Graduate programs are always looking for students with distinct backgrounds to help diversify their classes, so being a minority, immigrant, or another underrepresented demographic could be just what you need to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicant pool. Many schools include a question on their application asking you how you will contribute to the diversity of their class (sometimes this is framed as a “diversity statement,” sometimes as a “personal history statement” or other type of essay – the key thing is, they want to know about YOU: what makes you unique, what your values are, what obstacles you may have had to overcome to get where you are today).
When you write your essay, make sure that you highlight the experiences that have shaped you and the strengths you can bring to the school due to your diverse background and lifestyle.
Some of these unique strengths or experiences may include:
One aspect of your diverse background is overcoming obstacles. Are you a member of an underrepresented group? A first generation student? Have you overcome socioeconomic (or other) barriers to education? When mentioning your diversity factor, be sure to highlight any difficulties that you went through as a result of being the odd (wo)man out. This is not an attempt to rally sympathy or plea for pity. Instead, you should illustrate the strengths and skills you have developed as a result of these struggles. Accentuate any character traits that you feel you have built through the adversity and use examples of skills that you currently possess because of these trials.
Displaying cultural breadth
Demonstrate to the admissions committee that you hold a unique set of ideas thanks to your heritage, and elaborate on how these diverse concepts and beliefs can benefit the student body by broadening perspectives and widening tolerance and scope.
Demonstrating varied skill sets
Naturally, various cultures will highlight different values. This is important to a school admissions committee because diverse values will facilitate diverse skills and strengths. Maybe your culture is very family-oriented, focusing on respect, communication, and partnership. These are all critical skills that a graduate student will need for success. Perhaps your culture emphasizes teamwork, perseverance, and mutual understanding. Once again, these are key factors for a productive career in business, education, law, medicine, and many others. Your goal should be to highlight how your unique cultural values have developed these invaluable skills within you, already preparing you to be the best student and professional possible. Maybe one aspect of your identity is bound up in the language(s) that you speak – do those same languages also give you the tools to cross cultural boundaries and work with people around the globe?
Sharing new perspectives
Even if you are a male, Caucasian, third-generation American, you can still illustrate your diversity in other areas. If you have served in the military, traveled to a remote area of the world, taken part in an outstanding event, group, or cause, or had an unusual experience of any sort, play up the distinct impressions, opinions, and perspectives that the involvement cultivated within you. Then, show the admissions committee how you can bring this fresh perspective to the campus for greater diversity in thought across the campus.
Looking for more guidance on how to hone in on your strengths and uniqueness to illustrate to the adcom why you are an ideal candidate for their school? Get your free copy of From Example to Exemplary: How to Use Sample Essays to Make Your Essay Outstanding for more advice on writing an out-of-this-world essay that will get you ACCEPTED.
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Diversity Statement at a Glance
A diversity statement example is a written personal statement about who you are, what you do and what you have become. A diversity statement sample is a useful piece of document that is used to apply for a position, mostly for schools and universities.
An Example of a Diversity Statement
Below is an example of diversity essay medical school based on a Mexican-American student named Maria Reyes.
I’m Maria Reyes y Canseco, an American born second generation Mexican based in Albuquerque. Because of my native roots and the place where I live In, I have learned to adapt in the American way of life while still being in keeping with the Mexican Roots that I have inherited.
When I decided to apply for a degree in your University, I was unsure whether I should pursue it as it is outside of the New Mexico, the state where I live in. However, I am certain that your program will offer me the best possible opportunities while studying and will prepare me in the best way possible after I graduate, should I decide to study more or be a part of the workforce.
I believe that my ethnic heritage did not only prepare me well to pursue this degree, but it also made me motivated to work hard and to live the “American Dream,” much to the delight of my parents and grandparents who have always been there to guide me through it. My elders always tell me to not waste the opportunity that was given to me, which is why they encourage me to study hard and to push beyond my limits and boundaries in order to pursue my dreams of becoming a notable journalist in my state, if not in the entire U.S.
I may have the strength and skill of a Mexican, but I have learned through the American way, which celebrates diversity in every way. I come prepared for this degree with an open mind and a steady heart, and it would be a wonderful opportunity if I can pursue my degree in your university next fall.
What to Include in Your Diversity Statement Writing
An applications committee will have to read through a huge amount of documentation when they are making their decisions on who they will choose, so you need to ensure that your medical school diversity essay is capable of showing them exactly what they need to see and stands out in their minds.It will need to be specifically tailored to the application so that you can be sure the reader will see what they need to see without going through all the irrelevant information. Never use a generic diversity sample essay to cover the many different applications you send, be specific to each program if you want to succeed with your application.
You will also need to address things like:
- Why are you interested or what inspired you to study at this particular institution? Why does this make you a suitable candidate?
- What significant event in your life triggered your awareness regarding inequality and how did this have an impact on you?
- What is your philosophy on or what do you value most regarding diversity?
- Do you have any experience with other under-represented groups? What context have you worked with them? How has this made an impact on you?
- How do you handle being with someone whose background is unfamiliar to you? What have you learned from these experiences?
- How do you plan on working with under-represented groups? What skills do you have that will help make collaborating with them more productive?
Writing a Perfectly Presented Diversity Statement
Here are more tips and tricks on how to write a diversity statement. In addition to including what an applications committee is expecting to find out about you, you also need to make sure that the way in which you write your statement will have the greatest impact on them. To this end:
- Always open with a relevant and attention grabbing anecdote so that the reader will want to know more about you
- Ensure that your essay flows smoothly, more like a story than just a list of facts
- Don’t use quotations or clichés. They want to know about you and in your own words
- Use simple English that anyone can understand, don’t use big and confusing words, slang or acronyms
- Be concise; never use more words than you need to but keep your writing to one-page maximum, unless otherwise stated
- Be relevant; if it does not contribute directly to you gaining a place then don’t include it
- Always take a positive approach; never talk negatively about anything or anyone
- Always be honest, lies will catch up with you
- Proofread! Always check and double check, even get someone else to look through what you have written. Mistakes in your personal history and diversity statement will be costly for you.
More Winning Diversity Statement Samples
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