The diversity statement is an important part of the application process. There are many things to consider and keep in mind when thinking about how to write a diversity statement as a part of your grad school admissions process. At first, it may seem overwhelming, but in actuality, a diversity statement is really just another opportunity to showcase to admissions officers who you are as an applicant as well as what you can bring to the university. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for how to begin the diversity statement brainstorming process to determine what kinds of things should be included in your diversity statement as you work on your application.
How To Start Your Brainstorm For Your Diversity Statement For Your Grad School Application:
- Where did you grow up?
- Maybe you’ve lived in the same place your entire life up until this point, or maybe you grew up in a lot of different places, moving around with your family. The experiences we have growing up shape who we are and who we become. With that in mind, consider what your unique and personal experiences were growing up. Whether you grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone or a racially diverse, thriving metropolitan area, these experiences are potentially worth including in a diversity statement for graduate school.
- What are some of the unique experiences or opportunities you have had?
- Maybe you’ve traveled all around the world. Maybe you’ve never left the state where you were born. No two peoples’ journeys are the same, and so it contributes to your unique perspective. This is also a great opportunity to brainstorm about extracurricular experiences, research experiences, and work experiences that have opened your mind to new ideas or introduced new aspects of the world to you for inclusion in your grad school diversity statement.
- Where have you had opportunities to experience diverse groups of people?
- Brainstorm where and when you have been able to be around people who are different from you. Remember, diversity can mean racial diversity, gender diversity, age diversity, and more. Some people have a great deal of diversity within their own families. Others may have been exposed to people who are different from they are much later in life. All of these things contribute to who you are and why you are a unique applicant, so it’s worth thinking outside the box to what your own experience has been as you brainstorm for your graduate school diversity statement.
- What have you been exposed to that has shaped your world view?
- Diversity of ideas is very important and can open our minds to new ways of life and new dreams and aspirations—even new things we may want to study at the graduate or undergraduate levels! Where have you had the opportunity to expand your mind? Who has helped expand it? Are there specific places you’ve been that have allowed opportunity to really think in a new and different way? These are areas that can help enhance a grad school diversity statement as well.
What is a Diversity Statement?
Now that you’ve started the process of brainstorming what might be included in your diversity statement for your application, you may be wondering, “What is a diversity statement for graduate school, exactly?” It’s exactly what it sounds like—a statement of diversity experiences that you have had. Sometimes people write diversity statements for grad school applications that are focused on what they think that grad school admissions officers want to hear, and so they try to shoehorn in “diverse” experiences into their applications that are marginal or not vital components of their life experiences. Diversity can include a lot of things, whether that is a diversity of people, diversity of thought, diversity of opportunity or more. The most important thing when brainstorming for your diversity statement is to make sure that your experiences are truthful, relevant, and important to who you are.
Below are some topics from our EssayEdge editors that can be included in a diversity statement as a part of your grad school application process, or even undergraduate application, to craft a truly personal, relevant diversity statement:
- Information about your personal background
- The diversity statement should focus on not just where you come from, but what is your personal background has contributed to your view of the world. Your grad school diversity statement can be focused on your life itself as opposed to your academic experiences.
- Details about your academic background and experiences
- If this is a diversity statement for a graduate application, this is a great opportunity to talk about how your undergrad experiences have shaped your views and experiences. If this happens to be a part of an undergraduate application, your high school experiences are relevant. Ultimately, the courses you took, the programs you studied in, and the environment of your school itself can all be very relevant for a diversity statement.
- Information about your identity
- At this moment in time, in particular, you should feel free to articulate how you self-identify if that feels relevant here and feels like it contributes to the way you experience the world. Whether it’s your racial identity, your gender identity, or something else, your identity impacts how you experience the world and how you see, interact with, and shape the world around you, which is all extremely relevant to a diversity statement for grad school.
- Information about how you have interacted with your surroundings
- Perhaps you’ve had difficulty interacting with certain environments and you’ve learned how to manage that. Perhaps navigating certain circumstances comes naturally to you. Including this information in your diversity statement will help admissions committees have a better understanding of how you can fit into and have a positive impact on a university’s community, which is the goal of the grad school diversity statement.
- Anything that has contributed to or impacted your perspective on the world, on life, or on the grad program you are applying for
- Perhaps you have a unique reason from your own life for why you are choosing to pursue the graduate program you’re pursuing. The diversity statement as a part of your grad school application would be an opportunity to share this kind of information.
Diversity Statement: Summary
In conclusion, the diversity statement is a great opportunity to really showcase who you are and make your application for admission really stand out. While sometimes the diversity statement is not required in an application—it can sometimes be listed as optional—it is a unique component of your graduate school application, as long as you use it as an opportunity to talk about who you really are and how your experiences so far have impacted your view of the world. Ultimately, you want to use your grad school diversity statement to talk about new experiences and things that aren’t necessarily a part of your application elsewhere, or, if they are, the diversity statement is a chance to provide a new perspective on it where the admissions committee can see your experiences and who you are through a different lens. The diversity statement is an important part of your graduate admissions process and can really help your application stand out.