“Should I Write a Diversity Statement?”
“How to Write a Diversity Statement”
You don’t have to be an Under-Represented Minority (URM) to write one. There is a common misconception that a diversity statement should be about only ethnicity or race. It’s not. A diverse experience can be related to, yes, ethnicity and race, but it can also relate to your sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability, religious belief, or age. It is more than just the color of your skin; it is about any circumstances or experiences that have made you outside the mainstream, different from the rest of the applicant pool. This also applies to your home life or household as well– whether you grew up in a non-English speaking household, an adoptive home, or any otherwise “non-traditional” household.
Questions to keep in mind when writing one:
- Did you have a diverse experience, background, or upbringing?
- Does this background make you genuinely different and more diverse than others?
- Did these experiences allow you to have a different perspective?
- How has this diverse perspective changed your outlook?
- our career and life goals? How will this experience help diversify the student body?
- What about your experience can you bring to the table as part of the admitting class?
- …talk about how your life has changed because of your experience. Admissions counselors want to know the level of maturity and self-confidence you will bring to the admitted class but they also want to know how you have grown to achieve that. Shed light on how you’ve grown and developed into the person you are now, at the precipice of entering into a new degree-track.
- …use some humor, but tastefully. You can have a healthy sense of humor about your background– it doesn’t have to be all gloom-and-doom. However, don’t be crass, crude, or morbid. That can be a party and application killer. So, don’t be that guy.
- …talk about the positive aspects of your experience. What good came from your diverse background? What are you grateful for?
- …draw upon your personal statement or letters of recommendation. If there is a common tie between your career goals and what you talk about in your diversity statement, then make that connection. Don’t be afraid to be thematic in your application, stemming connections and ties across your diversity statement, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and even addenda. It would only help to make your application a more solid package.
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