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How to Nail the Diversity Question in Your Application Essay

How to Nail the Diversity Question in Your Application Essay

You might have come across this term while applying to college. A diversity essay (or as it’s also known in some institutions as: the personal statement) talks about your identity. This is based on which social categories you belong to, and how it impacts you personally. This means you’ll write about your culture, your ancestry, your values, and your experiences. All these things make you a unique person. Have a look at this guide for a walkthrough on how to write a diversity essay.


Table of Contents

Diversity Topic Ideas

There is so much to the definition of diversity. All aspects that define you help categorize you as a person. Each category has either a positive or negative social impact, and there is plenty of write about the further you dig into this subject.

Here is a variety of topics you can cover when writing your diversity essay:

  • Your family’s socioeconomic background (whether you grew up affluent);
  • Your ethnicity;
  • Your sex or gender identity;
  • The neighborhood where you grew up;
  • Your worldview;
  • Your upbringing;
  • Your religion or lack thereof.

How to Write an Effective Diversity Essay

What makes or breaks the effectiveness of a diversity essay is not only the content that details you, your background, and your experiences being yourself in the world, but it is also the actual structure of your essay. In general, the following is the skeleton for any other college application essay format. This should also give you an idea if you’re asking yourself, “How long should a personal essay be?”

Step 1: Conduct Research

Start by doing research on what you’re writing about. Yes, you may have had your own experience. However, you should have a background in what you’re talking about. This is so that you don’t say something untrue and perhaps misrepresent an entire group of people.

If you say that being Italian has its downsides, offer real statistics showing how being Italian will be a disadvantage in life. If you say that other groups oppress you, you have to provide irrefutable evidence.
You can find information on this by searching “ethnic disparities” on Google, in relation to the group you identify with.

Step 2: Create an Outline & Write Your Essay

Create an outline before you actually start writing. When you create an outline, you have a visual of what your essay should look like, and so you have a map and a checklist of where to go with your ideas and what to cover. Before even getting to this step, you should have your research done thoroughly.

You’re going to want to create an outline based on the following 5-paragraph essay format. Follow this structure for both your outline and your final draft:

Paragraph 1: The Introduction.

  • Introduce yourself and who you are.
  • Consider this both your hook and your thesis.Remember that a thesis is a statement that defines your entire essay. It is the very position that you’re arguing. It is your claim, and it directly answers a question on the topic you’re writing about.
Example of a hook:

“Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be poor, black, and female in Alabama?”

Example of a thesis:

“Growing up in the U.S. as a middle-class female of Mexican descent gave me both opportunities and set-backs that helped me become the strong person I am today.”

  • Introduce the factors that made you into who you are today. These will be the supporting arguments for the thesis.
Factor example:

“The dismissive way the average person in America treats people living below the poverty line impacted me negatively because I grew up poor.”

Paragraph 2: The First Factor

  • Reserve this paragraph for the first factor you want to mention.
  • Describe what it was, what it taught you, and, with examples, how it helped you grow.

Paragraphs 3&4: The Other Factors

  • Repeat the instructions for Paragraph 2, but for the remaining factors that define you.

Paragraph 5: The Conclusion

  • Restate the thesis of what makes up your identity.
  • Summarize what you now know about yourself.
  • Describe where you hope this will take you.

When writing, make sure to stay true to yourself. Don’t make up stories about your life because it will be obvious to the trained eye of those overseeing the admission process. Authenticity will get you far, so write with that in mind.

Step 3: Writing Tips to Make Sure Your Essay Gets Full Marks

Use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation
This is extremely important. If your essay is littered with grammatical errors, improper use of punctuation, and no concern for the way words are spelled, you’re showing your evaluators that you find it challenging to conduct a simple Google search. All the formulas and instructions you need are available online, with Grammarly and Hemingway App being great resources to use.

Use your vocabulary properly
It’s not a good idea to use big words spice up your text. If you’re not an expert at using them, you’ll look like you’re trying to compensate for a weak or boring idea. It’s better to write with words that have their own purpose and are easy to comprehend. Don't focus on how to dress up your essay to have its words “look pretty.” Remember this rule: Function, not Theater. It applies to more than just words. And avoid misusing words — always consult a dictionary when in doubt.

Comprehend the argument you’re presenting
Arguing a position works like a Rube Goldberg machine. A Rube Goldberg machine is that contraption that works by a series of parts that work in harmony to get your object from the beginning to the end. In other words, be able to see all the parts in your argument work together. If something’s off, get rid of it. Be sure to do enough research to know what you’re arguing about. Doing so helps you avoid misrepresenting the side you’re arguing against. This is why the first step to winning any argument, whether spoken or in writing, is to learn about the topic in-full.

Write a proper conclusion
The conclusion is commonly one of the worst-explained parts when it comes to writing an essay. You won’t get full marks if you simply copy & paste the thesis statement. If you want to know how to end a college essay properly, confirm that your argument is correct by doing a brief recap of how you proved your position. Use this paragraph to include suggestions, predictions, or opinions about why your side of the argument is important. More specifically, talk about the real-world impact it has or will have.
Leave your readers with a Call to Action. This is where you convince the reader to do something in real life related to your successfully-argued position.

An example of a CTA (Call to Action):

“Now that you understand why it’s important for the Amazon rainforest to exist, you can do something about it by contacting your local Amazon rainforest protection representative. Be the change you want to see in the world.”


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Diversity Essay Example

Feel free to use this diversity essay example as a reference:

Diversity Application Essay to the University of Delaware

What Is a Diversity Essay?

Diversity essays are papers that look at the social, economic, ethnic and cultural groups that you belong to. It outlines your role as an individual in your society, coming from that background. It talks about whether you’re an insider or an outsider, and how you experience that role.
It’s the same as how to write a personal statement — except this is not just about how diverse you are (or aren’t) in your community.

Most colleges don’t call it a diversity essay or a diversity paper, yet it is a very common admission requirement. They could call it a “personal statement” or a “supplemental essay.” Other places request that you write a diversity statement. You might now be asking yourself, “What is a diversity statement?” Writing a diversity statement, as one source puts it, is to write “a one-page document explaining your experiences and commitments to diversity.”

You might also be interested in discovering how to write an admission essay

Why Is a Diversity Essay Important?

Higher education institutions like having students that fit into their efficient learning environment. By writing about where you came from, and how society reacts to people of your background, you can show them that you’re aware of who you are and how you fit into your surroundings. That way, they’re likely to see you as someone who will not waste their time and risk their reputation. Their reputation depends on who can get in, and affects the value of the diplomas they distribute.

Diversity essays also help recruiters enroll students who have empathy towards those of different walks of life. By writing this, you help institutions reduce the risk of tension due to differences, making their environment a more efficient place for learning.

This type of essay is your chance to inform the college’s admissions committee of any struggles you had overcome. This is your chance to talk about how overcoming the struggles helped you develop into who you are today. This includes highlighting your talents and abilities, too.

What Do Colleges Look for?

Colleges want to find out who you are. It’s a filter system to see what kind of student body they’ll be dealing with. Because the world is becoming more and more globalized, we can expect to have people enter a more and more diverse workforce. To do this successfully, students must be ready to engage in it.

They’re looking for examples of self-awareness and self-development. They're interested in how, for example, going abroad changed your worldview, or how overcoming adversity made you a braver person. Many colleges use a selection process to look for mature and independent students who can take care of themselves.

Overview

Let’s look back at what we just learned. Whether it’s called a supplementary essay or a diversity essay, the assignment will be to write a profile of yourself for the college admission committee.

They want to know if you grew up rich, poor, or middle class. They want to know if your gender identity lines up with your sex at birth, or if this topic is even relevant to you. They’re interested in whether or not your race or ethnicity impacted your opportunities, and/or if you figured out how to go around this factor and define yourself by your abilities instead of by your appearance or cultural traits. The purpose of the essay is to get you to show them you see which parts of you made society react positively and which parts reacted negatively, and how all of this shaped your mindset.

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