approach the supplemental diversity essay. If you’re wondering how to write about community in your essay, check out our campus community article for an insider’s perspective on Williams College.

Want to learn strategies for writing compelling cultural diversity essays? Check out this Q&A webinar, featuring a former Georgetown admissions officer. And, if you’re still unsure of what to highlight in your community essay, try getting inspiration from a virtual college tour . 

Cultural Diversity Essay & Community Essay Examples – Final Thoughts

Your supplemental essays are an important piece of the college application puzzle. With colleges becoming more competitive than ever, you’ll want to do everything you can to create a strong candidate profile. This includes writing well-crafted responses for a cultural diversity essay, gender diversity essay, or community essay. 

We hope our cultural diversity essay guide helped you learn more about this common type of supplemental essay. As you are writing your own cultural diversity essay or community essay, use the essay examples from Georgetown, Rice, and Williams above as your guide. 

Getting into top schools takes a lot more than a strong resume. Writing specific, thoughtful, and personal responses for a cultural diversity essay, gender diversity essay, or community essay will put you one step closer to maximizing your chances of admission. Good luck!

CollegeAdvisor.com is here to help you with every aspect of the college admissions process. From taking a gap year to completing enrollment , we’re here to help. Register today to receive one-on-one support from an admissions expert as you begin your college application journey.

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College Essays

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If you're applying to college, you've probably heard the phrase "diversity essay" once or twice. This type of essay is a little different from your typical "Why this college?" essay . Instead of focusing on why you've chosen a certain school, you'll write about your background, values, community, and experiences—basically, what makes you special.

In this guide, I explain what a diversity college essay is, what schools are looking for in this essay, and what you can do to ensure your diversity essay stands out.

What Is a Diversity Essay for College?

A diversity essay is a college admissions essay that focuses on you as an individual and your relationship with a specific community. The purpose of this essay is to reveal what makes you different from other applicants, including what unique challenges or barriers you've faced and how you've contributed to or learned from a specific community of people.

Generally speaking, the diversity college essay is used to promote diversity in the student body . As a result, the parameters of this essay are typically quite broad. Applicants may write about any relevant community or experience. Here are some examples of communities you could discuss:

  • Your cultural group
  • Your race or ethnicity
  • Your extended family
  • Your religion
  • Your socioeconomic background (such as your family's income)
  • Your sex or gender
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Your gender identity
  • Your values or opinions
  • Your experiences
  • Your home country or hometown
  • Your school
  • The area you live in or your neighborhood
  • A club or organization of which you're an active member

Although the diversity essay is a common admissions requirement at many colleges, most schools do not specifically refer to this essay as a diversity essay . At some schools, the diversity essay is simply your personal statement , whereas at others, it's a supplemental essay or short answer.

It's also important to note that the diversity essay is not limited to undergraduate programs . Many graduate programs also require diversity essays from applicants. So if you're planning to eventually apply to graduate school, be aware that you might have to write another diversity statement!

Diversity Essay Sample Prompts From Colleges

Now that you understand what diversity essays for college are, let's take a look at some diversity essay sample prompts from actual college applications.

University of Michigan

At the University of Michigan , the diversity college essay is a required supplemental essay for all freshman applicants.

Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.

University of Washington

Like UM, the University of Washington asks students for a short-answer (300 words) diversity essay. UW also offers advice on how to answer the prompt.

Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the University of Washington.

Keep in mind that the UW strives to create a community of students richly diverse in cultural backgrounds, experiences, values, and viewpoints.

University of California System

The UC system requires freshman applicants to choose four out of eight prompts (or personal insight questions ) and submit short essays of up to 350 words each . Two of these are diversity essay prompts that heavily emphasize community, personal challenges, and background.

For each prompt, the UC system offers tips on what to write about and how to craft a compelling essay.

5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

Things to consider: A challenge could be personal, or something you have faced in your community or school. Why was the challenge significant to you? This is a good opportunity to talk about any obstacles you've faced and what you've learned from the experience. Did you have support from someone else or did you handle it alone?

If you're currently working your way through a challenge, what are you doing now, and does that affect different aspects of your life? For example, ask yourself, "How has my life changed at home, at my school, with my friends, or with my family?"

7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

Things to consider: Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team, or place—like your high school, hometown, or home. You can define community as you see fit; just make sure you talk about your role in that community. Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community?

Why were you inspired to act? What did you learn from your effort? How did your actions benefit others, the wider community, or both? Did you work alone or with others to initiate change in your community?

body_colorful_hands

Think about your community: How has it helped you? What have you done for it?

University of Oklahoma

First-year applicants to the University of Oklahoma who want to qualify for a leader, community service, or major-based scholarship must answer two optional, additional writing prompts , one of which tackles diversity. The word count for this prompt is 650 words or less.

The University of Oklahoma is the home of a vibrant, diverse, and compassionate university community that is often referred to as “the OU family.” Please describe your cultural and community service activities and why you chose to participate in them.

Duke University

In addition to having to answer the Common Application or Coalition Application essay prompts, applicants to Duke University may (but do not have to) submit short answers to two prompts, four of which are diversity college essay prompts . The maximum word count for each is 250 words.

We believe a wide range of personal perspectives, beliefs, and lived experiences are essential to making Duke a vibrant and meaningful living and learning community. Feel free to share with us anything in this context that might help us better understand you and what you might bring to our community .

We believe there is benefit in sharing and sometimes questioning our beliefs or values; who do you agree with on the big important things, or who do you have your most interesting disagreements with? What are you agreeing or disagreeing about?

We recognize that “fitting in” in all the contexts we live in can sometimes be difficult. Duke values all kinds of differences and believes they make our community better. Feel free to tell us any ways in which you’re different, and how that has affected you or what it means to you.

Duke’s commitment to inclusion and belonging includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Feel free to share with us more about how your identity in this context has meaning for you as an individual or as a member of a community .

Pitzer College

At Pitzer, freshman applicants must use the Common Application and answer one supplemental essay prompt. One of these prompts is a diversity essay prompt that asks you to write about your community.

At Pitzer, five core values distinguish our approach to education: social responsibility, intercultural understanding, interdisciplinary learning, student engagement, and environmental sustainability. As agents of change, our students utilize these values to create solutions to our world's challenges. Reflecting on your involvement throughout high school or within the community, how have you engaged with one of Pitzer's core values?

The Common Application

Many colleges and universities, such as Purdue University , use the Common Application and its essay prompts.

One of its essay prompts is for a diversity essay, which can be anywhere from 250 to 650 words. This prompt has a strong focus on the applicant's identity, interests, and background.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful, they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

ApplyTexas is similar to the Common Application but is only used by public colleges and universities in the state of Texas. The application contains multiple essay prompts, one of which is a diversity college essay prompt that asks you to elaborate on who you are based on a particular identity, a passion you have, or a particular skill that you've cultivated.

Essay B: Some students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. If you are one of these students, then tell us about yourself.

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In a diversity essay, focus on an aspect of your identity or cultural background that defines you and makes you stand out.

What Do Colleges Look for in a Diversity Essay?

With the diversity essay, what colleges usually want most is to learn more about you , including what experiences have made you the person you are today and what unique insights you can offer the school. But what kinds of specific qualities do schools look for in a diversity essay?

To answer this, let's look at what schools themselves have said about college essays. Although not many colleges give advice specific to the diversity essay, many provide tips for how to write an effective college essay in general .

For example, here is what Dickinson College hopes to see in applicants' college essays:

Tell your story.

It may be trite advice, but it's also true. Admissions counselors develop a sixth sense about essay writers who are authentic. You'll score points for being earnest and faithful to yourself.

Authenticity is key to writing an effective diversity essay. Schools want you to be honest about who you are and where you come from; don't exaggerate or make up stories to make yourself sound "cooler" or more interesting—99% of the time, admissions committees will see right through it! Remember: admissions committees read thousands of applications, so they can spot a fake story a mile away.

Next, here's what Wellesley College says about the purpose of college essays:

Let the Board of Admission discover:

  • More about you as a person.
  • The side of you not shown by SATs and grades.
  • Your history, attitudes, interests, and creativity.
  • Your values and goals—what sets you apart.

It's important to not only be authentic but to also showcase "what sets you apart" from other applicants—that is, what makes you you . This is especially important when you consider how many applications admissions committees go through each year. If you don't stand out in some positive way, you'll likely end up in the crapshoot , significantly reducing or even eliminating your chances of admission .

And finally, here's some advice from the University of Michigan on writing essays for college:

Your college essay will be one of nearly 50,000 that we'll be reading in admissions—use this opportunity to your advantage. Your essay gives us insights into your personality; it helps us determine if your relationship with the school will be mutually beneficial.

So tell us what faculty you'd like to work with, or what research you're interested in. Tell us why you're a leader—or how you overcame adversity in your life. Tell us why this is the school for you. Tell us your story.

Overall, the most important characteristic colleges are looking for in the diversity essay (as well as in any college essay you submit) is authenticity. Colleges want to know who you are and how you got here; they also want to see what makes you memorable and what you can bring to the school.

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An excellent diversity essay will represent some aspect of your identity in a sincere, authentic way.

How to Write an Effective Diversity Essay: Four Tips

Here are some tips to help you write a great diversity college essay and increase your chances of admission to college.

#1: Think About What Makes You Unique

One of the main purposes of the diversity essay is to present your uniqueness and explain how you will bring a new perspective to the student body and school as a whole. Therefore, for your essay, be sure to choose a topic that will help you stand apart from other applicants .

For example, instead of writing about your ability to play the piano (which a lot of applicants can do, no doubt), it'd be far more interesting to elaborate on how your experience growing up in Austria led you to become interested in classical music.

Try to think of defining experiences in your life. These don't have to be obvious life-altering events, but they should have had a lasting impact on you and helped shape your identity.

#2: Be Honest and Authentic

Ah, there's that word again: authentic . Although it's important to showcase how unique you are, you also want to make sure you're staying true to who you are. What experiences have made you the person you are today? What kind of impact did these have on your identity, accomplishments, and future goals?

Being honest also means not exaggerating (or lying about) your experiences or views. It's OK if you don't remember every little detail of an event or conversation. Just try to be as honest about your feelings as possible. Don't say something changed your life if it really had zero impact on you.

Ultimately, you want to write in a way that's true to your voice . Don't be afraid to throw in a little humor or a personal anecdote. What matters most is that your diversity essay accurately represents you and your intellectual potential.

#3: Write Clearly, Correctly, and Cogently

This next tip is of a more mechanical nature. As is the case with any college essay, it's critical that your diversity essay is well written . After all, the purpose of this essay is not only to help schools get to know you better but also to demonstrate a refined writing ability—a skill that's necessary for doing well in college, regardless of your major.

A diversity essay that's littered with typos and grammatical errors will fail to tell a smooth, compelling, and coherent story about you. It will also make you look unprofessional and won't convince admissions committees that you're serious about college and your future.

So what should you do? First, separate your essay into clear, well-organized paragraphs. Next, edit your essay several times. As you further tweak your draft, continue to proofread it. If possible, get an adult—such as a teacher, tutor, or parent—to look it over for you as well.

#4: Take Your Time

Our final tip is to give yourself plenty of time to actually write your diversity essay. Usually, college applications are due around December or January , so it's a good idea to start your essay early, ideally in the summer before your senior year (and before classes and homework begin eating up your time).

Starting early also lets you gain some perspective on your diversity essay . Here's how to do this: once you've written a rough draft or even just a couple of paragraphs of your essay, put it away for a few days. Once this time passes, take out your essay again and reread it with a fresh perspective. Try to determine whether it still has the impact you wanted it to have. Ask yourself, "Does this essay sound like the real me or someone else? Are some areas a little too cheesy? Could I add more or less detail to certain paragraphs?"

Finally, giving yourself lots of time to write your diversity essay means you can have more people read it and offer comments and edits on it . This is crucial for producing an effective diversity college essay.

Conclusion: Writing Diversity Essays for College

A diversity essay is a college admissions essay that r evolves around an applicant's background and identity, usually within the context of a particular community. This community can refer to race or ethnicity, income level, neighborhood, school, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.

Many colleges—such as the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, and Duke—use the diversity essay to ensure diversity in their student bodies . Some schools require the essay; others accept it as an optional application component.

If you'll be writing diversity essays for college, be sure to do the following when writing your essay to give yourself a higher chance of admission:

  • Think about what makes you unique: Try to pinpoint an experience or opinion you have that'll separate you from the rest of the crowd in an interesting, positive way.
  • Be honest and authentic:  Avoid exaggerating or lying about your feelings and experiences.
  • Write clearly, correctly, and cogently:  Edit, proofread, and get someone else to look over your essay.
  • Take your time: Start early, preferably during the summer before your senior year, so you can have more time to make changes and get feedback from others.

With that, I wish you the best of luck on your diversity essay!

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What's Next?

You understand how to write a diversity essay— but what about a "Why this college?" essay ? What about a general personal statement ? Our guides explain what these essays are and how you can produce amazing responses for your applications.

Want more samples of college essay prompts? Read dozens of real prompts with our guide and learn how to answer them effectively.

Curious about what a good college essay actually looks like? Then check out our analysis of 100+ college essays and what makes them memorable .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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What’s covered in a diversity essay, what is a diversity essay, examples of the diversity essay prompt, how to write the diversity college essay after the end of affirmative action, tips for writing a diversity college essay.

The Diversity Essay exists because colleges want a student body that includes different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, backgrounds, interests, and so on. The essay asks students to illuminate what sets them apart so that admissions committees can see what kind of diverse views and opinions they can bring to the campus.

In this post, we’ll be going over what exactly a diversity essay is, examples of real prompts and essays, and tips for writing a standout essay. You’ll be well prepared to answer this common essay prompt after reading this post!

Upon hearing the word diversity, many people assume that they have to write about gender and sexuality, class, or race. To many, this can feel overly personal or forced, or can cause students to worry that their identity isn’t unique or interesting enough. In reality, the diversity essay is much broader than many people realize.

Identity means different things to different people, and the important thing is that you demonstrate your uniqueness and what’s important to you. You might write about one of the classic, traditional identity features mentioned above, but you also could consider writing about a more unusual feature of yourself or your life—or even the intersection of two or more identities.

Consider these questions as you think about what to include in your diversity essay:

  • Do you have a unique or unusual talent or skill? For example, you might be a person with perfect pitch, or one with a very accurate innate sense of direction.
  • Do you have beliefs or values that are markedly different from the beliefs or values of those around you? Perhaps you hold a particular passion for scientific curiosity or truthfulness, even when it’s inconvenient.
  • Do you have a hobby or interest that sets you apart from your peers? Maybe you’re an avid birder, or perhaps you love to watch old horror movies.
  • Have you done or experienced something that few people have? Note that if you choose to write about a single event as a diverse identity feature, that event should have had a pretty substantial impact on you and your life. Perhaps you’re part of the 0.2% of the world that has run a marathon, or you’ve had the chance to watch wolves hunt in the wild.
  • Do you have a role in life that gives you a special outlook on the world? Maybe one of your siblings has a rare disability, or you grew up in a town of less than 500 people.

Of course, if you would rather write about a more classic identity feature, you absolutely should! These questions are intended to help you brainstorm and get you thinking creatively about this prompt. You don’t need to dig deep for an extremely unusual diverse facet of yourself or your personality. If writing about something like ability, ethnicity, or gender feels more representative of your life experience, that can be an equally strong choice!

You should think expansively about your options and about what really demonstrates your individuality, but the most important thing is to be authentic and choose a topic that is truly meaningful to you.

Diversity essay prompts come up in both personal statements and supplemental essays. As with all college essays, the purpose of any prompt is to better understand who you are and what you care about. Your essays are your chance to share your voice and humanize your application. This is especially true for the diversity essay, which aims to understand your unique perspectives and experiences, as well as the ways in which you might contribute to a college community.

It’s worth noting that diversity essays are used in all kinds of selection processes beyond undergrad admissions—they’re seen in everything from graduate admissions to scholarship opportunities. You may very well need to write another diversity essay later in life, so it’s a good idea to get familiar with this essay archetype now.

If you’re not sure whether your prompt is best answered by a diversity essay, consider checking out our posts on other essay archetypes, like “Why This College?” , “Why This Major?” , and the Extracurricular Activity Essay .

The best-known diversity essay prompt is from the Common App . The first prompt states:

“Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

Some schools also have individual diversity essay prompts. For example, here’s one from Duke University :

“We believe a wide range of personal perspectives, beliefs, and lived experiences are essential to making Duke a vibrant and meaningful living and learning community. Feel free to share with us anything in this context that might help us better understand you and what you might bring to our community.” (250 words)

And here’s one from Rice :

“Rice is strengthened by its diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders and change agents across the spectrum of human endeavor. What perspectives shaped by your background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity inspire you to join our community of change agents at Rice?” (500 words)

In all instances, colleges want you to demonstrate how and what you’ll contribute to their communities.

In June 2023, the Supreme Court overturned the use of affirmative action in college admissions, meaning that colleges are no longer able to directly factor race into admissions decisions. Despite this ruling, you can still discuss your racial or ethnic background in your Common App or supplemental essays.

If your race or ethnic heritage is important to you, we strongly recommend writing about it in one of your essays, as this is now one of the only ways that admissions committees are able to consider it as a factor in your admission.

Many universities still want to hear about your racial background and how it has impacted you, so you are likely to see diversity essays show up more frequently as part of supplemental essay packets. Remember, if you are seeing this kind of prompt, it’s because colleges care about your unique identity and life experience, and believe that these constitute an important part of viewing your application holistically. To learn more about how the end of affirmative action is impacting college admissions, check out our post for more details .

1. Highlight what makes you stand out.

A common misconception is that diversity only refers to aspects—such as ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. While these are standard measures of diversity, you can be diverse in other ways. These ways includes (but aren’t limited to) your:

  • Interests, hobbies, and talents
  • Perspectives, values, and opinions
  • Experiences
  • Personality traits

Ask yourself which aspects of your identity are most central to who you are. Are these aspects properly showcased in other portions of your application? Do you have any interests, experiences, or traits you want to highlight?

For instance, maybe you’re passionate about reducing food waste. You might love hiking and the outdoors. Or, maybe you’re a talented self-taught barber who’s given hundreds of free haircuts in exchange for donations to charity.

The topic of your essay doesn’t have to be crazy or even especially unique. You just want to highlight whatever is important to you, and how this thing shapes who you are. You might still want to write about a more common aspect of identity. If so, there are strong ways to do so.

If you do choose to write about a more common trait (for example, maybe your love of running), do so in a way that tells your story. Don’t just write an ode to running and how it’s stress-relieving and pushes you past your limits. Share your journey with us⁠—for instance, maybe you used to hate it, but you changed your mind one day and eventually trained to run a half marathon. Or, take us through your thought process during a race. The topic in itself is important, but how you write about it is even more important.

2. Share an anecdote.

One easy way to make your essay more engaging is to share a relevant and related story. The beginning of your essay is a great place for that, as it draws the reader in immediately. For instance, the following student chose to write about their Jewish identity, and opened the essay with a vivid experience of being discriminated against:

“I was thirsty. In my wallet was a lone $10 bill, ultimately useless at my school’s vending machine. Tasked with scrounging together the $1 cost of a water bottle, I fished out and arranged the spare change that normally hid at the bottom of my backpack in neat piles of nickels and dimes on my desk. I swept them into a spare Ziploc and began to leave when a classmate snatched the bag and held it above my head.

“Want your money back, Jew?” she chanted, waving the coins around. I had forgotten the Star-of-David around my neck, but quickly realized she must have seen it and connected it to the stacks of coins. I am no stranger to experiencing and confronting antisemitism, but I had never been targeted in my school before.”

An anecdote allows readers to experience what you’re describing, and to feel as if they’re there with you. This can ultimately help readers better relate to you.

Brainstorm some real-life stories relevant to the trait you want to feature. Possibilities include: a meaningful interaction, achieving a goal, a conflict, a time you felt proud of the trait (or ashamed of it), or the most memorable experience related to the trait. Your story could even be something as simple as describing your mental and emotional state while you’re doing a certain activity.

Whatever you decide on, consider sharing that moment in media res , or “in the middle of things.” Take us directly to the action in your story so we can experience it with you.

3. Show, don’t tell.

If you simply state what makes you diverse, it’s really easy for your essay to end up sounding bland. The writer of the previous essay example could’ve simply stated “I’m Jewish and I’ve had to face antisemitism.” This is a broad statement that doesn’t highlight their unique personal experiences. It doesn’t have the same emotional impact.

Instead, the writer illustrated an actual instance where they experienced antisemitism, which made the essay more vivid and easier to relate to. Even if we’re not Jewish ourselves, we can feel the anger and pain of being taunted for our background. This story is also unique to the writer’s life⁠—while others may have experienced discrimination, no one else will have had the exact same encounter.

As you’re writing, constantly evaluate whether or not you’re sharing a unique perspective. If what you write could’ve been written by someone else with a similar background or interest, you need to get more granular. Your personal experiences are what will make your essay unique, so share those with your reader.

4. Discuss how your diversity shapes your outlook and actions.

It’s important to describe not only what your unique traits and experiences are, but also how they shape who you are. You don’t have to explicitly say “this is how X trait impacts me” (you actually shouldn’t, as that would be telling instead of showing). Instead, you can reveal the impact of your diversity through the details you share.

Maybe playing guitar taught you the importance of consistent effort. Show us this through a story of how you tackled an extremely difficult piece you weren’t sure you could handle. Show us the calluses on your fingers, the knit brows as you tinkered with the chords, the countless lessons with your teacher. Show us your elation as you finally performed the piece.

Remember that colleges learn not just about who you are, but also about what you might contribute to their community. Take your essay one step farther and show admissions officers how your diversity impacts the way you approach your life.

Where to Get Your Diversity Essay Edited

Do you want feedback on your diversity essay? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

diversity essays examples

diversity essays examples

Step by Step Guide To Write a Diversity Essay (Examples + Analysis)

diversity essays examples

What is a Diversity essay? 

First, let’s understand the diversity question in a school application, and more significantly, what is the value when applying to leading programs and universities?

A diversity essay is an essay that inspires applicants with minority backgrounds, unique experiences, special education, or bizarre family histories to write about how these factors will contribute to the diversity of their target school’s class and community.

Several schools have a supplemental essay prompt that requires students to speculate on their experiences and show how those experiences would enable them to add to the diversity of a college community.

For example, let’s look at Duke’s optional* diversity prompt:

(Optional) Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better-perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250-word limit)

*While this prompt is optional, our team would not recommend you to treat this prompt as optional —it’s a huge opportunity to help yourself stand out from other candidates. 

Or Caltech’s:

The process of discovery best advances when people from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives come together. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity of Caltech's community? (Your response should range between 250-400 words.)

So, the question is, why do universities ask variations of this question? At the risk of repeating the above, universities appreciate a diverse student body for several reasons. 

One reason is the notion that a solid education includes encountering values, faiths, and perspectives that are different from your own (Caltech makes this fairly straightforward in its prompt mentioned above). 

Many academic fields, from marketing to history to medicine, are day by day realizing how diversity empowers creativity and understanding. The diversity essay is also another opportunity to show how you and a college fit together. 

One general is what exactly schools mean by “diversity.” While it can indicate things like religion, faith, ethnicity, or sexuality, those can be solid topics to write about, and diversity is limited. 

Open your mind, and then think—what perspective will you bring to college, particularly one that others cannot? 

How can you show that you add diversity?

If you are an immigrant to the U.S. or born to immigrants or someone whose ethnicity is a minority in the U.S., you may find your answer to this question crucial to your application effort. Why? Because you can use it to prove how your background will add to the mix of viewpoints at the program you are applying to.

Of course, if you’re not an under-represented minority and don’t fall into one of those categories, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to write about.

If you are applying to a school and have an unusual or unique experience to share, like serving in the military, becoming part of a dance troupe, or caring for a disabled relative, use your knowledge to convey how you will bring diverse school’s campus.

You could be the first member of your family to apply to college;  you could have struggle your way through college, worked hard in poverty, or raised your siblings.

Diversity is not limited to one’s religion, culture, language, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. It’s an element of your identity that distinguishes you from others.

Going further, let’s talk about some

Do’s and Don’ts

Some do’s: .

- Think about how this helps the admission committee to understand more about who you are.

- Think about several ways you’re distinct from other people.

In numerous ways, you can approach diversity essays like you do “ community” prompts. 

To save some time and effort, consider writing a combined essay that can be used for prompts that think community and focus on diversity. 

Try to think in terms of identity and perspective (which often align with communities).

Some don’ts

- As I mentioned earlier, don’t assume that “difference” only applies to culture or social class.

There are numerous ways to define “difference.”

 - At all costs, avoid privilege clichés.

A common essay on diversity is like this: The writer watches a person on a street or bus, or train. They see the person, whose skin is of a different color than theirs, wears torn clothes or worn-out shoes. The writer expresses a feeling of disgrace and gratitude for their privileged position. They either help the person somehow and feel good, but also bad, or just neglect the person and feel bad or don’t feel anything. These kinds of stories have several problems: 

  • In such a situation, the interaction is minimum, so compelling insights are improbable to occur. As a result, diversity essays often end up displaying a common theme along the lines of “I realized I have so much to be grateful for.”
  • It’s crucial to come to recognize privilege. But understanding privilege in an essay like this runs the danger of showcasing blunt negative qualities.

One important thing to do is link the values you’ve developed 

Help readers see how these factors of diversity have shaped your values and insights. 

Step by step process to write the “Diversity” Essay 

Let’s look at two simple approaches for how you can write your diversity essay:

  • If you belong to a community that embraces how you’ll contribute to the diversity of the campus, you can create your essay around your engagement with that community. 
  • And, if there’s individuality or perspective that represents the diversity you’ll bring to campus, you can work on that also. 

1. First is the “Community” approach 

Step 1: Prepare a “communities” chart by posting all communities you’re a part of. Remember that communities can be defined by ...

  • Place: Crowds of people who live, work, and have leisure time near one another
  • Action: Crowds of people who bring change in the world by building, doing, or solving something together (Examples: Black Lives Matter, March for Our Lives)
  • Interest: Associations coming together based on similar interests, skills, events, experiences, or expertise
  • Circumstance: Gatherings brought together either by chance or external emergencies/situations

Step 2: Once you’ve picked a community, use the following exercise to develop your essay content. 

  • What did you do in that community? (Important Tip: You can use active verbs like “designed” and “directed” to clarify your responsibilities.)
  • What kinds of difficulties/ problems did you solve?
  • What particular impact did you have?
  • What did you learn (your skills, characteristics, values)? 
  • How did you implement the lessons you learned in that community?

Don’t skip that step. It’s significant: it’s easy for students to write just so-so community essays if they don’t take the time to brainstorm specific content.

Step 3: Pick a structure (Narrative or montage).

Narrative Structure works fine for students who have faced a challenge in this community. Otherwise, you can use Montage Structure.

If you choose Narrative, you have to focus on answering the following three-question Structure: 

  • What challenges did you face?
  • How did you overcome those challenges?  
  • What did you learn?

Go with the Montage Structure if you want to approach essays that don’t necessarily focus on a particular challenge.

2. Second is the Identity/Perspective approach 

List out diverse ways in which you identify. Again, think with an open mind. Here an open mind approach is much needed. For example, "I'm a ... writer, rock lover, Indian, dancer, feminist, etc." Try to name as many identities as you think you are. 

Then, in short, describe how these identities reveal different versions of you.

Is there an identity you haven’t spoken about so far in your application that's very important to you, or maybe one you've had a hard time with? If so, what have you found stimulating about it?

Regarding perspective: Talk about some unique experiences that have shaped you. For example, have your values clash with your family’s in complicated ways? Have you been raised differently? What has molded how you see the world and your role in it? (Remember that this can lead to excellent essays, but is a little harder, as “perspective” is a more abstract thing than “identity” or “community.”)

Again, Montage or Narrative Structure can work here.

Option for both approaches: As your prompt and its word count, think about adding some “Why us?” elements to the end of your diversity essay—even if the prompt doesn’t ask you to.

How you’ll contribute to the diversity on campus? Are there groups or communities that allow you to continue what you’ve already done? Or are you planning to start an organization? Express to your reader that you have got an idea about how you want to engage with the school community.

Diversity Essay Example 1

Let’s look at an example that takes the “community” approach:

When I joined the Durham Youth Commission, a group of students chosen to represent youth interests within local government, I met Miles. Miles told me his cousin’s body had been stuffed into the trunk of a car after he was killed by a gang. After that, my notion of normal would never be the same. 

A melting pot of ideologies, skins, socio-economic classes, faiths, and educations, the DYC is a unique collaborative enterprise. Each member adds to our community’s network of stories, that weave, bump, and diverge in unexpected ways. Miles talked about his cousin’s broken body, Witnessa educated us about “food deserts,” supervisor Evelyn Scott explained that girls get ten-day school suspensions for simply stepping on another student’s sneakers, and I shared how my family’s blending of Jewish tradition and Chinese culture bridges disparate worlds. As a person who was born in Tokyo, lived in London and grew up in the South, I realize difference doesn’t have to be an obstacle to understanding. My ability to listen empathetically helped us envision multifaceted solutions to issues facing 21st-century youth. 

My experience in this space of affirmation and engagement has made me a more thoughtful person and listener. I want to continue this effort and be the woman who both expands perspectives and takes action after hearing people’s stories. Reconciling disparate lifestyles and backgrounds in the Commission has prepared me to become a compassionate leader, eager to both expand perspectives and take collaborative action. 

Tips and Analysis

  • Hook us, then keep us: We find that hook jolting every time we read i. But that’s the reason it’s effective. So while your hook doesn’t have to be as shocking and mysterious as this one, always spend some time researching options for ways to hook your reader. While the hook does a great job of hooking us, the body does a great job of keeping us engaged.

We get to see how the writer has explored various perspectives, making space for others to share, and tried to establish understanding by offering her own. The insights she gives are quick but effective, and she transitions perfectly into concentrating on how diversity has shaped her, and how she wants to continue engaging and participating in the future.

  • Show your engagement: The way she described the final paragraph could be set depending on the phrasing of the prompt—some schools clearly ask how you’ll contribute to diversity on campus. For these prompts, remember to add some “why us”-like details, showing that you’ve found associations and opportunities at the school that inspires you. 
  • Save yourself time: Use this essay for various prompts which ask about things like diversity or community, saving her hours of writing. As you brainstorm for your diversity prompts, think about how you can write one essay that can be used for all of them (with needed revisions to fit the prompt’s phrasing and word count).

Diversity Essay Example 2 (with analysis in the essay)

This one focuses more on perspective:

My whole family sits around the living room on a lazy Sunday afternoon when we suddenly hear sirens. Lots of sirens. Everyone stops. My dad peers out the window, trying to get a glimpse of the highway. My mom gets up and goes to the phone. After a few stressful rings, the person on the other line answers. My mom bursts out, “Is Josh ok?”

Great hook! We’re engaged by the questions this essay raises. Is Josh ok? Who is this Josh? Why are there is a lot of sirens?

Josh is my fourteen-year-old cousin, and he lives less than a mile from my house. Whenever we hear sirens, my mom will give their house a call or shoot my aunt a text, just in case. Josh was born with a syndrome that affected the formation of the bones of his head and face. As a result, his hearing, vision, breathing, and some of his brain structures are compromised. He’s unable to do athletics, his tracheostomy always provides a possibility of disaster, and an unwieldy head brace used to grace his head.

Here the writer gives context by describing who Josh is. He also defines “difference” with a few particular details.

Living so close to Josh, we have had the opportunity to interact daily. We go on vacations together, I drive Josh to school twice a week, at every holiday we either go down to their house or they come up to my family’s house, we play wiffle ball in the yard behind their house. One of my favorite activities is board games with him—Risk, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, we play it all. Last Christmas, there were endless laughs when prompted by our fathers’ nostalgia, we constructed a slot car track and raced those miniature cars around tight turns and short straightaways. This game was perfect for Josh, as he could stay in a comfortable seat and still experience the speed and excitement that he is usually barred from.

In this section, the writer shows us how close he is to Josh, and the final sentence shows his sympathy and feeling. 

It goes without saying that Josh has not had an easy childhood. He has had to fight for his life in the hospital when his peers were learning how to multiply and divide in school or playing capture the flag on the beach. A large portion of his childhood has been arbitrarily taken from him. That is most obviously unfair.

Value: Empathy

At our high school, I see Josh every day walking from the second period to the third period, and every day I say hello and have a small conversation with him. One day I was walking with a few of my friends when I stopped to talk with him. During the conversation, I made a little joke at Josh’s expense. It wasn’t at all relating to his disability, but to something completely independent of that—specifically, his Instagram habits. My friends were horrified and chastised me as they saw it appropriate.

He’s setting up for the end and also raised a question: Why did he make the joke at Josh’s expense?

My friends didn’t understand. He is not some extremely delicate dandelion who falls apart at every breath that causes a slightly adverse situation. Everywhere he goes, he’s the most popular guy in the room; people flock to him, surround him, pity him, overwhelm him. All Josh wants is to be treated like any other person. He is my cousin, and he is my friend, so I treat him as such. We joke we make fun of each other, just as any other two friends do.

Insight! The writer treats Josh as he would treat any of his friends—like a normal human being.

Josh has proved to me that people with disabilities are exactly that—people. As if that needed proving. But it’s something that is too easily forgotten. It’s hard to see anything except the handicap. A person’s wheelchair or white cane inevitably trumps any other characteristic. It’s a natural human reaction, but it too often leads to the dehumanizing of disabled people. One of my favorite people on Earth has lived a life of disability. And he plays a mean game of Monopoly.

In the end, he connects the dots and provides a bit more understanding: Treating people differently because of their disability can be degrading.                          

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diversity essays examples

How to Write a Diversity Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide for Impactful Narratives

diversity essays examples

Diversity refers to the presence and acceptance of a variety of individual differences within a group or community. These differences can encompass aspects such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, abilities, and more. 

Embracing diversity in college involves recognizing and valuing these distinctions, fostering inclusivity, and creating an environment where everyone is respected and has equal opportunities.

In this article, you will learn about the definition of diversity essay and receive valuable writing hints, as well as interesting topic ideas. Keep in mind that at any moment, you can ask us, ‘ Write my papers ,’ and we’ll match you with a competent writer in seconds. 

What Is a Diversity Essay

Diversity essays serve as a profound exploration of an individual's distinctive experiences, perspectives, and contributions within the context of diversity. These essays, commonly encountered in academic and application settings like college admissions or job applications, offer a platform to articulate how one's background, identity, or life experiences enrich and contribute to a diverse and inclusive environment. 

This reflective narrative, unrestricted by a specific word limit, delves into personal challenges, triumphs, and the transformative influence of diversity in fostering understanding and personal development. Beyond individual stories, diversity essays underscore the broader significance of embracing differences, contributing to the creation of vibrant, tolerant communities. 

Creating a diversity essay is an opportunity for individuals to authentically express themselves, conveying the profound impact of diversity on their lives and perspectives.

Why a Diversity Essay Is Assigned to Students

Colleges encourage students to write diversity essays as a means of fostering a rich and inclusive academic environment. These essays provide applicants with an opportunity to express their unique perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, contributing to the diverse tapestry of the campus community. Admissions officers seek a holistic view of applicants, and diversity essays offer valuable insights into an individual's character, values, and the impact of their experiences on their worldview.

By actively seeking diversity, colleges aim to create a vibrant and inclusive learning environment where students encounter a variety of perspectives, ideas, and cultures. Embracing diversity enhances the educational experience by promoting cross-cultural understanding, tolerance, and a broader worldview among students. It also prepares them for engagement in a globalized society where diverse perspectives and collaboration are essential.

All in all, colleges value diversity essays as a means of selecting students who will contribute to the inclusive and dynamic educational communities they strive to cultivate. If you don’t feel confident enough to write this type of composition, feel free to take advantage of custom research paper writing – it’s the fastest way to get the task done. 

Why Creating a Diversity Essay Is So Important in College

A diversity essay holds significance for several reasons, playing a crucial role in various contexts such as college admissions, job applications, or scholarship opportunities. Here are key reasons why a diversity essay is important:

1. Showcasing Individuality: A diversity essay allows individuals to present their unique experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds, highlighting what makes them distinct.

2. Contributing to Inclusivity: In academic and professional settings, diversity enriches the learning or working environment. Essays articulate how an individual's background can contribute to a diverse and inclusive community.

3. Promoting Understanding: By sharing personal stories, challenges, and triumphs related to diversity, individuals contribute to a broader understanding of different cultures, identities, and life experiences.

4. Community Building: In educational institutions and workplaces, diversity essays aid in forming communities that celebrate differences, fostering a supportive and respectful atmosphere.

5. Enhancing Applications: In college admissions or job applications, a well-crafted diversity essay can set an applicant apart, demonstrating qualities such as resilience, open-mindedness, and adaptability.

6. Preparing for Global Engagement: In an interconnected world, understanding and appreciating diversity is essential. Writing a diversity essay equips individuals with the ability to navigate and contribute to diverse and multicultural environments.

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20 Interesting Diversity Topic Ideas

Explore a rich tapestry of perspectives and experiences with these intriguing ideas for diversity topics. From navigating dual identities to championing inclusivity, each topic invites thoughtful exploration into the various facets that shape our diverse world.

  • Cultural kaleidoscope.
  • Navigating dual identities.
  • Language as a bridge.
  • Beyond borders.
  • Empathy through experience.
  • Championing inclusivity.
  • Intersectionality in identity.
  • Overcoming stereotypes.
  • Family traditions.
  • Educational odyssey.
  • Cultural exchange impact.
  • Artistic expressions.
  • Resilience in adversity.
  • Community engagement.
  • Navigating generational differences.
  • LGBTQ+ narratives.
  • Global perspectives through travel.
  • Environmental activism.
  • Technology and global connection.
  • Reflection on privilege.

Writing Tips to Consider

When writing a diversity essay, consider highlighting unique experiences, perspectives, and contributions. Emphasize personal growth and the impact of diversity on your worldview. Share specific examples that showcase your understanding of diverse backgrounds. Address challenges and how you've overcome them, demonstrating resilience. Connect your experiences to your goals and how diversity enriches your academic and personal journey. 

Conclude by emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and your commitment to contributing to diverse communities. As an example, please check out an article about the first black woman in space . 

Keep the Essay’s Focus on You

Keeping the focus on yourself when writing a diversity essay is crucial because the essay aims to provide insights into the student's personal experiences, perspectives, and growth. By focusing on their own journey, students can authentically share how diversity has influenced their lives, values, and understanding of the world. This approach allows for a genuine and reflective exploration of the impact of diversity on the individual, showcasing their unique story and contributions. 

It enables admissions committees to gain a deeper understanding of the student's character, resilience, and commitment to fostering an inclusive environment. Ultimately, keeping the narrative personal enhances the authenticity and effectiveness of the essay.

Speak From Your Own Experience 

Speaking from one's own experience when learning how to write a diversity essay is essential because it adds authenticity and depth to the narrative. Sharing personal experiences allows students to convey genuine insights into how diversity has shaped their perspectives, values, and identity. By drawing from their unique encounters and challenges, students can provide a real and relatable account of the impact of diversity on their lives. 

This approach helps admissions committees connect with the individual on a more profound level, fostering a better understanding of their journey and the lessons learned. It also demonstrates the student's ability to reflect on personal growth and contributes to a more compelling and impactful diversity essay.

Explain How Your Background or Identity Has Affected Your Life

When writing a diversity essay, students should explain how their background or identity has affected their lives to provide context and insight into their personal journey. By elucidating the influence of their background or identity, students can showcase the unique perspectives, challenges, and experiences that have contributed to their growth and development. 

This allows admissions committees to understand the specific ways in which diversity has shaped the individual's character, values, and outlook on the world. It also highlights the student's ability to reflect on the broader implications of their background, emphasizing the richness and depth that diversity brings to their life story. Ultimately, explaining the impact of background or identity adds a layer of authenticity and depth to the diversity essay, making it more compelling and resonant.

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How to Write a Diversity Essay Step by Step

Writing a diversity essay involves weaving a narrative that explores the unique aspects of your background, experiences, and perspectives. Start by reflecting on your identity, considering elements such as cultural background, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, or any other defining factors. Share personal anecdotes that highlight challenges, triumphs, or pivotal moments related to your identity. Emphasize the lessons learned and growth experienced through these encounters.

Connect your experiences to broader themes of diversity, inclusion, and societal impact. Showcase how your diverse perspectives contribute to a richer understanding of the world. Articulate a vision for fostering diversity and inclusion in various contexts, whether academic, professional, or community-based.

Craft your essay with clarity, authenticity, and a genuine voice. Make it a compelling narrative that not only communicates your unique story but also resonates with the broader themes of diversity, promoting a deeper understanding of the multifaceted human experience. If anything becomes too difficult or time-consuming, use our assignment writing service to speed the process up.

How to Write an Effective Diversity Essay

Step 1: Do Your Research

Conducting research for a diversity essay involves exploring various sources to enhance your understanding of different perspectives and experiences. Begin by reading literature, articles, or academic papers on diversity-related topics to gain insights into the broader discourse. Engage with diverse voices from authors, scholars, and activists who share experiences or provide analysis in areas relevant to your essay.

Utilize online databases, libraries, and educational platforms to access a wide range of resources. Interview individuals with diverse backgrounds to gather firsthand accounts and personal narratives that can enrich your essay. Attend relevant events, workshops, or lectures to expand your knowledge and engage with diverse viewpoints.

Stay informed about current events and societal discussions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Follow reputable news sources, journals, and community organizations to stay updated on evolving perspectives and challenges. Incorporate credible research findings into your essay to substantiate your arguments and present a well-rounded perspective on diversity issues. Have you already checked our women in stem article? You should definitely do it!

Step 2: Craft an Outline

Creating an outline for diversity essays involves structuring your thoughts to present a cohesive narrative. Here's an example:

Introduction:

  • Start with a compelling hook or anecdote related to diversity.
  • Introduce the significance of diversity and its impact on individuals and communities.
  • Clearly state your thesis or the main idea you will explore in the essay.

Body Paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: Personal Background

  • Share your personal background, including cultural, ethnic, or other relevant identities.
  • Discuss how your background has shaped your perspectives.

Paragraph 2: Experiences and Challenges

  • Highlight specific experiences or challenges related to diversity that you've encountered.
  • Reflect on how these experiences have influenced your worldview.

Paragraph 3: Contributions to Diversity

  • Share instances where you've contributed to promoting diversity or fostering inclusion.
  • Discuss any initiatives, projects, or activities you've undertaken.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key points discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Reiterate the importance of diversity and your commitment to fostering an inclusive environment.

End your essay with a strong concluding statement that reinforces the significance of embracing diversity. This structure provides a narrative flow, allowing your essay to unfold naturally while addressing key aspects of diversity.

Step 3: Follow These Writing Tips

To elevate your essay and make it stand out, consider incorporating the following tips into your writing process:

  • Begin by reflecting on your own experiences, beliefs, and values related to diversity.
  • Share a personal story or unique perspective that highlights your understanding of diversity.
  • Write authentically about your experiences, avoiding clichés or trying to fit into preconceived notions.
  • Consider the experiences and perspectives of your readers to make your essay relatable.
  • Discuss how your encounters with diversity have contributed to personal growth and understanding.
  • Describe the impact of diversity on your life and how it has shaped your identity.
  • If applicable, showcase your contributions to promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • While discussing challenges, focus on positive outcomes and lessons learned.
  • Be mindful of perpetuating stereotypes and strive for a nuanced and respectful portrayal.
  • Carefully edit your essay for clarity and coherence, ensuring it effectively conveys your message.

Remember that in college, you should also learn how to write a speech . This guide will help you figure out the essentials of writing speeches that resonate and engage the audience.

Diversity Essay Examples

You can choose a diversity essay example that you like and use it as inspiration for your own work:

Diversity essays are more than a requirement; they're an opportunity for self-discovery and understanding. This assignment delves into our experiences, unraveling the richness within our perspectives. Exploring cultural kaleidoscopes, dual identities, and personal narratives, writing about diversity becomes a transformative act. 

In this guide, we showed you how to write a diversity essay, providing insights into weaving personal stories into compelling narratives. By following these tips, we contribute to fostering understanding and appreciation for diversity. Beyond grades, this assignment impacts our growth and the broader societal conversation. Once you enter college, make it a good habit to buy an argumentative essay and save your time and energy for more engaging student activities. 

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3 Diversity Essay Examples For Business School

Introduction.

Historically, MBA programs did not always exemplify the diversity that they strive for today, as programs were often composed of overrepresented populations.  For example, Harvard Business School did not admit women into its MBA program until as recently as 1961. Thankfully, business schools have made significant steps in the last few decades to incorporate women, international students, and students of other backgrounds into their programs. 

Business schools now understand and value the diverse backgrounds of MBA students, who bring a wealth of skills, knowledge, and experiences. Diverse student pools in MBA programs prepare future business leaders for success as they expand their global and cultural understanding by working with students from a wide range of backgrounds. 

Most business schools are eager to diversify their MBA programs and admit MBA students of “differing races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic statuses and geographical origins.” Business schools also strive to recruit students from an array of industries and a variety of undergraduate institutions.

Business professionals in MBA programs collaborate with students from numerous backgrounds, simulating students' real-world business experiences after graduation. Kelly R. Wilson, executive director of masters admissions at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, said that “Each person’s unique experience and background – their lifestyle – brings them to a place where they have a way that they think about things.” When classrooms are composed of diverse students, the classroom experience becomes more valuable as students can learn and challenge their perspectives, facilitating better critical thinking skills.

To foster an ideal and diverse learning environment, many business schools will offer students the chance to write a diversity essay as part of their MBA application. We will explain the purpose of a diversity essay, tips for writing one, and include some diversity essay examples. 

What is a Diversity Essay?

A diversity essay is often an optional essay that business schools may offer as part of their application process. Students can choose to write these essays if they self-identify as a minority based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or belonging to any other marginalized group. These essays can also focus on a student’s values and unique experiences. 

These essays differ from typical business school essays; they tend to illustrate an applicant’s personal identity rather than focusing solely on their personal or professional achievements or why they want to go to a particular school. Applicants who choose to write a diversity essay will often tell an anecdotal story about their upbringing, community, or family and how their experiences shaped them.

The essays may also explain how the applicant's diverse background will meaningfully contribute to the specific business school of their choice. 

Purpose of the Diversity Essay 

The diversity essay offers a space to include your minority identity on a business school application if it’s something you want the admissions committee to know. Not only will the admissions committee get to learn more about you, but you can also use this opportunity to give context into your background and potentially explain how you have overcome past adversities. 

Business schools value the diversity of their students, and illuminating your background can show the admissions committee how you would add a unique voice and perspective to the MBA program. Many schools celebrate inclusivity and actively share class profile demographics on their websites. Among the top ten business schools , recent data shows that almost all schools had racial or ethnic minority students who make up at least 25% of the student body. 

Under-Represented Minorities At The Top 10 Business Schools

under represented minorities at top business schools

If crafting a diversity essay is something you want to do, your essay can also highlight how your minority identity strengthens your MBA candidacy.

‍ Shaun Carver , assistant dean of graduate programs with the Rady School of Management at UCSD, said that “It's important to put their [an applicant’s] diversity in context of what makes them unique and makes them a better candidate and not just mention it as... checking a box.” Remember that the purpose of the diversity essay is to showcase your background with context to the admissions committee, so they can learn more about you and how you will contribute to the program. 

If you are comfortable writing and talking about your gender identity or your self-identification as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you may benefit from this in the admissions process. Jay Bryant, director of graduate recruitment and admissions with the Rady School of Management at the University of California—San Diego, said that “If you're applying to a school where that [LGBT status] would be an issue, you don't want to go there anyways.” Choosing to write a diversity essay about any part of your identity can help you later in the interview process as you explore the school’s culture and you get a better idea if you fit into it. 

Top Tips for Crafting a Diversity Essay 

Like any application essay, you want your diversity essay to be well-written, have a logical flow, and be free of any spelling or grammar errors. However, you can take some specific actions to make sure your diversity essay is the best that it can be. Here are some of our top tips to write a compelling diversity essay. 

Understand and Define Your Views on Diversity and Inclusion 

To help you get started on your essay, you should consider what diversity and inclusion mean to you. You can start jotting down ideas and themes that come to mind and ask yourself some questions to get the ball rolling. Some things you may want to ask yourself include: 

  • What are the types of diversity that I exhibit in my identity? Keep in mind that it’s possible to write about more than one facet of your identity. For example, perhaps you are a racial or ethnic minority that identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. 
  • As a student, how do you think you can contribute to the diversity of the school you wish to attend? 
  • What elements of your background influence your perspectives, experiences, and how you problem-solve in real-world settings? 
  • What are your values regarding diversity, and how do you integrate these values in a professional setting? 

You will likely not have the luxury of a high word limit, so if you don’t hit all of these points in your essay, that’s okay. Asking yourself these questions is a way to get yourself thinking about what diversity means to you and to give yourself ideas for your writing. 

Tell Your Story 

Now that you’ve considered your beliefs surrounding diversity and inclusion, you can look toward identifying concrete examples in your personal experiences. You can write about how your background influenced and shaped you, any obstacles you’ve faced and how you overcame them, or initiatives or actions you’ve taken to promote diversity in your community.

Think carefully about any anecdotes that stick out in your mind as especially formative to your personal or professional development. Remember to be yourself and to write honestly about your story. The admissions committee will get to know your story, and you may even discuss it later in your interview. 

Explain Why Your Background Will Positively Contribute to the School’s Culture 

Although you are writing about yourself and your own experiences and initiatives, you will want to round back and explain how your minority identity improves your MBA candidacy. Write about how your unique background will enrich the program through your one-of-a-kind perspective and voice. Remember that the purpose of your entire application is to show the admissions committee why you are an excellent fit for your desired program.

Maybe you’re passionate about a school’s club or course that directly relates to the anecdotes you wrote about in your diversity essay. If you can relate your story to your desire to attend a particular program, it undoubtedly makes your essay stronger. 

Consider How Your Background Impacted Your Skills and Perspectives 

The diversity essay is a great place to illuminate your individuality. Think about your life in the context of how your experiences may differ from the “norm.” Did you grow up in a foreign country? If so, how did cultural and regional differences impact your perspectives on the world? Did you not grow up in the traditional nuclear family archetype? Do you possess unique skills thanks to your upbringing?

Keep in mind that these skills don’t necessarily have to be professional in nature. Perhaps you excel in a sport or game that’s relatively unknown to other people in the U.S., or you are a great dancer to choreography specific to your culture. Your hobbies, skills, and experiences put into the context of the general American population can be very different and interesting to the admissions committee. After all, your interests and skills are central to your personality and self-expression.

Think About the Future 

At the conclusion of your essay, you may want to write about your hopes for your future. Here you can write about what you want your life to look like after you graduate and the accomplishments you hope to achieve. You can intertwine these future aspirations with your diversity statement to give the admissions committee a comprehensive look at how you will continue to uphold your values and ambitions after graduation or how you want to continue to be involved with your school as an alumnus. 

Three Diversity Essay Examples for Business School

We have compiled three diversity essay examples to help you craft your own stellar essay. Keep in mind that these are examples and that the prompt for a diversity essay may differ depending on the business school. These diversity essay examples exemplify the criteria of the top tips above and can provide you with the framework you need to get started on your own essay.

Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you, and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Sample introduction:.

“Thank you for calling [Call Center]; this is [Name] – may I have your name and email, please?” To my estimation, I’ve said this opening line 4,860 times. Unfathomable to my peers and family, I turned down a lucrative job in Silicon Valley to start my career in a call center. My decision was based upon my ambition of bettering the global community, driven by my guiding values of empathy and accountability. 

Sample Body Paragraphs:

I was born in [Country] to [Nationality] parents and moved to [City] at the age of five. My adolescence and teenage years were far from ordinary as our family moved every four years, and my sister was born in [year]. Despite my initial chagrin of being employed at the age of 12 as a traveling unpaid babysitter, these small yet significant responsibilities gave me my first glimpse into understanding what it meant to care for others. Empathy had led me to contextualize my life in a world of others, with the conclusion that humans should strive to help those around them.

I graduated with a concentration in corporate social responsibility (CSR). I felt the for-profit sector held the most untapped influence to fundamentally address global societal shortcomings. However, I couldn’t reconcile corporations’ competing pressure to maximize profits and engage in effective CSR initiatives until I discovered the entrepreneurial initiatives underway at [Call Center].

This rating agency was innovating the way investments are evaluated by assessing them based on sustainability metrics – environmental, social, and governance (ESG). In combining sustainability data and traditional financial metrics, investors can capture their non-pecuniary preferences in their investment behavior, which realigns corporate incentives to consider the stewardship of its actions. 

Sample Conclusion:

As I look to the future, I want to pivot from investment ratings and focus on broader sustainability evaluations for products and services. Much like how [Call Center] is innovating the way investments are assessed, I want to help shape how sustainability considerations can be integrated into the consumer decision-making process. I envision the parent company’s sustainability rating displayed directly on product packaging to allow consumers to incorporate their sustainable preferences into their purchasing decisions. I want to create a world in which a brand’s sustainability stewardship is as important as price and brand recognition. 

Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Hip hop choreography has been a significant part of my college and work career and is something that I am looking to continue at Wharton. I fell for choreography in college because it was not just one style but a mix of contemporary, jazz, freestyle hip hop, and many other sub-genres. To be successful in choreography, I had to be comfortable learning and combining different styles.

Sample Body Paragraph:

As a choreographer, I initially sought to never be the type of leader that was domineering and controlling. I wanted my team to be empowered to make independent decisions and never feel restricted. However, I learned that this was not the best approach for everyone. Some did love my leadership style and enjoyed the independence. Others disliked this and felt that I did not provide enough direction.

I was taken aback. I had thought I was empowering my team but instead had sowed confusion. I thought I knew best, but had not actually taken the time to understand their perspectives to truly support my team. From this, I gained a valuable learning experience. I learned the value of challenging my preconceptions and the importance of listening to others’ perspectives.

With a passion to engage and understand others, I will be a student at Wharton who will connect my classmates together, facilitating networking and group collaboration such as knowledge sharing events and interview practice. Additionally, I will share my values of challenging preconceptions to help my classmates approach problems from new points of views. Simply put, I will be a student who will bring my classmates together and solve problems together in new ways. ‍

I was hired on the spot during my final round of interviews at [Company] because, in addition to my communication skills, I knew how to code. Two years into my career, it turns out the interviewers were right: My high-level technical skills allow me to translate complicated processes into digestible language for our clients. By effectively articulating my growing passion for social media, I have made it my mission to spread the word about the power and pitfalls of technology. At Wharton, I will do the same: I will be committed to encouraging my classmates to consider how they can use social media to benefit their businesses and positively influence the world. 

As I reflect on my past academic experiences, I am thankful for learning from my classmates’ diverse perspectives. At Wharton, I will add value to classroom discussions by contributing my technical perspective in its simplest and most relevant form. As a team player, I will effectively persuade my peers to seriously consider the power of social media.

While I firmly believe that social media and social influence go hand in hand, much of their complex relationship has yet to be studied. Popular culture often focuses on the negative impact of technology, I prefer to appreciate how it improves people’s lives. Social media is giving a platform to historically silenced groups of people: The pioneers of the #MeToo movement, who have expertly utilized social media to get out their message, inspired me to speak up about my own experience. At Wharton, I will fearlessly advocate for both myself and others to maintain an inclusive community where everyone feels comfortable and respected. 

Finally, I look forward to strengthening the Wharton community even after I graduate. As part of the [Name] community, I serve as an alumni fund agent to encourage giving to the alumni fund, which finances 10% of the college’s operating budget. I look forward to proudly continuing these efforts as a Wharton alumna, because I know a close-knit alumni network is what separates a good school from a great school.

1. Do I have to write a diversity essay if I identify as part of a minority group? 

The diversity essay is optional, so no you do not have to write one if you choose. However, writing this essay can help the admissions committee learn more about you and your values and illustrate your background. Business schools value diversity, so you may give yourself a better chance of acceptance by writing a stellar diversity essay.

2. How long should my diversity essay be? 

The answer to this will depend on the school, but many business schools will provide you with a word limit for your essay. You should expect to write around 300-500 words. 

3. How do I know I’m on the right track with my essay? 

There’s no fundamental right or wrong way to write a diversity essay as long as you are answering the given prompt. Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain that your essay accurately represents you or if it's well-written. If you feel apprehensive about your diversity essay, there are services available that will help you with your writing to make sure that it’s reviewed, polished, and ready for submission. 

4. What elements of my diversity can I write about in my essay? 

In your diversity essay, you can write about many facets of your identity, including your race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, or other minority group. Note that you can also write about your experiences with intersectionality of two groups or more if that applies to you. 

5. Will the content of my diversity essay be discussed in my interview? 

If the business school admissions committee does not conduct blind interviews with anything on hand but your resume, anything on your application can be fair game for your interviewer to ask you. It may or may not come up, but you may want to be prepared with an example other than the one discussed in your essay to talk about with your interviewer. 

6. How do I know that my essay is ready for submission? 

Like all business school application essays, you want to make sure your essay is easy to follow, flows well, and is free of spelling or grammatical errors. If you feel that your essay accurately represents you and your experiences, answers the business school’s prompt, and is a clean edited copy, it may be ready for submission with the rest of your application! 

Conclusion 

Business schools today value the diversity of their MBA students and their unique skills and perspectives. Students have the opportunity to learn and grow together while gaining new perspectives from students from different backgrounds. Writing a diversity essay as part of your application can be a great way to illustrate your distinct upbringing, identity, or culture to the admissions committee.

You know that the purpose of the diversity essay is to share your experiences with the admissions committee and provide context to how these experiences shaped you. Doing so can strengthen your MBA candidacy, especially if the rest of your application is polished. 

When you’re writing your diversity essay, remember to ask yourself questions about your views on diversity and inclusion, and use your beliefs and values to guide your writing. If you possess any unique skills or hobbies, the diversity essay may be a great place to write about them too.

Remember to tell your story authentically and explain how your acceptance will enrich the program. Your essay should reflect your past or your present, but be sure to think ahead to what you want your future to look like as well. Use the diversity essay examples above to guide your own writing, but remember that what experiences you choose to write about are ultimately up to you. You are the expert in your own life, and the admissions committee will undoubtedly be pleased to hear your story. 

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Diversity Essay – Step-By-Step Guide & Examples

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When applying to join a college, you may have to write a supplemental college essay detailing your personal life, including cultural background, identity, interests, and talents. Such an essay is known as a diversity essay. They provide an opportunity for the applicants to showcase their unique backgrounds. This article provides various guidelines on diversity essays and their importance. We will also share a few tips on how to write diversity essays.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 In a nutshell: Diversity essay 
  • 2 Definition: Diversity essay
  • 3 Why do schools want a diversity essay?
  • 4 Dos and don’ts of a diversity essay
  • 5 Diversity essay: How to enrich the campus community
  • 6 How to write a diversity essay: Sharing experience
  • 7 How to write a diversity essay: Impact on your life

In a nutshell: Diversity essay  

  • A diversity essay enables the college admissions committee to gain an in-depth understanding of your unique background, experiences, and motivations.
  • When writing the essay, use specific examples to highlight your viewpoint.
  • The essay should concentrate on how your diverse experiences have influenced your life and academic decisions. It should demonstrate how you can benefit the campus community.
  • A diversity essay should be authentic and truthful.
  • Proofreading and reviewing your essay for errors should be done before submitting it. They can also help you evaluate it for clarity and coherence.

Definition: Diversity essay

Diversity essays are usually short and reflective essays with a length limit of 500 words or fewer. They are often necessary for financial aid, grant, and scholarship applications. They may also be a requirement when applying for college and university admissions.

It is a personal statement or essay focusing on diversity, particularly in an academic context. It also aims to draw attention to your distinctive background, experiences, and perspectives, which set you apart from other applicants. Furthermore, the essay demonstrates and provides evidence of your potential to add value to a diverse community. Many colleges and universities use diversity essay prompts to inform admission decisions and eliminate biases. Here are three examples of such essay prompts:

  • Reflect on a time when you advocated for equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Applicants should submit a statement explaining how their admission to the college will contribute to a culture of inclusion and campus diversity.
  • Give an example of a time when you felt disconnected from a community or group. What did you learn from the experience, and how did you handle it?

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Why do schools want a diversity essay?

Admissions officers may require diversity essays to ensure a diverse student body.

  • To understand how your unique experiences and background can contribute to the diversity of the campus community and enrich learning experiences.
  • To evaluate your capacity for reflective writing about your experiences and viewpoints.
  • To test your ability to communicate concisely and effectively.

Dos and don’ts of a diversity essay

Here are some tips on what to do and what to avoid when writing a diversity essay.

  • Be authentic and truthful. Write about your genuine background, experiences, and viewpoints.
  • Keep the focus on you and your strengths. Use concrete examples to support your points.
  • Make a connection in your essay between your values and the objectives of your target institution, highlighting how your application will benefit all parties.
  • It is important to emphasize your individual experiences to stand out. Focus on showcasing your qualities.
  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Avoid focusing too much on your challenges and struggles.
  • Avoid writing generic essays that feature clichés and stereotypes.
  • Avoid using complex jargon and fancy terminologies to impress the reader.

Diversity essay: How to enrich the campus community

Because of your unique background, experiences, and perspectives, you can impact the campus community in various ways. Here are some examples of identities or experiences you can write about in a diversity essay.

  • Belief systems and religion
  • Family circumstances
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Living with a disability
  • Nationality and race
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Sporting activities and talents

How to write a diversity essay: Sharing experience

Authentic stories are crucial as they allow others to understand your ambitions, experiences, and viewpoints.

Focus lies on yourself

It is essential to keep the focus on you when writing about your background, identity, and experiences. Doing so lets the reader comprehend your perspective and deduce why you stand out. Here is an exemplary text excerpt that demonstrates this step.

Sharing own experience

In a diversity essay, it is critical to emphasize how experiences have affected your perspective and promoted your personal development. The following is an exemplary text excerpt.

“The teaching experience I gained in Texas taught me the problems and opportunities of managing a multiethnic classroom. I had to learn how to keep all the students involved in classroom discussions. The experience taught me how to create space for diversity, allowing students to express their tentative but critical perspectives.”

“My approach to teaching is grounded in my experiences during my first year as a high school teacher. The experiences taught me to make teaching fun and show my students that I cared about their learning. I also learned to be creative and try different techniques, especially to reach the students who sat at the back of the class.”

How to write a diversity essay: Impact on your life

In addition to your background, identity, and experiences, a diversity essay should include your outlook, actions, and goals toward enhancing diversity and inclusion.

Outlook, actions, and goals

Your outlook reflects your viewpoint on diversity, and your actions show the steps taken to address that perspective. Your objectives, on the other hand, demonstrate your long-term strategy for encouraging diversity. For example:

Adjust your essay to the university

Different universities may have different values and priorities when it comes to diversity. As a result, you may have to adjust your essay to match the requirements. Here is an example:

“I know that being an architect does not mean just being successful in constructing structures. At Institution A, I mentor a female minority student to help her succeed in her undergraduate architecture degree. I also hope to take on another mentee next year to guide them in their career.”

“I believe University ABC would offer me excellent training. After finding its reputable reviews in the KLM Report, I visited the university’s website for more information. I also contacted X, who earned their graduate degree in marketing from your university, and current business undergraduate student Y, to ask about their experiences. They both spoke highly about the institution and the lecturers.”

What is a diversity essay?

It is a brief and concise essay to supplement your college application. It helps the admissions committee understand your unique background, experiences, motivations, and viewpoints.

Is it necessary to include specific examples in a diversity essay?

Yes, it is. Including examples in your essay can make it more convincing and enhance the quality of your application. It is important to ensure that the text is free of any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.

What should I include in a diversity essay?

You can provide details about how your personal experiences impact your outlook, activities, and objectives. You should also give reasons for your application and elaborate on why you are a suitable fit.

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May 8, 2023

Celebrating Our Differences: Inspiring Essays on Diversity and Inclusion

Ready to celebrate diversity and inclusion? Discover how to craft an exceptional essay on this important topic with our expert tips and real-world examples. Join us as we explore the power of diversity and its impact on individuals and communities alike.

Imagine yourself walking into a room full of people, each with their own stories to tell. What makes your story stand out? What makes your voice unique? This is the essence of a good diversity essay .

In your essay, you have the opportunity to show the admissions committee how your life experiences have shaped your perspective, identity, and aspirations. Through sharing personal stories, you can paint a picture of who you are and how you will contribute to the vibrant tapestry of the campus community.

Maybe it's growing up in a multicultural household that has taught you to value different perspectives and ways of life. Or, perhaps it's overcoming adversity and facing challenges that have made you a more empathetic and resilient person. Whatever your story may be, your diversity essay is a chance to showcase the richness and depth of your lived experiences.

As you craft your essay, think about how your unique background has informed your actions, beliefs, and goals. Share specific examples and anecdotes that bring your story to life, and make sure to emphasize how you will use your diverse perspective to contribute positively to the campus community. With a well-written diversity essay, you can show the admissions committee that you are more than just a set of grades and test scores - you are a unique and valuable addition to their community.

We have provided a guide as well as some essay examples to assist you in writing your essay about diversity. If you need inspiration for an essay, read them till last. But before we dig into the specifics, a basic understanding of diversity is necessary.

What is Diversity in actuality?

institutions. By recognizing and celebrating the unique experiences, viewpoints, and identities of students from diverse backgrounds, schools can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment that benefits everyone. Through diversity essays, students have the opportunity to showcase the strength of diversity and how it can contribute to the greater community. 

Scholarship options designed for historically underserved communities also demonstrate the importance of diversity in leveling the playing field and creating opportunities for all. Therefore, embracing diversity can lead to a stronger and more vibrant academic community.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the practice of making a place where everyone, despite their differences, is treated with dignity and respect . It's the act of making sure nobody is held back from contributing to a group or community because of their identity or background.

Each person's race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, financial background, ability, religion, and other characteristics are valued and celebrated through the practice of inclusion. It's not enough to just tolerate differences; we need to celebrate them and foster communities where everyone can feel safe and included.

To advance social justice and equity, inclusion is crucial. It allows people from all walks of life to meet one another, learn from one another, and work together towards a shared objective. Positive results for individuals and communities can result from their inclusion in more open, welcoming, and supportive settings.

Step-by-Step guide on how to write an essay on diversity and inclusion

Writing an essay on diversity and inclusion is an important task that requires careful planning and execution. In this step-by-step guide, we will provide you with a roadmap on how to write a compelling essay on this topic.

Here are seven suggestions to consider as you write your diversity statement.

Tell your story

Highlight any challenges you had to overcome while writing an essay. Tell the world about how you used to have to lug two 20-pound sacks of rice uphill to school every day. Recognize your privilege if you were born into affluence. Either way, you can utilize your experience to demonstrate your ability to empathize with kids who struggle to complete their education.

Focus on commonly accepted understandings of diversity and inclusiveness

Issues of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation should be given special attention. Don't try to soften your stance by mentioning, for example, how challenging it is to be a Kansan in Missouri. Write about racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, or another form of oppression that is well-known instead.

Avoid false parallels

When writing a diversity essay, it is important to avoid false parallels. False parallels are when two things appear to be similar, but in reality, they are different. To avoid false parallels, you must carefully examine the similarities and differences between the two things you are comparing. This will help you to make accurate and meaningful comparisons, which will ultimately strengthen your diversity essay.

Write about specific things you have done to help students from underrepresented backgrounds succeed

If you've never helped anybody before, now is the time to start. Become involved as a tutor at a low-performing school, help Habitat for Humanity construct homes, or adopt an antiracist pedagogical approach in your classroom. Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you can also use it to strengthen your diversity statement.

Highlight any programs for underrepresented students you’ve participated in

If you have participated in any programs for underrepresented students, be sure to highlight them in your essay on diversity. This could include programs focused on increasing access to education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, mentorship or internship programs for underrepresented groups, or community service initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion.

By highlighting these programs, you can showcase your commitment to diversity and demonstrate how you have taken active steps to promote equity and inclusion in your community.

Write about your commitment to working toward achieving equity and enhancing diversity

Provide details on what you can bring to the table. You might express your desire to help existing programmes on campus or to start something brand new inspired by what you've seen elsewhere.

Modify your statement based on where you are sending it

When writing an essay on diversity, it's important to tailor your statement to the specific institution or audience you are addressing. Modifying your statement based on where you are sending it shows that you have taken the time to research the institution and understand its values and priorities. This can increase the likelihood of your statement resonating with the reader and ultimately being successful in achieving your goals.

3 Example essays on Diversity and Inclusion

The importance of diversity workforce, introduction.

Workforce diversity is a critical aspect of modern-day organizations. It involves hiring individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, genders, and ages. The concept of workforce diversity is gaining prominence as organizations are increasingly recognizing the benefits of having a diverse workforce. In this essay, we will explore the importance of workforce diversity, the challenges associated with it, and the benefits it offers.

Encourages Innovation and Creativity

Diversity brings together a wide range of perspectives and ideas that can help drive innovation and creativity. When people from diverse backgrounds come together, they can offer different viewpoints and ideas, leading to new solutions to problems.

Enhances Employee Engagement and Retention

Employees who feel included and valued are more engaged and motivated, leading to higher retention rates. When employees feel they belong and are appreciated, they are more likely to stay with the organization, reducing turnover costs.

Increases Global Competitiveness

Diversity in the workforce is crucial for organizations looking to expand globally. Organizations with a diverse workforce are better equipped to understand and navigate the cultural nuances of different countries and regions, making them more competitive in the global marketplace.

Promotes a Positive Image

Organizations that embrace diversity are viewed positively by the public, customers, and employees. A diverse workforce demonstrates that the organization values and respects individuals from all backgrounds, contributing to a positive brand image.

Resistance to Change

Implementing diversity initiatives can be met with resistance, particularly from those who believe that the traditional way of doing things is the best. It is essential to educate and raise awareness about the benefits of diversity to overcome this challenge.

Communication Barriers

When individuals from different backgrounds come together, there may be communication barriers due to language or cultural differences. It is essential to provide training and resources to overcome these barriers and foster effective communication.

Stereotyping and Bias

Stereotyping and bias can negatively impact diversity initiatives. It is essential to establish a culture of inclusivity and respect, where individuals feel valued and appreciated for their unique contributions.

Improved Decision-Making

A diverse workforce can provide a range of perspectives, leading to better decision-making. When individuals with different backgrounds come together, they can offer different viewpoints, leading to a more comprehensive and well-rounded decision-making process.

Increased Creativity and Innovation

Diversity can lead to new ideas and perspectives that can drive innovation and creativity. A diverse workforce can bring together different viewpoints and experiences, leading to new solutions to problems.

Enhanced Reputation

Improved Employee Engagement and Retention

When employees feel included and valued, they are more engaged and motivated, leading to higher retention rates. A diverse workforce can help create a sense of belonging, leading to improved employee engagement and retention.

Workforce diversity is crucial for modern-day organizations. It can lead to improved decision-making, increased creativity and innovation, and enhanced reputation. However, diversity initiatives can be met with resistance, communication barriers, stereotyping, and bias. It is essential to establish a culture of inclusivity and respect, where individuals feel valued and appreciated for their unique contributions. By embracing diversity, organizations can create a more productive, engaged, and innovative workforce.

2. The challenges of diversity in different institutions

Diversity is a term that describes the differences among people, whether they are cultural, ethnic, racial, linguistic, gender, or sexual orientation differences. While diversity is often celebrated, it can also pose challenges, especially in institutions such as schools, workplaces, and governments. This essay will explore the challenges of diversity in different institutions and how they can be addressed.

Challenges of Diversity in Schools

Schools are meant to be places where students can learn and grow, but diversity can sometimes be a challenge. Students who come from different backgrounds may face discrimination and exclusion from their peers, which can affect their ability to learn and thrive.

Teachers may also struggle to provide a curriculum that is inclusive of all students experiences and perspectives. Addressing these challenges requires a commitment to creating an inclusive environment where all students feel valued and respected.

Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace

Workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse, but this diversity can pose challenges. Employees from different cultural backgrounds may struggle to communicate effectively or may feel excluded from the workplace culture. Discrimination and bias can also be a problem, as can the assumption that everyone shares the same experiences and perspectives. To address these challenges, employers need to be proactive in creating a workplace culture that values diversity and promotes inclusivity. This can involve training and education for employees, as well as policies and procedures that support diversity and inclusion.

Challenges of Diversity in Government

Governments are responsible for serving diverse populations, but this can be a challenge. Members of different cultural and linguistic groups may have different needs and expectations from their government, and some groups may face discrimination or exclusion. 

To address these challenges, governments need to be proactive in engaging with diverse communities and ensuring that their policies and programs are inclusive. This can involve outreach and consultation with community groups, as well as the development of policies that reflect the needs and perspectives of diverse communities.

Ways to Address the Challenges of Diversity

Addressing the challenges of diversity requires a commitment to creating inclusive environments where all individuals feel valued and respected. This can involve several strategies, including education and training, policies and procedures, and community engagement.

Education and training can help individuals better understand the experiences and perspectives of those from different backgrounds. This can involve training programs for employees or professional development opportunities for teachers. It can also involve curriculum changes in schools that better reflect the experiences and perspectives of diverse students.

Policies and procedures can also play a role in promoting diversity and inclusion. This can involve policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment in the workplace or schools. It can also involve policies that promote diversity in hiring or that ensure that government programs and services are inclusive of all members of the community.

Community engagement is also an important strategy for promoting diversity and inclusion. This can involve outreach to community groups and the development of partnerships with organizations that serve diverse communities. It can also involve the creation of advisory committees or other mechanisms for engaging with diverse populations.

In conclusion, diversity is an important aspect of our society, but it can also pose challenges in different institutions. Schools, workplaces, and governments need to be proactive in creating inclusive environments where all individuals feel valued and respected. This requires a commitment to education and training, policies and procedures that promote diversity and inclusion, and community engagement. By addressing the challenges of diversity, we can create a more equitable and inclusive society for all.

3. Ideas on how to Reduce Discrimination in Society

Racial discrimination is a pervasive issue that has plagued society for centuries. It is a problem that continues to affect individuals and communities around the world. Discrimination is an act that denies individuals equal rights, opportunities, and treatment based on their race or ethnicity. The impacts of racism are far-reaching, and it affects individuals' economic, social, and emotional well-being. Therefore, there is a need for collective efforts to reduce racial discrimination and promote social justice. This essay discusses some of the best ways to reduce racial discrimination in society.

Education and Awareness

Education is a powerful tool that can help reduce racial discrimination. Education is essential in teaching individuals about diversity, equity, and inclusion. When people understand the impact of racism, they are more likely to become allies and advocates for change. Education can take many forms, such as books, documentaries, and workshops. 

Institutions can also incorporate cultural competency training into their curriculum to educate students and faculty members about the impact of discrimination. It is essential to recognize the different forms of discrimination, including implicit bias, microaggressions, and institutional racism, to address them appropriately.

Political Action

Political action is another way to reduce racial discrimination in society. Leaders at the local, state, and federal levels can enact policies that promote equality and diversity. Policies such as affirmative action and diversity initiatives can promote inclusion in the workforce and educational institutions. 

Politicians can also pass laws that make racial discrimination illegal and provide support to victims of discrimination. It is essential to recognize that racism is a systemic issue that requires political action to address.

Community Engagement

Community engagement is an important way to reduce racial discrimination. Building strong communities that are inclusive and diverse can help reduce racism. Communities can engage in activities that promote diversity, such as cultural festivals, food fairs, and art exhibits. 

These events can help build bridges between different communities and promote understanding. Community members can also engage in conversations about racism and work together to address it. This can create a sense of belonging and unity that can help reduce discrimination.

Diversity in Institutions

Institutions play a significant role in reducing racial discrimination. Institutions such as schools, businesses, and government agencies can promote diversity by recruiting and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds. A diverse workforce or student body can help reduce discrimination by promoting inclusion and understanding. 

Institutions can also create policies that promote equality and diversity, such as flexible work arrangements, diversity training, and bias reporting systems. It is important to ensure that institutions are representative of the communities they serve to reduce discrimination.

In conclusion, reducing racial discrimination requires a collective effort from individuals, institutions, and political leaders. Education and awareness, political action, community engagement, and diversity in institutions are all effective ways to address discrimination. It is important to recognize that reducing discrimination is a long-term effort that requires commitment and perseverance. By working together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society that values diversity and promotes social justice.

Final Words

In conclusion, embracing diversity and inclusion is crucial for creating a more equitable and harmonious society. Whether it's through recognizing and celebrating racial diversity and cultural diversity, fostering a sense of belonging for all individuals, or actively working to combat discrimination and prejudice, we must prioritize these values in all aspects of our lives. By championing diversity and inclusion, we can cultivate a richer, more vibrant world that values the unique perspectives and experiences of all people. By embracing diversity and inclusion, we can build a better future for ourselves and for generations to come.

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Essay Samples on Diversity

What does diversity mean to you: exploring the rich tapestry of differences.

What does diversity mean to you? When we pause to reflect on the world around us, we find that it is a mosaic of identities, cultures, and experiences. Diversity, in all its forms, is the cornerstone of our society's fabric. In this essay, we will...

  • Cultural Diversity

European Integration In The 21st Century: Unity In Diversity

Background The beginning of “European integration” journey, after the Second War World, was characterized by powerful sentiment, that lead to the creation of the “European Coal and Steel Community” in 1951, such as trust, enthusiasm, optimism, hope; unfortunately, today seems that distrust, doubt, scepticism and...

  • European Union

Unity In Diversity: Feeling Unified With Others

“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” This is a famous quote, from John F.Kennedy, stated fifty-five years ago. Through Kennedy’s words, it is evident that the concept of diversity has been around for...

  • Individual Identity

Defining What Diversity And Inclusion Mean To Me

Ng & Sears (2011) pointed another kind of leadership called “Transactional leadership.” These leaders are mainly very effective for businesses as their leadership is heavily influenced by the task management, utility maximization, and organizational legislation. They are based on exercising bureaucratic authority and legitimate power....

  • Personal Beliefs

The Meaning Of Diversity To Me And Society

Cultural diversity (also referred to as multiculturalism) may be a cluster of various people from totally different cultures or societies. Usually, cultural diversity takes under consideration language, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, age and their ethnic background. Cultural diversity is vital as a result of...

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Analysis Of The Gender Diversity Issue In The Judicial System

It took 83 years for a female judge to be appointed regarding the fact that being a judge is seen primarily as a male position in society. This traditional gender role can become an issue as judges are responsible for judicial policy making for both...

  • Gender Inequality
  • Judicial System

The Diversity, Democracy, and Dissent Politics in India

The term Democracy was first coined during the 5th century BC in Greece and Athens to describe a State which was ruled 'by the people' in contrast to the then prevailing Aristocracy, or 'rule by the elites'. However, although these two words were directly opposite...

Glory Road: Analysing the Long-Term Effects of Racial Diversity in Basketball

In the 1966 NCAA championship, El Paso’s Texas Western College Miners, a small southern college, accomplished to win the NCAA championship against the four times NCAA champions, University of Kentucky Wildcats. The Wildcats were known to be the strongest basketball team in the nation. This...

The American Orientalism and Its Slow Intervention in the American Culture

Orientalism is a mighty envisioned that can be depicted in various ways. In any case, 'orientalism' can be seen as a conviction structure, an outline of inclinations that supports a suspicion European control over the East and along these lines point of fact or unequivocally...

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Orientalism

The Experience of White Privilege in White Like Me

White Privilege is a real thing in our society, it’s has been internalized making it seem like it's nothing different, it's just part of life. The definition of Privilege is a special right to resources such as housing and jobs. Within Privalage there are resources...

  • White Like Me
  • White Privilege

White Like Me: Exploring the Other Side of Racism and White Privilege

Introduction White Like Me is a documentary by Tim Wise’s on his life in a majorly black neighborhood growing up with black friends. It covers his views about white privilege and the structural advantages given to white people as he experienced first hand. Disregarding the...

The Negative Perception of People of Color from the Eyes of the White Person

The United States has the advantage of being a melting pot but still faces the issue of racism. Tim Wise in The Pathology of Privilege Racism, White Denial & the Costs of Inequality addresses the concern of stereotyping, racism, and privilege. His claims are presented...

Diversity and Social Complexity of Africans Before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

When looking at America’s history, something that many have taken note of is the differences seen among individuals from different eras. Many have differentiated mindsets, customs, appearances, etc shaped by the values of the era they lived in and their environment. However, people tend to...

  • Atlantic Slave Trade

The Reasons for Attraction of Cultural Relativism

Cultural relativism maintains that moral standards are relative to culture, much like the diverse norms of etiquette one can see across different cultures. According to this view, the very fact that something is accepted by the majority in a society makes it morally correct. I...

The Awareness of Interconnection between Race and Sexuality

In contemporary societies race is more discussed than ever before and it is critical to think about the differences which individuals have between them to acknowledge the causes of conflicts, search for practical ways to solve them and eventually promote peace and tolerance between nations....

  • Race and Sexuality

Embodiment of Globalisation in the Modern World

Varying and abundant, today’s problems are often complex in nature. Many of these problems are more difficult to address than others due to the intensifying heterogeneous nature of societies which results in various stances on goal-formulation, problem-definition, and equity issues (Rittel & Webber, 1973). The...

  • Globalisation

Differentiating Concepts of Anti-, De-, and Globalisation

There are many ways to explain what Globalisation is but the simplest version of what it is – it’s a term used for the independence and vast relationship of trade and other business-related factors with countries. Globalisation is a term used when factors such as...

The Inclusivity and Diversity of the New York City

Everyone has a place that helps bring clarity to their life, and for me that place is New York City. Someone may ask, what is so great about New York City? What draws all these people from around the world to this one spot? I...

  • New York City

The Act of Segregation in the West Africa

A land whose ancestors have no barrier in race have engage in the act of segregating each other, a puzzle one could hardly believe does exist in Africa. My name is Sia Jimissa, I originate from Kono, eastern region of Sierra Leone a country in...

  • Segregation

The Right to Diversity for Everyone and Cultural Exchange

Today, due to the influence of modern technology and globalization, the degree of cultural exchange is greater than in the past, but there are still many differences, including conceptual differences. What we are or what we believe depends mainly on the culture we feel, live...

  • Language Diversity
  • Types of Human Rights

Ethnocentrism in Cultural Relativism and Diversity

This paper will address several components of culture, ethnocentrism, and cultural relativism. The first section will define the terms of culture, ethnocentrism, and cultural relativism. The second section will address personal cultural group that I belong to. The third section will address my perspectives with...

  • Cultural Relativism
  • Ethnocentrism

The Theme of Acceptance of Diversity in "Nikki Rosa" by Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Rosa is poem about someone’s (Nikki Giovanni) childhood being poor but making the best of it and relying on family to be happy regardless of their circumstances, although colour plays a major role growing up in this black suburbs of Cincinnati Ohio. The poem...

  • Literature Review

An Examination of Social Identity Among Humans

As human beings of various ethnic descents who were raised in different parts of the world, we develop societies of distinct characteristics in which members of each share similar customs, culture and identity, to name a few. Social identity is defined as “that part of...

  • Cultural Identity

A New Aged Care Facilities: The Cultural Diversity

Australia has 46% of people who were born overseas and has an emigrant parent. Because of social influence, Australian aging and emigrants from the diverse culture have special health needs. Factors such as detachment from other community or culture, social-control, unobtainable health facilities or information,...

  • Universal Health Care

Diversities In The Indian Subcontinent

The Indian subcontinent has seen and continues to see diversity in numerous forms. It is said to have one of the largest geographical, biological, religious, socio-cultural, linguistic and natural diversities in the world. Despite the tugs from various angles, there seems to be an abstract...

Holding Up A Mirror To Nature: Designing A Designer

Nature has evolved with great diversity and vastness of its territories from a simple virus to complex eukaryotes. But, with these complexities it has also left some firing questions and fascinating answers. Despite biology’s variety in complexity and complexity in variety, biochemical machineries of all...

  • Chemical Reaction

Balinese Culture With Indian Cuisine

Chai'ba is a restaurant and bar that combines Balinese culture with Indian cuisine. Their variety ranges from kebabs to biryani to salads with paneer and of course vegan and gluten-free options too – simply delish! To top it all off, Chai'ba serves a range of...

Best topics on Diversity

1. What Does Diversity Mean to You: Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Differences

2. European Integration In The 21st Century: Unity In Diversity

3. Unity In Diversity: Feeling Unified With Others

4. Defining What Diversity And Inclusion Mean To Me

5. The Meaning Of Diversity To Me And Society

6. Analysis Of The Gender Diversity Issue In The Judicial System

7. The Diversity, Democracy, and Dissent Politics in India

8. Glory Road: Analysing the Long-Term Effects of Racial Diversity in Basketball

9. The American Orientalism and Its Slow Intervention in the American Culture

10. The Experience of White Privilege in White Like Me

11. White Like Me: Exploring the Other Side of Racism and White Privilege

12. The Negative Perception of People of Color from the Eyes of the White Person

13. Diversity and Social Complexity of Africans Before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

14. The Reasons for Attraction of Cultural Relativism

15. The Awareness of Interconnection between Race and Sexuality

  • Gender Roles
  • Gender Stereotypes
  • National Honor Society
  • Social Media
  • American Identity
  • Americanism
  • American Dream

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6 Medical School Diversity Essay Examples (Ranked Best to Worst!)

Most medical school diversity essay prompts give little away when it comes to helping you with ideas on what to write. Without seeing examples? It’s incredibly difficult to know where to get started!

As a medical student with an undergrad in English, I thought I’d run my eye over some of the web’s popular medical school diversity essay examples.

Ranking these six examples from best to worst, I’ll give a critique of each along the way.

All with the hope of better helping you craft your own diversity essays with a bit more ease and expertise!

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Want some quick writing tips first? Check out this article;  How To Write An Awesome Diversity Essay In Medical School (5 Quick Tips) .

I’ll be ranking each of these from, what I feel, is the worst to best.

Note : It’s not my intention to be disparaging (having any one of these examples is a huge plus), but rather entertaining. I hope it’ll be fun figuring out what I’d look for if I was part of a Med School Admissions Team!

Medical School Diversity Essay Examples

Make sure you click through the links on each of these essays. Not only does this help give credit to other people’s work, but you’ll also benefit from their own explanations and critique!

6. Diverse Backgrounds – Chronicles of a Medical Student

My father gave me two things when I was young: early exposure to diverse people and a strong desire to learn to work cross-culturally. But the most important thing he taught me was to be a life-long learner through interaction with people from diverse backgrounds. Our house was always a second home for international students studying at nearby universities. I can remember playing Jenga with Russian engineering students or seeing our kitchen taken over by Korean music students. During college, I continued to learn to relate to people from many backgrounds through an internship to Southeast Asia in 2006. I found that humility and a genuine desire to learn about someone’s culture opened doors to relationships that would have remained closed. If students fail to interact with people of different cultures, preferring to cluster where they are comfortable, the benefit of a diverse campus is lost. My cross-cultural experiences have prepared me to learn to embrace ethnic and cultural diversity. – Chronicles of a Medical Student

This is by no means a bad essay – and there’s a lot of personal relevance that shines through – it’s just that it misses the mark a little when it comes to drawing parallels between the past and the future.

Although the student shows they’ve had a range of experiences that’s brought them into contact with diverse peoples and cultures, it doesn’t really answer how this lends itself to medicine.

Personally, I find myself wanting to know more about how these experiences have shaped this person’s desire to become a doctor!

5. Connecting Through Cultures – BeMo

I am extremely fortunate to have a strong connection to my roots. Spending time in Italy throughout my life has allowed me to see how the ideology of this culture differs from that in the United States. The Italian society is often marred by the stereotype that they are lazy, or not willing to work. I believe that if one truly sees the society from an objective lens, they will see a society that derives their happiness less from material objects and more from love and companionship. Resultantly, there is a monumental emphasis placed on the health and well-being of others. There is always time for a family meal, a coffee with a friend, or an evening walk to clear one’s mind. Growing up my family always made sure everyone had enough to eat, and someone to talk to. I believe in this ideology and view the healthcare field as the opportunity to help others live a full, and fruitful life pursuing their own happiness. Throughout my life, healthcare professionals have consistently given my loved ones the ability to live autonomously and be present in my life. It is a service and a gift that they have given me and a gift I wish to spend my life giving others. My culture, upbringing, and life experiences have fostered my desire to purse medicine and my holistic approach to life. I will bring these elements of empathy and holistic care not only as a training physician, but as a fellow classmate who is there for others through the rigors of medical school.  – BeMo

There’s a lot to like about this essay, especially the way they talk about a different culture (Italy) and how it fuels that desire to become a physician.

Where I feel it could be lacking is in drawing upon specific experiences (extracurriculars) diverse enough to pair well with an application.

They perhaps waste the second paragraph a little by repeating a similar sentiment; “a desire to pursue medicine and a holistic approach to life.”

It’s maybe just a bit too unspecific and uncreative.

4. Sharing Passions – Shemassian Consulting

There are many things a girl could be self-conscious about growing up, such as facial hair, body odor, or weight gain. Growing up with a few extra pounds than my peers, I was usually chosen last for team sports and struggled to run a 10-minute mile during P.E. classes. As I started to despise school athletics, I turned towards other hobbies, such as cooking and Armenian dance, which helped me start anew with a healthier lifestyle. Since then, I have channeled my passions for nutrition and exercise into my volunteering activities, such as leading culinary workshops for low-income residents of Los Angeles, organizing community farmer’s markets, or conducting dance sessions with elderly patients. I appreciate not only being able to bring together a range of people, varying in age, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity, but also helping instill a sense of confidence and excitement that comes with making better lifestyle decisions. I have enjoyed encouraging kids in the inner city to combat similar issues of weight gain and low self-esteem through after-school gardening and physical activity lessons. Now, I hope to share my love for culinary nutrition and fitness with fellow medical students at UCLA. As students, we can become better physicians by passing on health and nutrition information to future patients, improving quality of life for ourselves and others. – Shemassian Consulting

This is an example of just how creative you can get when it comes to essay writing – especially when you might not consider yourself “typically diverse” too!

The experiences of this applicant are ones that most of us, growing up in the West, are familiar with. Yet they expertly turn these “standard problems” into something personal that communicates to the reader why they got involved with volunteering and community projects in the first place (i.e. not just because med school admissions teams told them they had to!)

Even if the bottom line is a little generic; “passing on health and nutrition information to future patients”; it’s that honesty at the beginning that makes it seem like a genuine essay.

The way it addresses the school specifically is another nice touch.

3. Multiple Identities – Motivate MD

In Peace Corps training, we learned a metaphor for our service.  If our home, America, was a circle, our new community could be described as a square. We, as volunteers, were triangles. The point? We were part of each; not quite one, nor the other, but able to recognize both as valid ways of being. Most of us have multiple identities. I also bring practice of inhabiting the middle; the boat in a channel between islands. In one of my favorite novels, Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, the story of international diplomats held hostage at a party, the translator plays a central role. It is he who must interpret and communicate; give voice to space between characters. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, oldest child, and part of a mixed-race family, I’ve had many opportunities to translate; on behalf of my siblings (to my parents), my parents (to my siblings), Belizean villagers, & others in my health advocacy work. My “triangular” identity helps me approach problems differently. _______Medical School is a place for visionary thinking; a community of innovators. I want to be part of curiosity-driven inquiry; translating differences & supporting evidence based solutions to health problems. I see my role as one that can only be attempted through willingness to understand others. My greatest contribution to the medical school community at _________will be my ability to stand in two places, ears & heart open, facilitating dialogue & sharing my perspective from a place of collaborative appreciation. Growth cannot occur in a silo. It begins in learning from & with other people, recognizing the value of all identities. – Motivate MD

This is a really awesome example that’s formatted perfectly.

Compact, punchy, and making great use of metaphor, this does so many right things when it comes to putting together a strong diversity essay.

What I like most about it is the way it plays on the cultural background of the applicant to explain how they will contribute to the school’s community moving forward.

This is a really important thing to consider!

But what’s also neat is the way they link reading and literature to their own cross-cultural role. That’s a nice creative flourish.

2. Diversity Through Faith – University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

In the sweating discomfort of the summertime heat, I walked through Philadelphia International Airport with several overweight bags, tired eyes, and a bad case of Shigella. Approaching Customs, I noticed the intensity and seriousness on the faces of the customs officers whose responsibility were to check passports and question passengers. As I moved closer to the front of the line, I noticed someone reading a foreign newspaper. The man was reading about the Middle Eastern conflict, a clash fueled by religious intolerance. What a sharp contrast to Ghana, I thought. I had just spent three weeks in Ghana. While there I worked, studied their religions, ate their food, traveled and contracted malaria. Despite all of Ghana’s economic hardships, the blending of Christianity, Islam, and traditional religion did not affect the health of the country. When I reached the front of the line, the customs officer glanced at my backpack and with authoritative curiosity asked me, “What are you studying?” I responded in a fatigued, yet polite voice, “Religious studies with a pre-med track.” Surprised, the officer replied rhetorically, “Science and religion, interesting, how does that work?” This was not the first time I had encountered the bewildered facial expression or this doubtful rhetorical question. I took a moment to think and process the question and answered, “With balance.” Throughout my young life I have made an effort to be well-rounded, improve in all facets of my personal life, and find a balance between my personal interests and my social responsibility. In my quest to understand where I fit into society, I used service to provide a link between science and my faith. Science and religion are fundamentally different; science is governed by the ability to provide evidence to prove the truth while religion’s truth is grounded on the concept of faith. Physicians are constantly balancing the reality of a person’s humanity and the illness in which they are caring for. The physicians I have found to be most memorable and effective were those who were equally as sensitive and perceptive of my spirits as they were of my symptoms. Therefore, my desire to become a physician has always been validated, not contradicted by my belief system. In serving, a person must sacrifice and give altruistically. When one serves they sacrifice their self for others benefit. Being a servant is characterized by leading by example and striving to be an advocate for equity. As a seventh grade math and science teacher in the Philadelphia public school system, everyday is about sacrifice and service. I sacrifice my time before, during and after-school; tutoring, mentoring and coaching my students. I serve with vigor and purpose so that my students can have opportunities that many students from similar backgrounds do not have. However, without a balance my effectiveness as a teacher is compromised. In February, I was hospitalized twice for a series of asthma attacks. Although I had been diagnosed with asthma, I had not had an attack since I was in middle school. Consequently, the physicians attributed my attacks to high stress, lack of sleep, and poor eating habits. It had become clear to me that my unrelenting drive to provide my students with a sound math and science education without properly balancing teaching and my personal life negatively impacted my ability to serve my students. I believe this experience taught me a lesson that will prove to be invaluable as a physician. Establishing an equilibrium between my service and my personal life as a physician will allow me to remain connected to the human experience; thus enabling me to serve my patients with more compassion and effectiveness. Throughout my travels and experiences I have seen the unfortunate consequences of not having equitable, quality health care both domestically and abroad. While many take having good health for granted, the financial, emotional, mental, and physical effects illnesses have on individuals and families can have a profound affect on them and the greater society. Illness marks a point in many people’s lives where they are most vulnerable, thus making a patient’s faith and health care providers vital to their healing process. My pursuit to blend the roles of science and religion formulate my firm belief that health care providers are caretakers of God’s children and have a responsibility to all of humanity. Nevertheless, I realize my effectiveness and success as a physician will be predicated mostly on my ability to harmonize my ambition with my purpose. Therefore, I will always answer bewildered looks with the assurance that my faith and my abilities will allow me to serve my patients and achieve what I have always strived for and firmly believe in, balance. – University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

First things first, you’re incredibly unlikely to get the chance to write this much for a diversity essay.

Most of the prompts you’ll see from med schools are in the 500 words range. As evidenced in the following article…

Related : Medical School Diversity Essay Prompts (21 Examples)

What I love about this example here however is the narrative. This essay really paints a picture. And has an awesome hook in its opening about the writer experiencing shigellosis!

Other things it does excellently include discussing diverse experiences (teaching, preaching, illness, etc.) and showing a firm understanding of the roles doctors play across societies and cultures.

It shows real passion and drive, as well as someone struggling on a more personal level to make sense of their own journey.

I imagine this would stand out well from the crowd.

1. Exploring Narratives – Morgan (The Crimson)

I started writing in 8th grade when a friend showed me her poetry about self-discovery and finding a voice. I was captivated by the way she used language to bring her experiences to life. We began writing together in our free time, trying to better understand ourselves by putting a pen to paper and attempting to paint a picture with words. I felt my style shift over time as I grappled with challenges that seemed to defy language. My poems became unstructured narratives, where I would use stories of events happening around me to convey my thoughts and emotions. In one of my earliest pieces, I wrote about a local boy’s suicide to try to better understand my visceral response. I discussed my frustration with the teenage social hierarchy, reflecting upon my social interactions while exploring the harms of peer pressure. In college, as I continued to experiment with this narrative form, I discovered medical narratives. I have read everything from Manheimer’s Bellevue to Gawande’s Checklist and from Nuland’s observations about the way we die to Kalanithi’s struggle with his own decline. I even experimented with this approach recently, writing a piece about my grandfather’s emphysema. Writing allowed me to move beyond the content of our relationship and attempt to investigate the ways time and youth distort our memories of the ones we love. I have augmented these narrative excursions with a clinical bioethics internship. In working with an interdisciplinary team of ethics consultants, I have learned by doing by participating in care team meetings, synthesizing discussions and paths forward in patient charts, and contributing to an ongoing legislative debate addressing the challenges of end-of-life care. I have also seen the ways ineffective intra-team communication and inter-personal conflicts of beliefs can compromise patient care. By assessing these difficult situations from all relevant perspectives and working to integrate the knowledge I’ve gained from exploring narratives, I have begun to reflect upon the impact the humanities can have on medical care. In a world that has become increasingly data-driven, where patients can so easily devolve into lists of numbers and be forced into algorithmic boxes in search of an exact diagnosis, my synergistic narrative and bioethical backgrounds have taught me the importance of considering the many dimensions of the human condition. I am driven to become a physician who deeply considers a patient’s goal of care and goals of life. I want to learn to build and lead patient care teams that are oriented toward fulfilling these goals, creating an environment where family and clinician conflict can be addressed efficiently and respectfully. Above all, I look forward to using these approaches to keep the person beneath my patients in focus at each stage of my medical training, as I begin the task of translating complex basic science into excellent clinical care – Morgan, Harvard Med Matriculant; The Crimson

You can see why this student successfully made it into Harvard Med!

Again, they tell a story. They hook us in curiously with a statement that we want to know the answer to. And we continue reading while the greater narrative unfurls.

What this example does perfectly is interweaving the personal with the playful while showing a diversity of thought (writing about a local boy’s suicide etc) and a commitment to expanding her perspective.

Showing (not telling) how this pastime has enriched her staple extracurriculars (internships, research, clinical experience, etc.), it shows real thought as to the future of medicine and exactly where this future physician wants to take it.

The level of detail and specificity shows that she’s really thought about how she wants to develop her career based on her existing clinical experience.

This is the type of diversity essay I’d aspire to write!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, in ranking these examples and discussing their finer points, you have some better ideas about how you might want to approach writing your own diversity essays.

While it’s impossible to really comment on the appropriateness of each example, namely because we don’t know the exact prompt, they still give plenty of food for thought.

Just remember to follow your own prompts where possible, and make sure to go over your school’s mission statements to help tailor your own essays.

I’m pretty confident you can write essays as effective as these!

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Will

Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more .

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How to write a diversity supplemental essay for college.

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Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 2/5/24

Not sure how to write your diversity essay? Our guide will help you with everything you need to know. Read on for tips, analysis, and examples to help you craft a stellar essay for college! 

Many colleges seek to foster a community that promotes many different perspectives. To ensure that they are admitting applicants from many different backgrounds, colleges may ask students to submit a diversity essay. 

However, as an applicant, it’s not always easy to know how to write a compelling supplemental essay . As prompts are often open-ended, it might be difficult for you to zero in on a topic to write about. 

If you’re having trouble writing your essay, read on for tips and examples to help you get started!

Diversity Essay Prompts 2024

While many schools ask applicants to submit an essay on diversity, each school’s prompt is slightly different. Let’s take a look at a few prompt examples from different sources. 

Common App Diversity Prompt

The most well-known diversity essay prompt is probably from the Common Application. Over a million students use the Common App each year, so you will likely encounter this prompt in your college applications. 

The Common App asks students to respond to the following diversity prompt : 

“Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”  

Harvard Diversity Prompt

Harvard University requires applicants to respond to several short-answer prompts, one of which is related to diversity. Here’s Harvard’s diversity prompt : 

“Harvard has long recognized the importance of enrolling a diverse student body. How will the life experiences that shape who you are today enable you to contribute to Harvard?”  

Columbia Diversity Prompt

Columbia’s diversity prompt focuses on offering a unique perspective: 

“A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and thrive in an equitable and inclusive community with a wide range of perspectives. Tell us about an aspect of your own perspective, viewpoint or lived experience that is important to you, and describe how it has shaped the way you would learn from and contribute to Columbia's diverse and collaborative community.”  

Duke Diversity Prompt

Writing an essay on diversity for Duke will involve highlighting your differences: 

“We recognize that ‘fitting in’ in all the contexts we live in can sometimes be difficult. Duke values all kinds of differences and believes they make our community better. Feel free to tell us any ways in which you’re different, and how that has affected you or what it means to you.”

Johns Hopkins Diversity Prompt

The diversity prompt for Johns Hopkins relates to your future goals: 

“Tell us about an aspect of your identity (e.g., race, gender, sexuality, religion, community, etc.) or a life experience that has shaped you as an individual and how that influenced what you’d like to pursue in college at Hopkins. This can be a future goal or experience that is either academic, extracurricular, or social.”

Northwestern Diversity Prompt

Northwestern University provides an optional diversity prompt : 

“Northwestern is a place where people with diverse backgrounds from all over the world can study, live, and talk with one another. This range of experiences and viewpoints immeasurably enriches learning. How might your individual background contribute to this diversity of perspectives in Northwestern’s classrooms and around our campus?”

Georgetown Diversity Prompt

Georgetown asks students to respond to an open-ended diversity prompt: 

“As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you.”

NYU Diversity Prompt

NYU’s diversity prompt is related to the opportunity to access higher education: 

“NYU was founded on the belief that a student’s identity should not dictate the ability for them to access higher education. That sense of opportunity for all students, of all backgrounds, remains a part of who we are today and a critical part of what makes us a world-class university. Our community embraces diversity, in all its forms, as a cornerstone of the NYU experience.

We would like to better understand how your experiences would help us to shape and grow our diverse community. Please respond in 250 words or less.”

UMich Diversity Prompt

For the University of Michigan, applicants answer a diversity prompt related to community: 

“Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.”

two male students writing essays

How to Write a Diversity Essay - Analysis & Tips

To learn how to write an essay about diversity, it’s important to understand why you’re being asked to write one and what exactly colleges are looking for. 

Colleges ask applicants to submit essays on diversity so that they can ensure they have a student body with many different perspectives. In your essay, you’ll want to demonstrate what you can contribute to the school’s community as a result of your unique background. 

Diversity is important in an academic environment because it allows students to come face-to-face with perspectives they may not have encountered before. This helps students to expand their worldviews and develop nuanced viewpoints on important issues, which in turn helps to prepare them for a diverse world after graduation. 

Colleges also ask students to write these essays as a way to evaluate their character and values. A well-written essay can showcase your individuality and uniqueness, your commitment to cross-cultural understanding, and your willingness to engage with others who are different from you. 

These essays also help admissions committees evaluate students more holistically. Through your essay, you can demonstrate characteristics that would otherwise be left out of your application, such as resilience, compassion, and open-mindedness. 

If you’re at a loss for what to write or where to begin, here are some tips to help you tackle your essay on diversity and inclusion. 

Tip #1: Consider What Makes You Unique

You may be unsure of what to write about in your essay, especially if you’re not a member of an underrepresented minority group. But you can still write a compelling essay, as long as you focus on what makes you unique. 

Your essay can address a variety of different topics pertaining to your identity or background. To get you started, here are some topics to think about as you brainstorm: 

  • Family tradition & generational differences
  • Involvement in activism
  • Stereotypes & privilege 
  • Socioeconomic status 

The list doesn’t end here, however! You can think outside the box to write a strong essay. For example, you may have had a unique upbringing and taken on responsibilities that your peers didn’t have to shoulder. 

Maybe you had to struggle in certain ways or face unusual circumstances, such as caring for a sick relative or dealing with complicated family matters. Maybe you’ve built significant relationships with people from a different demographic and learned important lessons about diversity from them. 

If you have had little experience with discrimination, you may even choose to reflect on your own privilege or ways in which you haven’t interacted with those who are different from you. 

Tip #2: Tell a Story

To make an impression with your essay, it’s important to tell a story rather than just make a statement. A personal anecdote will make your experience more impactful and meaningful to the admissions committee, and will help them feel more connected to you. 

The expression “show, don’t tell” is especially applicable here. Use storytelling techniques like imagery, metaphor, and a strong hook to draw the reader into a vivid scene and keep them invested. 

For example, rather than saying, “I faced difficulties when my family immigrated to America from Peru”, talk about the specific difficulties you faced and how they made you feel. It’s often even more impactful to zero in on one specific instance or story. Don’t overlook the small details! 

Tip #3: Keep the Focus On Yourself

It’s important to remember that a personal essay should be exactly that - personal . It should be mainly about you and your own experiences. 

Many students make the mistake of talking too much about other people in their personal essays. While it’s good to talk about what you’ve learned from others, remember to make your own experience the focal point. 

Don’t focus only on your family or culture; instead, make sure to consider how your experiences have shaped your identity. The admissions committee wants to know who you are.  

Tip #4: Discuss Changes

Your essay should include a section on how your experiences have helped you to learn, grow, and change. It’s important to spend a lot of time on your identity, background, and life experience, but make sure to also discuss how those experiences have affected you. 

How have you been shaped, molded, and made different because of what you’ve experienced? How does your identity or experience affect how you behave now? How do you treat others and approach life as a result of your diverse identity? 

Tip #5: Be Authentic

Authenticity is key when writing college essays, especially an essay all about you and your personal identity! 

Remember not to get caught up in what you think the admissions committee wants to hear about. You don’t need to exaggerate or embellish details to try and make your story more impactful. 

Just be honest and talk about who you truly are. Telling a genuine story will be more impactful than anything you could make up!

Tip #6: Connect Your Experience to the School

It’s always a good idea to tailor your application to the school you’re applying to. For your essays, consider how your diverse viewpoint will contribute to each school’s specific student body and college community. 

To do this well in your essay, you should research the school in depth and examine its values, mission, and vision. Then, in your essay, discuss how your values align with theirs. This will demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the school’s culture. 

Tip #7: Proofread!

It sounds simple, but proofreading is a crucial step that many students often miss. Submitting an essay with grammatical or spelling errors is an easy way to lose credibility! 

Ask a trusted friend or relative to read your essay over, and make sure to read your essay over several times yourself. A good trick is to copy and paste it into a separate document and then change it to a different font to proofread. The mistakes will stand out much more starkly!

Examples of Diversity Essays That Worked

It’s often helpful to look at other work in order to get inspiration. Here are some diversity essay examples to help you get started. These essays were written by real students who were accepted to their dream colleges! 

Sample Essay #1 - Harvard University

Here’s an example of an essay written for Harvard University , responding to the below prompt: 

“Harvard has long recognized the importance of enrolling a diverse student body. How will the life experiences that shape who you are today enable you to contribute to Harvard?”  

“On my parents’ 22nd wedding anniversary, we received the dreaded call. My grandfather, my father’s father, had succumbed to Covid-19. He died alone due to Covid restrictions. He and my grandmother had flown from [STATE] to [CITY] so that my grandmother could have a hip replacement at [HOSPITAL NAME]. He contracted Covid while in [CITY]  and, in a tragic twist of events, he ended up dying in that very same hospital. When a loved one passes away, they are torn away from us, leaving a tear in our lives where they once were. In Judaism, we tear our clothes in mourning to symbolize our pain and sorrow. Sadly, the tears in our family fabric happened long before my grandfather died from Covid.
Specifically, my father married a gentile. Typically, in the Jewish religion, it is expected that one marry another Jew: "You shall not marry them (the gentiles, about which the Torah speaks in the previous verses), you shall not give your daughter to their son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son." The reason for this prohibition is clearly spelled out in the following verse: "because he will lead your son astray from Me and they will serve strange gods…"
My father was raised in a reform Jewish family. They were not very observant but, culturally, their Jewish identity was meaningful. It was important to his family that he become a bar mitzvah when he turned 13. The portrait of him reading from the Torah on the bima has always been proudly displayed in my grandparents’ home. I even used his yad (Torah pointer) and kiddush cup when I became a bar mitzvah. I think that my grandmother, however, wasn’t thrilled that my father fell in love with a non-Jew. 
Judaism is matrilineal, meaning one born to a Jewish mother is Jewish. My mother chose to convert from Catholicism to Judaism in her first year of marriage. She wanted her future family to be of one faith and, learning about the religion through my father, she eagerly converted to Judaism and embraced the customs and traditions. So my brother, my sister, and I are all Jewish through birth: matrilineally. 
Over the course of my parents’ happy 25 years of marriage, my grandmother has never warmed up to my mother; if anything, she became overtly hostile. Because of her disdain, my immediate family has been ostracized. While I was growing up, my parents tried to please her, but it was always tense at birthdays, holidays, recitals, and the like. We were left out of most family get-togethers. Even while at my grandparents’ home cheering for our beloved [FOOTBALL TEAM NAME], it seemed my family was on a separate team. My grandmother treated my mother like an outsider and, by default, me.
One person who never made my mother or any member of my family feel left out, however, was my grandfather. He did his best to knit the family together. He was a kind, intelligent, hard-working role model who I’ve always strived to emulate. He had a long career as a [PHYSICIAN] in [STATE], loved attending my piano recitals so much that he began piano lessons at the age of 80, and even sparked my love of fishing when I was five and he took me to a small pond near his home. He rarely missed one of my tennis matches and was supportive when I lost. Education was crucial to him, so he encouraged me to study and get good grades. 
My grandfather greatly enjoyed his time spent with us. One of my fondest memories is climbing into my grandfather’s old, wooden, black-and-gold chair. He told me it was his Harvard chair. On my father’s 40th birthday, my grandfather proudly presented my father with his own Harvard chair. He told me that if I worked really hard in school, someday I might get a shot at attending Harvard and becoming a third-generation alumni to continue their legacy. He said maybe someday I’d be the caretaker of all three chairs. I didn’t really know what Harvard was at that time, but I knew that no matter what happened, I was determined to make my grandfather and my father proud. I did what my grandfather said: I studied hard and got great grades, I trained hard and played great tennis, and I practiced hard and played great piano. As I write this, I am sitting in my father’s Harvard chair. 
Because of the rift in my family, I rarely saw my grandfather the last two years of his life. My parents threw him a party for his 80th birthday, which he loved because he was at the beach surrounded by all of his children and grandchildren. My parents invited them for birthdays, recitals, and Mother's Day, but my grandmother always said “no”. Looking back, I bet he would’ve loved to attend each event. After all, he moved to [CITY] to be with family. He would’ve loved that I’m applying to Harvard now, as it was always something he wished for me and of which he knew I was capable. I wonder what his application process was like back in the 1950s… 
Now, my grandfather is gone, and I have to wonder if all of the heartache was worth it. What did my grandmother gain by not welcoming my mother into the family? Her intolerance cheated us of time with my grandfather that we will never get back. But thanks to him, my background is as diverse as it comes. I’m a direct descendent of [SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS] who were involved in the Salem Witch Trials. I have a great, great grandmother from [COUNTRY] and great grandparents from [COUNTRY]. Diversity adds to families. Just as my father introduced her to Judaism, my mother brought gifts from her side, like excellent cooking, art, music, and height. Ultimately, I’m so glad that my parents found each other because, together, they made me.”  

Why Sample Essay #1 Worked

This essay seamlessly weaves together complicated topics: the applicant’s Jewish identity, the complicated family dynamics resulting from their religion, and their connection with their grandfather. It begins with a strong hook and comes full circle at the end by calling back to their grandfather’s death. 

The writer also uses strong images and symbols, such as the “Harvard chair, " which is not only an effective writing technique but also demonstrates their commitment to Harvard. It shows how their desire to attend Harvard has a deep, personal meaning. 

Sample Essay #2 - Columbia University

Here’s another diversity essay sample written for Columbia University , responding to this prompt: 

“A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and thrive in an equitable and inclusive community with a wide range of perspectives. Tell us about an aspect of your own perspective, viewpoint or lived experience that is important to you, and describe how it has shaped the way you would learn from and contribute to Columbia's diverse and collaborative community.”
“Family trips to the Asian markets were always a treat! As a child, I still remember enjoying my own curry puff from the Bangladeshi bakery, savoring every bite.
Next to the bakery, Chinese, Filipino, and other Southeast Asian stores clustered next to each other. The diversity of people who shopped there, the hospitality, and the sense of mutual respect was inspiring to me and I began to value community and diverse representation, something Colombia prides itself in.
With my experience in coordinating and planning as President of the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Club, I have an appreciation for organizing events that bring people together. At Columbia, I would help orchestrate an event that spotlights some of the amazing Bangladeshi and Southeast Asian alumni who are able to inspire future generations and highlight the outlets Columbia provides in promoting diversity. Additionally, I would like to collaborate with students who write for BWOG to share insightful and satirical pieces about the shared ups and downs of growing up Desi-American.
Whether it's through organizing events, sharing stories, or simply being a friendly face, I am committed to making the most of my time at Columbia, where there is a community for everyone.”

Why Sample Essay #2 Worked

This essay opens with a vivid scene that both engages the reader’s senses and directly addresses Columbia’s prompt, as it shows the writer thriving in a diverse environment. It demonstrates that their experience has provided them with a unique perspective and desire to engage with other cultures. 

The writer also talks specifically about how they plan to contribute to Columbia’s school community and hope to amplify diverse voices. This shows that they’ve done their research and have clear goals for how to succeed at Columbia. 

Sample Essay #3 - Georgetown University

Take a look at this example essay written by a successful Georgetown applicant ! 

“I come from a mid-sized suburb of [CITY] called [SUBURB NAME]. It isn’t the most notable of birthplaces – nothing like the grandeur of big cities or the natural wonder of a rural town in Montana. In response to the dreaded, “Where are you guys from?” question, instead of explaining the nuanced differences between [CITY]  and [SUBURB NAME], we simply swallow our pride and claim residence in the nearest star to home on the map. However, even these cities have points of celebration. [SUBURB NAME] has the largest concentrated population of Arab and Middle-Eastern communities outside of the Middle East. From my earliest memories, those of different backgrounds have treated one another with immense respect. Of my teachers in preschool, half wore hijabs. There was no difference in my mind between students in my elementary school playground; we were all just friends, playing the same game together. Being from [[SUBURB NAME]], I have had a unique opportunity to not only see, but to participate in other cultures. Just a few months ago, I was able to attend a Ramadan festival, up late into the night eating traditional food, listening to traditional songs. I have had the opportunity to view a real Torah, to pray in a mosque, to join in a communal meal in a Sikh temple. I’ve always been outspoken about my support for diversity and equity, through protests, speeches, and other events. Within [[SUBURB NAME]], I have participated in many protests, rallies, and other political events. Four years ago, on MLK Day, I participated in a protest against racism and police brutality, marching from the local library to the city hall. Recently, I attended a protest against the banning of LGBTQIA+ centered books. I hope to continue this activism and to be an advocate for social justice into my future in college and beyond.” 

Why Sample Essay #3 Worked

This essay provides insight into how to write a diversity essay focused on your experiences with other cultures. This student highlights their experiences with people from other cultures and religions, and it’s clear that these experiences have been very meaningful for them. 

By discussing their involvement in activism, the writer also demonstrates a strong commitment to fighting for and maintaining diversity. This passion is admirable and shows the admissions committee that the writer aligns with Georgetown’s values. 

Sample Essay #4 - New York University

Here’s another sample for the following NYU essay prompt: 

“What I’d add to the NYU menu is time-tested tradition translated into battle-tested characteristics and skills that make for seasoned leaders and entrepreneurs. This tradition spans not only academic excellence in school, but also entrepreneurial prowess in DECA and even empowers me personally when it comes to my Jewish faith. Since I can remember, Friday nights have always been spent at my grandparents’ house. The euphoric smells of challah and kugel diffuse from the kitchen as the familiar faces of close family sit hungrily around the dinner table, eager to begin the Shabbat prayers. As the last blessing concludes, my grandpa raises his glass. L’chaim, “to life”, echoes throughout the dining room and is accompanied by the sounds of clinking glass and tikvah, “hope”. And finally, it’s time to eat. 
These Shabbat memories have ultimately fueled my ever-growing Jewish identity. The traditional Ashkenazi Jewish recipes that cover the dinner table, symbols of the strength of my ancestors who migrated to America from war-torn Poland during the Holocaust, and the gathering of family each Friday night, symbols of a surviving legacy, have inspired me to hold these traditions close to my heart as I forge my own path through both Judaism and life. 
Today, involvement in my synagogue’s youth program has continued to fuel my ever-growing Jewish identity by allowing me to channel my enthusiasm through civic engagement initiatives that aim to foster change within our community and beyond, such as the [NAME OF EVENT] and other fundraising events within our synagogue.”

Why Sample Essay #4 Worked

This essay both begins and ends with a description of what the writer hopes to offer to the NYU community, demonstrating motivation and ambition. Then, they connect their ambition with their Jewish identity, showing how their background has shaped them into who they are now. 

The Shabbat scene in the essay body is vivid and detailed. It’s crystal clear to the reader that the writer is deeply connected to their Jewish heritage and holds it close to their heart. The authenticity here shines through!  

Sample Essay #5 - University of Michigan

Here’s one more essay example written for the University of Michigan !

“Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.” 

“I am French and a proud member of the French community - for lack of a better term.  This community is difficult to name definitively, because there is actually surprisingly little community between us in a traditional sense other than a loose global affiliation of people from France who all seem to share a common contempt for American cheese, an enthusiasm for our soccer team, and a powerful love of the French language.  
I have had the pleasure of meeting other French people in a plethora of contexts: in Marrakech on a camel-riding tour, at an Italian restaurant in Connecticut, at an airport terminal in Miami, and on a tour of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The common trait of all these interactions is an automatic connection formed upon our common heritage. At the Italian restaurant, I spoke with our French waiter about his life for 20 minutes while my American family members waited to order. Of course, all of these exchanges are in French, because all displaced Frenchmen and women share an eagerness to speak our language. Accordingly, growing up French in a half-American family, my role in this atypical cross-section of a community has typically been that of the translator, ensuring communication flowed seamlessly, mellifluously, between parties.  
The transience of our community is what I love most; wherever I may be, I can find souvenirs of my grandparents’ French town, [TOWN NAME], where I spent every summer growing up. Though there is a greater diversity of race, ideology, and geographical location amongst the French than many other cultures, our bond remains equally strong because of the pride we take in our words. French is the official language of 39 countries, tied only with English. In all of these countries, and anywhere else that French is spoken, I am at home.”

Why Sample Essay #5 Worked

This is a beautiful essay that focuses on the significance of language and how it relates to identity. The writer discusses how their French heritage has shaped them and the ways in which they interact with people, especially as a translator and cross-cultural communicator. 

Get More Sample Essays Here!

For more inspiration, you can find 190+ sample essays with our extensive college essay example database!  

If you still have questions about writing essays on diversity, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions! 

1. How Do You Start a Diversity Essay?

You may choose to start your essay by reflecting on your identity and personal experiences with diversity. It’s also a good idea to start your essay with a hook to catch your reader’s attention. 

2. How Long Should an Essay About Diversity Be? 

The length of your essay depends on the specific requirements of the school you’re applying to. College essays can range from 50 to 1,000 words. 

3. What Counts As Diversity? 

Diversity often refers to factors such as culture, religion, ethnicity, and more. However, your essay is not limited to these factors. Focus on what makes you unique. 

4. What Should an Essay on Diversity Say? 

In your essay, you should reflect on your personal identity and experiences with diversity, as well as how your experiences have affected you and helped you grow. Themes like empathy, respect, and understanding are also relevant. 

5. How to Write a Diversity Essay When You’re Not an Underrepresented Minority? 

Your essay doesn’t have to be about your personal identity. You can also write about your experiences with people who are different from you or about privilege and stereotypes. Write about your authentic experience!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these tips have given you the confidence to tackle your diversity essay in your college applications. Remember to be authentic and tell your unique story. By simply being genuine, you’ll surely win over the admissions committee! 

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Examples of Successful Diversity Statements

We've been asked for examples of diversity statements many times; below are several great ones. It is important to note that diversity statements are truly optional, and not everyone should write one. Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not a missed opportunity to write more about yourself. In fact, we wrote a blog a few years ago on when you should write a diversity statement . We hope these examples are helpful!

Living in the bubble of suburban [City], my family was treated like a blemish on its pristine surface. A house with a black father and white mother, along with a handful of mixed kids, easily stood out in our predominantly white neighborhood. Though some families talked about us, and never to us, my father always reinforced the importance of our lineage and helped immerse me in our culture.

Our family comes from a small village in upper Egypt; its proximity to Sudan and prevalence of Nubian lifestyles created a melting pot of cultures that encapsulates my identity as a first-generation Muslim African American. Although kids made fun of my skin tone and practices, my father taught me to be proud to emphasize the African in being African American. My peers’ derogatory comments and terrorist jokes were so common I became desensitized to the insults. And though I spoke out against their hateful rhetoric, my words seemed only to bounce off the Kevlar vest that is ignorance. It wasn’t until years later, while working on an election campaign, that I found the solution.

A state representative had asked me to stand a few feet farther from the door than the typical distance of my white coworkers while canvassing door-to-door because my dark skin could scare off potential voters. In that moment, she treated me not like the seasoned campaign veteran I was, or even as a person, but as a liability. I pulled the campaign manager aside and talked to him about the representative’s crass comments; from that day forward I helped to advise the campaign on diversity and inclusion issues. Learning about these topics allowed our staff to understand the issues facing underrepresented members of the community, and thus allowed us to better represent the entire district.

That experience taught me the power of education in changing people’s perceptions and led me to use my positions as a platform for diversity issues. As a debater, I promoted racial and ethnic understanding in round by reading from Afro-pessimism or Afrocentricity to broaden my opponent’s perspective. While chief justice of the Student Government Supreme Court, I worked with the student president to create a proposal for a mandatory diversity and equity class that would later be presented to the Faculty Senate.

I am proud of my African background and black ancestry as it has given me the opportunity to shape the outlook of people I meet. Skin tone and religion do not justify malicious behavior, which is why I strive to educate as many people as possible to create a world more accepting of all identities.

I was raised by a single mother, but my home was filled with family. My mother, sister, and I shared a room with two twin-size beds. My aunts, uncles, five cousins, and grandparents shared the two remaining bedrooms. In total, there were thirteen people sharing a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home. For the children, the nonstop playtime and carefree memories mitigated the obstacles that came with our socioeconomic insufficiency. For me, our tight-knit family and living situation made it much easier to overcome the absence of my father.

My father represented many of the negative stereotypes that Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants have to combat. He immigrated to the United States as a young adult and fell into a life of criminal activity during our city’s booming methamphetamine trade. His choices had an adverse impact on not only my family, but also our community at large. I was somewhat sheltered from learning too much about my father, but I knew enough to feel burdened with shame. In fact, that feeling was so strong that I became fixated on the goal of creating a life opposite to that which my father had built.

Pursuing a brighter future did not come without obstacles in my neighborhood and family. Rejecting the criminal element in our community required a deliberate choice to exclude myself from the majority and often made me feel left out. Many of my peers criticized me and called me stuck up or “white washed” because of the choices I made. My family fully supported my goals, but their own education levels and unfamiliarity with the college admission process restricted the amount of guidance they were able to provide. Counselors at my high school were overloaded by high dropout rates and unable to focus on college bound students. It was the small acts of support and encouragement that ultimately got me to overcome my inhibitions and fears of the unknown and pursue a bachelor’s degree: a friend who told me what the SAT was, a teacher who explained the FAFSA and college deadlines. These processes seem basic to some, but can be overwhelming to a first-generation student to the point where it becomes easier to put it off or quit altogether.

I did not spend my entire youth in that overcrowded yet comforting home. Eventually, my mother remarried and we were able to move out of my grandparents’ house. But I still know what its like to feel insecure about where you come from and what you lack—it is something I will carry with me throughout my life and career. My education and career goals have been shaped by my background, and I will continue to aim high despite the challenges that may come my way.

For as long as I can remember, I outwardly portrayed myself as a calm and controlled individual. It is a true reflection of my demeanor, but it is the complete opposite of what I have lived throughout my childhood and adolescence. When I was in fourth grade, my father admitted to me that he was addicted to crack. At the time I did not understand what crack addiction meant, but I was educated by his actions soon enough. Shortly after this confession, the family structure I knew and loved began to collapse. In addition to my family’s dissolution, the neighborhood we lived in is not a place where success stories are born or a location people would visit without important cause. My neighborhood could be described as a breeding ground for gangs, drugs, violence, and anarchy. One of the few bright spots of growing up in my neighborhood is the chemistry children had with one another by having similar troubles at home. It was not uncommon for my neighborhood friends to have a drug abusing parent, a single parent household, alcoholic parents, or experience domestic violence. Even though my father’s addiction clouded his judgment, both he and my mother always warned me about the dangers of our neighborhood. I was not allowed to cross the street without their supervision due to gang members on the corner selling drugs, and playing outside at night was dangerous due to occasional shootings. Growing up in a neighborhood like mine was a double edged sword; it was dangerous, but our common struggles made it easy to relate to one another.

Living with a drug addicted parent was full of uncertainty and confusion. There were many break-ins, but I always had a strange feeling about these break-ins because although valuables were stolen, certain sentimental items of value would remain untouched. I did not learn until much later in life that my father was the one stealing from us. Eventually my mother left my father and moved out in the beginning of my seventh grade year. My sister and I stayed with our father.

In winter the heating bills went unpaid and the temperature in the house would drop to the low forties. My sister and I would walk to the local laundromat at night and warm our blankets and pillows in the dryer in order to have heat through the night. Money for food was scarce, and my sister and I became accustomed to eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner out of vending machines on a budget of six dollars a day. Although this experience was mentally and physically damaging, it served as motivation for me to strive for a better life and made me never want to regress to that standard of living.

After about a year of living with my father, I began my eighth grade year at my mom’s new home in a different neighborhood. I was separated from my childhood friends for that year, but we reunited the next year as freshmen in high school. Things had changed in that year: the friends that I grew up with became the gang members that my parents warned me about as a child. Out of all of my childhood friends, I was the only one to go on to college, let alone finish high school. The toughest part of my transition to my mother’s new home was this shift away from my childhood friends. Living with the feeling of turning my back on them by cutting off communication with them during high school was an isolating experience. If teachers saw me with them, I would be categorized as a gang member, or worse, if other gang members noticed then they would try to attack me because they thought I was a rival. I tried to explain this to my friends but they could not understand and eventually the friendships grew cold.

During the end of my ninth grade year, I was still adjusting to my new life. Although I no longer physically lived in that neighborhood, I still felt like I was alone and was stuck in the same position. My closest friends, the ones I could relate to, were all on a downward spiral in life; at the same time, I could not relate to the students in my honors courses. Many were discussing vacation trips, showing off new clothes or getting a new car for their birthday when getting their driving permit. While some of my classmates were planning on taking family vacations to Disneyland, I was planning to visit my father who had been recently arrested and was serving jail time for robbery. Instead of having memories of helping my parents wash their car in the front yard or riding a bicycle on the sidewalk as a child, I remember seeing people get shot and killed in my neighborhood or seeing a pregnant woman smoking crack.

Sophomore year of high school proved to be the lowest and most humbling part of my life. I remember vividly the moment I found out that I lost my first two friends to gang violence. “V is dead and J is arrested.” Those words made my heart race as I learned J killed V over a drug deal. At the funeral I approached V’s mother and offered my condolences. In a traumatized voice, she whispered to me, “I wished you could have taken V away with you and saved my son.” I can still hear her voice today speaking those words, and the chills still make my bones shiver.

There was a lot of guilt in the weeks that followed; I felt like there was more I could have done to steer them in the right direction. I began to replay my childhood and explore my life direction and I decided a change was needed. All of my experiences up until that point started to serve as an inspiration to become better than where I started and continue to build myself into a stronger person. My natural disposition allows me to see the positive things in every situation, and I realize that no matter how dire the situation seems, it could be worse. Many people say that phrase not knowing what that worse actually is. But I know. Opportunities that have come my way are very much appreciated, and I intend to make the most of them. Knowing where I once was, I am confident in my accomplishments and hopeful for future generations as I start a new trend in my family and build a strong foundation. My childhood is not a weight that drags me down; instead it has become the strength to push through adversity when challenges arise.

My life was supposed to be simple. I wanted to make my parents happy, to give us the future they desired. Winning Quran memorization competitions, fasting, and praying daily: my religious beliefs guided me throughout my childhood. After the September 11th attacks festered resentment for Muslims across the nation, I faced religiously charged backlash in my public school; as a result, I transferred to an Islamic school where I hoped to blend in better. It was clear, though, that another difference would soon set me apart.

My new classmates were quick to point out my effeminate mannerisms that unintentionally flowed from the flicks of my wrist. I, following my natural inclinations, also didn’t consider the implications of knitting in lieu of building toy airplanes. As my sexuality blossomed and the homophobic rhetoric harshened, I wrestled with conflicting feelings of living authentically and living without fear. I questioned whether my religious beliefs could sustain what I knew to be true about myself. I couldn’t see a way through to safe ground.

As a result, comforted by its familiarity, I resigned to the security of the proverbial closet. Clothing myself with a wardrobe of feeble masculinity, I prayed my actions would become my sexuality. By denying my identity, I rejected a part of myself for the sake of my parents. In my head, I was a martyr, bravely sacrificing for the greater good of my family. In my heart, I was a heretic, terrified to openly challenge my religious dogma and familial values.

Over time, though, the need to live genuinely became too great to deny. Sitting in a mosque attending a traditional Pakistani wedding, my own future telescoped before me. As I observed the beaming couple, I realized I would one day face a similar choice. How could I look into the eyes of a woman and speak of love as if I felt it between us? Dejected, I finally understood that what some call the closet felt more like a coffin. What once felt familiar was now incompatible.

Professing my queer identity to my parents swelled our home with such a rage that our relationship fragmented in an instant. They believed homosexuality was incompatible with Islam, and reparative therapy was the only cure for my dis-orientation. They kicked me out of the house and, with no place to stay, I happened to find a Buddhist abbey with a room to rent.

My struggle to reconcile religion and sexuality had left me ambivalent towards religious practice. So, initially, the abbey was only a place to sleep: a momentary reprieve from school and three jobs. Yet, the ringing bells and chanting monks, which now replaced my alarm clock, slowly tugged on my inquisitive nature.

Using my experience as a guide, I studied Buddhism from a neutral lens. As I began to explore the subtle boundaries of cultural practice and religious dogma, I recognized how unadulterated doctrine is assimilated into deeper cultural undertones. Just as some pervert scriptures of the Quran to promote acts of terrorism, others craft its teachings to legitimize homosexual prejudice. My spiritual introspection has galvanized my Islamic understanding: I am a Queer Muslim. I reclaim my faith with a broader interpretation of the Quran – one that advocates inclusion. Through self-reflection, analysis, and contemplation, the fabric of my identity evolves.

In America, the Queer community continues to face prejudice. Yet, in Pakistani society we struggle with blatant persecution. In coming out to my mother, I remember the disgust emanating from her curled lips and grimace. At the time, I took it as a clear sign: believing in Islam had failed me. Today, I am able to use this foreboding memory to fuel new purpose in my advocacy work. My parents still struggle with my coming out, but by shifting the paradigm from myself to empowering my Queer Muslim community, I hope to serve others who endure a similar experience.

As a child, I never found it odd that my parents were immigrants, spoke English with heavy accents, and were only minimally educated. My mother arrived in the United States from the Dominican Republic at a young age, and although she was unfamiliar with the language, she made a fervent effort to forge a new and better life for herself. My father arrived to the U.S., from Ghana, under similar pretenses and worked hard to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities he found here. With their heavily accented English and menial jobs, my parents fostered an environment of love and support that allowed me to construct an identity that truly reflects the social, economic, and ethnic histories that have formed me. Because they were new to the area and struggling financially, my parents decided to settle in the most affordable area they could find, the South Bronx. The South Bronx is everything the media portrays it to be; dangerous, destitute and adverse. Nevertheless, it is still home, and as much as I have resisted it, growing up in the South Bronx has also had an undeniable impact on me.

As a college freshman, the many layers of my diversity unfolded in an inharmonious manner. It took me some time to integrate my experiences as a first-generation Latino and African American and a South Bronx native. I did not find many other students who shared my background when I began my undergraduate studies at the College of the Holy Cross. Along with standing out as one of the few persons of color, I also was an outlier socioeconomically. I soon began to feel inferior about my life and background. I avoided conversations that involved my home life and began wishing for another. I longed for affluent, American parents with professional careers. I desired the lavish home in the serene neighborhood or the summerhouse in Martha's Vineyard; I wanted to live the lives of the other Holy Cross students. Soon these longings festered into embarrassment towards my parents. I silently accused them of being lazy, choosing to be uneducated and thus forcing us to live in the South Bronx. I essentially blamed them for making me different in every possible sense.

Over time, I began to grasp that although I had a different racial and socioeconomic background than the majority of my classmates, these differences were not negative or adverse. My distinct experiences allowed me to stand out from many other students at my college; these experiences became sources of pride and strength. My background brought a fresh voice to the classroom setting, something that my professors greatly valued. As I fostered my perspective, I learned to develop and utilize this voice by speaking up and adding my diverse experiences to class discussions. I identified with the experiences of authors like Junot Diaz and Esmeralda Santiago, who both lived in impoverished ghettos and faced the difficulties of having immigrant parents unaccustomed to the American way of life. I frequently contributed to discussions examining the social and academic difficulties Black students face on predominantly White college campuses. I began to understand that I needed to embrace my diversity rather than suppress it. Consequently, I began to value my multifaceted identity and came to trust in the significance of my diversity.

As I embark on a legal education, my experiences, not just as a person of color, but as a biracial and bicultural son of low income African and Latino immigrants, can help me contribute to the law school environment as well as the legal field. Diversity of thought and perspective are paramount in the study of law, and my unique voice can serve as an asset, allowing me to represent and bring forth the experiences of those who may not have a platform from which to do so.

MBA Diversity Essay Sample & Writing Guide

Featured Expert: Aali Malik, MBA

MBA Diversity Essay Sample

Are you looking for an MBA diversity essay sample? You're in the right place. Whether your chosen MBA program specifically requests a diversity essay, or you've decided to write one to complement the rest of your application, it is always a good idea to review diversity essay examples to get a better idea of what your essay should look like and what it should include. You want to make sure that your diversity essay is adding something positive to your application, especially if you are applying to a competitive institution like Kellogg Business School , for example. This blog will cover everything you need to know about MBA diversity essays. We'll discuss how they differ from  MBA personal statements , what qualifies as "diverse," and we'll show you an example that will help inspire your own essay. 

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Article Contents 7 min read

What exactly is an mba diversity essay.

An MBA diversity essay is a short admissions essay that some business schools offer as part of their application process. It is meant to give the applicant a chance to provide more information about their social and personal background and tell the admissions committee how that diverse background can meaningfully contribute to the specific business program that they have applied to. 

MBA diversity essays are usually optional secondary essays, but this is not always the case. Some schools, like the  Wharton School of Business , do not ask for an  MBA statement of purpose  or diversity essay specifically but they provide prompts for the admission essays that candidates need to answer. The prompts in question are what will tell you what kind of essay you need to be writing. For example, one of the admission essays for the Wharton full-time MBA program is this: 

" Considering your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words).  " 

This question essentially asks you to reflect on your background and discuss how your unique experiences and perspective will allow you to contribute to the school's community. In many ways, this is a diversity essay prompt. 

Your MBA diversity essay is a personal admissions essay, so it can seem very similar to a personal statement. Depending on the school you are applying to, it is even possible for candidates to discuss specific aspects of their identity or background in their personal statements. For example, one of the  Harvard MBA personal statement  prompts asks students the following: 

"As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?". 

Many candidates can use this to discuss how their unique background has shaped their point of view and prepared them for the MBA program they are applying to. However, there are some key differences between the two essays.

Still not sure which MBA course is right for you? This video can help! Check it out:

First, personal statements are a more comprehensive essay that is usually between 650 to 850 words, whereas diversity essays are rarely longer than 500 words. The former is also supposed to discuss your personal story as it relates to the MBA program you are applying for. Usually, that includes your academic and professional experiences, your goals, and your reasons for pursuing an MBA. On the other hand, your diversity essay should focus on your past and the experiences that have brought you to this moment. 

Is an MBA diversity essay important?

Applicants often overlook this particular admission essay, but it can have a significantly positive impact on your MBA application. More than ever, business schools care about having a diverse body of students and different perspectives in the classroom.  Harvard Business School , which is perhaps the world's most famous  Ivy League School , has talked openly about the importance of having people from different walks of life in their community. On their website, the school states that student diversity enhances learning and can present both challenges and opportunities for discussion leadership.

Now that you know what an MBA diversity essay is and what it is supposed to communicate let's go over a few tips to help you write one that will add value to your MBA application. 

Much like with your personal statement or  MBA resume , there is no golden template or format that you can use for your essay. The key to a great statement is to make sure it is well organized and that it gets your point across effectively. This is not easy to do in less than 500 words. That is why investing in  MBA admissions consulting  may be a good idea. Consultants can provide you with personalized feedback and help you edit and polish your essay to ensure it is as compelling as possible. "}]">

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story." - Chimamanda Adichie. 

When I was two years old, my father accepted a position as a maths professor at a university in [city], and we moved from Ghana to Canada. We lived in a community full of immigrants from all over the world for a long time, but when I was thirteen, we moved from [place] to the suburbs of [city]. 

It seemed like we had moved to a completely different country. I experienced culture shock going from a school where almost every student looked like me to a place where I was considered "exotic." Also, it took me months to become acclimated to the food. My father and I no longer had easy access to the international grocery store where we got the chilies and dried shrimp that we used to cook our favorite foods. What I remember the most was struggling to bond with my classmates because they seemed to focus on the ways in which I was different from them, and that was all they wanted to talk about. It took me a long time to make friends and find my footing, but eventually, I was able to do it. 

My experiences growing up have taught me the importance of representation. Over the years, several stereotypes have followed me. There were several occasions when my classmates assumed that I was on a scholarship in college, or they made jokes about affirmative action. Even some of my professors would ask me if I had run to Canada because of a war in Congo, and I had to explain that I was raised in Canada and that my parents were from Ghana, a completely different African nation.

I do not think any of these people meant me any harm, but rather, they are a product of their environment. What we see has an impact on us, and the way Africans have been represented in the media for a long time is not only monolithic, but it leaves a lot to be desired. 

That is why I always remember that quote by Ms. Adichie, and over the years, as an advertising executive, I have been striving to learn about and from those who are different from me so that I can share their stories. Seeing a small part of your culture or someone who looks like you in an ad can make you feel like you belong, and it helps us get rid of this "dangerous single story." 

I look forward to learning even better ways of doing this and sharing this perspective with other marketing and business professionals. ( 458 words)

It is a short, usually optional, admission essay that discusses an applicant's diverse background and how their unique perspective and experience can contribute to the MBA program they've applied to.

This question is difficult to answer without any context, but here is what we suggest: Ask yourself if there are any particular aspects of your identity that have made your path to business school especially unique or maybe challenging. If yes, will those particularities contribute something notable or positive to your performance and experience in the MBA program? If the answer is yes, then you should write a diversity statement. If you’re unsure where to start or need assistance, you can reach out to an MBA consultant for help. Make sure you verify that your chosen school gives you the option of submitting one before writing and sending one with your application.

It is quite a short essay. Usually, an MBA diversity statement is 350-500 words, but this varies significantly from one school to another, so always verify the instructions provided by your chosen school.

Most of the time, MBA diversity essays are optional essays, meaning that you do not have to write one. However, some schools will have a prompt for the admission essay that essentially asks you to talk about your diverse background. It's important to remember that diversity refers to more than just being a visible minority or belonging to a minority group. You do not have to talk about any aspects of your identity that you are uncomfortable discussing.

You can write about any elements of your identity or experiences that have given you a unique perspective. That includes but is not limited to your race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, experiences, family life, and even uncommon relationships.

A personal statement is a relatively long, more comprehensive essay about your motivations for pursuing an MBA program. In contrast, a diversity statement is a much shorter statement answering a more specific question about your identity.

Some business schools will not outrightly ask for a diversity essay, but they may include an essay prompt that asks you how your unique background will contribute to their program. Others simply won't mention the option of submitting one. If you feel that your application would benefit from an MBA diversity essay, feel free to reach out to the school and ask if it would be okay to send one in.

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Medical School Diversity Essay Examples and Tips

  • Cracking Med School Admissions

Diversity secondary essay questions are a common prompt in secondary medical school applications. Diversity essays are extremely open-ended and broad. Many premedical students struggle with this secondary essay prompt because it is broad. Each year, our Cracking Med School Admissions team receives hundreds of questions from applicants about how to write about diversity in your secondary essays? Our Cracking Med School Admissions team thinks you can use the broad nature of diversity essay prompts to your advantage! Use your response to your diversity essays as a way to discuss an aspect of your application you have not been able to elaborate on already in your other secondary essays for that specific school. Additionally, you can use diversity secondary essays to augment your awesomeness to admissions officers through discussing your passions in medicine and conveying your leadership experiences! If you want to read medical school diversity essay examples , skip down below!

This diversity essay medical school essay blog post will cover:

  • What are medical school diversity essays?
  • Sample diversity essay prompts from various medical schools
  • Tips on how to write about diversity in your secondary essays
  • FAQs about medical school diversity essays
  • * Medical school diversity essay examples*

What are Medical School Diversity Essays?

Medical school diversity essays are questions on medical school secondary applications that applicants write as part of the medical school application process. Medical schools value diversity in their student bodies because it leads to a more dynamic learning environment where students can learn from each other and benefit from diverse perspectives and experiences. Additionally, medical schools want to recruit students who aspire to improve healthcare in different ways. For examples, some applicants’ strengths lie in research. Other applicants thrive in creating public health programs to improve community health. Still other applicants are interested in narrative medicine and want to inspire others through future books they write about the human condition. 

Diversity essays provide an opportunity for applicants to showcase their unique personal experiences, cultural background, educational experiences, extra-curricular activities, and perspectives. Applicants can express how they will contribute to the diversity of the medical school community.

As stated earlier, diversity essays are broad. Applicants are asked to describe how their culture background, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other characteristic that defines them has shaped their life experiences and perspective.

Topics you can discuss on your medical school diversity essay include:

  • Personal background – ethnicity, socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion
  • Perspectives from your cultural background
  • Family background and life circumstances with regards to upbringing
  • Adversity and challenges
  • Healthcare experiences that reflect your motivation to pursue a career in medicine
  • Unique non-healthcare passions and activities
  • Courses that inspired you
  • Majors and minors in college
  • Summer internships
  • Gap year activities
  • Post-graduate degrees
  • Personal qualities, including leadership skills and your personal strengths

Remember that secondary application essays should complement your primary application essays.

Medical School Diversity Essay Prompts

Diversity secondary essay questions may be phrased in a multitude of ways. Diversity essays have a wide range of character limit; some medical schools only allow 1,000 characters while other medical schools have no word limit. Additionally, some diversity secondary prompts are optional while other diversity secondary prompts are mandatory.

To better understand what diversity essays are and how broad they can be, let’s take a look a sample medical school diversity essay prompts. 

Harvard Medical School Diversity Essay Prompt

  • If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity, not addressed elsewhere in the application, that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Many applicants will not need to answer this question. Examples might include significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, identification with a minority culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Briefly explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine.

As listed in the Harvard Medical School prompt, you can write about:

  • Demographic variables, such as ethnic, racial, social, gender, religious, etc. diversity that have substantially shaped your life or your passion for medicine
  • Personal circumstances/hardships that have shaped your growth
  • A specific passion that you have cultivated and pursued over time (for example, sexual health, LGBTQ advocacy, etc.) You should further write about how this passion/activity that you have pursued has allowed you to develop qualities that you believe contribute to your individual diversity.

Note: You basically can write about anything.

In essence, these diversity secondary essay questions are asking you how your unique qualities/experiences will serve their medical community AND will help make you an excellent physician.

Let’s take a look and examine other medical school secondary essay prompts:

Yale School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Yale School of Medicine values diversity in all its forms. How will your background and experiences contribute to this important focus of our institution and inform your future role as a physician?  

Read a Yale medical school diversity essay example below!

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Optional: The (Johns Hopkins) Admissions Committee values hearing about each candidate for admission, including what qualities the candidate might bring to the School of Medicine if admitted. If you feel there is information not already addressed in the application that will enable the Committee to know more about you and this has influenced your desire to be a physician, feel free to write a brief statement in the space below. You may address any subject you wish, such as being a first generation college student, or being a part of a minority group (whether because of your sexual orientation, religion, economic status, gender identity, ethnicity) or being the child of undocumented immigrants or being undocumented yourself, etc. Please note that this question is optional and that you will not be penalized should you choose not to answer it.

A special point to notice here:  This essay is optional. See our thoughts below in the FAQ section as to whether you should write this essay or not. Also, read an example Johns Hopkins diversity essay below!

And here are even more secondary essay prompts from various schools….

Baylor College of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Indicate any special experiences, unusual factors or other information you feel would be helpful in evaluating you, including, but not limited to, education, employment, extracurricular activities, prevailing over adversity. You may expand upon but not repeat TMDSAS or AMCAS application information. This section is mandatory. Please make sure you submit an essay or your application will not be reviewed by the committee. 

Drexel University College of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • What else do you feel is important for us to know about you? You can use this space to highlight something not addressed in your application, including new experiences not in your AMCAS application. You can also talk about how COVID -19 impacted you. For example, it may have caused disruptions or changes in your plans. If there is something you would like to share regarding how this event impacted you, share that information here.

Duke University School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Tell us more about who you are. You may provide additional information that expands your self-identity where gender identification, racial and/or ethnic self description, geographic origin, socioeconomic, academic, and/or other characteristics that define who you are as you contemplate a career that will interface with people who are similar AND dissimilar to you. You will have the opportunity below to tell us how you wish to be addressed, recognized and treated. 
  • Optional: In addition to the broad categorization of race, ethnicity, geographic origin, socioeconomic status as provided through your AMCAS application, you may use the text box below to provide additional clarifying information that may reflect the impact of any of these parameters on your development thus far as well as the impact that these may have had on your path to a career in medicine and your plans for the future. 
  • No word limit & Optional:  Please let us know of any additional information that you would like us to consider while reviewing your application.

Special note:  Duke University School of Medicine has THREE diversity essays. Applicants can really leverage this an opportunity to give a holistic and varied view about themselves!

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Please share with us something about yourself that is not addressed elsewhere in your application and which could be helpful to the Admissions Committee as we review your file.

Georgetown University School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Is there any further information that you would like the Committee on Admissions to be aware of when reviewing your file that you were not able to notate in another section of this or the AMCAS Application?

George Washington University School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • What makes you a unique individual? What challenges have you faced? How will these factors help you contribute to the diversity of the student body at GW? 

Stanford University School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • The (Stanford) Committee on Admissions regards the diversity (broadly defined) of an entering class as an important factor in serving the educational mission of the school. The Committee on Admissions strongly encourages you to share unique, personally important and/or challenging factors in your background which may include such discussions as the quality of your early education, gender, sexual orientation, any physical challenges, and life or work experiences. Please describe how these factors have influenced your goals and preparation for a career in medicine and may help you to uniquely contribute to the Stanford learning environment.
  • Optional:  Please include anything else that will help us understand better how you may uniquely contribute to Stanford Medicine?

Note:  Stanford University School of Medicine has multiple essays where you can write about your “diverse” experiences. Other than Stanford secondary essay questions about how you want to take advantage of Stanford’s curriculum, the rest of the Stanford University School of Medicine essay prompts are very open-ended!

The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • How will your unique attributes (e.g., cultural or socioeconomic background, lifestyle, work experiences) add to the overall diversity of the Alpert Medical School community?

Tufts University School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Do you consider yourself a person who would contribute to the diversity of the student body of Tufts University School of Medicine ?

Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Feinberg’s mission is to train future leaders in medicine who will serve their patients, communities and society. Describe one specific interest in medicine and how FSM, located in Chicago which is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, will help you achieve this professional goal
  • The Feinberg School of Medicine values diversity as a measure of excellence. We define diversity as the totality of the characteristics and experiences of our students. We believe that a diverse student body improves the educational environment and the ability of our graduates to serve an increasingly diverse patient population. Narrative Descriptions: Everyone has their own narrative. Please provide more detail about how your experiences would enrich the Northwestern community. 

Note: Northwestern University has TWO diversity essays! In the first essay prompt, your essay topic should be more related to healthcare and medicine. But, in the second prompt, you can write about anything!

Washington University School of Medicine Secondary Application Diversity Essay Prompt

  • Optional:  Is there anything else you would like to share with the Committee on Admissions?

How to Write About Diversity in Your Secondary Essays

Our goal at Cracking Med School Admissions when helping students strategize and edit their secondary application essays is to always help students stand out. Yes, that means, we want students to stand out in every single essay, including this open-ended diversity essay question.

It is incredibly important to do THREE THINGS when it comes to your diversity essays:

1. Include anecdotes.

You want to make sure that you show your readers how specific experiences and demographic factors have shaped you as an individual, rather than tell them.

Examples of anecdotes include:

  • Demographics – if you are going to discuss something from your demographic background, don’t just say where you are from. SHOW your culture through anecodotes and stories. For examples, premedical students in the past have talked about cooking a cultural meal with their grandparents. Other medical school applicants have talked about a grandparent’s or parent’s experience with the American healthcare systems.
  • Challenges – Give specific instances where you faced a challenge. What was the challenge? How did you overcome the challenge?
  • Patient care stories – Give anecodotes about memorable patient experiences. What were your interactions with a patient? Why was the patient in the hospital? What happened? What are your reflections about the human experience and human condition? 
  • Leadership – give a specific challenge you faced as a leader or a specific event that you organized. Alternatively, you can talk about a time when you led a team or founded an organization / initiatives.

2. Connect your stories to medicine.

How will your experiences help you become a better doctor? That is the question that is relevant to almost every single prompt regardless of if it is explicitly worded as such or not. You absolutely must discuss how your past experiences and the qualities you have cultivated through these experiences will help you in medicine. For example, you can illustrate how your experiences with patient advocacy or within medical teams will help you as a future doctor; it is a good idea to include particularly challenging patient encounters and how you grew from such experiences. You should further write about leadership, teamwork, resilience, and other qualities learned from your experiences—make the explicit connection to how you will use these qualities as a doctor.

3. Tailor your diversity essays TO EACH MEDICAL SCHOOL.

Connect your stories and experiences to what you will do at the medical school. You can talk about how you want to do research with a specific professor or work with a specific club to pioneer a new initiative. Talk about how your presence at the medical school will enhance the community.

Different schools have different strengths. You must do your research on each school that you are applying to, and try to connect your experiences to the schools’ strengths.

Moreover, different schools have different needs. If there is a specific problem in the regional community that the school belongs to that you feel you are poised to solve (for example, homeless health, refugee health, etc.), you can further tailor your essay to a medical school by making that connection.

Be creative to show EACH INDIVIDUAL medical school that you would be a standout contributor to their community.

Frequently Asked Questions about Diversity Secondaries

We want to share with you frequently asked questions about diversity secondaries. Our responses below are here to help you strategize your secondary essay topics.

Again, our goal is to help you STAND OUT in every single part of your application, including your secondary applications!

Remember, the point of the diversity essay is to help you discuss the strengths of your application. Whatever you write should complement the other responses and other essays in  each school’s secondary application. Each applicant will have his or her own unique strengths, stories, and experiences, so if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Mediratta and Dr. Rizal , who literally read thousands of secondary essays each year!

What is the biggest mistake you’ve seen on diversity essays?

This is our biggest advice for medical school diversity essays:

Applicants often think that they  have to write about their personal background, specifically culture, ethnicity, race, and/or socioeconomic status. While there are some secondary applications that ask for specifically those topics, most diversity essay prompts are broad.  We often encourage students to talk about other extra-curricular activities and passions UNLESS they their cultural background plays a significant role in their pursuit towards a career in medicine.

You can think about the following questions:

  • What will you bring to the medical school class?
  • How will you change healthcare (and how have you already started on that journey)?
  • What are your strengths as a person?

Can the topic of my secondary essay be the same as topics I wrote about in my primary application personal statement?

Yes! Absolutely! However, we would suggest that you write about a different angle. 

For example, if in your primary application personal statement you talked about your research and what you did in your research, in your diversity essay medical school, talk about a challenge you faced in your research project. Or, talk about a different study or research lab your were involved with. Finally, premeds may write about teaching and mentoring younger individuals in their labs, again, to give a different angle in their diversity essays for medical school.

Can I “recycle” or “reuse” my diversity essay response for multiple schools?

Yes! What we typically advise students is to use most of the essay as a template or starting point. And then, tweak the essay as necessary based on the number of words or characters available. If applicable, you can tailor the diversity essay towards each school. 

Many students will have 2-3 “diversity essay medical school topics and essays” that they draw from. And, depending on the medical school and other prompts, they will pick and choose which essay to use.

Can I talk about a challenge in my diversity essay?

Definitely. Make sure you did not use this essay for another essays like a “challenge” prompt for that specific school’s secondary. Discuss how overcoming the challenge has helped you grow, and what you will contribute to the medical school student body. 

Can I talk about how COVID-19 impacted me and my application in my diversity essay?

Typically, talking about COVID-19 challenges isn’t the strongest topic for the diversity essay. But, if you faced a challenge during the  COVID-19 pandemic and took action to improve society or healthcare, then you can definitely use those experiences! Also, another secondary application strategy to consider: make sure there is not another prompt that allows you to talk about COVID.

You can read about an ICU expererience during COVID down below in our diversity secondary essay examples!

Medical School Diversity Essay Examples

You can include multiple experiences in one diversity secondary essay, but make sure that your transitions are seamless. Furthermore, in such essays, you want to pay attention to your paragraph breaks to further communicate your strong attributes and diverse experiences with maximum impact. Remember—make it as easy as possible for your reader to understand your writing and to visualize you as a strong physician.

Below are 2 medical school diversity essay examples answers from a student who then received an interview at both Yale University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Yale Medical School Diversity Essay Example

Prompt: Yale School of Medicine values diversity in all its forms. How will your background and experiences contribute to this important focus of our institution and inform your future role as a physician?  

When I first arrived at UPenn, I was made acutely aware of an issue that plagued our campus community: an extensive culture of sexual assault. I felt compelled to act in opposition. I joined Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) in my first semester and later became a Sexual Assault Counselor.

A lesson I learned as Co-Chair of ASAP is that leaders must critically examine their communities to meet unfulfilled needs. I transformed our programming to better serve survivors with an intersectional lens. I held a workshop at UPenn with a community leader from the Movement for Black Lives and discussed how racial justice must inform our advocacy. This focus was integrated into our Take Back the Night advocacy event, as we spoke at length about how to serve the needs of black and trans survivors. I piloted the expansion of this event to being held with eight other schools.

Moreover, the Title IX reporting process at UPenn is quite complex and not readily accessible. Given the number of sexual trauma survivors at our university, I worked to clarify this process for our student community by directing an educational campaign, to be released in the next academic year. I played the leading role in a meeting with the Title IX Coordinator and Associate Vice President for Equity, as well as Directors and Associate Directors from various UPenn Centers—we discussed my vision for the project and dove into specifics of the campaign. I enjoyed collaborating with individuals who direct initiatives and policy changes for the safety of our campus community of 25,000 students.

As a physician, I will continue to lead the movement to build a world free of sexual violence and gender inequity. I strive to integrate clinics that offer primary, psychiatric, and gynecological care for sexual trauma survivors into national healthcare. These clinics will also offer forensic examinations led by Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE), as well as social and legal support. By providing a centralized location for all of the care needs of survivors, I want to limit the difficulties of navigating the healthcare system often faced by this vulnerable population. I would love to work with Dr. Jubanyik to drive this initiative forward and promote health equity for survivors at Yale. Furthermore, statewide tracking of SAFE centers is inconsistent. I want to generate a national database to consolidate these programs and help survivors better access them. I would love to extend my advocacy for survivors as a member of the student group, Prenatal Partners, to be able to advocate for a trauma-informed approach to medical care for expectant mothers.

As a medical student and physician, I am eager to leverage my skill in storytelling to inform and strengthen healthcare. I believe that compelling stories can be important catalysts for change, particularly in the context of my aspirations to serve women and survivors. I would love to work with Dr. Reisman to write a journalistic novel on women’s sexuality and resilience deriving from my longitudinal patient relationships.

Johns Hopkins Medical School Diversity Essay Example

Optional: The Admissions Committee values hearing about each candidate for admission, including what qualities the candidate might bring to the School of Medicine if admitted. If you feel there is information not already addressed in the application that will enable the Committee to know more about you and this has influenced your desire to be a physician, feel free to write a brief statement in the space below. You may address any subject you wish, such as being a first generation college student, or being a part of a minority group (whether because of your sexual orientation, religion, economic status, gender identity, ethnicity) or being the child of undocumented immigrants or being undocumented yourself, etc. Please note that this question is optional and that you will not be penalized should you choose not to answer it. 2500 characters

As a Neuro/COVID-19 ICU clinical volunteer operating at the center of the pandemic crisis, I encouraged patients who were suffering the worst of COVID-19 symptoms through our patient call bell system. 

In public health emergencies, I understand how patients can feel detached from and misunderstood by their healthcare systems, causing them to refuse treatments or preventive measures like vaccines. I once had a conversation with an ICU patient who was approaching discharge and refusing to wear a mask. My team respectfully asked questions and listened to his supplication of answers and reasoning. I knew that convincing someone to let go of an entrenched opinion would be difficult. But I tried as hard as I could and felt him soften in conversation. He ultimately wore his mask. I left this interaction with a better understanding of how to approach and care for an individual with a radically different perspective from my own.

I take seriously my responsibility to listen carefully to my patient’s concerns and assure them that recommended measures are medically sound. To promote patient trust in medicine and to address health disparities exacerbated by the pandemic, I will work to leverage community partnerships, as I have done as an advocate for survivors. I will listen to what specific communities need and tailor health care delivery accordingly.

Throughout the coronavirus surge, I was able to have a more hands-on role with neurological care in the ICU. After caring for an unconscious patient with moyamoya disease and two ischemic strokes in the Neuro/COVID-19 ICU and learning of her poor prognosis from her physician, I pored through the medical literature. I hoped that studies would reveal something different. The patient’s antiplatelet therapy was proving ineffective. Yet surgery was not a safe option as her unstable moyamoya carried greater postoperative ischemic complication risk. I struggled, unable to find an alternative. Thereafter, I wrote “Between you and me,” excerpted below.

Her eyes are closed, a tube connecting her to her life.

They are draining her cerebrospinal fluid and it should

be yellow. But it’s pink. Like watermelon juice.

The act of writing brought me peace and helped me come to terms with my patient’s suffering.

Nikita’s work in the ICU was featured in U.S. News , “ What Premeds Can Learn in Intensive Care Units ”

We hope this blog post was a great starting point in giving you ideas for how to write a medical school diversity essay.

Check out our other helpful resources:

  • COVID-19 Secondary Essay Prompts
  • How to Write “Why This Medical School?” Secondary Essays
  • Medical School Secondary Essay Editing

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Crafting a Diversity Statement

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A diversity statement is a type of autobiographical, personal essay that outlines past experiences and values around diversity, equity, inclusion, and your commitment to social justice. Sometimes a prompt or question is provided, but not always. These documents are often asked for by employers and academic programs who are seeking to learn more about candidates.

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Barbie Doll — The Tapestry of Inclusivity: Barbie in 2023-2024

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The Tapestry of Inclusivity: Barbie in 2023-2024

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Published: Feb 21, 2024

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Introduction, diversity and inclusion in the toy realm, down syndrome barbie: an inclusive innovation.

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