Writing a Diversity Statement


A Diversity Statement may be required for some graduate and professional school applications, as part of the primary application process or as part of the supplemental or secondary application questions. This can be a great way to stand out and to emphasize aspects of your qualifications that may not be as evident through other parts of your application. It can be an opportunity to highlight unique strengths, experiences, and perspectives you bring, and also to show how you value the diversity that others bring to the program, your chosen field or profession, and to our global society.

The main purposes of a diversity statement are to demonstrate how you will contribute to the diversity of the program and/or the profession, and to acknowledge your identities and views on topics like diversity, inclusion and institutional racism. It is your opportunity to discuss what about you may be unique from other applicants. It is also an opportunity to discuss how you will genuinely contribute to creating an atmosphere of inclusion in your program, your career, and communities in general. It is important to be genuine and express your life experiences and beliefs related to diversity. Be sure to check your program/institution of interest for any prompts or specific questions they want you to address. 

Writing a Diversity Statement can be a challenging, thought-provoking, and often rewarding experience. Often students have questions on where to even start, what to include, or what they feel comfortable disclosing. We are here to support you through this process! You can meet with a career counselor at any stage of the process from discussing ideas or questions you have, all the way up to polishing your final document for submission. You can also submit your draft(s) for online review. See additional information on diversity statements in our Canvas resource on Preparing and Applying for Graduate or Professional School.

It is important to address any specific questions provided by your program. If the statement question is not specifically defined for you, generally speaking here are some areas to explore/consider:

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Potential topics to address in a diversity statement

  • family background
  • unique perspectives or experiences
  • multilingual abilities
  • geographic diversity (urban, rural, international)
  • authentic community involvement and contributions
  • non-traditional characteristics for a field/profession
  • special talents, strengths, skills, qualities
  • international work, schooling, or travel
  • socioeconomic factors
  • first-generation college student
  • hardships you have overcome
  • any other unique contribution to the program and/or profession

General tips & suggestions

  • Personalize it through your own views, experiences, and examples
  • Make your diversity statement distinctive from your personal statement
  • Focus on your life and not solely your academic or research interests
  • Acknowledge your privileged and/or marginalized identities and intersectionality of identities 
  • Write about topics through the lens of your personal knowledge or experience
  • If you don’t have personal experience on a topic, reflect on why
  • Demonstrate learning and growth, taking ownership of past mistakes if needed
  • Tell your story

Some possible diversity statement prompts

  • Describe how you would add diversity to the program.
  • Describe your experience with diversity and diverse populations.
  • How has your background influenced your worldviews?
  • How will you contribute to a culture of inclusion?
  • Describe your thoughts on systemic racism.