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College Essays


If you're applying to college, you've probably heard the phrase "diversity essay" once or twice. This type of essay is a little different from your typical "Why this college?" essay . Instead of focusing on why you've chosen a certain school, you'll write about your background, values, community, and experiences—basically, what makes you special.

In this guide, I explain what a diversity college essay is, what schools are looking for in this essay, and what you can do to ensure your diversity essay stands out.

What Is a Diversity Essay for College?

A diversity essay is a college admissions essay that focuses on you as an individual and your relationship with a specific community. The purpose of this essay is to reveal what makes you different from other applicants, including what unique challenges or barriers you've faced and how you've contributed to or learned from a specific community of people.

Generally speaking, the diversity college essay is used to promote diversity in the student body . As a result, the parameters of this essay are typically quite broad. Applicants may write about any relevant community or experience. Here are some examples of communities you could discuss:

  • Your cultural group
  • Your race or ethnicity
  • Your extended family
  • Your religion
  • Your socioeconomic background (such as your family's income)
  • Your sex or gender
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Your gender identity
  • Your values or opinions
  • Your experiences
  • Your home country or hometown
  • Your school
  • The area you live in or your neighborhood
  • A club or organization of which you're an active member

Although the diversity essay is a common admissions requirement at many colleges, most schools do not specifically refer to this essay as a diversity essay . At some schools, the diversity essay is simply your personal statement , whereas at others, it's a supplemental essay or short answer.

It's also important to note that the diversity essay is not limited to undergraduate programs . Many graduate programs also require diversity essays from applicants. So if you're planning to eventually apply to graduate school, be aware that you might have to write another diversity statement!

Diversity Essay Sample Prompts From Colleges

Now that you understand what diversity essays for college are, let's take a look at some diversity essay sample prompts from actual college applications.

University of Michigan

At the University of Michigan , the diversity college essay is a required supplemental essay for all freshman applicants.

Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.

University of Washington

Like UM, the University of Washington asks students for a short-answer (300 words) diversity essay. UW also offers advice on how to answer the prompt.

Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the University of Washington.

Keep in mind that the UW strives to create a community of students richly diverse in cultural backgrounds, experiences, values, and viewpoints.

University of California System

The UC system requires freshman applicants to choose four out of eight prompts (or personal insight questions ) and submit short essays of up to 350 words each . Two of these are diversity essay prompts that heavily emphasize community, personal challenges, and background.

For each prompt, the UC system offers tips on what to write about and how to craft a compelling essay.

5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

Things to consider: A challenge could be personal, or something you have faced in your community or school. Why was the challenge significant to you? This is a good opportunity to talk about any obstacles you've faced and what you've learned from the experience. Did you have support from someone else or did you handle it alone?

If you're currently working your way through a challenge, what are you doing now, and does that affect different aspects of your life? For example, ask yourself, "How has my life changed at home, at my school, with my friends, or with my family?"

7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

Things to consider: Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team, or place—like your high school, hometown, or home. You can define community as you see fit; just make sure you talk about your role in that community. Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community?

Why were you inspired to act? What did you learn from your effort? How did your actions benefit others, the wider community, or both? Did you work alone or with others to initiate change in your community?


Think about your community: How has it helped you? What have you done for it?

University of Oklahoma

First-year applicants to the University of Oklahoma who want to qualify for a leader, community service, or major-based scholarship must answer two optional, additional writing prompts , one of which tackles diversity. The word count for this prompt is 650 words or less.

The University of Oklahoma is the home of a vibrant, diverse, and compassionate university community that is often referred to as “the OU family.” Please describe your cultural and community service activities and why you chose to participate in them.

Duke University

In addition to having to answer the Common Application or Coalition Application essay prompts, applicants to Duke University may (but do not have to) submit short answers to two prompts, four of which are diversity college essay prompts . The maximum word count for each is 250 words.

We believe a wide range of personal perspectives, beliefs, and lived experiences are essential to making Duke a vibrant and meaningful living and learning community. Feel free to share with us anything in this context that might help us better understand you and what you might bring to our community .

We believe there is benefit in sharing and sometimes questioning our beliefs or values; who do you agree with on the big important things, or who do you have your most interesting disagreements with? What are you agreeing or disagreeing about?

We recognize that “fitting in” in all the contexts we live in can sometimes be difficult. Duke values all kinds of differences and believes they make our community better. Feel free to tell us any ways in which you’re different, and how that has affected you or what it means to you.

Duke’s commitment to inclusion and belonging includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Feel free to share with us more about how your identity in this context has meaning for you as an individual or as a member of a community .

Pitzer College

At Pitzer, freshman applicants must use the Common Application and answer one supplemental essay prompt. One of these prompts is a diversity essay prompt that asks you to write about your community.

At Pitzer, five core values distinguish our approach to education: social responsibility, intercultural understanding, interdisciplinary learning, student engagement, and environmental sustainability. As agents of change, our students utilize these values to create solutions to our world's challenges. Reflecting on your involvement throughout high school or within the community, how have you engaged with one of Pitzer's core values?

The Common Application

Many colleges and universities, such as Purdue University , use the Common Application and its essay prompts.

One of its essay prompts is for a diversity essay, which can be anywhere from 250 to 650 words. This prompt has a strong focus on the applicant's identity, interests, and background.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful, they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

ApplyTexas is similar to the Common Application but is only used by public colleges and universities in the state of Texas. The application contains multiple essay prompts, one of which is a diversity college essay prompt that asks you to elaborate on who you are based on a particular identity, a passion you have, or a particular skill that you've cultivated.

Essay B: Some students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. If you are one of these students, then tell us about yourself.


In a diversity essay, focus on an aspect of your identity or cultural background that defines you and makes you stand out.

What Do Colleges Look for in a Diversity Essay?

With the diversity essay, what colleges usually want most is to learn more about you , including what experiences have made you the person you are today and what unique insights you can offer the school. But what kinds of specific qualities do schools look for in a diversity essay?

To answer this, let's look at what schools themselves have said about college essays. Although not many colleges give advice specific to the diversity essay, many provide tips for how to write an effective college essay in general .

For example, here is what Dickinson College hopes to see in applicants' college essays:

Tell your story.

It may be trite advice, but it's also true. Admissions counselors develop a sixth sense about essay writers who are authentic. You'll score points for being earnest and faithful to yourself.

Authenticity is key to writing an effective diversity essay. Schools want you to be honest about who you are and where you come from; don't exaggerate or make up stories to make yourself sound "cooler" or more interesting—99% of the time, admissions committees will see right through it! Remember: admissions committees read thousands of applications, so they can spot a fake story a mile away.

Next, here's what Wellesley College says about the purpose of college essays:

Let the Board of Admission discover:

  • More about you as a person.
  • The side of you not shown by SATs and grades.
  • Your history, attitudes, interests, and creativity.
  • Your values and goals—what sets you apart.

It's important to not only be authentic but to also showcase "what sets you apart" from other applicants—that is, what makes you you . This is especially important when you consider how many applications admissions committees go through each year. If you don't stand out in some positive way, you'll likely end up in the crapshoot , significantly reducing or even eliminating your chances of admission .

And finally, here's some advice from the University of Michigan on writing essays for college:

Your college essay will be one of nearly 50,000 that we'll be reading in admissions—use this opportunity to your advantage. Your essay gives us insights into your personality; it helps us determine if your relationship with the school will be mutually beneficial.

So tell us what faculty you'd like to work with, or what research you're interested in. Tell us why you're a leader—or how you overcame adversity in your life. Tell us why this is the school for you. Tell us your story.

Overall, the most important characteristic colleges are looking for in the diversity essay (as well as in any college essay you submit) is authenticity. Colleges want to know who you are and how you got here; they also want to see what makes you memorable and what you can bring to the school.


An excellent diversity essay will represent some aspect of your identity in a sincere, authentic way.

How to Write an Effective Diversity Essay: Four Tips

Here are some tips to help you write a great diversity college essay and increase your chances of admission to college.

#1: Think About What Makes You Unique

One of the main purposes of the diversity essay is to present your uniqueness and explain how you will bring a new perspective to the student body and school as a whole. Therefore, for your essay, be sure to choose a topic that will help you stand apart from other applicants .

For example, instead of writing about your ability to play the piano (which a lot of applicants can do, no doubt), it'd be far more interesting to elaborate on how your experience growing up in Austria led you to become interested in classical music.

Try to think of defining experiences in your life. These don't have to be obvious life-altering events, but they should have had a lasting impact on you and helped shape your identity.

#2: Be Honest and Authentic

Ah, there's that word again: authentic . Although it's important to showcase how unique you are, you also want to make sure you're staying true to who you are. What experiences have made you the person you are today? What kind of impact did these have on your identity, accomplishments, and future goals?

Being honest also means not exaggerating (or lying about) your experiences or views. It's OK if you don't remember every little detail of an event or conversation. Just try to be as honest about your feelings as possible. Don't say something changed your life if it really had zero impact on you.

Ultimately, you want to write in a way that's true to your voice . Don't be afraid to throw in a little humor or a personal anecdote. What matters most is that your diversity essay accurately represents you and your intellectual potential.

#3: Write Clearly, Correctly, and Cogently

This next tip is of a more mechanical nature. As is the case with any college essay, it's critical that your diversity essay is well written . After all, the purpose of this essay is not only to help schools get to know you better but also to demonstrate a refined writing ability—a skill that's necessary for doing well in college, regardless of your major.

A diversity essay that's littered with typos and grammatical errors will fail to tell a smooth, compelling, and coherent story about you. It will also make you look unprofessional and won't convince admissions committees that you're serious about college and your future.

So what should you do? First, separate your essay into clear, well-organized paragraphs. Next, edit your essay several times. As you further tweak your draft, continue to proofread it. If possible, get an adult—such as a teacher, tutor, or parent—to look it over for you as well.

#4: Take Your Time

Our final tip is to give yourself plenty of time to actually write your diversity essay. Usually, college applications are due around December or January , so it's a good idea to start your essay early, ideally in the summer before your senior year (and before classes and homework begin eating up your time).

Starting early also lets you gain some perspective on your diversity essay . Here's how to do this: once you've written a rough draft or even just a couple of paragraphs of your essay, put it away for a few days. Once this time passes, take out your essay again and reread it with a fresh perspective. Try to determine whether it still has the impact you wanted it to have. Ask yourself, "Does this essay sound like the real me or someone else? Are some areas a little too cheesy? Could I add more or less detail to certain paragraphs?"

Finally, giving yourself lots of time to write your diversity essay means you can have more people read it and offer comments and edits on it . This is crucial for producing an effective diversity college essay.

Conclusion: Writing Diversity Essays for College

A diversity essay is a college admissions essay that r evolves around an applicant's background and identity, usually within the context of a particular community. This community can refer to race or ethnicity, income level, neighborhood, school, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.

Many colleges—such as the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, and Duke—use the diversity essay to ensure diversity in their student bodies . Some schools require the essay; others accept it as an optional application component.

If you'll be writing diversity essays for college, be sure to do the following when writing your essay to give yourself a higher chance of admission:

  • Think about what makes you unique: Try to pinpoint an experience or opinion you have that'll separate you from the rest of the crowd in an interesting, positive way.
  • Be honest and authentic:  Avoid exaggerating or lying about your feelings and experiences.
  • Write clearly, correctly, and cogently:  Edit, proofread, and get someone else to look over your essay.
  • Take your time: Start early, preferably during the summer before your senior year, so you can have more time to make changes and get feedback from others.

With that, I wish you the best of luck on your diversity essay!


What's Next?

You understand how to write a diversity essay— but what about a "Why this college?" essay ? What about a general personal statement ? Our guides explain what these essays are and how you can produce amazing responses for your applications.

Want more samples of college essay prompts? Read dozens of real prompts with our guide and learn how to answer them effectively.

Curious about what a good college essay actually looks like? Then check out our analysis of 100+ college essays and what makes them memorable .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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diversity inclusion essay

May 8, 2024

The Diversity Essay: How to Write an Excellent Diversity Essay

diversity inclusion essay

What is a diversity essay in a school application? And why does it matter when applying to leading programs and universities? Most importantly, how should you go about writing such an essay?

Diversity is of supreme value in higher education, and schools want to know how every student will contribute to the diversity on their campus. A diversity essay gives applicants with disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds, an unusual education, a distinctive experience, or a unique family history an opportunity to write about how these elements of their background have prepared them to play a useful role in increasing and encouraging diversity among their target program’s student body and broader community.

The purpose of all application essays is to help the adcom better understand who an applicant is and what they care about. Your essays are your chance to share your voice and humanize your application. This is especially true for the diversity essay, which aims to reveal your unique perspectives and experiences, as well as the ways in which you might contribute to a college community.

In this post, we’ll discuss what exactly a diversity essay is, look at examples of actual prompts and a sample essay, and offer tips for writing a standout essay. 

In this post, you’ll find the following: 

What a diversity essay covers

How to show you can add to a school’s diversity, why diversity matters to schools.

  • Seven examples that reveal diversity

Sample diversity essay prompts

How to write about your diversity.

  • A diversity essay example

Upon hearing the word “diversity” in relation to an application essay, many people assume that they will have to write about gender, sexuality, class, or race. To many, this can feel overly personal or irrelevant, and some students might worry that their identity isn’t unique or interesting enough. In reality, the diversity essay is much broader than many people realize.

Identity means different things to different people. The important thing is that you demonstrate your uniqueness and what matters to you. In addition to writing about one of the traditional identity features we just mentioned (gender, sexuality, class, race), you could consider writing about a more unusual feature of yourself or your life – or even the intersection of two or more identities.

Consider these questions as you think about what to include in your diversity essay:

  • Do you have a unique or unusual talent or skill?
  • Do you have beliefs or values that are markedly different from those of the people around you? 
  • Do you have a hobby or interest that sets you apart from your peers? 
  • Have you done or experienced something that few people have? Note that if you choose to write about a single event as a diverse identity feature, that event needs to have had a pretty substantial impact on you and your life. For example, perhaps you’re part of the 0.2% of the world’s population that has run a marathon, or you’ve had the chance to watch wolves hunt in the wild.
  • Do you have a role in life that gives you a special outlook on the world? For example, maybe one of your siblings has a rare disability, or you grew up in a town with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

diversity inclusion essay

If you are an immigrant to the United States, the child of immigrants, or someone whose ethnicity is underrepresented in the States, your response to “How will you add to the diversity of our class/community?” and similar questions might help your application efforts. Why? Because you have the opportunity to show the adcom how your background will contribute a distinctive perspective to the program you are applying to.

Of course, if you’re not underrepresented in your field or part of a disadvantaged group, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to write about in a diversity essay.

For example, you might have an unusual or special experience to share, such as serving in the military, being a member of a dance troupe, or caring for a disabled relative. These and other distinctive experiences can convey how you will contribute to the diversity of the school’s campus.

Maybe you are the first member of your family to apply to college or the first person in your household to learn English. Perhaps you have worked your way through college or helped raise your siblings. You might also have been an ally to those who are underrepresented, disadvantaged, or marginalized in your community, at your school, or in a work setting. 

As you can see, diversity is not limited to one’s religion, ethnicity, culture, language, or sexual orientation. It refers to whatever element of your identity distinguishes you from others and shows that you, too, value diversity.

The diversity essay provides colleges the chance to build a student body that includes different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, backgrounds, interests, and so on. Applicants are asked to illuminate what sets them apart so that the adcoms can see what kind of diverse views and opinions they can bring to the campus.

Admissions officers believe that diversity in the classroom improves the educational experience of all the students involved. They also believe that having a diverse workforce better serves society as a whole.

The more diverse perspectives found in the classroom, throughout the dorms, in the dining halls, and mixed into study groups, the richer people’s discussions will be.

Plus, learning and growing in this kind of multicultural environment will prepare students for working in our increasingly multicultural and global world.

In medicine, for example, a heterogeneous workforce benefits people from previously underrepresented cultures. Businesses realize that they will market more effectively if they can speak to different audiences, which is possible when members of their workforce come from various backgrounds and cultures. Schools simply want to prepare graduates for the 21st century job market.

Seven examples that reveal diversity

Adcoms want to know about the diverse elements of your character and how these have helped you develop particular  personality traits , as well as about any unusual experiences that have shaped you.

Here are seven examples an applicant could write about:

1. They grew up in an environment with a strong emphasis on respecting their elders, attending family events, and/or learning their parents’ native language and culture.

2. They are close to their grandparents and extended family members who have taught them how teamwork can help everyone thrive.

3. They have had to face difficulties that stem from their parents’ values being in conflict with theirs or those of their peers.

4. Teachers have not always understood the elements of their culture or lifestyle and how those elements influence their performance.

5. They have suffered discrimination and succeeded despite it because of their grit, values, and character.

6. They learned skills from a lifestyle that is outside the norm (e.g., living in foreign countries as the child of a diplomat or contractor; performing professionally in theater, dance, music, or sports; having a deaf sibling).

7. They’ve encountered racism or other prejudice (either toward themselves or others) and responded by actively promoting diverse, tolerant values.

And remember, diversity is not about who your parents are.  It’s about who you are  – at the core.

Your background, influences, religious observances, native language, ideas, work environment, community experiences – all these factors come together to create a unique individual, one who will contribute to a varied class of distinct individuals taking their place in a diverse world.

The best-known diversity essay prompt is from the  Common App . It states:

“Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

Some schools have individual diversity essay prompts. For example, this one is from  Duke University :

“We believe a wide range of personal perspectives, beliefs, and lived experiences are essential to making Duke a vibrant and meaningful living and learning community. Feel free to share with us anything in this context that might help us better understand you and what you might bring to our community.” 

And the  Rice University application includes the following prompt:

“Rice is strengthened by its diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders and change agents across the spectrum of human endeavor. What perspectives shaped by your background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity inspire you to join our community of change agents at Rice?”

In all instances, colleges want you to demonstrate how and what you’ll contribute to their communities.

Your answer to a school’s diversity essay question should focus on how your experiences have built your empathy for others, your embrace of differences, your resilience, your character, and your perspective.

The school might ask how you think of diversity or how you will bring or add to the diversity of the school, your chosen profession, or your community. Make sure you answer the specific question posed by highlighting distinctive elements of your profile that will add to the class mosaic every adcom is trying to create. You don’t want to blend in; you want to stand out in a positive way while also complementing the school’s canvas.

Here’s a simple, three-part framework that will help you think of diversity more broadly:

Who are you? What has contributed to your identity? How do you distinguish yourself? Your identity can include any of the following: gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion, nontraditional work experience, nontraditional educational background, multicultural background, and family’s educational level.

What have you done? What have you accomplished? This could include any of the following: achievements inside and/or outside your field of study, leadership opportunities, community service, internship or professional experience, research opportunities, hobbies, and travel. Any or all of these could be unique. Also, what life-derailing, throw-you-for-a-loop challenges have you faced and overcome?

How do you think? How do you approach things? What drives you? What influences you? Are you the person who can break up a tense meeting with some well-timed humor? Are you the one who intuitively sees how to bring people together? 

Read more about this three-part framework in Episode 193 of Accepted’s Admissions Straight Talk podcast or listen wherever you get your favorite podcast s.

diversity inclusion essay

Think about each question within this framework and how you could apply your diversity elements to your target school’s classroom or community. Any of these elements can serve as the framework for your essay.

Don’t worry if you can’t think of something totally “out there.” You don’t need to be a tightrope walker living in the Andes or a Buddhist monk from Japan to be able to contribute to a school’s diversity!

And please remember, the examples we have offered here are not exhaustive. There are many other ways to show diversity!

All you need to do to be able to write successfully about how you will contribute to the diversity of your target school’s community is examine your identity, deeds, and ideas, with an eye toward your personal distinctiveness and individuality. There is only one  you .

Take a look at the sample diversity essay in the next section of this post, and pay attention to how the writer underscores their appreciation for, and experience with, diversity. 

A diversity essay sample

When I was starting 11th grade, my dad, an agricultural scientist, was assigned to a 3-month research project in a farm village in Niigata (northwest Honshu in Japan). Rather than stay behind with my mom and siblings, I begged to go with him. As a straight-A student, I convinced my parents and the principal that I could handle my schoolwork remotely (pre-COVID) for that stretch. It was time to leap beyond my comfortable suburban Wisconsin life—and my Western orientation, reinforced by travel to Europe the year before. 

We roomed in a sprawling farmhouse with a family participating in my dad’s study. I thought I’d experience an “English-free zone,” but the high school students all studied and wanted to practice English, so I did meet peers even though I didn’t attend their school. Of the many eye-opening, influential, cultural experiences, the one that resonates most powerfully to me is experiencing their community. It was a living, organic whole. Elementary school kids spent time helping with the rice harvest. People who foraged for seasonal wild edibles gave them to acquaintances throughout the town. In fact, there was a constant sharing of food among residents—garden veggies carried in straw baskets, fish or meat in coolers. The pharmacist would drive prescriptions to people who couldn’t easily get out—new mothers, the elderly—not as a business service but as a good neighbor. If rain suddenly threatened, neighbors would bring in each other’s drying laundry. When an empty-nest 50-year-old woman had to be hospitalized suddenly for a near-fatal snakebite, neighbors maintained her veggie patch until she returned. The community embodied constant awareness of others’ needs and circumstances. The community flowed!

Yet, people there lamented that this lifestyle was vanishing; more young people left than stayed or came. And it wasn’t idyllic: I heard about ubiquitous gossip, long-standing personal enmities, busybody-ness. But these very human foibles didn’t dam the flow. This dynamic community organism couldn’t have been more different from my suburban life back home, with its insular nuclear families. We nod hello to neighbors in passing. 

This wonderful experience contained a personal challenge. Blond and blue-eyed, I became “the other” for the first time. Except for my dad, I saw no Westerner there. Curious eyes followed me. Stepping into a market or walking down the street, I drew gazes. People swiftly looked away if they accidentally caught my eye. It was not at all hostile, I knew, but I felt like an object. I began making extra sure to appear “presentable” before going outside. The sense of being watched sometimes generated mild stress or resentment. Returning to my lovely tatami room, I would decompress, grateful to be alone. I realized this challenge was a minute fraction of what others experience in my own country. The toll that feeling—and being— “other” takes on non-white and visibly different people in the US can be extremely painful. Experiencing it firsthand, albeit briefly, benignly, and in relative comfort, I got it.

Unlike the organic Niigata community, work teams, and the workplace itself, have externally driven purposes. Within this different environment, I will strive to exemplify the ongoing mutual awareness that fueled the community life in Niigata. Does it benefit the bottom line, improve the results? I don’t know. But it helps me be the mature, engaged person I want to be, and to appreciate the individuals who are my colleagues and who comprise my professional community. I am now far more conscious of people feeling their “otherness”—even when it’s not in response to negative treatment, it can arise simply from awareness of being in some way different.

What did you think of this essay? Does this middle class Midwesterner have the unique experience of being different from the surrounding majority, something she had not experienced in the United States? Did she encounter diversity from the perspective of “the other”? 

Here a few things to note about why this diversity essay works so well:

1. The writer comes from “a comfortable, suburban, Wisconsin life,” suggesting that her background might not be ethnically, racially, or in any other way diverse.

2. The diversity “points” scored all come from her fascinating experience of having lived in a Japanese farm village, where she immersed herself in a totally different culture.

3. The lessons learned about the meaning of community are what broaden and deepen the writer’s perspective about life, about a purpose-driven life, and about the concept of “otherness.” 

By writing about a time when you experienced diversity in one of its many forms, you can write a memorable and meaningful diversity essay.

Working on your diversity essay?

Want to ensure that your application demonstrates the diversity that your dream school is seeking?  Work with one of our admissions experts . This checklist includes more than 30 different ways to think about diversity to jump-start your creative engine.

diversity inclusion essay

Dr. Sundas Ali has more than 15 years of experience teaching and advising students, providing career and admissions advice, reviewing applications, and conducting interviews for the University of Oxford’s undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition, Sundas has worked with students from a wide range of countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Pakistan, China, Japan, and the Middle East. Want Sundas to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch! 

Related Resources:

  • Different Dimensions of Diversity , podcast Episode 193
  • What Should You Do If You Belong to an Overrepresented MBA Applicant Group?
  • Fitting In & Standing Out: The Paradox at the Heart of Admissions , a free guide

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May 8, 2023

Celebrating Our Differences: Inspiring Essays on Diversity and Inclusion

Ready to celebrate diversity and inclusion? Discover how to craft an exceptional essay on this important topic with our expert tips and real-world examples. Join us as we explore the power of diversity and its impact on individuals and communities alike.

Imagine yourself walking into a room full of people, each with their own stories to tell. What makes your story stand out? What makes your voice unique? This is the essence of a good diversity essay .

In your essay, you have the opportunity to show the admissions committee how your life experiences have shaped your perspective, identity, and aspirations. Through sharing personal stories, you can paint a picture of who you are and how you will contribute to the vibrant tapestry of the campus community.

Maybe it's growing up in a multicultural household that has taught you to value different perspectives and ways of life. Or, perhaps it's overcoming adversity and facing challenges that have made you a more empathetic and resilient person. Whatever your story may be, your diversity essay is a chance to showcase the richness and depth of your lived experiences.

As you craft your essay, think about how your unique background has informed your actions, beliefs, and goals. Share specific examples and anecdotes that bring your story to life, and make sure to emphasize how you will use your diverse perspective to contribute positively to the campus community. With a well-written diversity essay, you can show the admissions committee that you are more than just a set of grades and test scores - you are a unique and valuable addition to their community.

We have provided a guide as well as some essay examples to assist you in writing your essay about diversity. If you need inspiration for an essay, read them till last. But before we dig into the specifics, a basic understanding of diversity is necessary.

What is Diversity in actuality?

institutions. By recognizing and celebrating the unique experiences, viewpoints, and identities of students from diverse backgrounds, schools can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment that benefits everyone. Through diversity essays, students have the opportunity to showcase the strength of diversity and how it can contribute to the greater community. 

Scholarship options designed for historically underserved communities also demonstrate the importance of diversity in leveling the playing field and creating opportunities for all. Therefore, embracing diversity can lead to a stronger and more vibrant academic community.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the practice of making a place where everyone, despite their differences, is treated with dignity and respect . It's the act of making sure nobody is held back from contributing to a group or community because of their identity or background.

Each person's race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, financial background, ability, religion, and other characteristics are valued and celebrated through the practice of inclusion. It's not enough to just tolerate differences; we need to celebrate them and foster communities where everyone can feel safe and included.

To advance social justice and equity, inclusion is crucial. It allows people from all walks of life to meet one another, learn from one another, and work together towards a shared objective. Positive results for individuals and communities can result from their inclusion in more open, welcoming, and supportive settings.

Step-by-Step guide on how to write an essay on diversity and inclusion

Writing an essay on diversity and inclusion is an important task that requires careful planning and execution. In this step-by-step guide, we will provide you with a roadmap on how to write a compelling essay on this topic.

Here are seven suggestions to consider as you write your diversity statement.

Tell your story

Highlight any challenges you had to overcome while writing an essay. Tell the world about how you used to have to lug two 20-pound sacks of rice uphill to school every day. Recognize your privilege if you were born into affluence. Either way, you can utilize your experience to demonstrate your ability to empathize with kids who struggle to complete their education.

Focus on commonly accepted understandings of diversity and inclusiveness

Issues of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation should be given special attention. Don't try to soften your stance by mentioning, for example, how challenging it is to be a Kansan in Missouri. Write about racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, or another form of oppression that is well-known instead.

Avoid false parallels

When writing a diversity essay, it is important to avoid false parallels. False parallels are when two things appear to be similar, but in reality, they are different. To avoid false parallels, you must carefully examine the similarities and differences between the two things you are comparing. This will help you to make accurate and meaningful comparisons, which will ultimately strengthen your diversity essay.

Write about specific things you have done to help students from underrepresented backgrounds succeed

If you've never helped anybody before, now is the time to start. Become involved as a tutor at a low-performing school, help Habitat for Humanity construct homes, or adopt an antiracist pedagogical approach in your classroom. Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you can also use it to strengthen your diversity statement.

Highlight any programs for underrepresented students you’ve participated in

If you have participated in any programs for underrepresented students, be sure to highlight them in your essay on diversity. This could include programs focused on increasing access to education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, mentorship or internship programs for underrepresented groups, or community service initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion.

By highlighting these programs, you can showcase your commitment to diversity and demonstrate how you have taken active steps to promote equity and inclusion in your community.

Write about your commitment to working toward achieving equity and enhancing diversity

Provide details on what you can bring to the table. You might express your desire to help existing programmes on campus or to start something brand new inspired by what you've seen elsewhere.

Modify your statement based on where you are sending it

When writing an essay on diversity, it's important to tailor your statement to the specific institution or audience you are addressing. Modifying your statement based on where you are sending it shows that you have taken the time to research the institution and understand its values and priorities. This can increase the likelihood of your statement resonating with the reader and ultimately being successful in achieving your goals.

3 Example essays on Diversity and Inclusion

The importance of diversity workforce, introduction.

Workforce diversity is a critical aspect of modern-day organizations. It involves hiring individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, genders, and ages. The concept of workforce diversity is gaining prominence as organizations are increasingly recognizing the benefits of having a diverse workforce. In this essay, we will explore the importance of workforce diversity, the challenges associated with it, and the benefits it offers.

Encourages Innovation and Creativity

Diversity brings together a wide range of perspectives and ideas that can help drive innovation and creativity. When people from diverse backgrounds come together, they can offer different viewpoints and ideas, leading to new solutions to problems.

Enhances Employee Engagement and Retention

Employees who feel included and valued are more engaged and motivated, leading to higher retention rates. When employees feel they belong and are appreciated, they are more likely to stay with the organization, reducing turnover costs.

Increases Global Competitiveness

Diversity in the workforce is crucial for organizations looking to expand globally. Organizations with a diverse workforce are better equipped to understand and navigate the cultural nuances of different countries and regions, making them more competitive in the global marketplace.

Promotes a Positive Image

Organizations that embrace diversity are viewed positively by the public, customers, and employees. A diverse workforce demonstrates that the organization values and respects individuals from all backgrounds, contributing to a positive brand image.

Resistance to Change

Implementing diversity initiatives can be met with resistance, particularly from those who believe that the traditional way of doing things is the best. It is essential to educate and raise awareness about the benefits of diversity to overcome this challenge.

Communication Barriers

When individuals from different backgrounds come together, there may be communication barriers due to language or cultural differences. It is essential to provide training and resources to overcome these barriers and foster effective communication.

Stereotyping and Bias

Stereotyping and bias can negatively impact diversity initiatives. It is essential to establish a culture of inclusivity and respect, where individuals feel valued and appreciated for their unique contributions.

Improved Decision-Making

A diverse workforce can provide a range of perspectives, leading to better decision-making. When individuals with different backgrounds come together, they can offer different viewpoints, leading to a more comprehensive and well-rounded decision-making process.

Increased Creativity and Innovation

Diversity can lead to new ideas and perspectives that can drive innovation and creativity. A diverse workforce can bring together different viewpoints and experiences, leading to new solutions to problems.

Enhanced Reputation

Improved Employee Engagement and Retention

When employees feel included and valued, they are more engaged and motivated, leading to higher retention rates. A diverse workforce can help create a sense of belonging, leading to improved employee engagement and retention.

Workforce diversity is crucial for modern-day organizations. It can lead to improved decision-making, increased creativity and innovation, and enhanced reputation. However, diversity initiatives can be met with resistance, communication barriers, stereotyping, and bias. It is essential to establish a culture of inclusivity and respect, where individuals feel valued and appreciated for their unique contributions. By embracing diversity, organizations can create a more productive, engaged, and innovative workforce.

2. The challenges of diversity in different institutions

Diversity is a term that describes the differences among people, whether they are cultural, ethnic, racial, linguistic, gender, or sexual orientation differences. While diversity is often celebrated, it can also pose challenges, especially in institutions such as schools, workplaces, and governments. This essay will explore the challenges of diversity in different institutions and how they can be addressed.

Challenges of Diversity in Schools

Schools are meant to be places where students can learn and grow, but diversity can sometimes be a challenge. Students who come from different backgrounds may face discrimination and exclusion from their peers, which can affect their ability to learn and thrive.

Teachers may also struggle to provide a curriculum that is inclusive of all students experiences and perspectives. Addressing these challenges requires a commitment to creating an inclusive environment where all students feel valued and respected.

Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace

Workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse, but this diversity can pose challenges. Employees from different cultural backgrounds may struggle to communicate effectively or may feel excluded from the workplace culture. Discrimination and bias can also be a problem, as can the assumption that everyone shares the same experiences and perspectives. To address these challenges, employers need to be proactive in creating a workplace culture that values diversity and promotes inclusivity. This can involve training and education for employees, as well as policies and procedures that support diversity and inclusion.

Challenges of Diversity in Government

Governments are responsible for serving diverse populations, but this can be a challenge. Members of different cultural and linguistic groups may have different needs and expectations from their government, and some groups may face discrimination or exclusion. 

To address these challenges, governments need to be proactive in engaging with diverse communities and ensuring that their policies and programs are inclusive. This can involve outreach and consultation with community groups, as well as the development of policies that reflect the needs and perspectives of diverse communities.

Ways to Address the Challenges of Diversity

Addressing the challenges of diversity requires a commitment to creating inclusive environments where all individuals feel valued and respected. This can involve several strategies, including education and training, policies and procedures, and community engagement.

Education and training can help individuals better understand the experiences and perspectives of those from different backgrounds. This can involve training programs for employees or professional development opportunities for teachers. It can also involve curriculum changes in schools that better reflect the experiences and perspectives of diverse students.

Policies and procedures can also play a role in promoting diversity and inclusion. This can involve policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment in the workplace or schools. It can also involve policies that promote diversity in hiring or that ensure that government programs and services are inclusive of all members of the community.

Community engagement is also an important strategy for promoting diversity and inclusion. This can involve outreach to community groups and the development of partnerships with organizations that serve diverse communities. It can also involve the creation of advisory committees or other mechanisms for engaging with diverse populations.

In conclusion, diversity is an important aspect of our society, but it can also pose challenges in different institutions. Schools, workplaces, and governments need to be proactive in creating inclusive environments where all individuals feel valued and respected. This requires a commitment to education and training, policies and procedures that promote diversity and inclusion, and community engagement. By addressing the challenges of diversity, we can create a more equitable and inclusive society for all.

3. Ideas on how to Reduce Discrimination in Society

Racial discrimination is a pervasive issue that has plagued society for centuries. It is a problem that continues to affect individuals and communities around the world. Discrimination is an act that denies individuals equal rights, opportunities, and treatment based on their race or ethnicity. The impacts of racism are far-reaching, and it affects individuals' economic, social, and emotional well-being. Therefore, there is a need for collective efforts to reduce racial discrimination and promote social justice. This essay discusses some of the best ways to reduce racial discrimination in society.

Education and Awareness

Education is a powerful tool that can help reduce racial discrimination. Education is essential in teaching individuals about diversity, equity, and inclusion. When people understand the impact of racism, they are more likely to become allies and advocates for change. Education can take many forms, such as books, documentaries, and workshops. 

Institutions can also incorporate cultural competency training into their curriculum to educate students and faculty members about the impact of discrimination. It is essential to recognize the different forms of discrimination, including implicit bias, microaggressions, and institutional racism, to address them appropriately.

Political Action

Political action is another way to reduce racial discrimination in society. Leaders at the local, state, and federal levels can enact policies that promote equality and diversity. Policies such as affirmative action and diversity initiatives can promote inclusion in the workforce and educational institutions. 

Politicians can also pass laws that make racial discrimination illegal and provide support to victims of discrimination. It is essential to recognize that racism is a systemic issue that requires political action to address.

Community Engagement

Community engagement is an important way to reduce racial discrimination. Building strong communities that are inclusive and diverse can help reduce racism. Communities can engage in activities that promote diversity, such as cultural festivals, food fairs, and art exhibits. 

These events can help build bridges between different communities and promote understanding. Community members can also engage in conversations about racism and work together to address it. This can create a sense of belonging and unity that can help reduce discrimination.

Diversity in Institutions

Institutions play a significant role in reducing racial discrimination. Institutions such as schools, businesses, and government agencies can promote diversity by recruiting and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds. A diverse workforce or student body can help reduce discrimination by promoting inclusion and understanding. 

Institutions can also create policies that promote equality and diversity, such as flexible work arrangements, diversity training, and bias reporting systems. It is important to ensure that institutions are representative of the communities they serve to reduce discrimination.

In conclusion, reducing racial discrimination requires a collective effort from individuals, institutions, and political leaders. Education and awareness, political action, community engagement, and diversity in institutions are all effective ways to address discrimination. It is important to recognize that reducing discrimination is a long-term effort that requires commitment and perseverance. By working together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society that values diversity and promotes social justice.

Final Words

In conclusion, embracing diversity and inclusion is crucial for creating a more equitable and harmonious society. Whether it's through recognizing and celebrating racial diversity and cultural diversity, fostering a sense of belonging for all individuals, or actively working to combat discrimination and prejudice, we must prioritize these values in all aspects of our lives. By championing diversity and inclusion, we can cultivate a richer, more vibrant world that values the unique perspectives and experiences of all people. By embracing diversity and inclusion, we can build a better future for ourselves and for generations to come.

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How to Write a College Diversity Essay – Examples & Tips

diversity inclusion essay

What is a diversity essay for college?

If you are preparing for your college application, you have probably heard that you sometimes need to submit a “diversity essay,” and you might be wondering how this is different from the usual admission essay. A diversity essay is a college admissions essay that focuses on the applicant’s background, identity, culture, beliefs, or relationship with a specific community, on what makes an applicant unique, and on how they might bring a fresh perspective or new insights to a school’s student body. Colleges let applicants write such essays to ensure diversity in their campus communities, to improve everyone’s learning experience, or to determine who might be eligible for scholarships that are offered to students from generally underrepresented backgrounds. 

Some colleges list the essay as one of their main requirements to apply, while others give you the option to add it to your application if you wish to do so. At other schools, it is simply your “personal statement”—but the prompts you are given can make it an essay on the topic of diversity in your life and how that has shaped who you are.

To write a diversity essay, you need to think about what makes you uniquely you: What significant experiences have you made, because of your background, that might separate you from other applicants? Sometimes that is obvious, but sometimes it is easy to assume our experiences are normal just because we are part of a community that shares the same circumstances, beliefs, or experiences. But if you look at your life from the perspective of someone who is not part of that community, such as an admissions officer, they can suddenly be not-so-common and help you stand out from the crowd.

Diversity Essay Examples and Topics

Diversity essays come in all shapes and formats, but what they need to do is highlight an important aspect of your identity, background, culture, viewpoints, beliefs, goals, etc. You could, for example, write about one of the following topics:

  • Your home country/hometown
  • Your cultural/immigration background
  • Your race/ethnicity
  • Your unique family circumstances
  • Your religion/belief system
  • Your socioeconomic background
  • Your disability
  • Your sex/gender
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Your gender identity
  • Your values/opinions
  • Your experiences
  • Your extracurricular activities related to diversity

In the following, we ask some general questions to make you start reflecting on what diversity might mean for you and your life, and we present you with excerpts from several successful diversity-related application essays that will give you an idea about the range of topics you can write about.

How does diversity make you who you are as a person or student?

We usually want to fit in, especially when we are young, and you might not even realize that you and your life experiences could add to the diversity of a student campus. You might think that you are just like everyone around you. Or you might think that your background is nothing to brag about and are not really comfortable showcasing it. But looking at you and your life from the point of view of someone who is not part of your community, your background, culture, or family situation might actually be unique and interesting. 

What makes admission committees see the unique and interesting in your life is an authentic story, maybe even a bit vulnerable, about your lived experiences and the lessons you learned from them that other people who lived other lifes did not have the chance to learn. Don’t try to explain how you are different from others or how you have been more privileged or less fortunate than others—let your story do that. Keep the focus on yourself, your actions, thoughts, and feelings, and allow the reader a glimpse into your culture, upbringing, or community that gives them some intriguing insights. 

Have a look at the excerpt below from a diversity essay that got an applicant into Cornell University . This is just the introduction, but there is probably no admissions officer who would not want to keep reading after such a fascinating entry. 

He’s in my arms, the newest addition to the family. I’m too overwhelmed. “That’s why I wanted you to go to Bishop Loughlin,” she says, preparing baby bottles. “But ma, I chose Tech because I wanted to be challenged.” “Well, you’re going to have to deal with it,” she replies, adding, “Your aunt watched you when she was in high school.” “But ma, there are three of them. It’s hard!” Returning home from a summer program that cemented intellectual and social independence to find a new baby was not exactly thrilling. Add him to the toddler and seven-year-old sister I have and there’s no wonder why I sing songs from Blue’s Clues and The Backyardigans instead of sane seventeen-year-old activities. It’s never been simple; as a female and the oldest, I’m to significantly rear the children and clean up the shabby apartment before an ounce of pseudo freedom reaches my hands. If I can manage to get my toddler brother onto the city bus and take him home from daycare without snot on my shoulder, and if I can manage to take off his coat and sneakers without demonic screaming for no apparent reason, then it’s a good day. Only, waking up at three in the morning to work, the only free time I have, is not my cup of Starbucks.  Excerpt from “All Worth It”, Anonymous, published in 50 Successful IVY LEAGUE Application Essays Fourth Edition, Gen & Kelly Tanabe, SuperCollege, 2017 .

How has your identity or background affected your life?

On top of sharing a relevant personal story, you also need to make sure that your essay illustrates how your lived experience has influenced your perspective, your life choices, or your goals. If you can explain how your background or experience led you to apply to the school you want to submit the essay to, and why you would be a great fit for that school, even better. 

You don’t need to fit all of that into one short essay, though. Just make sure to end your essay with some conclusions about the things your life has taught you that will give the admissions committee a better idea of who you now are—like the author of the following (winning) admissions essay submitted to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) .

[…] I always thought that I had it the worst out of all my family members because I was never allowed to get anything lower than what my brother or a cousin had gotten in a class. My parents figured if they could do it, so could I, and if not on my own then with a little of their help. It was not until recently that I realized the truth in this. In my short life I have seen my father go from speaking no English to excelling in it. I have heard countless stories about migrant farmers such as Cesar Chavez and my grandfather who had nearly nothing, yet persisted and succeeded. […] When I had trouble speaking Spanish and felt like abandoning my native tongue, I remembered my mother and how when she came to the United States she was forced to wash her mouth out with soap and endure beatings with a ruler by the nuns at her school for speaking it. When I couldn’t figure out tangents, sines, and cosines I thought about my father and how it took him nearly a year to learn long division because he was forced to teach it to himself after dropping out and starting to work in the 4th grade. […] All these people, just from my family, have been strong role models for me. I feel that being labeled “underprivileged” does not mean that I am limited in what I can do. There is no reason for me to fail or give up, and like my parents and grandparents have done, I’ve been able to pull through a great deal. My environment has made me determined, hard working, and high aiming. I would not like it any other way. From “Lessons From the Immigration Spectrum”, Anonymous, MIT, published in 50 Successful IVY LEAGUE Application Essays Fourth Edition, Gen & Kelly Tanabe, SuperCollege, 2017 .

How will your diversity contribute to the college campus and community?

The admissions committee would like to know how your identity or background will enrich the university’s existing student body. If you haven’t done so, researching the university’s organizations and groups and what specific courses the university offers might be a good idea. If you are applying to a large public school, you could mention that you are looking forward to broadening not just your horizon but also your community. Or maybe your college of choice has a specialized program or student organization that you feel you will fit right into and that you could contribute to with your unique background.

Tailoring your answer to the university you are applying to shows that you are serious and have done your research, and a university is obviously looking for such students. If you can’t find a way to make your essay “match” the university, then don’t despair—showing the admissions committee that you are someone who already made some important experiences, has reflected on them, and is eager to learn more and contribute to their community is often all that is needed. But you also don’t need to search for the most sophisticated outro or conclusion, as the following excerpt shows, from an admission essay written by an applicant named Angelica, who was accepted into the University of Chicago . Sometimes a simple conviction is convincing enough. 

[…] The knowledge that I have gained from these three schools is something I will take with me far beyond college. My roommate, across-the-hall mates, and classmates have influenced my life as much as I hope to have impacted theirs. It is evident to me that they have helped me develop into the very much visible person I am today. I have learned to step outside of my comfort zone, and I have learned that diversity is so much more than the tint of our skin. My small mustard-colored school taught me that opportunity and success only requires desire. I would be an asset to your college because as I continue on my journey to success, I will take advantage of every opportunity that is available to me and make sure to contribute as much as I can, too. Now I am visible. Now I am visible. Now I am visible, and I want to be seen. From “No Longer Invisible” by Angelica, University of Chicago, published in 50 Successful IVY LEAGUE Application Essays Fourth Edition, Gen & Kelly Tanabe, SuperCollege, 2017 .

how to write a diversity essay, small globe being held, kids in a hallway

Tell stories about your lived experience

You might wonder how exactly to go about writing stories about your “lived experience.” The first step, after getting drawing inspiration from other people’s stories, is to sit down and reflect on your own life and what might be interesting about it, from the point of view of someone outside of your direct environment or community.

Two straightforward approaches for a diversity-related essay are to either focus on your community or on your identity . The first one is more related to what you were born into (and what it taught you), and the second one focuses on how you see yourself, as an individual but also as part of society.

Take some time to sit down and reflect on which of these two approaches you relate to more and which one you think you have more to say about. And then we’d recommend you do what always helps when we sit in front of a blank page that needs to be filled: Make a list or draw a chart or create a map of keywords that can become the cornerstones of your story.

For example, if you choose the “community” approach, then start with a list of all the communities that you are a part of. These communities can be defined by different factors:

  • A shared place: people live or work together
  • Shared actions: People create something together or solve problems together
  • Shared interests: People come together based on interests, hobbies, or goals
  • Shared circumstances: people are brought together by chance or by events

Once you have that list, pick one of your communities and start asking yourself more specific questions. For example: 

  • What did you do as a member of that community? 
  • What kinds of problems did you solve , for your community or together?
  • Did you feel like you had an impact ? What was it?
  • What did you learn or realize ? 
  • How are you going to apply what you learned outside of that community?

If, instead, you choose the “identity” approach, then think about different ways in which you think about yourself and make a list of those. For example:

My identity is as a… 

  • boy scout leader
  • hobby writer
  • babysitter for my younger siblings
  • speaker of different languages
  • collector of insightful proverbs
  • Japanese-American
  • other roles in your family, community, or social sub-group

Feel free to list as many identities as you can. Then, think about what different sides of you these identities reveal and which ones you have not yet shown or addressed in your other application documents and essays. Think about whether one of these is more important to you than others if there is one that you’d rather like to hide (and why) and if there is any struggle, for example with reconciling all of these sides of yourself or with one of them not being accepted by your culture or environment.

Overall, the most important characteristic admissions committees are looking for in your diversity essay is authenticity . They want to know who you are, behind your SATs and grades, and how you got where you are now, and they want to see what makes you memorable (remember, they have to read thousands of essays to decide who to enroll). 

The admissions committee members likely also have a “sixth sense” about whose essay is authentic and whose is not. But if you go through a creative process like the one outlined here, you will automatically reflect on your background and experiences in a way that will bring out your authenticity and honesty and prevent you from just making up a “cool story.”

Diversity Essay Sample Prompts From Colleges

If you are still not sure how to write a diversity essay, let’s have a look at some of the actual diversity essay prompts that colleges include in their applications. 

Diversity Essay Sample #1: University of California

The University of California asks applicants to choose between eight prompts (they call them “ personal insight questions “) and submit four short essays of up to 350 words each that tell the admission committee what you would want them to know about you . These prompts ask about your creative side (#2), your greatest talent (#3), and other aspects of your personality, but two of them (#5 and #7) are what could be called “diversity essay prompts” that ask you to talk about the most significant challenge you have faced and what you have done to make your community a better place .

The University of California website also offers advice on how to use these prompts and how to write a compelling essay, so make sure you use all the guidance they give you if that is the school you are trying to get into!

UC Essay prompt #5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

Things to consider: A challenge could be personal, or something you have faced in your community or school. Why was the challenge significant to you? This is a good opportunity to talk about any obstacles you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from the experience. Did you have support from someone else or did you handle it alone?

UC Essay prompt #7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?  

Things to consider: Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team, or place—like your high school, hometown, or home. You can define community as you see fit, just make sure you talk about your role in that community. Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community? Why were you inspired to act? What did you learn from your effort? 

Diversity Essay Sample #2: Duke University

Duke University asks for a one-page essay in response to either one of the Common Application prompts or one of the Coalition Application prompts, as well as a short essay that answers a question specific to Duke. 

In addition, you can (but do not have to) submit up to two short answers to four prompts that specifically ask about your unique experiences, your beliefs and values, and your background and identity. The maximum word count for each of these short essays on diversity topics is 250 words.

Essay prompt #1. We seek a diverse student body that embodies the wide range of human experience. In that context, we are interested in what you’d like to share about your lived experiences and how they’ve influenced how you think of yourself. Essay prompt #2. We believe there is benefit in sharing and sometimes questioning our beliefs or values; who do you agree with on the big important things, or who do you have your most interesting disagreements with? What are you agreeing or disagreeing about? Essay prompt #3. What has been your best academic experience in the last two years, and what made it so good? Essay prompt #4. Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you’d like to share with us more about your identity in this context, feel free to do so here.

Duke University is looking for students with a variety of different experiences, backgrounds, interests, and opinions to make its campus community diverse and a place where ambition and curiosity, talent and persistence can grow, and the admissions committee will “consider what you have accomplished within the context of your opportunities and challenges so far”—make sure you tell them!

Diversity Essay Sample #3: University of Washington

The University of Washington asks students for a long essay (650 words) on a general experience that shaped your character, a short essay (300 words) that describes the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of your future university and allows you to submit additional information on potential hardships or limitations you have experienced in attaining your education so far. The University of Washington freshman writing website also offers some tips on how to (and how not to) write and format your essays.

Essay prompt [required] Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

Short response prompt [required] Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. “Community” might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the UW.

Additional information about yourself or your circumstances [optional] You are not required to write anything in this section, but you may include additional information if something has particular significance to you. For example, you may use this space if:

– You have experienced personal hardships in attaining your education

– Your activities have been limited because of work or family obligations

– You have experienced limitations/opportunities unique to the schools you attended

The University of Washington’s mission is to enroll undergraduates with outstanding intellectual abilities who bring different perspectives, backgrounds, and talents to the campus to create a “stimulating educational environment”. The diversity essay is your chance to let them know how you will contribute to that.

Diversity Essay Sample #4: University of Michigan

At the University of Michigan, a diversity college essay that describes one of the communities (defined by geography, religion, ethnicity, income, or other factors) you belong to is one of two required essays that need to be submitted by all applicants, on top of the Common Application essay. 

Diversity essay prompt. Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.

The University of Michigan prides itself in “looking at each student as a whole package” and recruiting the most dynamic students, with different backgrounds, interests, and passions, into their college, not just the ones with the highest test scores. They also give consideration to applicants from currently underrepresented groups to create diversity on campus and enrich the learning environment for all students—if that sounds like you, then here is your opportunity to tell your story!

Frequently Asked Questions about Diversity Essays

What topics should i avoid in my college diversity essay.

Since the point of a diversity essay is to show the admissions committee who you are (behind your grades and resume and general educational background), there are not many topics you need to avoid. In fact, you can address the issues, from your own perspective, that you are usually told not to mention in order not to offend anyone or create controversy. 

The only exception is any kind of criminal activity, especially child abuse and neglect. The University of Washington, for example, has a statement on its essay prompt website that “ any written materials that give admissions staff reasonable cause to believe abuse or neglect of someone under the age of 18 may have occurred must be reported to Child Protective Services or the police. ”

What is most important to focus on in my diversity essay?

In brief, to stand out while not giving the admissions committee any reason to believe that you are exaggerating or even making things up. Your story needs to be authentic, and admissions officers—who read thousands of applications—will probably see right through you if you are trying to make yourself sound cooler, more mature, or more interesting than you are. 

In addition, make sure you let someone, preferably a professional editor, read over your essays and make sure they are well-written and error-free. Even though you are telling your personal story, it needs to be presented in standard, formal, correct English.

How long should a diversity essay be?

Every school has different requirements for their version of a diversity essay, and you will find all the necessary details on their admissions or essay prompts website. Make sure you check the word limit and other guidelines before you start typing away!

Prepare your college diversity essay for admission

Now that you know what a diversity essay is and how you find the specific requirements for the essays you need to submit to your school of choice, make sure you plan in advance and give yourself enough time to put all your effort into it! Our article How to Write the Common App Essay can give you an idea about timelines and creative preparation methods. And as always, we can help you with our professional editing services , including Application Essay Editing Services and Admission Editing Services , to ensure that your entire application is error-free and showcases your potential to the admissions committee of your school of choice.

For more academic resources on writing the statement of purpose for grad school or on the college admission process in general, head over to our Admissions Resources website where we have many more articles and videos to help you improve your essay writing skills.

Are you seeking one-on-one college counseling and/or essay support? Limited spots are now available. Click here to learn more.

How to Write the Diversity Essay – With Examples

May 1, 2024

The diversity essay has newfound significance in college application packages following the 2023 SCOTUS ruling against race-conscious admissions. Affirmative action began as an attempt to redress unequal access to economic and social mobility associated with higher education. But before the 2023 ruling, colleges frequently defended the policy based on their “compelling interest” in fostering diverse campuses. The reasoning goes that there are certain educational benefits that come from heterogeneous learning environments. Now, the diversity essay has become key for admissions officials in achieving their compelling interest in campus diversity. Thus, unlocking how to write a diversity essay enhances an applicant’s ability to describe their fit with a campus environment. This article describes the genre and provides diversity essay examples to help any applicant express how they conceptualize and contribute to diversity.

How to Write a Diversity Essay – Defining the Genre

Diversity essays in many ways resemble the personal statement genre. Like personal statements, they help readers get to know applicants beyond their academic and extracurricular achievements. What makes an applicant unique? Precisely what motivates or inspires them? What is their demeanor like and how do they interact with others? All these questions are useful ways of thinking about the purpose and value of the diversity essay.

It’s important to realize that the essay does not need to focus on aspects like race, religion, or sexuality. Some applicants may choose to write about their relationship to these or other protected identity categories. But applicants shouldn’t feel obligated to ‘come out’ in a diversity essay. Conversely, they should not be anxious if they feel their background doesn’t qualify them as ‘diverse.’

Instead, the diversity essay helps demonstrate broader thinking about what makes applicants unique that admissions officials can’t glean elsewhere. Usually, it also directly or indirectly indicates how an applicant will enhance the campus community they hope to join. Diversity essays can explicitly connect past experiences with future plans. Or they can offer a more general sense of how one’s background will influence their actions in college.

Thus, the diversity essay conveys both aspects that make an applicant unique and arguments for how those aspects will contribute on campus. The somewhat daunting genre is, in fact, a great opportunity for applicants to articulate how their background, identity, or formative experiences will shape their academic, intellectual, social, and professional trajectories.

Diversity College Essay Examples of Prompts – Sharing a Story

All diversity essays ask applicants to share what makes them unique and convey how that equips them for university life. However, colleges will typically ask applicants to approach this broad topic from a variety of different angles. Since it’s likely applicants will encounter some version of the genre in either required or supplemental essay assignments, it’s a good idea to have a template diversity essay ready to adapt to each specific prompt.

One of the most standard prompts is the “share a story” prompt. For example, here’s the diversity-related Common App prompt:

“Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

This prompt is deliberately broad, inviting applicants to articulate their distinctive qualities in myriad ways. What is unsaid, but likely expected, is some statement about how the story evidences the ability to enhance campus diversity.

Diversity College Essay Examples of Prompts – Describing Contribution

Another common prompt explicitly asks students to reflect on diversity while centering what they will contribute in college. A good example of this prompt comes from the University of Miami’s supplemental essay:

Located within one of the most dynamic cities in the world, the University of Miami is a distinctive community with a variety of cultures, traditions, histories, languages, and backgrounds. The University of Miami is a values-based and purpose-driven postsecondary institution that embraces diversity and inclusivity in all its forms and strives to create a culture of belonging, where every person feels valued and has an opportunity to contribute.

Please describe how your unique experiences, challenges overcome, or skills acquired would contribute to our distinctive University community. (250 words)

In essays responding to these kinds of prompts, its smart to more deliberately tailor your essay to what you know about the institution and its values around diversity. You’ll need a substantial part of the essay to address not only your “story” but your anticipated institutional contribution.

Diversity College Essay Examples of Prompts – Navigating Difference

The last type of diversity essay prompt worth mentioning asks applicants to explain how they experience and navigate difference. It could be a prompt about dealing with “diverse perspectives.” Or it could ask the applicant to tell a story involving someone different than them. Regardless of the framing, these types of prompts ask you to unfold a theory of diversity stemming from social encounters. Applicants might still think of how they can use the essay to frame what makes them unique. However, here colleges are also hoping for insight into how applicants will deal with the immense diversity of college life beyond their unique experiences. In these cases, it’s especially important to use a story kernel to draw attention to fundamental beliefs and values around diversity.

  How to Write a Diversity Essay – Tips for Writing

Before we get to the diversity college essay examples, some general tips for writing the diversity essay:

  • Be authentic: This is not the place to embellish, exaggerate, or overstate your experiences. Writing with humility and awareness of your own limitations can only help you with the diversity essay. So don’t write about who you think the admissions committee wants to see – write about yourself.
  • Find dynamic intersections: One effective brainstorming strategy is to think of two or more aspects of your background, identity, and interests you might combine. For example, in one of the examples below, the writer talks about their speech impediment alongside their passion for poetry. By thinking of aspects of your experience to combine, you’ll likely generate more original material than focusing on just one.
  • Include a thesis: Diversity essays follow more general conventions of personal statement writing. That means you should tell a story about yourself, but also make it double as an argumentative piece of writing. Including a thesis in the first paragraph can clearly signal the argumentative hook of the essay for your reader.
  • Include your definition of diversity: Early in the essay you should define what diversity means to you. It’s important that this definition is as original as possible, preferably connecting to the story you are narrating. To avoid cliché, you might write out a bunch of definitions of diversity. Then, review them and get rid of any that seem like something you’d see in a dictionary or an inspirational poster. Get those clichéd definitions out of your system early, so you can wow your audience with your own carefully considered definition.

How to Write a Diversity Essay – Tips for Writing (Cont.)

  • Zoom out to diversity more broadly: This tip is especially important you are not writing about protected minority identities like race, religion, and sexuality. Again, it’s fine to not focus on these aspects of diversity. But you’ll want to have some space in the essay where you connect your very specific understanding of diversity to a larger system of values that can include those identities.

Revision is another, evergreen tip for writing good diversity essays. You should also remember that you are writing in a personal and narrative-based genre. So, try to be as creative as possible! If you find enjoyment in writing it, chances are better your audience will find entertainment value in reading it.

How to Write a Diversity Essay – Diversity Essay Examples

The first example addresses the “share a story” prompt. It is written in the voice of Karim Amir, the main character of Hanif Kureishi’s novel The Buddha of Suburbia .

As a child of the suburbs, I have frequently navigated the labyrinthine alleys of identity. Born to an English mother and an Indian father, I inherited a rich blend of traditions, customs, and perspectives. From an early age, I found myself straddling two worlds, trying to reconcile the conflicting expectations of my dual heritage. Yet, it was only through the lens of acting that I began to understand the true fluidity of identity.

  • A fairly typical table setting first paragraph, foregrounding themes of identity and performance
  • Includes a “thesis” in the final sentence suggesting the essay’s narrative and argumentative arc

Diversity, to me, is more than just a buzzword describing a melting pot of ethnic backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations. Instead, it evokes the unfathomable heterogeneity of human experience that I aim to help capture through performance. On the stage, I have often been slotted into Asian and other ethnic minority roles. I’ve had to deal with discriminatory directors who complain I am not Indian enough. Sometimes, it has even been tempting to play into established stereotypes attached to the parts I am playing. However, acting has ultimately helped me to see that the social types we imagine when we think of the word ‘diversity’ are ultimately fantastical constructions. Prescribed identities may help us to feel a sense of belonging, but they also distort what makes us radically unique.

  • Includes an original definition of diversity, which the writer compellingly contrasts with clichéd definitions
  • Good narrative dynamism, stressing how the writer has experienced growth over time

Diversity Essay Examples Continued – Example One

The main challenge for an actor is to dig beneath the “type” of character to find the real human being underneath. Rising to this challenge entails discarding with lazy stereotypes and scaling what can seem to be insurmountable differences. Bringing human drama to life, making it believable, requires us to realize a more fundamental meaning of diversity. It means locating each character at their own unique intersection of identity. My story, like all the stories I aspire to tell as an actor, can inspire others to search for and celebrate their specificity. 

  • Focuses in on the kernel of wisdom acquired over the course of the narrative
  • Indirectly suggests what the applicant can contribute to the admitted class

Acting has ultimately underlined an important takeaway of my dual heritage: all identities are, in a sense, performed. This doesn’t mean that heritage is not important, or that identities are not significant rallying points for community. Instead, it means recognizing that identity isn’t a prison, but a stage.

  • Draws the reader back to where the essay began, locating them at the intersection of two aspects of writer’s background
  • Sharply and deftly weaves a course between saying identities are fictions and saying that identities matter (rather than potentially alienating reader by picking one over the other)

Diversity Essay Examples Continued – Example Two

The second example addresses a prompt about what the applicant can contribute to a diverse campus. It is written from the perspective of Jason Taylor, David Mitchell’s protagonist in Black Swan Green .

Growing up with a stutter, each word was a hesitant step, every sentence a delicate balance between perseverance and frustration. I came to think of the written word as a sanctuary away from the staccato rhythm of my speech. In crafting melodically flowing poems, I discovered a language unfettered by the constraints of my impediment. However, diving deeper into poetry eventually made me realize how my stammer had a humanistic rhythm all its own.

  • Situates us at the intersection of two themes – a speech impediment and poetry – and uses the thesis to gesture to their synthesis
  • Nicely matches form and content. The writer uses this opportunity to demonstrate their facility with literary language.

Immersing myself in the genius of Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, and Maya Angelou, I learned to embrace the beauty of diversity in language, rhythm, and life itself. Angelou wrote that “Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” For me, this quote illuminates how diversity is not simply a static expression of discrete differences. Instead, diversity teaches us the beauty of a multitude of rhythms we can learn from and incorporate in a mutual dance. If “everything in the universe has a rhythm,” then it’s also possible that anything can be poetry. Even my stuttering speech can dance.

  • Provides a unique definition of diversity
  • Conveys growth over time
  • Connects kernel of wisdom back to the essay’s narrative starting point

As I embark on this new chapter of my life, I bring with me the lessons learned from the interplay of rhythm and verse. I bring a perspective rooted in empathy, an unwavering commitment to inclusivity, and a belief in language as the ultimate tool of transformative social connection. I am prepared to enter your university community, adding a unique voice that refuses to be silent. 

  • Directly addresses how background and experiences will contribute to campus life
  • Conveys contributions in an analytic mode (second sentence) and more literary and personal mode (third sentence)

Additional Resources 

Diversity essays can seem intimidating because of the political baggage we bring to the word ‘diversity.’ But applicants should feel liberated by the opportunity to describe what makes them unique. It doesn’t matter if applicants choose to write about aspects of identity, life experiences, or personal challenges. What matters is telling a compelling story of personal growth. Also significant is relating that story to an original theory of the function and value of diversity in society. At the end of the day, committees want to know their applicants deeper and get a holistic sense of how they will improve the educational lives of those around them.

Additional Reading and Resources

  • 10 Instructive Common App Essay Examples 
  • How to Write the Overcoming Challenges Essay + Example
  • Common App Essay Prompts
  • Why This College Essay – Tips for Success
  • How to Write a Body Paragraph for a College Essay
  • UC Essay Examples 
  • College Essay

Tyler Talbott

Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Missouri and two Master of Arts degrees in English, one from the University of Maryland and another from Northwestern University. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in English at Northwestern University, where he also works as a graduate writing fellow.

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College Diversity Essay Examples

College Diversity Essay Examples

Institutions of higher learning want to recognize diversity and support students from diverse backgrounds and experiences, making college diversity essay examples more relevant than ever. Your diversity secondary essay will make a big difference in your application, and looking at expertly written essays will help you immensely.

We at BeMo believe that everybody deserves a fair and equal shot at higher education, which is why it is important to us to make sure that persons from underrepresented backgrounds aren’t being left behind.

To that end, we are going to show several examples of diversity essays, with prompts selected from different educational institutions, in addition to giving you general expert college essay tips and a section on how to approach diversity essays specifically.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 11 min read

Essay examples.

These essay prompts are taken from various schools as well as the Common App*, and each one will deal with a different kind of diversity. Some of these prompts remark directly on diversity, while others are simply open, or hint at a connection.

*The Common Application is a centralized system used by many schools to streamline the application process.

NYU Supplemental Essay Example (Common App)

Prompt: “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

Word limit: 250-650 words. Aim for about 500 words.

The labels that I bear are hung from me like branches on a tree: disruptive, energetic, creative, loud, fun, easily distracted, clever, a space cadet, a problem … and that tree has roots called ADHD. The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder made a lot of sense when it was handed down. I was diagnosed later than other children, probably owing to my sex, which is female; people with ADHD who are female often present in different ways from our male counterparts and are just as often missed by psychiatrists.

Over the years, these labels served as either a badge or a bludgeon, keeping me from certain activities, ruining friendships, or becoming elements of my character that I love about myself and have brought me closer to people I care about. Every trait is a double-edged sword.

The years that brought me to where I am now have been strange and uneven. I had a happy childhood, even if I was a “handful” for my parents. As I grew and grew in awareness of how I could be a problem, I developed anxiety over behavior I simply couldn’t control. With the diagnosis, I received relief, and yet, soon I was thinking of myself as broken, and I quickly attributed every setback to my neurological condition.

I owe much to my ADHD. I have found my paintbrushes to be superb catalysts for the cornucopia of ideas in my mind. I have always known how to have a great time, and my boundless energy has contributed to winning several medals while playing basketball.

My ADHD owes much to me, too. I have received several cards in basketball because I got “agitated.” My grades throughout elementary school – before I had good coping mechanisms and medications – look like yo-yos. Of course, I also have social troubles that I lay at the feet of my brain being wrong.

I have a wrong brain. I am wrong-brained. Imagine carrying that around as a child or as a teenager. I had to.

Only recently did I change my wrong-mind to a right-mind. The way I did it was simple: I stopped thinking of myself as having a brain that was wrong. I have a brain that is different. It supplies me with hurdles and the ability to leap over those hurdles. Sometimes I need extra help, but who doesn’t in one way or another? 

These days, I don’t even like to think of my ADHD as a “neurological condition,” because I just want to feel like it’s a part of me, and of course, it is.

I have recently been volunteering at a mental health resource center, trying to spread that worldview. I believe that it is important to help people with different minds. Part of how we need to do that is by normalizing being abnormal. We are all strange and different. My version of difference happens to be in my mind, and it has a label. So, let’s all be kind and generous to each other and our wonderful, divergent differences.

Prompt: “Harvard has long recognized the importance of student body diversity of all kinds. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, personal development or the intellectual interests you might bring to your Harvard classmates.”

Word limit: This particular prompt from Harvard is not given a word limit, but we recommend you aim for about 600 words.

Every morning I ride through the park on my bicycle, past a group of yoga practitioners who are connecting with nature in their trendy yoga pants. They're being taught by a tranquil-faced twenty-something with an asymmetrical haircut and a smart phone playing nature sounds. Saying “Namaste,” before rushing home to take the kids to school, they’ll probably buy flavored macchiatos on the way.

I’m not offended, although as a Hindu I have every right to be; I just think that they are probably missing the point of something very profound and important to me. I was taught yoga by my grandfather, who I always thought looked one hundred years old, no matter what he really was.

He would get me up at dawn, and I would complain, but doing the poses did awaken me, stretch my limbs, and move me into a more centered place. Most importantly, he taught me to hold on to that centered place for the rest of the day, to make sure that I carried my yoga with me.

I did carry it with me, too, past shops selling incense and yoga mats, past music stores with baby boomer rock stars who played sitar as a fad, and past a thousand other places that reminded me that my culture was a commodity, my religion a self-help rubber stamp. Lately, it has been my bicycle ride through the park taking me past this yoga group, who I don’t want to disparage too much, because maybe some of them are taking it seriously, but it doesn’t look that way, and it really doesn’t feel that way.

Looking for more tips? Check out the infographic below:

Prompt: “In 20XX, we faced a national reckoning on racial injustice in America - a reckoning that continues today. Discuss how this has affected you, what you have learned, or how you have been inspired to be a change agent around this important issue.”

Word limit: 400 words, max.

I’m angry and I’m tired of pretending otherwise. There have been too many riots, too many marches, too many people shouting into uncaring ears when Black people get treated the way we do. How many dead fathers, sons, mothers, and daughters have to move from the front page of the news to the bottom of the social media feed before we get recognized and listened to. I just want to be heard. I have given up on the idea of waking up in a world where I am not afraid, angry, and weary. Maybe that world is for my grandkids, or my great-grandkids, but not me.

My mother and my father, my aunts and uncles, they were all very active in the protests – often at the front of the line – and they did not come through unscathed. They had bruises and blood spilt, they had broken bones. I know they will return to that battlefield, to protest peacefully until they cannot maintain that rank any longer. From these noble people I received my sense of righteous anger. But I also got good advice on how to use it well.

They know that protests are one thing, but action is another, and my mind has been geared toward law school for some time now, because I wanted to bring about the major changes that are needed for our society to move on. So, in addition to protests, I have been taking pre-law courses, and I have acquired a part-time job in the law firm where my uncle works, and while it is a small, office job, I get to spend a lot of time with my uncle learning about how to bring positive change by fighting big and little battles. Of course, he is also showing me how to fight those battles.

Anger alone isn’t going to settle anything, which is why I believe in making a better world with my actions and rhetoric. But I am still frustrated and furious, and while I am trying to find a hopeful place to get to, I’ll repeat that I don’t think we’ll see the better world I want. Maybe our grandkids, but not us. Hold on to that, get angry, and join me in pushing forward for them.

Princeton Supplemental Essay Example

Prompt: “At Princeton, we value diverse perspectives and the ability to have respectful dialogue about difficult issues. Share a time when you had a conversation with a person or a group of people about a difficult topic. What insight did you gain, and how would you incorporate that knowledge into your thinking in the future?”

Word limit: 250 words

Coming out was harder than I thought it would be. In the months previous, when I knew that I was gay, and when I knew that I wanted to tell my family, I was worried about their reactions. I hoped that they would be supportive, and I suspected that they would be, but it wasn’t just the event that was difficult, it was the next day and the day after that.

One conversation would have been painful but quick, like the proverbial bandage being ripped off. But this was interminable and killing me with kindness. My parents asked little questions or made showy gestures about caring in the days that followed, and the experience wound up lasting several months.

The insight I gained is that we think of life in terms of gateposts and events, but all things take time, and most have a build-up and cool-down surrounding them. Expecting to have something momentous take place in one afternoon was naïve.

Moving forward, I understand that the real problem was thinking of this as an event at all, and it’s not, it’s just who I am, which means I carry it around with me and I have no other recourse. I believe this will serve me well, because it will help me have ongoing conversations instead of quick talks that I wrap up and put away.

That’s better; my life is not a series of tough moments, it is ongoing.

The main thing to do with a diversity essay is to remain focused. First, focus on your subject, and keep in mind that the subject isn’t actually “diversity.” That sounds weird, but remember that this is always about you and the institution you’re applying to. They want to hear about your life, your experiences, and how you connect with their program.

To that end, make sure that you talk about your experiences beyond a general push for diversity. Of course, it’s easy to get behind ideas that are inclusive, but you have a central purpose here.

The second focus is to keep yourself on target with what kind of diversity you’re talking about. You can bring in multiple ways you fit the description of “diverse,” but your essay may be a fairly short one, so focus on one central theme or idea.

There are many different ways that you can be diverse or have a worldview that fits these prompts. Diversity is often thought of in terms of race, sexuality, and gender, but it could also mean neurodivergence, living with a disability, sex, religion, or nationality. With most prompts, diversity could be anything that sets you apart, such as growing up in unusual circumstances. Perhaps you moved a lot as a child, grew up on a military base, or were raised in the foster care system. Before assuming that diversity essays don’t apply to you, check the exact wording of the prompt and really contemplate your background.

Many essays ask about your experiences with diversity, so you might have a friend or relative who fits one or more of these categories; if you have a personal connection and experience with that person, you can speak to that in an essay.

Exploring your diversity, or your experiences with diversity, is the key to success in writing your own diversity essay. Dig deep and share your genuine experiences. The operative word here is “genuine”: do not, under any circumstances, fake this essay. Any falsehood in an application is unacceptable, and co-opting another underrepresented group’s diversity is disrespectful. There is enough room in most prompts to account for your particular branch of diversity without pretending to be someone else.

Want to review more advice for college essays? Take a look at this video:

Essay Writing Tips

When we speak more generally, not just of diversity essays in particular, but with respect to how to write a college essay , most of the rules are going to be more or less the same as with other prompts.

Of course, your approach to how to start a college essay , whether specific to the diversity prompts or not, remains the same: open with your “hook,” the line that snares any reader, ideally even ones who aren’t on the admissions committee. If you open well, you grab your reader’s attention and bring them along for the ride.

After that, follow basic essay structure, including a body to explore your ideas and a conclusion to wrap up.

One way to polish your essay is to make sure that your paragraphs transition nicely into one another – pay extra attention to the flow of your material. Another elite polish tip is to mirror your opening line with your closing, at least in terms of fulfilling the promise of whatever your opening line spoke of.

Inclusion is of maximal importance. Get yourself recognized at your top-choice school with our tips and sample college essays . By working with these prompts, and within the application streams for underrepresented students, you are giving yourself the agency to move forward into a more diverse future.

Everything depends on the individual school’s prompt. If the prompt is mandatory, you write the essay, even if you only have an outsider’s connection. Many schools have optional diversity essays, or reserve them for students from certain backgrounds. In those cases, only write the essay if you feel it is appropriate for you to do so. This might change based on the wording of the prompt. Some prompts invite students with “connections” to diverse communities to respond, which means that you might not be a member of an underrepresented community, but you could be a supporter, activist, or close friend or family member of those communities. Still other prompts cast a wide net for potential types of diversity, which means you might fit into one based on your experiences, even if you don’t immediately think of yourself as fitting in.

If the essay prompt applies to you, or if it is mandatory, write the essay.

Not necessarily. Obviously, if the essay is optional and does not apply to you, your chances remain the same. However, many institutions have programs for underrepresented students, and benefitting from them may depend on writing a diversity statement. In other words, it’s required. In general, we recommend that you take every opportunity offered to make your application stand out, and producing a thoughtful diversity statement or optional essay is an effective way to do that.

As listed above, there are many possibilities. Race, gender, sexuality, nationality, religion, and sex are some of the categories you might fit into which apply to these essays. If you don’t fit into those categories, you might still be considered diverse based on any experience which sets you apart and gives you a unique background, life, or circumstance, which means that most diversity prompts have a very wide net.

Essays are typically only seen by admissions committees. If the institution wants to use your essay as an example essay, they would need to ask you first. Sharing your essay would require permission.

If you are particularly worried, contact your school and ask about their confidentiality policies, or specifically ask that they do not disclose your essay’s contents.

Try not to worry; these programs are set up for people like you, and the administrations are understanding and sympathetic to your situation. They certainly do not want to hurt you.

You just have to share your authentic connection with diversity. If you have negative emotions or experiences tied to that aspect of yourself, of course you are allowed to share them. Speaking to the frustration, anger, anxiety, and other debilitating emotions around racial violence, for example, is not off the table. You highlight yourself, your diversity, and your connection to the school – that’s it. Don’t feel like you need to hide your personal experiences to play nice or seem “positive.”

No, some do not. Most have essays geared toward your background generally, which can often provide an opportunity to talk about your diversity, but it would not be required. Keep in mind that more general background essays, like personal statements or the near-ubiquitous, “Why this school?” essays, will need more focus on academics or career goals. Diversity essays can be more focused on your own personal experiences.

All admissions essays are personal to some degree. Diversity essays will touch on the essence of yourself, so they will be more personal than a lot of others. Getting personal will also help to show the admissions committee who you really are and why you really need to attend their institution.

Most of the time, yes. Many prompts are open-ended and would allow you to bring that aspect of yourself forward - in your personal statement, for instance. Some application processes, such as the Common or Coalition Applications, have a prompt that allows you to select your own topic.

Definitely write a diversity essay if you believe that is the best way to show your unique individuality and how you will add to the fabric of the school to which you are applying.

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diversity inclusion essay

How To Write The Equity and Inclusion Essay for Columbia

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Vinay Bhaskara and Joseph Recuperon in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.

What’s Covered:

What is the prompt asking, share your unique perspective, discuss how you will positively contribute to columbia’s community.

The difficult piece about Columbia’s Essay Questions is that they have multi-part prompts where there are a couple of different things you’re being asked to address using a few words; some students may find this difficult to handle. 

Columbia’s Equity and Inclusion Essay prompt reads as follows: 

A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and thrive in an equitable and inclusive community with a wide range of perspectives. Tell us about an aspect of your own perspective, viewpoint or lived experience that is important to you, and describe how it has shaped the way you would learn from and contribute to Columbia’s diverse and collaborative community. (200 words) This prompt has three important aspects that must be covered in a short 200 words:

  • Talk about an aspect of a unique perspective or lived experience 
  • Describe how it has shaped the way you learn 
  • Connect the two points above to how they will assist you in being a positive contribution to Columbia’s collaborative community 

It is critical that you answer all three parts of the question for your essay to seriously be taken into consideration. One benefit to the prompt being phrased in this way is that it provides you with an outline for your essay. As you are brainstorming for this essay, you can test each topic against these three points. If a topic does not address all three points, you may want to consider other ideas for your response. 

Finding Perspective

Your perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion sets the tone for your entire essay. It’s important to note that the essay does not have to be about demographic diversity. Diversity encompasses a range of differences, including but not limited to: race, gender identity, national origin, disability, socioeconomic status, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, and many more. 

Diversity in this essay is about anything that offers a differing perspective. As the prompt asks,  “Tell us about an aspect of your own perspective, viewpoint, or lived experience that is important to you.” The most important facet of this prompt is sharing that unique perspective you would bring to the table as a Columbia student. How do you view the world and what brought about this way of thinking? 

Where to Start

A great place to start if you’re stuck is to think about a difficult situation, or even a situation in which you felt you viewed something differently than your peers or those around you. Think about something that makes you unique.

For instance, one student who worked with one of our experts wrote a really interesting essay for this prompt; it was about being diagnosed with ADHD and slight autism. The student realized that hugs meant something very different to them than they did to their peers. The student then worked that perspective into the idea of community engagement at Columbia and how that would show collaboration. 

This essay really is about sharing a different perspective, so make sure to think deeply and reflect on your personal experiences.

Columbia is trying to understand how you will be a positive contributor and add to a unique perspective of the campus community. Be careful not to say general phrases such as, “I’m going to bring this to Columbia.” Instead, tie whatever you are discussing to something Columbia already has or is working to improve in their community.

There are plenty of initiatives in the works at Columbia right now, as with any university, and they discuss many of these on their websites or you can speak with professors and current students to learn about them. 

Make sure that your response ties the perspective you will bring to something that is specific to Columbia. An ideal essay addresses how your unique perspective will contribute to the diversity, equity, inclusion, and continued growth of the university and your specific entering class.

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

diversity inclusion essay

Center for Teaching

Developing and writing a diversity statement.

diversity inclusion essay

What is a diversity statement, and what purpose does it serve?

What topics might be included in a diversity statement.

  • Getting Started

Writing Prompts

Adapting your statement for a job application, additional resources.

Increasingly, institutions of higher education are becoming more intentional and programmatic about their efforts to embrace principles of inclusion, equity, justice, and diversity throughout campus life. As they do so, they are more focused on finding faculty who have experiences and competencies that can contribute to these efforts. Consequently, universities and colleges frequently are requesting that job applicants address how they can contribute to a culture of inclusion and equity within the campus community in the form of a “diversity statement.”

diversity inclusion essay

Sometimes, a job ad will request that applicants address diversity in the cover letter or the teaching statement, but a request for a separate diversity statement is becoming more common. From the perspective of some universities, the purpose of such documents is to demonstrate that the applicant has commitments and capacities to contribute to the institution’s projects of inclusion and equity via their work, including scholarship, teaching, service, mentoring, and advising. Asking faculty applicants to speak to inclusive excellence in their application materials or during the interview process shows a university’s commitment to inclusion and ensures that new faculty share that commitment (2018). The document is also an opportunity for applicants to highlight their understanding of the barriers faced by under-represented or marginalized groups, as well as their own experiences meeting the needs of a diverse population of students, staff, and peers. For example, The University of California at San Diego requests a separate “Contributions to Diversity” statement from all faculty applicants, and its published guidelines suggest describing “your past efforts, as well as future plans to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.” (2.1.18, ).

The wording that universities and colleges use in framing the request for a diversity statement varies widely. Below are a few examples from job ads posted in the 2017-2018 academic year.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland (public liberal arts college, faculty posting in Psychology):

Applicants should submit a statement explaining how their teaching at the College will contribute to a culture of inclusion and campus diversity .

Denison University (private liberal arts university in Ohio, faculty posting in Anthropology):

A description of how the applicant would contribute to the development of a diverse and inclusive learning community at Denison through her/his teaching, research, and/or service .

Angelo State (public university in Texas, faculty posting in Engineering):

The required Other Document should be no longer than 2 pages and should discuss how the candidate would help achieve Angelo State University’s goal to attract and graduate more women, Hispanic, and students from other underrepresented groups .

Georgia College and State University (public liberal arts college, faculty posting in Psychology)

Qualified candidates should submit a research statement, and a diversity statement (describing how you incorporate diversity into your teaching, research, and/or service). Teaching, research, and diversity statements should be limited to two single-spaced pages.

Franklin & Marshall College (private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, Visiting Assistant Professor Position in Psychology)

Pursuant to the college’s vision for cultivating a diverse and inclusive community, the search committee will ask all applicants to address how their past and/or potential contributions might serve to advance F&M’s commitment to teaching and mentoring young people from a variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews th at arise from differences of culture and circumstance.

Since the diversity statement is an emerging genre in the context of faculty job applications, there are few set guidelines on what must be included. Keeping in mind that the purpose of the statement is to demonstrate a commitment to fostering diversity, the following elements may be appropriate:

  • Statement of values as they relate to your understanding and commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and/or justice in higher education.
  • Examples of experiences that demonstrate your commitment to fostering the success of underrepresented students, staff, and peers, and supporting a diversity of perspectives in the classroom, lab, campus, or community.
  • Future plans for continuing to advance inclusive excellence, diversity, or equity in your research, teaching, and service.

Getting started

diversity inclusion essay

  • What are your values regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity in your professional life? Why do you think diversity is valuable in higher education settings? How about in your discipline specifically?
  • What kinds of student, staff, or faculty diversity are you thinking of as you answer this question, and are there other ways in which diversity manifests in campus communities that might be valuable to consider?
  • What elements of your own identity inform your teaching, research, or scholarship in a tangible way?

It is worth noting that diversity statements are fundamentally about your values, commitments, and capabilities, and not necessarily your identity and the ways it shapes your work. If you choose to disclose your identity in a diversity statement, you should be aware of some issues.

Should You Self-Disclose Elements of Your Personal Identity?

Note that some people wish to share elements of their personal background in their actual statement, and many do not. Reflecting on your own frame of reference can be useful regardless. Some degree of transparency may help readers contextualize the experiences and approaches you detail in your statement. For example, you may wish to share that you grew up in a bilingual household or that you attended graduate school as an international student, if either has influenced your approach to mentorship or teaching. A 2014 study investigated the content of 191 cover letters for faculty positions in which applicants were specifically asked to address diversity and inclusion; less than a quarter of applicants self-disclosed some aspect of their personal identity (Schmaling, Trevino, Lind, Blume, & Baker, 2014). Despite the low percentage of applicants who chose to self-disclose and despite the authors’ note that they could not determine which applications advanced as a function of the applicants’ choice to self-disclose, they write that “self-disclosing one’s diversity may reconceptualize membership in a previously stigmatized group as an advantage, particularly if the self-identification reinforces a coherent academic and professional identity (Schmaling et al., 2014, p. 10)..”

However, be advised that there is risk in disclosing details that may carry stigma or induce subtle biases on the part of readers. For example, some research confirms that biases toward African Americans and women influence evaluation of written application materials (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000; Moss-Racusin, Dovidio, Brescoll, Graham, & Handelsman, 2012), specifically when the application is not exceptionally weak or exceptionally strong (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000). The potential benefit of self-disclosing one’s mental health history or sexual orientation, for example, should be carefully weighed against the risk. To be sure, an excellent statement can be written without sharing elements of personal identity, and some universities that request statements are beginning to highlight this. The University of San Diego’s published guidelines to writing a diversity statement, for example, emphasize their desire to identify candidates who share the institution’s commitment to inclusive excellence, “regardless of personal demographic characteristics.”

The following prompts are meant to help you identify areas of strength to highlight in your diversity statement. For each of the following areas, think about your past experience and what you plan to do in the future. You don’t need to answer every question, as all may not apply.

Research and Scholarship

  • Does your research/scholarship directly address issues of diversity, inclusion, or equity? If so, how?
  • Does your research/scholarship address issues specific to marginalized groups? If so, describe the connection.
  • Has your research/scholarship been shared with the community or public in a way that promotes access to scholarship?
  • Has your scholarship involved collaboration with diverse groups of colleagues or commentators?

Mentorship and Advising

  • Have you worked with any students in a mentorship or advisory capacity who are from marginalized groups? If so, how did you help them identify and overcome barriers to success? Think about your experience with research mentorship, teaching or tutoring, academic advising, and community mentorship.
  • If you plan to train undergraduates and/or graduate students in your future role, what efforts will you make to recruit and retain students from marginalized and underrepresented groups?
  • How do you plan to serve a student body that is diverse in a multitude of ways? Think not just race, ethnicity, and SES, but about age, religion, academic preparedness, disability, gender expression, or other differences.
  • How does your approach to course design take into account considerations of diversity? You may wish to reflect on using a range of assessments, preventing bias in grading, diversifying course content, using inclusive language in the syllabus and classroom, or utilizing student feedback to improve classroom culture or tone. Try to generate at least one specific example of how your decision affects student’s learning in your course. (Note: One prominent example of inclusive syllabus language is diversity statements within syllabi; see examples from Brown University , Yale Center for Teaching and Learning , and The Eberly Center at Carnegie Mellon University )
  • What do you do as a teacher that creates a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere? How do you ensure that students in your class feel a sense of belonging?
  • How does your approach to facilitating discussion (and/or structuring active learning activities) take into account considerations of positionality, power, and/or diversity? You may wish to reflect on using semi-structured discussion techniques, online access points for student participation, classroom seating arrangements, or other ways in which you create opportunities for student engagement. Try to generate at least one specific example of how your pedagogical choice facilitates student engagement in a particular course.
  • Does your discipline lend itself to dialogue about diversity? If so, how do you incorporate this dialogue into your courses? Describe the impact of doing so on student learning and engagement.
  • How do you ensure that your course readings and sources reflect diverse perspectives? Have you had any experience diversifying/decolonizing content for your courses, and if so, what has been the impact on student learning?
  • Have you participated in any service activities (e.g. university committees, symposiums, workshops, volunteer work in the community) whose goals relate to diversity, inclusion, and equity? If so, describe your experience. What did you accomplish? What did you learn? What skills did you build in the process?
  • If you have engaged in diversity-related service, how will you incorporate your experience into the job for which you are applying? (Note: here is where – having done your research on the school to which you are applying – you might consider referencing an existing diversity-related initiative to which you could contribute or which you could expand)

After you have developed a statement that reflects your strengths and experiences related to diversity, inclusion, and equity, you may wish to tailor it for individual job applications. Be sure to do your homework about diversity-related programs and resources at the schools to which you are applying, and consider including how you plan to contribute to or expand existing programs at that institution. For example, if you have been particularly active in social justice initiatives and are applying to a school with no existing programs addressing race, power and privilege in higher education, it may be appropriate to propose a program modelled on something you’ve already done. However, you do not need to propose a new diversity-related program to write an effective diversity statement. Perhaps you envision your contribution as serving on faculty committees related to diversifying curriculum in your department or advising LGBT-student groups or research initiatives. Be honest about where you are and how you can contribute.

  • Golash-Boza, T. (2016). “ The Effective Diversity Statement .” Inside Higher Ed.
  • University of California: Contributions to Diversity
  • Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2000). Aversive racism and selection decisions: 1989 and 1999.   Psychological Science, 11 (4), 315-319.
  • Schmaling, K. B., Trevino, A. Y., Lind, J. R., Blume, A. W., & Baker, D. L. (2015). Diversity statements: How faculty applicants address diversity.   Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 8 (4), 213-224.
  • Moss-Racusin, C., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students.   PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (41), 16474-16479.

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diversity inclusion essay

How to Write a Diversity Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide for Impactful Narratives

diversity inclusion essay

Diversity refers to the presence and acceptance of a variety of individual differences within a group or community. These differences can encompass aspects such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, abilities, and more. 

Embracing diversity in college involves recognizing and valuing these distinctions, fostering inclusivity, and creating an environment where everyone is respected and has equal opportunities.

In this article, you will learn about the definition of diversity essay and receive valuable writing hints, as well as interesting topic ideas. Keep in mind that at any moment, you can ask us, ‘ Write my papers ,’ and we’ll match you with a competent writer in seconds. 

What Is a Diversity Essay

Diversity essays serve as a profound exploration of an individual's distinctive experiences, perspectives, and contributions within the context of diversity. These essays, commonly encountered in academic and application settings like college admissions or job applications, offer a platform to articulate how one's background, identity, or life experiences enrich and contribute to a diverse and inclusive environment. 

This reflective narrative, unrestricted by a specific word limit, delves into personal challenges, triumphs, and the transformative influence of diversity in fostering understanding and personal development. Beyond individual stories, diversity essays underscore the broader significance of embracing differences, contributing to the creation of vibrant, tolerant communities. 

Creating a diversity essay is an opportunity for individuals to authentically express themselves, conveying the profound impact of diversity on their lives and perspectives.

Why a Diversity Essay Is Assigned to Students

Colleges encourage students to write diversity essays as a means of fostering a rich and inclusive academic environment. These essays provide applicants with an opportunity to express their unique perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, contributing to the diverse tapestry of the campus community. Admissions officers seek a holistic view of applicants, and diversity essays offer valuable insights into an individual's character, values, and the impact of their experiences on their worldview.

By actively seeking diversity, colleges aim to create a vibrant and inclusive learning environment where students encounter a variety of perspectives, ideas, and cultures. Embracing diversity enhances the educational experience by promoting cross-cultural understanding, tolerance, and a broader worldview among students. It also prepares them for engagement in a globalized society where diverse perspectives and collaboration are essential.

All in all, colleges value diversity essays as a means of selecting students who will contribute to the inclusive and dynamic educational communities they strive to cultivate. If you don’t feel confident enough to write this type of composition, feel free to take advantage of custom research paper writing – it’s the fastest way to get the task done. 

Why Creating a Diversity Essay Is So Important in College

A diversity essay holds significance for several reasons, playing a crucial role in various contexts such as college admissions, job applications, or scholarship opportunities. Here are key reasons why a diversity essay is important:

1. Showcasing Individuality: A diversity essay allows individuals to present their unique experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds, highlighting what makes them distinct.

2. Contributing to Inclusivity: In academic and professional settings, diversity enriches the learning or working environment. Essays articulate how an individual's background can contribute to a diverse and inclusive community.

3. Promoting Understanding: By sharing personal stories, challenges, and triumphs related to diversity, individuals contribute to a broader understanding of different cultures, identities, and life experiences.

4. Community Building: In educational institutions and workplaces, diversity essays aid in forming communities that celebrate differences, fostering a supportive and respectful atmosphere.

5. Enhancing Applications: In college admissions or job applications, a well-crafted diversity essay can set an applicant apart, demonstrating qualities such as resilience, open-mindedness, and adaptability.

6. Preparing for Global Engagement: In an interconnected world, understanding and appreciating diversity is essential. Writing a diversity essay equips individuals with the ability to navigate and contribute to diverse and multicultural environments.


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20 Interesting Diversity Topic Ideas

Explore a rich tapestry of perspectives and experiences with these intriguing ideas for diversity topics. From navigating dual identities to championing inclusivity, each topic invites thoughtful exploration into the various facets that shape our diverse world.

  • Cultural kaleidoscope.
  • Navigating dual identities.
  • Language as a bridge.
  • Beyond borders.
  • Empathy through experience.
  • Championing inclusivity.
  • Intersectionality in identity.
  • Overcoming stereotypes.
  • Family traditions.
  • Educational odyssey.
  • Cultural exchange impact.
  • Artistic expressions.
  • Resilience in adversity.
  • Community engagement.
  • Navigating generational differences.
  • LGBTQ+ narratives.
  • Global perspectives through travel.
  • Environmental activism.
  • Technology and global connection.
  • Reflection on privilege.

Writing Tips to Consider

When writing a diversity essay, consider highlighting unique experiences, perspectives, and contributions. Emphasize personal growth and the impact of diversity on your worldview. Share specific examples that showcase your understanding of diverse backgrounds. Address challenges and how you've overcome them, demonstrating resilience. Connect your experiences to your goals and how diversity enriches your academic and personal journey. 

Conclude by emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and your commitment to contributing to diverse communities. As an example, please check out an article about the first black woman in space . 

Keep the Essay’s Focus on You

Keeping the focus on yourself when writing a diversity essay is crucial because the essay aims to provide insights into the student's personal experiences, perspectives, and growth. By focusing on their own journey, students can authentically share how diversity has influenced their lives, values, and understanding of the world. This approach allows for a genuine and reflective exploration of the impact of diversity on the individual, showcasing their unique story and contributions. 

It enables admissions committees to gain a deeper understanding of the student's character, resilience, and commitment to fostering an inclusive environment. Ultimately, keeping the narrative personal enhances the authenticity and effectiveness of the essay.

Speak From Your Own Experience 

Speaking from one's own experience when learning how to write a diversity essay is essential because it adds authenticity and depth to the narrative. Sharing personal experiences allows students to convey genuine insights into how diversity has shaped their perspectives, values, and identity. By drawing from their unique encounters and challenges, students can provide a real and relatable account of the impact of diversity on their lives. 

This approach helps admissions committees connect with the individual on a more profound level, fostering a better understanding of their journey and the lessons learned. It also demonstrates the student's ability to reflect on personal growth and contributes to a more compelling and impactful diversity essay.

Explain How Your Background or Identity Has Affected Your Life

When writing a diversity essay, students should explain how their background or identity has affected their lives to provide context and insight into their personal journey. By elucidating the influence of their background or identity, students can showcase the unique perspectives, challenges, and experiences that have contributed to their growth and development. 

This allows admissions committees to understand the specific ways in which diversity has shaped the individual's character, values, and outlook on the world. It also highlights the student's ability to reflect on the broader implications of their background, emphasizing the richness and depth that diversity brings to their life story. Ultimately, explaining the impact of background or identity adds a layer of authenticity and depth to the diversity essay, making it more compelling and resonant.

Did you know that students buy essay papers three times out of five? That’s because the college workload is pretty heavy, and free time is a rare commodity. In addition, some topics might not resonate at all, like diversity or bullying. That’s why professional writers are always there for you to assist. 

How to Write a Diversity Essay Step by Step

Writing a diversity essay involves weaving a narrative that explores the unique aspects of your background, experiences, and perspectives. Start by reflecting on your identity, considering elements such as cultural background, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, or any other defining factors. Share personal anecdotes that highlight challenges, triumphs, or pivotal moments related to your identity. Emphasize the lessons learned and growth experienced through these encounters.

Connect your experiences to broader themes of diversity, inclusion, and societal impact. Showcase how your diverse perspectives contribute to a richer understanding of the world. Articulate a vision for fostering diversity and inclusion in various contexts, whether academic, professional, or community-based.

Craft your essay with clarity, authenticity, and a genuine voice. Make it a compelling narrative that not only communicates your unique story but also resonates with the broader themes of diversity, promoting a deeper understanding of the multifaceted human experience. If anything becomes too difficult or time-consuming, use our assignment writing service to speed the process up.

How to Write an Effective Diversity Essay

Step 1: Do Your Research

Conducting research for a diversity essay involves exploring various sources to enhance your understanding of different perspectives and experiences. Begin by reading literature, articles, or academic papers on diversity-related topics to gain insights into the broader discourse. Engage with diverse voices from authors, scholars, and activists who share experiences or provide analysis in areas relevant to your essay.

Utilize online databases, libraries, and educational platforms to access a wide range of resources. Interview individuals with diverse backgrounds to gather firsthand accounts and personal narratives that can enrich your essay. Attend relevant events, workshops, or lectures to expand your knowledge and engage with diverse viewpoints.

Stay informed about current events and societal discussions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Follow reputable news sources, journals, and community organizations to stay updated on evolving perspectives and challenges. Incorporate credible research findings into your essay to substantiate your arguments and present a well-rounded perspective on diversity issues. Have you already checked our women in stem article? You should definitely do it!

Step 2: Craft an Outline

Creating an outline for diversity essays involves structuring your thoughts to present a cohesive narrative. Here's an example:


  • Start with a compelling hook or anecdote related to diversity.
  • Introduce the significance of diversity and its impact on individuals and communities.
  • Clearly state your thesis or the main idea you will explore in the essay.

Body Paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: Personal Background

  • Share your personal background, including cultural, ethnic, or other relevant identities.
  • Discuss how your background has shaped your perspectives.

Paragraph 2: Experiences and Challenges

  • Highlight specific experiences or challenges related to diversity that you've encountered.
  • Reflect on how these experiences have influenced your worldview.

Paragraph 3: Contributions to Diversity

  • Share instances where you've contributed to promoting diversity or fostering inclusion.
  • Discuss any initiatives, projects, or activities you've undertaken.


  • Summarize the key points discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Reiterate the importance of diversity and your commitment to fostering an inclusive environment.

End your essay with a strong concluding statement that reinforces the significance of embracing diversity. This structure provides a narrative flow, allowing your essay to unfold naturally while addressing key aspects of diversity.

Step 3: Follow These Writing Tips

To elevate your essay and make it stand out, consider incorporating the following tips into your writing process:

  • Begin by reflecting on your own experiences, beliefs, and values related to diversity.
  • Share a personal story or unique perspective that highlights your understanding of diversity.
  • Write authentically about your experiences, avoiding clichés or trying to fit into preconceived notions.
  • Consider the experiences and perspectives of your readers to make your essay relatable.
  • Discuss how your encounters with diversity have contributed to personal growth and understanding.
  • Describe the impact of diversity on your life and how it has shaped your identity.
  • If applicable, showcase your contributions to promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • While discussing challenges, focus on positive outcomes and lessons learned.
  • Be mindful of perpetuating stereotypes and strive for a nuanced and respectful portrayal.
  • Carefully edit your essay for clarity and coherence, ensuring it effectively conveys your message.

Remember that in college, you should also learn how to write a speech . This guide will help you figure out the essentials of writing speeches that resonate and engage the audience.

Diversity Essay Examples

You can choose a diversity essay example that you like and use it as inspiration for your own work:

Diversity essays are more than a requirement; they're an opportunity for self-discovery and understanding. This assignment delves into our experiences, unraveling the richness within our perspectives. Exploring cultural kaleidoscopes, dual identities, and personal narratives, writing about diversity becomes a transformative act. 

In this guide, we showed you how to write a diversity essay, providing insights into weaving personal stories into compelling narratives. By following these tips, we contribute to fostering understanding and appreciation for diversity. Beyond grades, this assignment impacts our growth and the broader societal conversation. Once you enter college, make it a good habit to buy an argumentative essay and save your time and energy for more engaging student activities. 

How to Get Qualified Writing Help?

Stuck? Can’t seem to figure out how to begin? Or how to continue? Click the button below to get qualified writing help that will save your time and energy.

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

diversity inclusion essay

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College Essays about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In recent years, many colleges and universities have expanded their supplemental college essay prompts to include topics about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This shift has increased dramatically in the past year, so read on to learn more about some of these prompts and how to prepare for your essays effectively and authentically.

What is the purpose of the DEI essay?

The increase in DEI essays shows that colleges want to know about students’ values and social awareness more than ever. They are looking for applicants who have bettered their communities in some way and who will bring those same contributions to their campus. Not only that, but they want to know about your personal identity; who are you and where do you come from? How do your values fit with their philosophy and how will you contribute to positive change on campus?

Giving students an additional space to discuss their identity and engagement gives admissions officers a more complete picture of an applicant. It also gives students more room to showcase various aspects of themselves without being limited to the personal statement or supplements that have a different focus. However, that is not to say you can’t talk about DEI in a non-DEI prompt! Just be mindful of whether a school has a dedicated space for this information so you’re not repeating the same content in multiple essays.

What questions might I be asked to answer?

DEI essays vary widely in scope and may cover topics such as social activism, identity, and cultural awareness. Some of the newly added prompts include: 

Brown : Brown’s culture fosters a community in which students challenge the ideas of others and have their ideas challenged in return, promoting a deeper and clearer understanding of the complex issues confronting society. This active engagement in dialogue is as present outside the classroom as it is in academic spaces. Tell us about a time you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. How did you respond?

Emory : Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.

Lehigh : What would you want to be different in your own country or community to respond to issues of inequality, inequity, or injustice?

Princeton : At Princeton, we value diverse perspectives and the ability to have respectful dialogue about difficult issues. Share a time when you had a conversation with a person or a group of people about a difficult topic. What insight did you gain, and how would you incorporate that knowledge into your thinking in the future? AND Princeton has a longstanding commitment to service and civic engagement. Tell us how your story intersects (or will intersect) with these ideals.

Richmond : Please share one idea for actions or policies that you think would begin to address an issue of racial or social injustice.

St. Olaf : We have a goal to create a community of students from diverse backgrounds with unique ideas, identities, and perspectives. Reflect on an experience that made you reconsider the way you see the world. How did you engage with new and challenging ideas?

Tufts : Where are you on your journey of engaging with or fighting for social justice?

Tulane : Tulane values the lessons gained from pursuing an education alongside a student body that represents a wide range of experiences and perspectives and is reflective of our multicultural world. If you would like to share a perspective related to your family, cultural group, sexual or gender identity, religious group, or some other aspect that has shaped your identity, please do so here.

UNC : Describe an aspect of your identity (for example, your religion, culture, race, sexual or gender identity, affinity group, etc.). How has this aspect of your identity shaped your life experiences thus far? AND/OR If you could change one thing to better your community, what would it be? Why is it important and how would you contribute to this change?

(not a new prompt, but) Duke : Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better–perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background–we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.

How can I prepare to write a DEI essay?

As mentioned earlier, DEI prompts are a way for admissions officers to learn more about students’ identities, values, and engagement in their communities. So, the first step in writing a DEI essay is to reflect on who you are. There may be clear markers of your diverse background, such as race or gender identity, but remember there are many more traits that make you unique. Do you speak another language? What is your family or personal history? What is your community like? How have your life experiences expanded your awareness? And most importantly, how do all of these characteristics impact who you are and how you see the world? And, don’t feel pressured to write about the most obvious “diverse” trait you have. Write about what is most important to you . 

Once you reflect on what defines your identity, think about your values. What issues are you passionate about and how will you address them? How does your identity impact your positionality in relation to these issues? It’s nice to talk about what you value, but it’s much more significant to show how you have put those values into practice, so consider what you can do to get involved in your community. Community engagement comes in many forms, from volunteering to fundraising to promoting awareness, so choose what you love and thrive doing. At the same time, push yourself to get out of your comfort zone, especially considering that some DEI prompts specifically ask about how you have challenged and exposed yourself to new perspectives. 

Many students shy away from including their community engagement experience on their college applications, thinking it could hurt their admissions chances. What if the person reading my application does not agree with what I did?  

If a school is directly asking about your values through a DEI essay, you should have nothing to worry about. But whether or not this is the case, it is important to be authentic in your application. As long as you did not engage in any irresponsible activities, you should not be penalized for participating in advocacy, no matter what kind. Admissions officers should put their personal biases aside when evaluating applications, but if it were the case that your actions negatively impacted your admission, then it is worth asking yourself: If this school does not agree with my values, is it really the right fit for me anyway?

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3 Diversity Essay Examples For Business School


Historically, MBA programs did not always exemplify the diversity that they strive for today, as programs were often composed of overrepresented populations.  For example, Harvard Business School did not admit women into its MBA program until as recently as 1961. Thankfully, business schools have made significant steps in the last few decades to incorporate women, international students, and students of other backgrounds into their programs. 

Business schools now understand and value the diverse backgrounds of MBA students, who bring a wealth of skills, knowledge, and experiences. Diverse student pools in MBA programs prepare future business leaders for success as they expand their global and cultural understanding by working with students from a wide range of backgrounds. 

Most business schools are eager to diversify their MBA programs and admit MBA students of “differing races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic statuses and geographical origins.” Business schools also strive to recruit students from an array of industries and a variety of undergraduate institutions.

Business professionals in MBA programs collaborate with students from numerous backgrounds, simulating students' real-world business experiences after graduation. Kelly R. Wilson, executive director of masters admissions at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, said that “Each person’s unique experience and background – their lifestyle – brings them to a place where they have a way that they think about things.” When classrooms are composed of diverse students, the classroom experience becomes more valuable as students can learn and challenge their perspectives, facilitating better critical thinking skills.

To foster an ideal and diverse learning environment, many business schools will offer students the chance to write a diversity essay as part of their MBA application. We will explain the purpose of a diversity essay, tips for writing one, and include some diversity essay examples. 

What is a Diversity Essay?

A diversity essay is often an optional essay that business schools may offer as part of their application process. Students can choose to write these essays if they self-identify as a minority based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or belonging to any other marginalized group. These essays can also focus on a student’s values and unique experiences. 

These essays differ from typical business school essays; they tend to illustrate an applicant’s personal identity rather than focusing solely on their personal or professional achievements or why they want to go to a particular school. Applicants who choose to write a diversity essay will often tell an anecdotal story about their upbringing, community, or family and how their experiences shaped them.

The essays may also explain how the applicant's diverse background will meaningfully contribute to the specific business school of their choice. 

Purpose of the Diversity Essay 

The diversity essay offers a space to include your minority identity on a business school application if it’s something you want the admissions committee to know. Not only will the admissions committee get to learn more about you, but you can also use this opportunity to give context into your background and potentially explain how you have overcome past adversities. 

Business schools value the diversity of their students, and illuminating your background can show the admissions committee how you would add a unique voice and perspective to the MBA program. Many schools celebrate inclusivity and actively share class profile demographics on their websites. Among the top ten business schools , recent data shows that almost all schools had racial or ethnic minority students who make up at least 25% of the student body. 

Under-Represented Minorities At The Top 10 Business Schools

under represented minorities at top business schools

If crafting a diversity essay is something you want to do, your essay can also highlight how your minority identity strengthens your MBA candidacy.

‍ Shaun Carver , assistant dean of graduate programs with the Rady School of Management at UCSD, said that “It's important to put their [an applicant’s] diversity in context of what makes them unique and makes them a better candidate and not just mention it as... checking a box.” Remember that the purpose of the diversity essay is to showcase your background with context to the admissions committee, so they can learn more about you and how you will contribute to the program. 

If you are comfortable writing and talking about your gender identity or your self-identification as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you may benefit from this in the admissions process. Jay Bryant, director of graduate recruitment and admissions with the Rady School of Management at the University of California—San Diego, said that “If you're applying to a school where that [LGBT status] would be an issue, you don't want to go there anyways.” Choosing to write a diversity essay about any part of your identity can help you later in the interview process as you explore the school’s culture and you get a better idea if you fit into it. 

Top Tips for Crafting a Diversity Essay 

Like any application essay, you want your diversity essay to be well-written, have a logical flow, and be free of any spelling or grammar errors. However, you can take some specific actions to make sure your diversity essay is the best that it can be. Here are some of our top tips to write a compelling diversity essay. 

Understand and Define Your Views on Diversity and Inclusion 

To help you get started on your essay, you should consider what diversity and inclusion mean to you. You can start jotting down ideas and themes that come to mind and ask yourself some questions to get the ball rolling. Some things you may want to ask yourself include: 

  • What are the types of diversity that I exhibit in my identity? Keep in mind that it’s possible to write about more than one facet of your identity. For example, perhaps you are a racial or ethnic minority that identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. 
  • As a student, how do you think you can contribute to the diversity of the school you wish to attend? 
  • What elements of your background influence your perspectives, experiences, and how you problem-solve in real-world settings? 
  • What are your values regarding diversity, and how do you integrate these values in a professional setting? 

You will likely not have the luxury of a high word limit, so if you don’t hit all of these points in your essay, that’s okay. Asking yourself these questions is a way to get yourself thinking about what diversity means to you and to give yourself ideas for your writing. 

Tell Your Story 

Now that you’ve considered your beliefs surrounding diversity and inclusion, you can look toward identifying concrete examples in your personal experiences. You can write about how your background influenced and shaped you, any obstacles you’ve faced and how you overcame them, or initiatives or actions you’ve taken to promote diversity in your community.

Think carefully about any anecdotes that stick out in your mind as especially formative to your personal or professional development. Remember to be yourself and to write honestly about your story. The admissions committee will get to know your story, and you may even discuss it later in your interview. 

Explain Why Your Background Will Positively Contribute to the School’s Culture 

Although you are writing about yourself and your own experiences and initiatives, you will want to round back and explain how your minority identity improves your MBA candidacy. Write about how your unique background will enrich the program through your one-of-a-kind perspective and voice. Remember that the purpose of your entire application is to show the admissions committee why you are an excellent fit for your desired program.

Maybe you’re passionate about a school’s club or course that directly relates to the anecdotes you wrote about in your diversity essay. If you can relate your story to your desire to attend a particular program, it undoubtedly makes your essay stronger. 

Consider How Your Background Impacted Your Skills and Perspectives 

The diversity essay is a great place to illuminate your individuality. Think about your life in the context of how your experiences may differ from the “norm.” Did you grow up in a foreign country? If so, how did cultural and regional differences impact your perspectives on the world? Did you not grow up in the traditional nuclear family archetype? Do you possess unique skills thanks to your upbringing?

Keep in mind that these skills don’t necessarily have to be professional in nature. Perhaps you excel in a sport or game that’s relatively unknown to other people in the U.S., or you are a great dancer to choreography specific to your culture. Your hobbies, skills, and experiences put into the context of the general American population can be very different and interesting to the admissions committee. After all, your interests and skills are central to your personality and self-expression.

Think About the Future 

At the conclusion of your essay, you may want to write about your hopes for your future. Here you can write about what you want your life to look like after you graduate and the accomplishments you hope to achieve. You can intertwine these future aspirations with your diversity statement to give the admissions committee a comprehensive look at how you will continue to uphold your values and ambitions after graduation or how you want to continue to be involved with your school as an alumnus. 

Three Diversity Essay Examples for Business School

We have compiled three diversity essay examples to help you craft your own stellar essay. Keep in mind that these are examples and that the prompt for a diversity essay may differ depending on the business school. These diversity essay examples exemplify the criteria of the top tips above and can provide you with the framework you need to get started on your own essay.

Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you, and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Sample introduction:.

“Thank you for calling [Call Center]; this is [Name] – may I have your name and email, please?” To my estimation, I’ve said this opening line 4,860 times. Unfathomable to my peers and family, I turned down a lucrative job in Silicon Valley to start my career in a call center. My decision was based upon my ambition of bettering the global community, driven by my guiding values of empathy and accountability. 

Sample Body Paragraphs:

I was born in [Country] to [Nationality] parents and moved to [City] at the age of five. My adolescence and teenage years were far from ordinary as our family moved every four years, and my sister was born in [year]. Despite my initial chagrin of being employed at the age of 12 as a traveling unpaid babysitter, these small yet significant responsibilities gave me my first glimpse into understanding what it meant to care for others. Empathy had led me to contextualize my life in a world of others, with the conclusion that humans should strive to help those around them.

I graduated with a concentration in corporate social responsibility (CSR). I felt the for-profit sector held the most untapped influence to fundamentally address global societal shortcomings. However, I couldn’t reconcile corporations’ competing pressure to maximize profits and engage in effective CSR initiatives until I discovered the entrepreneurial initiatives underway at [Call Center].

This rating agency was innovating the way investments are evaluated by assessing them based on sustainability metrics – environmental, social, and governance (ESG). In combining sustainability data and traditional financial metrics, investors can capture their non-pecuniary preferences in their investment behavior, which realigns corporate incentives to consider the stewardship of its actions. 

Sample Conclusion:

As I look to the future, I want to pivot from investment ratings and focus on broader sustainability evaluations for products and services. Much like how [Call Center] is innovating the way investments are assessed, I want to help shape how sustainability considerations can be integrated into the consumer decision-making process. I envision the parent company’s sustainability rating displayed directly on product packaging to allow consumers to incorporate their sustainable preferences into their purchasing decisions. I want to create a world in which a brand’s sustainability stewardship is as important as price and brand recognition. 

Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Hip hop choreography has been a significant part of my college and work career and is something that I am looking to continue at Wharton. I fell for choreography in college because it was not just one style but a mix of contemporary, jazz, freestyle hip hop, and many other sub-genres. To be successful in choreography, I had to be comfortable learning and combining different styles.

Sample Body Paragraph:

As a choreographer, I initially sought to never be the type of leader that was domineering and controlling. I wanted my team to be empowered to make independent decisions and never feel restricted. However, I learned that this was not the best approach for everyone. Some did love my leadership style and enjoyed the independence. Others disliked this and felt that I did not provide enough direction.

I was taken aback. I had thought I was empowering my team but instead had sowed confusion. I thought I knew best, but had not actually taken the time to understand their perspectives to truly support my team. From this, I gained a valuable learning experience. I learned the value of challenging my preconceptions and the importance of listening to others’ perspectives.

With a passion to engage and understand others, I will be a student at Wharton who will connect my classmates together, facilitating networking and group collaboration such as knowledge sharing events and interview practice. Additionally, I will share my values of challenging preconceptions to help my classmates approach problems from new points of views. Simply put, I will be a student who will bring my classmates together and solve problems together in new ways. ‍

I was hired on the spot during my final round of interviews at [Company] because, in addition to my communication skills, I knew how to code. Two years into my career, it turns out the interviewers were right: My high-level technical skills allow me to translate complicated processes into digestible language for our clients. By effectively articulating my growing passion for social media, I have made it my mission to spread the word about the power and pitfalls of technology. At Wharton, I will do the same: I will be committed to encouraging my classmates to consider how they can use social media to benefit their businesses and positively influence the world. 

As I reflect on my past academic experiences, I am thankful for learning from my classmates’ diverse perspectives. At Wharton, I will add value to classroom discussions by contributing my technical perspective in its simplest and most relevant form. As a team player, I will effectively persuade my peers to seriously consider the power of social media.

While I firmly believe that social media and social influence go hand in hand, much of their complex relationship has yet to be studied. Popular culture often focuses on the negative impact of technology, I prefer to appreciate how it improves people’s lives. Social media is giving a platform to historically silenced groups of people: The pioneers of the #MeToo movement, who have expertly utilized social media to get out their message, inspired me to speak up about my own experience. At Wharton, I will fearlessly advocate for both myself and others to maintain an inclusive community where everyone feels comfortable and respected. 

Finally, I look forward to strengthening the Wharton community even after I graduate. As part of the [Name] community, I serve as an alumni fund agent to encourage giving to the alumni fund, which finances 10% of the college’s operating budget. I look forward to proudly continuing these efforts as a Wharton alumna, because I know a close-knit alumni network is what separates a good school from a great school.

1. Do I have to write a diversity essay if I identify as part of a minority group? 

The diversity essay is optional, so no you do not have to write one if you choose. However, writing this essay can help the admissions committee learn more about you and your values and illustrate your background. Business schools value diversity, so you may give yourself a better chance of acceptance by writing a stellar diversity essay.

2. How long should my diversity essay be? 

The answer to this will depend on the school, but many business schools will provide you with a word limit for your essay. You should expect to write around 300-500 words. 

3. How do I know I’m on the right track with my essay? 

There’s no fundamental right or wrong way to write a diversity essay as long as you are answering the given prompt. Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain that your essay accurately represents you or if it's well-written. If you feel apprehensive about your diversity essay, there are services available that will help you with your writing to make sure that it’s reviewed, polished, and ready for submission. 

4. What elements of my diversity can I write about in my essay? 

In your diversity essay, you can write about many facets of your identity, including your race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, or other minority group. Note that you can also write about your experiences with intersectionality of two groups or more if that applies to you. 

5. Will the content of my diversity essay be discussed in my interview? 

If the business school admissions committee does not conduct blind interviews with anything on hand but your resume, anything on your application can be fair game for your interviewer to ask you. It may or may not come up, but you may want to be prepared with an example other than the one discussed in your essay to talk about with your interviewer. 

6. How do I know that my essay is ready for submission? 

Like all business school application essays, you want to make sure your essay is easy to follow, flows well, and is free of spelling or grammatical errors. If you feel that your essay accurately represents you and your experiences, answers the business school’s prompt, and is a clean edited copy, it may be ready for submission with the rest of your application! 


Business schools today value the diversity of their MBA students and their unique skills and perspectives. Students have the opportunity to learn and grow together while gaining new perspectives from students from different backgrounds. Writing a diversity essay as part of your application can be a great way to illustrate your distinct upbringing, identity, or culture to the admissions committee.

You know that the purpose of the diversity essay is to share your experiences with the admissions committee and provide context to how these experiences shaped you. Doing so can strengthen your MBA candidacy, especially if the rest of your application is polished. 

When you’re writing your diversity essay, remember to ask yourself questions about your views on diversity and inclusion, and use your beliefs and values to guide your writing. If you possess any unique skills or hobbies, the diversity essay may be a great place to write about them too.

Remember to tell your story authentically and explain how your acceptance will enrich the program. Your essay should reflect your past or your present, but be sure to think ahead to what you want your future to look like as well. Use the diversity essay examples above to guide your own writing, but remember that what experiences you choose to write about are ultimately up to you. You are the expert in your own life, and the admissions committee will undoubtedly be pleased to hear your story. 

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How To Craft a Diversity Statement for Graduate School Application

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In recent years, more and more institutions of higher education are requesting applicants to graduate programs to write a statement of diversity. A diversity statement, also sometimes referred to as a personal history statement, is used by these institutions to gauge how their future student population will contribute to their ongoing efforts to promote and maintain a culture of equity and inclusion.

Typically, diversity statements are one-page double-spaced documents that highlight how you, as a future student, will foster diversity within the community. The narrative tends to be more personal than that in a statement of purpose, with particular emphasis on cultural competence and understanding of current issues and efforts surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion.  In composing such an essay, it might be helpful to include some of the following elements:

  • Statements of values  as they relate to your understanding of historical barriers to diversity, inclusion, equity, and/or justice in higher education and your commitment towards dismantling those barriers. If you belong to a minority population, you can discuss how that experience shaped your outlook on life and your willingness to champion others who are in similar circumstances.
  • Examples   of experiences  that highlight your efforts in promoting the success of underrepresented students, peers, and staff and supporting various viewpoints in the classroom, lab, campus, or community. For example, if you have taught a class, how did you ensure equitable learning in that environment? If you have volunteered in underrepresented communities, what did you learn from those interactions? Try to include at least 2-3 relevant experiences, and for any of those be sure to emphasize what you did to promote diverse perspectives.
  • Relevant projects and coursework that address topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. For example, if you have sat in on a workshop on how to address intrinsic or extrinsic bias, you could convey how you incorporated what you learned into your daily living. If you have undertaken a project for a class that touched on issues surrounding diversity, you could highlight that as well.
  • Future plans  for continuing to advance inclusive excellence, diversity, or equity in your research, teaching, and service to the campus community. You can also talk about your personal growth as you continue to educate yourself on issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Be genuine in your narrative and present yourself as a person who is willing to learn and adapt to change.

Should You Self-Disclose Elements of Your Personal Identity?

Although most people are willing to share elements of their personal background and upbringing in their actual statement, it is ok if you do not. Nevertheless, if you do identify as a member of an underrepresented group, reflecting on your personal circumstance might provide context to the values that you articulate in your statement. Additionally, be sure to focus on your own experiences and accomplishments rather than those of your family or loved ones. If you have questions and/or concerns regarding any aspect of the diversity statement, do not hesitate to reach out to your mentors or pre-grad advisors to ask for

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What is diversity, equity, and inclusion?

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Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. If diversity is another word for variety, how can it enhance or flavor the world?

Get to know and directly engage with senior McKinsey experts on diversity, equity, and inclusion

Bob Sternfels is McKinsey’s global managing partner and is based in the Bay Area office. Tiffany Burns and Sara Prince are senior partners in McKinsey’s Atlanta office; Michael Chui is a partner in the Bay Area office, where Alexis Krivkovich and Lareina Yee are senior partners, and where James Manyika is a senior partner emeritus; Maurice Obeid , Shelley Stewart , and Jill Zucker are senior partners in the New York office; and Jonathan Woetzel is director of the McKinsey Global Institute and a senior partner in the Shanghai office.

Diversity—through the lenses of race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, and beyond—can help to strengthen organizations, as studies have shown  time and again. Quite simply, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is used to describe three values that many organizations today strive to embody to help meet the needs of people from all walks of life. While concepts such as biodiversity are important offshoots of the core idea of diversity, this article focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in business and society rather than in other contexts.

Companies that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive are better able to respond to challenges, win top talent, and meet the needs of different customer bases. With DEI in mind, companies are considering how to better support employees. Over the past few years, many organizations have taken strides to build diversity, equity, and inclusion  into their policies and hiring practices.

What are the differences between diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are often grouped together because they are interconnected and it is only in combination that their true impact emerges. Some organizations include related concepts, such as belonging, in their DEI strategies. But all of these terms are also easily misunderstood. It’s important to grasp the individual meanings and implications of each of these terms:

Diversity refers to who is represented in the workforce. Some examples of diversity in workplaces include:

  • Gender diversity: What makes up the composition of men, women, and nonbinary people in a given population?
  • Age diversity: Are people in a group from mostly one generation, or is there a mix of ages?
  • Ethnic diversity: Do people in a group share common national or cultural traditions, or do they represent different backgrounds?
  • Physical ability and neurodiversity: Are the perspectives of people with disabilities, whether apparent or not, accounted for?

These are a few of the most common examples, but what is considered diverse can range widely. Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler touches on this in an interview with McKinsey on debiasing the corporation. “There’s lots of talk about diversity these days,” says Thaler. “We tend to think about that in terms of things like racial diversity and gender diversity and ethnic diversity. Those things are all important. But it’s also important to have diversity in how people think.”

  • Equity refers to fair treatment for all people, so that the norms, practices, and policies in place ensure identity is not predictive of opportunities or workplace outcomes. Equity differs from equality in a subtle but important way. While equality assumes that all people should be treated the same, equity takes into consideration a person’s unique circumstances, adjusting treatment accordingly so that the end result is equal. In an episode of the McKinsey Talks Talent podcast on the inclusive workplace, McKinsey senior partner and talent expert Bill Schaninger offers a view on the implications of equity when sourcing talent: “There’s a real difference between equal and equitable. Suppose we said, ‘All interns are created equal. We pay them nothing.’ The people who can afford an entire summer without getting paid are likely already coming from a position of privilege.”
  • Inclusion refers to how the workforce experiences the workplace and the degree to which organizations embrace all employees and enable them to make meaningful contributions. Companies that are intent on recruiting a diverse workforce must also strive to develop a sufficiently inclusive culture, such that all employees feel their voices will be heard—critical if organizations want to retain their talent and unlock the power of their diverse workforce. In an episode of the McKinsey Talks Talent podcast on the inclusive workplace, McKinsey partner and DEI expert Diana Ellsworth  shared an example of how a lack of inclusion can manifest in workplace culture: “The LGBTQ+ community is underrepresented in the workplace, especially at more senior levels. As a result, many feel like an “only” at work and are more likely to experience microaggressions ; they might feel unable to talk openly and comfortably about themselves, for example, or need constantly to correct assumptions about their personal lives.”

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Why is diversity in the workplace important?

A series of three McKinsey reports shows the impact of diverse workplaces: Why diversity matters (2015), Delivering through diversity (2018), and Diversity wins: How inclusion matters (2020). The latest findings draw from a data set that encompasses 15 countries and more than 1,000 large companies, as well as research on employee sentiment, and the results show a correlative relationship between business performance and diversity. It’s worth noting that greater access to talent and increased employee engagement contribute to this performance effect. The business case for diversity is robust, and the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has gotten stronger over time. And the results have been replicated in further research, for instance, in Latin America  and Central Europe .

Some of the key findings from the latest Diversity wins report  include the following:

  • Most employees support diversity, with overall sentiment on diversity 52 percent positive and 31 percent negative.
  • There are clear correlations between diversity and business performance. Analysis of 2019 data shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity within executive teams were 25 percent more likely than companies in the fourth quartile to have above-average profitability (up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014).
  • The greater the representation of gender diversity, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. For instance, companies where more than 30 percent of the executives are women were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from only 10 to 30. The most gender-diverse companies see a substantial differential likelihood of outperformance—48 percent—over the least gender-diverse companies.
  • The business case for ethnic and cultural diversity is also strong: in 2019, companies in the top quartile bested those in the fourth quartile by 36 percent in profitability. Notably, the likelihood of outperformance continues to be higher for diversity in ethnicity than in gender.
  • Progress in building diverse workforces remains stubbornly slow.
  • Despite employees’ support of diversity, there are high levels of negative sentiment on inclusion—namely, equality, openness, and belonging—particularly around equality and fairness of opportunity.

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Even during a crisis, when leaders might be tempted to shelve DEI efforts to ensure the company’s financial survival, there is value to prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the words of McKinsey’s Bryan Hancock  from McKinsey Talks Talent : “D&I is good business. It doesn’t have to be at the expense of financial outcomes. . . . This isn’t an issue where leaders can say, ‘We can’t do diversity right now, because we’re under a lot of pressure.’ Diversity is one of the things you’ve got to be mindful of in every context.”

What other benefits can organizations realize from inclusion and diversity?

In addition to profitability, there are five key domains  in which inclusion and diversity can significantly affect an organization’s overall performance:

  • Winning talent: Organizations that monitor the demographic profile of their workforces are better able to retain top performers while making sure that diverse talent isn’t lost.
  • Improving the quality of decision making: Diversity brings multiple perspectives to the table during times when enhanced problem-solving skills and vision are needed.
  • Increasing customer insight and innovation: Diverse teams are typically more innovative and better at anticipating shifts.
  • Driving employee motivation and satisfaction: Research in Latin America showed that companies that are committed to diversity are 75 percent more likely to report a pro-teamwork culture.
  • Improving a company’s global image and license to operate: Companies that can maintain or increase their focus on inclusion and diversity during crises are poised to avoid consequences such as struggling to attract talent or losing customers and government support.

How can organizations foster an inclusive workplace?

For companies looking to bolster inclusion and step up their DEI efforts more broadly, five areas of action stand out :

  • Ensure that diverse talent is well represented.
  • Strengthen leadership accountability and capabilities.
  • Be fair and transparent, enabling equality of opportunity.
  • Promote openness and tackle microaggressions, bias, and discrimination.
  • Foster belonging through unequivocal support for all the ways diversity manifests.

A McKinsey survey about inclusion at work and how to address organizational barriers to it offers unique insight at a more granular level. The research finds that respondents of all backgrounds encounter barriers to feeling included—and that women, respondents who are ethnic and racial minorities, and those who identify as LGBTQ+ encounter additional challenges.

A few key data points from the survey  add nuance about the lived experiences of employees in workplaces, inclusive and otherwise:

  • Employee engagement is strongly linked with a sense of inclusion. Those who feel very included are more likely than others to say they feel excited by and committed to their organizations.
  • Nearly 40 percent of respondents say they have turned down or chosen not to pursue a job because of a perceived lack of inclusion at the organization.
  • Over a third of respondents say their organizations don’t put enough effort into creating a diverse, inclusive environment (while only 6 percent say too much is being done).
  • A resounding 84 percent of respondents say they have experienced microaggressions at work. More than one in four say they have needed to correct others’ assumptions about their personal lives, for example. High levels of respondents have experienced everyday slights rooted in bias, such as not receiving credit for their ideas, being asked to speak as a representative for a group of people like themselves, or being coached to communicate in a way that feels inauthentic.
  • Looking only at LGBTQ+ respondents, 37 percent say they have had an uncomfortable experience coming out to colleagues in the preceding month.
  • Among respondents who identified as racial or ethnic minorities, 40 percent of those who indicated they have discussed identity-related issues at work in the preceding month say they have felt at least slightly uncomfortable in those situations.

To serve these workers better, organizations can pay attention to four main factors  associated with employees’ inclusion:

  • Diverse, inclusive leadership: The presence of diverse leaders at an organization, as well as an organization’s focus on inclusive leadership, are correlated with individuals feeling more included.
  • Meritocracy and initiatives to increase fairness in performance evaluations: A meritocratic company culture is strongly associated with a sense of inclusion.
  • Sponsorship: Respondents who say colleagues at their organization have gone out of their way to create professional-advancement opportunities for them are also more likely than others to feel a strong sense of inclusion.
  • Substantive access to senior leaders: More than half of all respondents say that meaningful interactions with senior leaders have aided their career advancement.

Learn more about our People & Organizational Performance  practice.

What is intersectionality?

Intersectionality, a term coined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 , refers to the ways different parts of one’s identity intersect or overlap with one another. For instance, gender is one aspect of a person’s identity, but so are sexual orientation and race. A Black woman who is queer, or a White woman who has a disability, may take a perspective that acknowledges how those different aspects of their identity overlap or intersect. McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2021 report , for instance, found that LGBTQ+ women, as well as women with disabilities, are much more likely than women overall to experience microaggressions on the job.

Acknowledging intersectional identities can strengthen companies and communities more broadly. “Everyone deserves to feel empowered across all aspects of who they are,” says McKinsey senior partner Guangyu Li . “It shouldn’t be left to any individual community to defend itself. It’s in our collective interest to show up for each other with concrete action and to come together in solidarity.”

Allyship is a concept that is closely related to intersectionality. An ally aligns with people in the minority to help foster equitable and inclusive opportunities for all. In corporate America, White women, for instance, may take allyship actions  such as mentoring women of color, advocating for new opportunities for them, and actively confronting any discrimination they might face. However, there is a notable disconnect between the allyship actions that women of color say are most meaningful and the actions that White employees prioritize—suggesting opportunities for recentering efforts around the experience of women of color  and other marginalized groups.

What issues are important to women in the workplace?

Women’s representation in the corporate world has largely increased in recent years, but the pandemic has affected their participation in the workforce. It is worth noting that dynamics of gender in the workplace may be regionally specific. While much of McKinsey’s work offers insight into women in corporate America, you can explore additional material on global gender equality , as well as gender diversity in Africa , Canada , Central Europe , France , Japan , the Middle East , and other regions.

The largest study of women in corporate America is Women in the Workplace , conducted by McKinsey in partnership with LeanIn.Org. The latest research, now in its seventh year, reflects information from 423 organizations that employ 12 million people, and includes responses from more than 65,000 people surveyed on their workplace experience, as well as in-depth interviews with women of diverse identities.

Findings from the Women in the Workplace 2021 report include the following:

  • Women’s representation in the corporate pipeline (that is, the journey an employee might take from starting as an entry-level worker to advancing to a spot in the C-suite) has increased since 2016. But women—and women of color in particular—remain significantly underrepresented in leadership.
  • At every step in the career ladder, women of color lose ground to White women and men of color.
  • The “broken rung” problem remains a challenge for women, particularly those seeking their first step up from entry level to manager. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted.
  • Burnout, stress, and exhaustion continue to affect women more than men. In the past year, one in three women considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their career, a notable increase from levels seen early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Women leaders are doing considerable work to support DEI efforts and employee well-being more broadly, but they’re not necessarily being recognized for it. For instance, employees with women managers are more likely than others to say that their manager has supported and helped them in the past year; women leaders also spend more time than men on DEI work that’s outside their formal job responsibilities. Less than a quarter of companies, though, recognize this work in performance reviews, for example.

To support women in the workplace, companies need to invest deeply in all aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Although there are no quick fixes, there are some steps companies should take to empower women at work :

  • Companies should put more practices in place to ensure that promotions are equitable. Beyond reducing potential bias in the hiring process, companies need to extend similar rigor to performance reviews.
  • Organizations need to track representation and hiring and promotion outcomes more fully. A company may track representation for women overall, but does it break those numbers down to look at representation for women on color in particular?
  • Companies need to double their efforts when it comes to accountability. Only two-thirds of companies hold senior leaders accountable for progress on diversity goals, and less than half consider progress on diversity metrics in performance reviews.
  • To create a culture that embraces and leverages diversity, companies need to promote senior-level sponsorship, with top leaders fully and publicly supporting DEI efforts, modeling inclusive leadership, and actively participating in training and events.
  • Spurring high employee engagement will also be crucial. Raising awareness of the barriers that many women face can help, and further training (on bias, antiracism, and allyship) can take employees from awareness to action.
  • Burnout is on the rise, and investing in solutions to help address this problem will remain a crucial issue for many organizations. In addition to expanding on successful established policies and trying new approaches, companies can track symptoms and establish new norms to improve the everyday experience of employees.

What do we know about advancing racial equity for Black Americans in the US private sector and across society?

Black Americans in the workforce are at a disadvantage; the median annual wage for Black workers is approximately 30 percent, or $10,000, lower than that of White workers, with serious implications for economic security, consumption, and the ability to build generational wealth. They are underrepresented in higher-wage industries and executive roles, and they face lower odds for advancement. Clear racial patterns exist across the US labor force, with nearly half of Black workers concentrated in low-paying healthcare, retail, food services, and accommodations roles.

There are many benefits to righting historical wrongs and realizing the full potential of Black American talent: addressing wage disparities alone, for instance, could propel two million Black Americans into the middle class for the first time.

Doing so will take effort on many levels. Research from the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility  suggests some jumping-off points:

  • Consumer-facing companies that pursue broader racial-equity goals can better serve Black consumers .
  • Harnessing the power of retail can drive demand for Black-owned brands .
  • Addressing racial disparities in farming could generate billions in value for the agriculture industry.
  • Increasing financial inclusion to broaden services for Black Americans could yield $2 billion in potential revenue, and changes in three key areas can help companies make more progress toward racial equity in financial services .
  • Supporting historically Black colleges and universities can accelerate Black economic mobility .
  • Understanding Black representation in film and TV  could help drive greater diversity.
  • Building supportive ecosystems for Black-owned business  could add $290 billion in business equity.
  • Emphasizing health equity can activate meaningful change or even help retain talent .

The stories of Black leaders’ journeys  can offer inspiration and hope for personal and professional development. Get insight from Jason Wright  (president of the National Football League’s Washington Commanders), Stephanie Hill  (an executive vice president at Lockheed Martin), and Barry Lawson Williams  (the founder of Williams Pacific Ventures).

What issues are important to Latinos in the workplace?

In the United States, Latinos make up 18.4 percent of the population and 17.3 percent of the labor force, and that share is projected to rise to more than 30 percent by 2060. This community faces challenges, and US- and foreign-born Latinos alike remain far from equal with non-Latino White Americans, with Latino Americans earning just 73 cents for every dollar earned by White Americans. They face discrimination in securing financing to start and scale businesses, and they face challenges accessing food, housing, and other essentials.

McKinsey research on the economic state of Latinos in America  finds that they are underpaid, collectively, by $288 billion a year. At full parity, though, Latinos could spend an extra $660 billion annually, and Latino businesses could generate trillions in revenue and support millions of new jobs, while also creating new flows of generational wealth. Addressing barriers faced by Latinos in America could make the economy more robust for all.

How can we empower Asian Americans at work?

Asian Americans have contributed to the US economy since the 1800s, yet they have historically been overlooked. This group as a whole is often perceived as the “model minority,” a term that diminishes the unique issues faced by their diverse community. Recently, given the rise in racially motivated attacks on Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, historically unaddressed challenges faced by this group are coming to light , offering a fresh reminder of the need to support and include Asian Americans at work.

In corporate America, Asian Americans are underrepresented in senior leadership roles  (as are Black, Hispanic, and Latino Americans). What might help? Recognizing where in the corporate pipeline Asian Americans are underrepresented, mitigating implicit and unconscious bias during promotion and performance evaluations, fostering sponsorship for Asian American employees, and expanding workplace flexibility and support such as paid sick leave.

Learn more about our Public & Social Sector  practice.

What does research show about the experiences of LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace?

For LGBTQ+ employees , many workplaces today fall short of full inclusion, even if there is visible corporate support for LGBTQ+ communities. For example, LGBTQ+ women are more underrepresented than women generally in America’s largest corporations. Just four LGBTQ+ CEOs head these corporations—only one woman, and none identifies as transgender. An episode of the McKinsey Talks Talent podcast  considers the latest research on the LGBTQ+ experience in the workplace and highlights practical steps for all employees to signal support and boost progress for this community.

Transgender employees face a unique set of challenges. They earn 32 percent less money than cisgender employees ( cisgender refers to people whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth). More than half of transgender employees say they are not comfortable at work, and they report feeling less supported by managers. These strong feelings of exclusion have significant economic implications: greater transgender inclusion in the workforce through wage equity and increased employment could boost annual consumer spending by $12 billion a year. To help address the issues, companies can be intentional in recruiting (for example, by asking applicants what pronouns or names they prefer to use) or offer trans-affirming benefits, among other actions.

How do different industries approach diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Different industries may well need to take different approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion, depending on the composition of their workforces. Several articles offer insight into those industry-specific dynamics, especially with regard to gender diversity:

  • Companies can repair the broken rung on the career ladder for women in technical industries and roles .
  • Organizations can work to close gender and race gaps in the US financial-services sector .
  • Voices from the fashion industry on diversity offer insight on what actions might be most meaningful for creating more inclusive workplaces.
  • Organizations can make traveling in cities safer and more comfortable for at-risk groups .
  • The COVID-19 pandemic hit the education space  hard; as the recovery continues, ensuring that education is equitable and inclusive will be vital.
  • In the public and social sectors , women are increasingly represented, but they are also feeling burned out—a few actions can bend the curve.
  • Consumers are expecting more from brands than ever before— here’s what retailers can do to meet DEI needs .
  • Private equity can help catalyze DEI efforts to transform the global business community and improve returns.
  • In media and entertainment , women remain locked out of top roles.
  • While women in healthcare and life sciences have  made progress, they remain underrepresented at senior levels.
  • Research from the oil and gas industry  suggests actions for the sector to consider to help attract and retain women.
  • Women are leaving the mining industry . Here’s why—and what companies can do about it.

Learn more about our Technology, Media & Telecommunications , Financial Services , Travel, Logistics & Infrastructure , Education , Public & Social Sector , and Healthcare Systems & Services  practices.

For more in-depth exploration of these topics, see McKinsey’s collection of insights on diversity and inclusion . Learn more about Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consulting  at McKinsey—and check out DEI-related job opportunities if you’re interested in working at McKinsey.

Articles referenced include:

  • “ Being transgender at work ,” November 10, 2021, David Baboolall, Sarah Greenberg, Maurice Obeid , and Jill Zucker
  • “ Women in the Workplace 2021 ,” September 27, 2021, Tiffany Burns , Jess Huang, Alexis Krivkovich , Ishanaa Rambachan , Tijana Trkulja, and Lareina Yee  
  • “ The economic state of Black America: What is and what could be ,” June 17, 2021, Shelley Stewart III , Michael Chui , James Manyika , JP Julien , Vivian Hunt, Bob Sternfels , Jonathan Woetzel , and Haiyang Zhang
  • “ COVID-19’s impact on Asian American workers: Six key insights ,” May 6, 2021, Grace Hua, Jess Huang, Samuel Huang, Lareina Yee
  • “ The elusive inclusive workplace ,” March 23, 2021, Bryan Hancock  and Bill Schaninger
  • “ Diversity wins: how inclusion matters ,” May 19, 2020, Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle , Kevin Dolan, Vivian Hunt, and Sara Prince

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Women in the Workplace 2022

Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Workplace Essay


Workplace inclusion, diversity, and belonging have developed into crucial components of a philosophy that permeates all enterprises. Due to the value they provide, hose concepts swiftly ascend to the forefront of enterprises’ priorities. They not only help to create more content, open-minded, and productive staff, but they also enhance the financial performance of the companies. Nevertheless, building a multicultural and welcoming work atmosphere remains one of today’s greatest difficulties. It requires more than a training film or a talk on being kind to employees to achieve real diversity and inclusion. Numerous reputable firms have been making efforts to establish, enhance, and continuously monitor these values on a variety of fronts, including employment, promotions, opportunities, conduct, and more. The commercial argument for this is becoming more widely understood. Although social justice is frequently the driving force behind these initiatives, businesses have started to see belonging, inclusion, and diversity as key success factors, more particularly, as crucial facilitators of development.

There are three main concepts that serve as the base for the paper – inclusivity, diversity, and belonging. Included are people’s participation and empowerment. People are valued and respected when they are included. When they are their true selves, employees perform at their best. One has to feel included in order to be one’s true self. In the workplace, diversity contains all aspects of the human experience, including ethnicity, financial background, community, gender and sexual identity, religion, and culture. It necessitates the eradication of all prejudices and the use of exclusively merit-based hiring. When an employee feels accepted, included, and has a sense of identification with a particular organization, group, or location, they are said to have a sense of belonging, which is a sense of safety and support (Traavik, 2019). Employee perceptions of their reception among coworkers and inclusion for suitable changes, activities, and more are influenced by how they feel appreciated, acknowledged, and included at work. Thus, the paper aims to provide a reflection on the three critical workplace factors and analyze their role and importance in the organization.

In order to get a deeper understanding of diversity and inclusivity, there is an example of an incident that happened at Google regarding those issues. A former Google employee filed a lawsuit against the business on Friday, alleging that it routinely discriminated against Black employees by assigning them to lower-level positions, underpaying them, and depriving them of advancement prospects. April Curley, who was employed at Google since 2014 before being fired in 2020, is the complainant (Wakabayash, 2022). While working there, Ms. Curley created initiatives to attract candidates from historically Black institutions and universities, which assisted the corporation in hiring Black personnel. She claimed that “Google maintains employment rules and procedures that have a discriminatory impact against Black employees all across the United States and is involved in a countrywide pattern or practice of deliberate race discrimination and retaliation (Wakabayash, 2022). According to the lawsuit, Google often employed Black employees with lower job statuses than were suitable for their level of expertise (Wakabayash, 2022). Pay is linked to work for groups; hence the business was able to pay Black employees less than their white counterparts.

The lawsuit reflects several grievances Black workers have made throughout the years regarding working at Google. Even as it expanded into one of the biggest private companies in the country, the business has had trouble diversifying its workforce in terms of race and gender, particularly among its highly compensated engineering personnel. 4.4% of Google’s U.S. employees were of different ethnicities, one of which is Black, which is much less than the national average for content creation and search organizations (Wakabayash, 2022). Ms. Curley also claimed that her workplace was unfriendly. She said that during the course of her six years there, bosses frequently confused her with two other Black coworkers. She said that a boss had asked which of her coworkers she desired to have an intimate relationship with and that neither she nor those coworkers had been given the opportunity to speak or present at crucial meetings. Eventually, Ms. Curley got a decrease in wage and was fired.

However, this experience positively impacted the organization’s approach toward diversity and stimulated it to work on more effective practices. By 2021, they have increased the leadership representation of ethnic minorities by 30%, and by 2025, management expects to have doubled Black+ representation across all of our U.S. locations. Google is concentrating on a lot more than hiring as we work toward our representation objectives. To enhance hiring, advancement, and engagement for disadvantaged minorities at Google, our recruitment leaders collaborate closely with internal organizations such as Black Googler Network. New onboarding initiatives are being introduced to all members of the program. In addition, the company strives to help Googlers experience the new, improved mental health services and internal mentoring initiatives.

During the observation of the situation, I experienced certain feelings connected with the diverse and inclusive practices in the company. The most frustrating fact is that Google seemed to have more focus on the image of the progressive company when it was not reflecting the reality. Moreover, it is highly possible that not only Google but other organization that portrays themselves as diverse companies follow the same pattern. If such a huge corporation still does not manage to ensure the well-being of all the employees and implement innovative practices, then the overall situation in the workplace might not be positive. It is devastating that usually, it is hard or even impossible to say if the certain company follows the chosen direction or only pretends to work on the issue. Mostly, due to the employees that have the courage to speak to the public about the inappropriate situations happening in the workplace, people can recognize if the company does any actions.

This incident reflects the major problem that exists in society, and even despite any personal beliefs and biases, it is still a relevant issue. Regarding my personal values, I strongly stand for inclusivity and diversity in general, and I feel that there should be a lot more for people of color and all minorities. For instance, the framework of belonging is something that I use in evaluating the case. Employees should feel accepted and valued in the company, whose ultimate goal is to provide a safe and secure environment for work. Unfortunately, there were signs that black employees do have such a positive experience in the company, which means that there are certain problems with diversity and inclusivity.

Observation Summary and Experience

Although I have never experienced anything like that personally, I have read articles and news about such cases in the companies. Even though I did not witness or experience such problems as inclusivity, I learned through the media and conversations with minority representatives about such cases. All the time, the conditions were rather similar when the companies claimed that they stand for inclusivity, but inside, employees experienced discrimination.

Google, for example, demonstrated certain disruptive behavioral patterns in this situation. Although the corporation aimed to hire more black people, the positions that were offered to them were significantly lower than for other ethnicities (Lopez, n.d.). I examined the case through the concept of diversity and inclusion, which was significant in evaluating the incident. Some of the skills regarding those concepts that were useful are openness. Openness to many different types of thoughts, experiences, methods, and practices retains curiosity when faced with something novel, strange, or distinct. It helps to be receptive to new ideas and potential biases. Moreover, being open to new ideas and perspectives enables us to solve challenging issues. In addition, it would be helpful to view the situations from different perspectives and broaden the sphere of perception. Taking into account what someone else could be feeling or thinking and actively looking for other points of view to help in decision-making and problem-solving, holding a variety of truths. Empowering decision-making and voices across a diverse spectrum of identities by adopting a different perspective allows for better comprehension of cultural variances and fosters justice and belonging. Those skills will be useful; for example, I evaluate the organizational performance regarding inclusivity and diversity.

Significant Factors Underlying the Experience or Observation

The major factor that underlines the observation is the existence of quantity, but not the quality of the diversity practices. The company hired racial minorities but failed to provide them with opportunities for development and made them experience a lack of sense of belonging (Adejumo, (2021). The experience was driven by compliance since Google’s statement did not manage the actions. The situation was beneficial for the organization even though they were sued by the ex-employee; it made them reconstruct the way the professional responsibilities were distributed among the racial minorities. Thus, eventually, it had positive results on the corporation’s culture and values. Diversity and inclusivity are a priority at the CEO level, and they are valued at all organizational levels of management from the concept of inclusion.

Reconstructing – Reconstruction of Future Practice or Professional Understanding

From the case of Google, I have learned that the company’s purposes and actions do not always match each other. It is important to evaluate not only the visible outcomes but look deeper into what is happening inside the organization. Through the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, I would suggest certain methods for the improvement of the situation in the company. Firstly, increasing cultural variety provides insights into fostering well-being for all people and utilizing diversity’s advantages at work, which improves performance (Krause, 2019). Secondly, position advertising can explicitly mention the purpose of hiring and retaining a multicultural workforce that provides an inclusive atmosphere in order to improve and encourage candidate pool diversity (Martinez-Acosta & Favero, 2018). Finally, bullying occurs often in this context, whether it occurs at work, in social settings, or in an educational environment. It is crucial to inform workers about the value of inclusion and diversity of all kinds (Prayson & Rowe, 2019). People need to believe there is a place they can turn to for support and assistance if they are being bullied, and such conduct has to be handled immediately.

Overall, the paper provided a reflection on the three critical workplace factors such as diversity, inclusivity, and belonging, and analyzed their role and importance in the organization. Those frameworks are necessary to apply to ensure the development and productivity of the organization along as well being of each employee. Although companies try to use some methods to promote diversity, it may not be enough for full inclusion and requires more work and strategic planning. Eventually, it benefits not only the employee but the corporation themselves due to the greater variety of people in the workplace with different backgrounds and creative perspectives.

Wakabayash, D. (2022). The lawsuit accuses Google of bias against black employees. New-York Times. Web.

Lopez, C. How we’re making progress on our representation goals . (n.d.). Google Belonging. Web.

Krause, W. (2019). Leading in times of cultural diversity: Achieving wellbeing, inclusivity, and organizational performance. In The Routledge companion to management and workplace spirituality (pp. 250-260). Routledge.

Martinez-Acosta, V. G., & Favero, C. B. (2018). A discussion of diversity and inclusivity at the institutional level: The need for a strategic plan. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education , 16 (3), A252.

Prayson, R. A., & Rowe, J. J. (2019). LGBTQ Inclusivity and Language in the Workplace. Critical Values , 12 (2), 28-30. Web.

Adejumo, V. (2021). Beyond diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Leadership , 17 (1), 62-73.

Traavik, L. E. (2019). Where differences dwell: inclusion and the healthy workplace. In Creating psychologically healthy workplaces (pp. 215-234). Edward Elgar Publishing. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2023, October 21). Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Workplace.

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21 Essays About Diversity For Students and Writers

Colleges and employers often ask for essays about diversity as part of the application process, and this list of 21 topic ideas is a great place to start.

Diversity is a hot topic in today’s society. Everything from ethnicity to sexual orientation can be a topic to discuss when discussing ethical and cultural diversity. If you are assigned a diversity essay for your high school or college classwork, your writing begins with finding a great topic.

Essays about diversity often explore the writer’s cultural background or demographic. While ethnicity can be one topic, diversity can also discuss gender, socioeconomic status, and even non-ethnic culture. These factors give the writer a unique perspective on life and society, and that makes an excellent starting point for an essay.

Because diversity is such a broad topic, you may find it difficult to create an essay or personal statement on this particular topic without direction. Here are some topic ideas that can help you connect your experiences to the topic of diversity. Before we dive in , for help with your essays, check out our round-up of the best essay checkers .

1. The Definition of Diversity

2. why diversity matters in society, 3. how workplaces can promote diversity and inclusion, 4. what are the drawbacks of emphasizing diversity in the workplace, 5. what are the benefits of diversity in the workplace, 6. how a diverse student body benefits a college, 7. how has an aspect of your identity shaped your life experiences, 8. describe your place within a community group, 9. does racial discrimination exist, and how has it changed, 10. describe a diverse community you have been part of, 11. how did you overcome your socioeconomic status, 12. how can you contribute to the diversity of an organization, 13. what are the main problems preventing gender equality, 14. how does diversity influence college students, 15. how can you become more diverse, 16. why are ancient traditions important, 17. mass media’s influence on cultural diversity, 18. how to find a sense of belonging in a multicultural group, 19. communication in a diverse community, 20. how the digital world increases cultural diversity, 21. is unity in diversity possible.

Essays About Diversity

One of the first ways to discuss diversity in an essay is by defining it. Many people consider diversity the mixing of different cultures and people groups into one cohesive group, but is it more? Could it be the attitude of respect and appreciation shown to people in these groups within a community?

Defining diversity is more difficult than you might think depending on your education and background. For an open-ended diversity assignment, explore what this concept means to you and your peer group.

How does diversity impact society as a whole? What does it mean to say modern society is a “melting pot” of different ideas and cultures? In this essay, you can explore how this cultural diversity and the many minority groups within society add their own brand of uniqueness to the world.

This essay can explore the contributions of different cultural and ethnic groups within society as a whole. It can build the argument that diversity is important by exploring the connectivity of the modern world and how different people groups impact one another.

Diversity in the workplace is a topic of much debate. Many organizations offer initiatives and incentives to encourage their branches to hire more minorities and people from smaller groups within the population. This essay topic would explore what types of incentives might work best.

It could also touch on how to incentivize minority hiring without discriminating against those who are not in a minority group. The key would be to create a balanced workforce, not to have anyone group prohibited from getting the job they want.

Diversity in the workplace seems like a worthy goal, but does it have drawbacks? This essay lets you explore potential drawbacks . For example, diversity initiatives cost money to implement, and that can hurt the organization. Similarly, while diverse teams benefit from the different backgrounds of their members, they sometimes do not work as efficiently as teams made up of people who share similar life experiences, viewpoints, or cultures.

Diversity can also create communication issues and cultural misunderstandings. Workplaces may also find it difficult to define diversity in a way that satisfies everyone or meets the unique needs of the different groups of people within a particular business or organization.

Essays About Diversity: Benefits of diversity in the workplace

Like most things, diversity has both benefits and drawbacks, and you can create an essay that highlights the benefits. Some potential benefits include bringing in people from multiple cultural groups in order to understand the personal experience of those groups and, in turn, reach people from those groups that may be potential customers or clients. Diverse workplaces are also more likely to be innovative, as the different people have diverse backgrounds to contribute to the discussion.

While some organizations find diversity creates less efficiency, others find it improves it. One Changeboard study found that companies with diverse leadership had 57 percent more effectiveness and efficiency in collaboration than those who did not. Find these and other benefits to write about in your diversity essay.

College admissions departments push for diversity, and for good reason. Some of the largest grant-giving organizations in the country will consider diversity when looking at a college’s grant proposals, which means diversity could lead to more funding. But money is just one benefit.

For the students, a diverse student body helps them meet additional people from different walks of life while gaining their college education. For professors, it gives them a richer experience in the classroom and in research because they can probe the cultural ideals of multiple people groups. As you delve more deeply into this topic, you will likely find several additional items you can add to your list to round out your essay.

Sometimes the goal of a diversity essay is to see if you can think critically about your own life experiences and personal identity. This essay prompt invites you to look at a particular aspect of your identities, such as your culture, ethnicity, sexual identity, or something similar, and relate it to your life experiences.

Learn more about how to create a writing prompt .

This essay requires introspection and analytical thinking. It is also highly personal to the writer. You have to be able to connect who you are to what you have experienced and then show how both of those have shaped you as a person.

Communities have groups within them that share things like socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or ideology. Most people are within multiple of these community groups. For this essay, the writer chooses one they identify with and describes how they fit within this group.

Not only will you explain why that group is one they belong to, but you will also explain your place within it. Are you a leader, or a learner? Do you anticipate remaining in this group for life, or is it a passing interest? How has your role within this group defined who you are as a person today, and how will it influence you in the future?

Essays About Diversity: Does racial discrimination exist, and how has it changed?

Diversity remains an important topic because racial discrimination still exists, most would argue. While we may not have separate drinking fountains and bathrooms like during the Civil Rights era, racial discrimination still happens. First, this essay establishes how discrimination happens. Then it discusses how that discrimination has changed from past generations to today.

This essay topic has many potential directions, but the point is that diversity has not eliminated discrimination. It takes more subtle forms today, but it still exists. You could also discuss how to fight this problem in your essay if you need a higher word count after discussing the way diversity has changed.

Most people can think of a diverse community they have been part of. It might be a workplace, classroom, or neighborhood. Think about your life experiences and determine what diverse groups have been part of those experiences.

In your essay, describe how the diversity made the group successful. Did the different cultural groups interact? Did they build off of and learn from each other, and how did they support and respect each other? Show that you can value diversity by how you see it valued in your groups.

Socioeconomic status is one of the aspects of diversity that can be part of your essay. If you overcame a particular socio-economic challenge to get to where you are today, you can transform that into an engaging essay.

This essay prompt works well for college entrance essays that look for self-reflection. It allows you to paint yourself as an aggressive and effective worker who is able to overcome adversity to find success. This tenacity can make you more appealing as a student in the university setting.

This essay prompt can work well for employment essays or essays for the college admissions committee. It allows you to show ways your background and culture could add to the diversity of the organization. Even if you are not part of an ethnic minority, you could show how your cultural experiences, ideological views, or even extensive foreign travel can bring something unique to the table for the organization.

This essay topic is particularly important if you are looking to impress someone with your diversity knowledge, even if you do not identify in a specific minority group that the organization targets. You can show how your worldview and culture can be an asset to the organization if they choose to hire or admit you.

Gender inequality, especially in the workplace, remains a problem. One Pew Research Study found that women earn, on average, 84% of what men earn doing the same job. Studying the barriers to gender inequality can turn into a solid essay topic.

With this essay, make sure that you list the problems and discuss potential solutions. Is the lack of maternity leave and childcare hindering women from climbing the corporate ladder as quickly as men, or is it long-held cultural beliefs that keep women back in the workforce? What can be done to address these issues and make gender equality a reality?

Because diversity essays are commonly called for on the college level, this topic idea addresses diversity in college head-on. You will discuss how diversity on college campuses influences students. While many influences will be positive, such as expanding cultural understanding and tolerance, some may be negative, like challenges working on collaborative projects with a person who does not share ideology or cultural background.

Since colleges promote diversity so heavily, you are likely to find primarily positive outcomes for this topic. However, be sure to dig in and consider what could be a drawback, too. Having a balance between the two will show the reader that you can think critically on important topics.

Is it possible to become a more diverse person? The answer to this question depends on how you define diversity. However, through travel to foreign countries and exposure to people groups outside of your comfort zone, you may be able to expand your diversity as an individual, provided you define diversity as the respect and admiration for other cultures.

In this essay, you can evaluate areas where you lack diversity. Then, you can look at ways to add it. This diversity essay gives you the chance to perform self-reflection, which teachers and admissions professionals often want to see.

Ancient traditions are the traditions of cultural groups that are not commonly practiced in modern society. Many cultural groups find these to be anchoring, drawing them back to their culture of origin and reminding them of where they came from. This essay will discuss why supporting and highlighting these ancient traditions is important.

To begin this essay, you will need to define what ancient traditions are. Then, you will need to show how they remain vital in modern society by tying people back to their cultural roots. Finally, you could discuss ways in which ancient cultures and their traditions can benefit modern society as a whole.

Is mass media helping or hurting the individuality of cultures? You could argue either way with this essay. On the one hand, mass media allows us to interact with and learn about cultures we normally would not engage with, and that can have a positive impact on cultural diversity.

On the other hand, mass media can have a melting pot effect, reducing the individuality of cultures by making us all appear as the same. This effect could be a negative effect. In your essay, decide whether the total effect is primarily positive or primarily negative, and then discuss why.

One of the potential challenges of a highly diverse society is the difficulty people have in finding a sense of belonging. We often discover a sense of belonging when we find things in common with the people around us, and there may not be many commonalities with a highly multicultural group.

This essay would explore ways to combat this problem. It will discuss how members of a multicultural community can dig in and find interests in common with other community members, or how they can learn about different cultural groups to gain some common ground.

One of the challenges of diversity is the different communication styles between people groups. Gender differences and cultural differences between individuals mean different ways of relating and communicating. This essay will discuss these differences and the ways that organizations can overcome them.

For example, some cultures find directly stating opinions to be forward, while others expect this. How could a company embrace both communication styles to get things done without people feeling offended due to cultural differences? Exploring questions like these will create a thought-provoking essay.

Having the internet always at one’s fingertips makes connecting with people of other cultures easier, which can lend itself to an essay topic on diversity. With this essay, you can explore whether or not the digital world and its accessibility is helping or hurting cultural diversity. You can then explore ways that organizations can use the digital world to add more diversity within their communities.

One potential drawback of this digital world is that it promotes cultural amalgamation. The distinction between different cultural groups gets blurred. While this can lead to more inclusion, it can also lead to the loss of important parts of these cultures as they all start to merge together.

Is it possible for a highly diverse community to live and operate in unity? Exploring the answer to this question can build a solid essay. If a community has people from many cultural, religious, and social groups, are they able to live in a unified manner?

The answer to this question may depend on how the cultural or religious groups function. If something held dear by one group is against the foundational beliefs of another, then unity may not be possible. On the other hand, if they are just differences that are not in opposition to each other, unity is something that the larger community may be able to achieve, even without giving up those features that make it diverse.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips !

diversity inclusion essay

Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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How a DEI Rebrand Is Playing Out in K-12 Schools

Ahenewa El-Amin speaks with students during her AP African American Studies class at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Ky., on March 19, 2024.

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Should school district mission statements explicitly mention diversity, equity, and inclusion? If a district ensures that all students feel a sense of inclusion and belonging, does it matter how it brands that work? Do all districts need to examine how inequities play out within and outside of school buildings?

These are some of the questions district and state leaders and researchers are grappling with as national debates on the role of DEI initiatives in public education continue, and as DEI more generally sustains a barrage of political attacks that have led some universities to cut DEI jobs and corporations to downplay their embrace of DEI principles .

In public schools, at least 18 states have imposed bans or restrictions on instruction about race, gender, and other related topics. These efforts stem from a September 2020 executive order signed by then-President Donald Trump, which banned certain types of diversity training in federal agencies. President Joe Biden revoked the order, yet momentum for such prohibitions has continued in Republican-led states.

In a 2023 analysis of more than 1,300 mission statements from districts nationwide, the Pew Research Center found that only 34 percent of these documents directly referenced DEI.

Of all the topics in these statements, DEI proved to be the most politically divided. Fifty-six percent of districts in Democratic-voting areas mentioned DEI efforts in their mission statements, compared with only 26 percent in Republican-voting areas.

This complicated political landscape has led some district and state leaders to focus less on explicit references to DEI and more on promoting and supporting work focusing on inclusion and belonging for all students.

Yet even under a rebrand, education leaders need to think carefully about the work involved in making sure their schools actually fulfill the ideals of inclusion and belonging, said Decoteau Irby, an associate professor of educational policy studies and qualitative researcher at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

“In the perfect world, inclusion would be really changing the conditions of the school, a learning environment, such that students know when they walk into a building that they belong there … not only them individually as a person, but that belonging becomes exemplified through the kinds of educational resources and opportunities that are there,” Irby said.

Education leaders in Illinois and Kentucky offer some insights into how they can engage in such holistic efforts while keeping them as broadly politically palatable as possible.

How a mission statement’s terminology matters

Matthew Montgomery, superintendent of the Lake Forest district in Illinois, and a group of fellow district leaders and community members spent weeks poring over the draft language of the district’s updated mission statement earlier this year.

They examined “every single word,” Montgomery said.

There were more than a dozen iterations, trying different words and phrases to get the district’s statement just right, and avoiding any potential political trigger words that could have “distracted from the intent and mission” of the exercise.

Ultimately, what the group landed on—and what the school board in the district located north of Chicago approved—was a statement that incorporates what can be political buzzwords, like “diversity,” “inequities,” and “inclusion,” but in a way that its members felt would appeal to everyone, regardless of political persuasion.

The statement— eight sentences in total —says the district “espouses the importance of fostering an inclusive environment for all students and staff” and that an inclusive environment “encourages the affirmation, appreciation, and exploration of multiple identities and multiple perspectives.”

“We understand that excellent and exemplary school districts foster a culture of inclusion where the lives and needs of all students are validated, recognized, and appreciated, and are centered in the educational experience provided,” the statement said. “[The district] knows that ‘every student has an incredible capacity to learn. Our responsibility is to create an environment that maximizes the possibility for each student’s growth.’”

Students leave Birney Elementary School at the start of their walking bus route on April 9, 2024, in Tacoma, Wash.

The focus is not on explicitly referencing specific groups of historically marginalized students. Rather, it aims to encompass the views and experiences of all students, Montgomery said.

“There’s nothing here that anyone can argue is the wrong thing to do for every single student,” said Erin Lenart, the principal of the district’s high school, who helped lead the work on crafting the statement. “What we’re saying is ultimately that we are inclusive of your ideas and views until it becomes exclusive of someone else. If you say that to anyone, they can’t really argue with it.”

Focusing too heavily on making sure one group of students is included can inadvertently make other groups feel singled out or excluded, Lenart said.

“Any time you enter the world of making groups of people feel excluded, then you’re kind of defeating the purpose of some of what you’re trying to accomplish,” Lenart said.

The work to develop the districts’ vision statement is just one piece of a larger mission to fully incorporate every voice, perspective, and lived experience into guiding the schools’ work. But it is emblematic of what district leaders hope to achieve: A district whose work is reflective of every student and community member, without excluding anyone, even if they disagree with one another.

“It’s a fine line to navigate—not necessarily to get a statement approved, that’s not what it’s about—but to make sure that we really are meeting the words of seeing and hearing and valuing every single student in this building,” Lenart said.

Now that the statement is developed and approved, the real work of putting it into action begins, Montgomery said.

Any time you enter the world of making groups of people feel excluded, then you’re kind of defeating the purpose of some of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Montgomery said that will include frequently, consistently, and respectfully communicating with the community; staying focused on the shared vision for students’ success; and getting comfortable with tension, knowing it won’t always be easy work.

“If we say these are our values, that you’re going to be seen and heard and valued, how are we making sure we’re finding a way for every student to feel that as a reality?” he said.

State leadership can set an example for districts

When Thomas S. Tucker was hired as the Kentucky department of education’s deputy commissioner and chief equity officer in 2020, he was tasked with developing an office that would advance the goals set out in the state board of education’s 2019 anti-racism and equity resolution.

His first order of business was to challenge himself and others to think about the purpose of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

He and his team came to define that as: “Regardless of our political beliefs, regardless of what political aisles we represent, we want our kids to have a sense of belonging.”

“We did not make this about ethnicity alone. We didn’t make it about the nebulous term ‘race.’ It covers every aspect of what it is to be American—to respect one’s religion, ideas, and practices; to respect one’s sexual orientation; to respect one’s military or veteran status; to respect one’s socioeconomic status,” Tucker said.

Similar to the Lake Forest district, this broader conceptualization of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, or DEIB, allowed the Kentucky state division to withstand political wars in a politically conservative state, Tucker said. The state is now among the 18 with a law restricting how teachers can teach about race, after the Republican-dominated legislature in 2022 overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto to pass it.

Ahenewa El-Amin leads a conversation with students during her AP African American Studies class at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Ky., on March 19, 2024.

About 17 school districts in the state have hired DEIB officers over the last several years, with some doing so prior to Tucker’s start in 2020. His team now brings these officers together to share ideas on developing and fostering DEIB initiatives across the state.

That work includes: establishing an equity dashboard that allows schools and district leaders to look at aggregated achievement data by student population to discover inequities; challenging educators to use a problem solving analysis tool to address those inequities; offering a Kentucky academy for equity in teaching where school and district staff can use online modules to learn more about self-awareness and others’ awareness of how education systems function to find solutions to inequities; and distributing grants to help schools build out infrastructure for social-emotional learning.

Tucker’s team also reviews graduation requirements that allow students to personalize their coursework in later high school years. Such a structure makes it easier for students to take courses like Advanced Placement African American Studies for graduation credit.

Regardless of our political beliefs, regardless of what political aisles we represent, we want our kids to have a sense of belonging.

One challenge Tucker has faced is helping districts whose students are predominantly from one racial or ethnic group to realize that they too need to engage in work that helps all students belong.

“Many times, folks think that if you do this work, you’re only dealing in the area of race and racism, that this is affirmative action work,” Tucker said.

But a predominantly white school can still face a situation in which schools are disproportionately suspending students with disabilities, or students from low-income households can’t access the same educational opportunities as their higher-income peers, he added.

“If you bring more people to the table, more people see that this is not just a benefit for people of color,” Tucker said. “This is about improving and saving the lives of all young people.”

True inclusion and belonging requires hard work

Irby, the University of Illinois, Chicago, researcher, understands why district and state leaders are moving toward a more generalized branding of DEI work by focusing on inclusion and belonging.

Part of the reason discussions around DEI have tended to focus on race- and ethnicity-based inequities is because “the primary goal of educational institutions specifically is to increase the learning opportunities for students who have historically not received the quality of education, the access, and opportunity that we know from the research provides them with high educational outcomes,” Irby said.

Historically, students of color have been among those underserved students.

Image of a group of students meeting with their teacher. One student is giving the teacher a high-five.

Yet DEI work goes beyond race and ethnicity, Irby said. What ultimately matters is how willing school systems are to put in the hard work needed to enact change.

Schools can modify policies to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students taking AP courses, for example. But if the only AP history courses offered focus on European and Western history, that doesn’t necessarily foster an authentic sense of belonging and inclusion for these students, Irby said.

Schools can recognize the importance of making students with disabilities feel included, in part by ensuring students with wheelchairs can physically access school buildings as easily as their peers.

During recess at Ruby Bridges Elementary School in Woodinville, Wash., students have cards with objects and words on them so that all students, including those who cannot speak, can communicate. Pictured here on April 2, 2024.

And for LGBTQ+ students, allowing students to use the restroom where they feel most comfortable is a more concrete way of fostering a sense of belonging, Irby added. Of course, this is complicated in the 11 states that have passed laws barring transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity in K-12 schools.

While districts may face political backlash for measures aimed at fostering belonging, a silver lining Irby has found through his research is that many districts across the country, including predominantly white districts, are willing to bring about systemic changes that benefit all students.

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Mercari to Present Papers at International Blockchain Technology Conference IEEE ICBC

Proposing risk management solutions for safe cryptoasset wallet management.

Mercari, Inc. (“Mercari”) is pleased to announce that two papers coauthored by Yuto Takei, a researcher in the company’s research and development organization Mercari R4D (“R4D”), and Kazuyuki Shudo, a professor in the Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies at Kyoto University, have been accepted for presentation at IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (“IEEE ICBC”).

IEEE ICBC is an international conference held annually since 2019, featuring discussions on research and development related to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

ICBC 2024, the 6th edition of the conference, will be held from May 27 to 31 in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. 1


Research Summary

Mercari subsidiary Mercoin, Inc. (“Mercoin”) entered the cryptoasset exchange business in March 2023 and currently offers a service enabling users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. 2, 3

2: 3: (only available in Japanese)

Mercari Group strives to build and maintain systems to strictly protect cryptoassets held by users and in Mercari’s accounts to help realize a safe and secure environment for cryptoasset transactions.

The two papers selected for presentation at ICBC 2024 propose rational methods for preventing leaks or damage of cryptoassets in order to accelerate the realization of safe and secure transactions.

Pragmatic Analysis of Key Management for Cryptocurrency Custodians 

In this research, we compared and evaluated the suitability of various wallet techniques used to manage cryptocurrencies from a security perspective. In Japan, cryptocurrency exchanges are mandated by law to store the majority of their assets in cold wallets. This paper proposes an ultimate example of a highly secure form of cold wallet.

We believe that the results of this research will contribute to enhancing security not only for Mercoin, but for all businesses that handle cryptoassets.

The paper is available to read at the following link:

FATF Travel Rule’s Technical Challenges and Solution Taxonomy

In this paper, we discuss the technical challenges that virtual asset service providers face when complying with the Travel Rule, an international obligation mandated by the Financial Action Task Force for financial institutions, as well as potential approaches for these challenges. The Travel Rule is a regulation that aims to prevent money laundering, but there are several technical challenges involved in applying it to virtual assets, which have high levels of anonymity. In Japan, compliance with the Travel Rule became compulsory for virtual asset exchanges in June 2023. This paper aims to systematically organize knowledge to contribute to understanding and improvements of the Travel Rule.

Future Outlook

R4D will continue its research into information security in the fintech domain, particularly in cutting-edge areas utilizing cryptoassets and blockchain technology, to further accelerate the realization of safe and secure transactions. These research topics include core technologies involved in the implementation of blockchain itself, as well as applications such as decentralized finance (DeFi). Mercari will continue to create future-facing innovation for Mercari Group’s services and businesses using R4D’s research results, aiming to deploy that innovation beyond the confines of our labs.

About Mercari R4D Mercari R4D was established in December 2017 as a research and development organization that aims to implement its findings practically, as part of the world at large. Under its mission of “pioneering the path toward undiscovered value,” R4D promotes a co-innovation approach to solving complex social issues by leveraging the power of science and technology, and also by going beyond the conventional boundaries of industry, academia, and government in order to realize a society where limited resources are circulated and all people can unleash their potential.


Circulate all forms of value to unleash the potential in all people

Inclusion & diversity, more mercari.


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  1. How to Write a Diversity Essay

    Diversity essays can come in many forms. Some scholarships are offered specifically for students who come from an underrepresented background or identity in higher education. At highly competitive schools, supplemental diversity essays require students to address how they will enhance the student body with a unique perspective, identity, or ...

  2. 6 Diversity College Essay Examples

    How to Write the Diversity Essay After the End of Affirmative Action. Essay #1: Jewish Identity. Essay #2: Being Bangladeshi-American. Essay #3: Marvel vs DC. Essay #4: Leadership as a First-Gen American. Essay #5: Protecting the Earth. Essay #6: Music and Accents. Where to Get Your Diversity Essays Edited.

  3. How to Write a Diversity Essay: 4 Key Tips

    A diversity essay is a college admissions essay that focuses on you as an individual and your relationship with a specific community. The purpose of this essay is to reveal what makes you different from other applicants, including what unique challenges or barriers you've faced and how you've contributed to or learned from a specific community ...

  4. The Diversity College Essay: How to Write a Stellar Essay

    Tips for Writing a Diversity College Essay. 1. Highlight what makes you stand out. A common misconception is that diversity only refers to aspects—such as ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. While these are standard measures of diversity, you can be diverse in other ways.

  5. How to Write an Excellent Diversity Essay

    How to write about your diversity. Your answer to a school's diversity essay question should focus on how your experiences have built your empathy for others, your embrace of differences, your resilience, your character, and your perspective. The school might ask how you think of diversity or how you will bring or add to the diversity of the ...

  6. How to Write Diversity Essay: Guidelines for Students

    Step 4. Craft a compelling introduction. Begin your essay with an engaging introduction that grabs the reader's attention and introduces the diversity background topic. Provide context for your writing and present a thesis statement that presents the main argument you'll explore. Step 5. Define your identity.

  7. Celebrating Our Differences: Inspiring Essays on Diversity and Inclusion

    Writing an essay on diversity and inclusion is an important task that requires careful planning and execution. In this step-by-step guide, we will provide you with a roadmap on how to write a compelling essay on this topic. Here are seven suggestions to consider as you write your diversity statement.

  8. How to Write a College Diversity Essay

    Duke's commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. ... Diversity Essay Sample #3: University of Washington. The University of Washington asks students for a long essay (650 words) on a general experience that shaped your character, a short essay (300 words) that describes the ...

  9. How to Write the Diversity Essay

    How to Write a Diversity Essay - Diversity Essay Examples. The first example addresses the "share a story" prompt. It is written in the voice of Karim Amir, the main character of Hanif Kureishi's novel The Buddha of Suburbia. As a child of the suburbs, I have frequently navigated the labyrinthine alleys of identity.

  10. College Diversity Essay Examples

    Inclusion is of maximal importance. Get yourself recognized at your top-choice school with our tips and sample college essays. By working with these prompts, and within the application streams for underrepresented students, you are giving yourself the agency to move forward into a more diverse future. ... Diversity essays will touch on the ...

  11. How to write an effective diversity statement (essay)

    Here are seven additional suggestions to consider as you write your diversity statement. Tell your story. If you have overcome obstacles to get to where you are, point those out. If, in contrast, you are privileged, acknowledge that. If you grew up walking uphill to school carrying two 20-pound sacks of rice on your back, by all means, tell ...

  12. How To Write The Equity and Inclusion Essay for Columbia

    Columbia's Equity and Inclusion Essay prompt reads as follows: A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and thrive in an equitable and inclusive community with a wide range of perspectives. Tell us about an aspect of your own perspective, viewpoint or lived experience that is important to you, and describe how it has ...

  13. How to Answer the Diversity (and Other Related) Supplemental Essay

    Step 3: Connect you… to them (i.e., the college you're applying to). Make connections between what the school offers and what you're interested in. For example: ME: I'm interested in creating original works of theater….

  14. Developing and Writing a Diversity Statement

    Adapting your Statement for a Job Application. After you have developed a statement that reflects your strengths and experiences related to diversity, inclusion, and equity, you may wish to tailor it for individual job applications. Be sure to do your homework about diversity-related programs and resources at the schools to which you are ...

  15. Diversity Essay about Uniqueness

    A diversity essay holds significance for several reasons, playing a crucial role in various contexts such as college admissions, job applications, or scholarship opportunities. Here are key reasons why a diversity essay is important: ... Connect your experiences to broader themes of diversity, inclusion, and societal impact. Showcase how your ...

  16. College Essays about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Jan 14, 2022. College Essays about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. #College Essays and Applications. In recent years, many colleges and universities have expanded their supplemental college essay prompts to include topics about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This shift has increased dramatically in the past year, so read on to learn ...

  17. Inclusion and Diversity

    The act of diversity has been used in the past to refer to numbers of different kinds people in the labour force as a whole. In my opinion, diversity includes the entire range of primary aspect of an individual. Diversity and inclusion is an important recipe of a long lasting successful organisation. In an organisation, diversity comprises many ...

  18. 3 Diversity Essay Examples For Business School

    What is a Diversity Essay? A diversity essay is often an optional essay that business schools may offer as part of their application process. Students can choose to write these essays if they self-identify as a minority based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or belonging to any other marginalized group.

  19. How To Craft a Diversity Statement for Graduate School Application

    The narrative tends to be more personal than that in a statement of purpose, with particular emphasis on cultural competence and understanding of current issues and efforts surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. In composing such an essay, it might be helpful to include some of the following elements: Statements of values as they relate ...

  20. What is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)?

    Diversity—through the lenses of race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, and beyond—can help to strengthen organizations, as studies have shown time and again. Quite simply, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is used to describe three values that many organizations today strive to embody to help meet the needs of people from all walks of life.

  21. Diversity And Inclusion Essay

    Diversity And Inclusion Paper. differently, embraces change and diversity, and model inclusion. Like the ocean tides rising and falling, our society is ever-changing, and as a result, it is imperative that individuals and organizations must learn to identify, to understand and to support diversity and cultivate inclusion. Description. 921 Words.

  22. Diversity and Inclusion Essay

    The company names its Diversity and Inclusivity statement as 'People matter at L'Oréal', which ideally represents ground strategies and aims. The diversity and Inclusivity statement, which is last updated in 2018, includes five subsections, i.e. Key figures, Strategy, Key examples, Top executive endorsement, and Partners.

  23. Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Workplace Essay

    Workplace inclusion, diversity, and belonging have developed into crucial components of a philosophy that permeates all enterprises. Due to the value they provide, hose concepts swiftly ascend to the forefront of enterprises' priorities. They not only help to create more content, open-minded, and productive staff, but they also enhance the ...

  24. 21 Essays About Diversity For Students And Writers

    This essay can explore the contributions of different cultural and ethnic groups within society as a whole. It can build the argument that diversity is important by exploring the connectivity of the modern world and how different people groups impact one another. 3. How Workplaces can Promote Diversity and Inclusion.

  25. How a DEI Rebrand Is Playing Out in K-12 Schools

    Similar to the Lake Forest district, this broader conceptualization of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, or DEIB, allowed the Kentucky state division to withstand political wars in a ...

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    DOI: 10.1080/15424065.2023.2275194 Corpus ID: 265521804; Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Call to Action and Strategies for Success @article{Evener2023DiversityAI, title={Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Call to Action and Strategies for Success}, author={Julie Evener}, journal={Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries}, year={2023}, volume={20}, pages={182 - 183 ...

  28. Paper Submission Recognition Program

    Dear USD faculty, With so many demands on your time and looming deadlines, we recognize that it is hard to find the time and motivation to complete papers in progress and submit them to peer-reviewed journals. Let's work together as a community to get over the finish line! To encourage submission of articles to peer-reviewed journals, the Office of the Provost and Center for Inclusion and ...