Approaching The Diversity Essay Question

Learn How to Use Examples to Write an Exemplary Essay

Explain how your experiences built your character.

Many applications now have a question, sometimes optional, geared to encouraging people with minority backgrounds or unusual educational or family histories to write about their background.  If you are an immigrant to the US, the child of immigrants or someone whose ethnicity is a minority in the US, you might find this question an interesting one to show how your background will add to the mix of perspectives at the program you are applying to. If you are applying after having an unusual experience for applicants like joining the military, becoming part of a dance troupe, or caring for an elderly relative, you can use your experience to evoke the way in which you will bring diversity to campus.

Your family’s culture, situation and traditions, and the way they have helped you develop particular character and personality traits are of interest, as well unusual experiences that have shaped you. Perhaps you have grown up with a strong insistence on respecting elders, attending family events or learning your parents’ native language and culture. Perhaps you are close to grandparents and extended family who have taught you how teamwork can help everyone survive. Perhaps you have had to face and deal with difficulties that stem from your parents’ values being in conflict with those of your peers. Perhaps teachers have not always understood the elements of your culture or outside-of-school situation and how they pertain to your school performance. Perhaps you have suffered discrimination and formed your values and personality traits around your success in spite of the discrimination. Perhaps you have learned skills from a lifestyle that is outside the norm–living in foreign countries as the child of diplomats or contractors, performing professionally in theater, dance, music or sports, or communicating with a deaf sibling.

Understanding and explaining how your experience built your empathy for others, a strong will, and character is a good focus for the diversity question.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes [Free Guide]
Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays [Short Video]
• How To Write About Overcoming Challenges Without Sounding Like A Whiner

  • Anonymous

    Hi,

    I am attempting to write an essay for medical school on diversity, but I have quite the opposite problem from most people. My background is so diverse that I am uncertain how to structure my essay or what to include:

    1) I was raised by my grandparents in a foreign country due to my mother’s illness. Once I returned to the US, I did not know the language and had to accommodate.
    2) Though I identify as ethnically Hispanic, I have had a very mixed cultural experience growing up because my father is Indian.
    3) Our family is of low socioeconomic status, so this has always influenced my choice of activities during school. This has also made me more aware of other’s situations, especially that of people experiencing homelessness.
    4) I attended an unconventional high school (early college acceptance) and did not do so well…. not sure if I should justify my drop in academic performance or leave it out.
    5) I am a first generation college student, so this has influenced me to become very resourceful, as I have not had anyone to ask for advice.
    6) My father has had an accident recently that rendered him handicapped. This event has changed my lifestyle (and is medically relevant, but I’m uncertain whether this is a good thing).
    7)…. I can go on and on.

    Should I stick to one topic or try to cover multiple? If so, which would you recommend as the best/ better topic(s)? I feel like I could take this so many directions, but I don’t know which I should choose or what I should arrive at.

    Any feedback would be GREATLY appreciated.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Anonymous,

      Your situation is complex and really too complex for me to address in a blog post without seeing your primary application, the experiences you describe and the exact question. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      It may be however that some of the experiences you describe should go in a statement of disadvantage or your personal statement (the impact of your father’s accident for example) while your ethnic heritage and the impact of growing up multi-culturally may belong more in the diversity essay.