Diversity Essay - School of Industrial Engineering - Purdue University

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Diversity Essay

**for graduates of u.s. high schools only**.

Many graduate programs use the diversity essay as a criterion when determining recommendations for fellowships. The diversity essay should be 500 words or less responding to the following statement: Describe your leadership, work experience, service experience, or other significant involvement with racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or educational communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, and how these experiences would promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, and creative excellence. The Purdue University Doctoral Fellowship, David M. Knox Fellowship, or George Washington Carver Fellowship, all require the submission of the diversity essay. Potential recipients of these fellowships are students who have received a degree from an accredited U.S. high school (include name of U.S. High School, City, State, and Zip code in your essay) and demonstrate superior academic achievements and abilities.

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College Essays

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 .

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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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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.

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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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  • Knowledge Base
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  • How to Write a Diversity Essay | Tips & Examples

How to Write a Diversity Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on November 1, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on May 31, 2023.

Table of contents

What is a diversity essay, identify how you will enrich the campus community, share stories about your lived experience, explain how your background or identity has affected your life, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

Diversity essays ask students to highlight an important aspect of their identity, background, culture, experience, viewpoints, beliefs, skills, passions, goals, etc.

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 background.

In the Common Application and applications for several other colleges, some main essay prompts ask about how your background, identity, or experience has affected you.

Why schools want a diversity essay

Many universities believe a student body representing different perspectives, beliefs, identities, and backgrounds will enhance the campus learning and community experience.

Admissions officers are interested in hearing about how your unique background, identity, beliefs, culture, or characteristics will enrich the campus community.

Through the diversity essay, admissions officers want students to articulate the following:

  • What makes them different from other applicants
  • Stories related to their background, identity, or experience
  • How their unique lived experience has affected their outlook, activities, and goals

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Think about what aspects of your identity or background make you unique, and choose one that has significantly impacted your life.

For some students, it may be easy to identify what sets them apart from their peers. But if you’re having trouble identifying what makes you different from other applicants, consider your life from an outsider’s perspective. Don’t presume your lived experiences are normal or boring just because you’re used to them.

Some examples of identities or experiences that you might write about include the following:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Nationality
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Immigration background
  • Religion/belief system
  • Place of residence
  • Family circumstances
  • Extracurricular activities related to diversity

Include vulnerable, authentic stories about your lived experiences. Maintain focus on your experience rather than going into too much detail comparing yourself to others or describing their experiences.

Keep the focus on you

Tell a story about how your background, identity, or experience has impacted you. While you can briefly mention another person’s experience to provide context, be sure to keep the essay focused on you. Admissions officers are mostly interested in learning about your lived experience, not anyone else’s.

When I was a baby, my grandmother took me in, even though that meant postponing her retirement and continuing to work full-time at the local hairdresser. Even working every shift she could, she never missed a single school play or soccer game.

She and I had a really special bond, even creating our own special language to leave each other secret notes and messages. She always pushed me to succeed in school, and celebrated every academic achievement like it was worthy of a Nobel Prize. Every month, any leftover tip money she received at work went to a special 509 savings plan for my college education.

When I was in the 10th grade, my grandmother was diagnosed with ALS. We didn’t have health insurance, and what began with quitting soccer eventually led to dropping out of school as her condition worsened. In between her doctor’s appointments, keeping the house tidy, and keeping her comfortable, I took advantage of those few free moments to study for the GED.

In school pictures at Raleigh Elementary School, you could immediately spot me as “that Asian girl.” At lunch, I used to bring leftover fun see noodles, but after my classmates remarked how they smelled disgusting, I begged my mom to make a “regular” lunch of sliced bread, mayonnaise, and deli meat.

Although born and raised in North Carolina, I felt a cultural obligation to learn my “mother tongue” and reconnect with my “homeland.” After two years of all-day Saturday Chinese school, I finally visited Beijing for the first time, expecting I would finally belong. While my face initially assured locals of my Chinese identity, the moment I spoke, my cover was blown. My Chinese was littered with tonal errors, and I was instantly labeled as an “ABC,” American-born Chinese.

I felt culturally homeless.

Speak from your own experience

Highlight your actions, difficulties, and feelings rather than comparing yourself to others. While it may be tempting to write about how you have been more or less fortunate than those around you, keep the focus on you and your unique experiences, as shown below.

I began to despair when the FAFSA website once again filled with red error messages.

I had been at the local library for hours and hadn’t even been able to finish the form, much less the other to-do items for my application.

I am the first person in my family to even consider going to college. My parents work two jobs each, but even then, it’s sometimes very hard to make ends meet. Rather than playing soccer or competing in speech and debate, I help my family by taking care of my younger siblings after school and on the weekends.

“We only speak one language here. Speak proper English!” roared a store owner when I had attempted to buy bread and accidentally used the wrong preposition.

In middle school, I had relentlessly studied English grammar textbooks and received the highest marks.

Leaving Seoul was hard, but living in West Orange, New Jersey was much harder一especially navigating everyday communication with Americans.

After sharing relevant personal stories, make sure to provide insight into how your lived experience has influenced your perspective, activities, and goals. You should also explain how your background led you to apply to this university and why you’re a good fit.

Include your outlook, actions, and goals

Conclude your essay with an insight about how your background or identity has affected your outlook, actions, and goals. You should include specific actions and activities that you have done as a result of your insight.

One night, before the midnight premiere of Avengers: Endgame , I stopped by my best friend Maria’s house. Her mother prepared tamales, churros, and Mexican hot chocolate, packing them all neatly in an Igloo lunch box. As we sat in the line snaking around the AMC theater, I thought back to when Maria and I took salsa classes together and when we belted out Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” at karaoke. In that moment, as I munched on a chicken tamale, I realized how much I admired the beauty, complexity, and joy in Maria’s culture but had suppressed and devalued my own.

The following semester, I joined Model UN. Since then, I have learned how to proudly represent other countries and have gained cultural perspectives other than my own. I now understand that all cultures, including my own, are equal. I still struggle with small triggers, like when I go through airport security and feel a suspicious glance toward me, or when I feel self-conscious for bringing kabsa to school lunch. But in the future, I hope to study and work in international relations to continue learning about other cultures and impart a positive impression of Saudi culture to the world.

The smell of the early morning dew and the welcoming whinnies of my family’s horses are some of my most treasured childhood memories. To this day, our farm remains so rural that we do not have broadband access, and we’re too far away from the closest town for the postal service to reach us.

Going to school regularly was always a struggle: between the unceasing demands of the farm and our lack of connectivity, it was hard to keep up with my studies. Despite being a voracious reader, avid amateur chemist, and active participant in the classroom, emergencies and unforeseen events at the farm meant that I had a lot of unexcused absences.

Although it had challenges, my upbringing taught me resilience, the value of hard work, and the importance of family. Staying up all night to watch a foal being born, successfully saving the animals from a minor fire, and finding ways to soothe a nervous mare afraid of thunder have led to an unbreakable family bond.

Our farm is my family’s birthright and our livelihood, and I am eager to learn how to ensure the farm’s financial and technological success for future generations. In college, I am looking forward to joining a chapter of Future Farmers of America and studying agricultural business to carry my family’s legacy forward.

Tailor your answer to the university

After explaining how your identity or background will enrich the university’s existing student body, you can mention the university organizations, groups, or courses in which you’re interested.

Maybe a larger public school setting will allow you to broaden your community, or a small liberal arts college has a specialized program that will give you space to discover your voice and identity. Perhaps this particular university has an active affinity group you’d like to join.

Demonstrating how a university’s specific programs or clubs are relevant to you can show that you’ve done your research and would be a great addition to the university.

At the University of Michigan Engineering, I want to study engineering not only to emulate my mother’s achievements and strength, but also to forge my own path as an engineer with disabilities. I appreciate the University of Michigan’s long-standing dedication to supporting students with disabilities in ways ranging from accessible housing to assistive technology. At the University of Michigan Engineering, I want to receive a top-notch education and use it to inspire others to strive for their best, regardless of their circumstances.

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Academic writing

  • Writing process
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  • Passive voice
  • Paraphrasing

 Communication

  • How to end an email
  • Ms, mrs, miss
  • How to start an email
  • I hope this email finds you well
  • Hope you are doing well

 Parts of speech

  • Personal pronouns
  • Conjunctions

In addition to your main college essay , some schools and scholarships may ask for a supplementary essay focused on an aspect of your identity or background. This is sometimes called a diversity essay .

Many universities believe a student body composed of different perspectives, beliefs, identities, and backgrounds will enhance the campus learning and community experience.

Admissions officers are interested in hearing about how your unique background, identity, beliefs, culture, or characteristics will enrich the campus community, which is why they assign a diversity essay .

To write an effective diversity essay , include vulnerable, authentic stories about your unique identity, background, or perspective. Provide insight into how your lived experience has influenced your outlook, activities, and goals. If relevant, you should also mention how your background has led you to apply for this university and why you’re a good fit.

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purdue diversity essay sample

Step by Step Guide To Write a Diversity Essay (Examples + Analysis)

purdue diversity essay sample

What is a Diversity essay? 

First, let’s understand the diversity question in a school application, and more significantly, what is the value when applying to leading programs and universities?

A diversity essay is an essay that inspires applicants with minority backgrounds, unique experiences, special education, or bizarre family histories to write about how these factors will contribute to the diversity of their target school’s class and community.

Several schools have a supplemental essay prompt that requires students to speculate on their experiences and show how those experiences would enable them to add to the diversity of a college community.

For example, let’s look at Duke’s optional* diversity prompt:

(Optional) 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. (250-word limit)

*While this prompt is optional, our team would not recommend you to treat this prompt as optional —it’s a huge opportunity to help yourself stand out from other candidates. 

Or Caltech’s:

The process of discovery best advances when people from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives come together. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity of Caltech's community? (Your response should range between 250-400 words.)

So, the question is, why do universities ask variations of this question? At the risk of repeating the above, universities appreciate a diverse student body for several reasons. 

One reason is the notion that a solid education includes encountering values, faiths, and perspectives that are different from your own (Caltech makes this fairly straightforward in its prompt mentioned above). 

Many academic fields, from marketing to history to medicine, are day by day realizing how diversity empowers creativity and understanding. The diversity essay is also another opportunity to show how you and a college fit together. 

One general is what exactly schools mean by “diversity.” While it can indicate things like religion, faith, ethnicity, or sexuality, those can be solid topics to write about, and diversity is limited. 

Open your mind, and then think—what perspective will you bring to college, particularly one that others cannot? 

How can you show that you add diversity?

If you are an immigrant to the U.S. or born to immigrants or someone whose ethnicity is a minority in the U.S., you may find your answer to this question crucial to your application effort. Why? Because you can use it to prove how your background will add to the mix of viewpoints at the program you are applying to.

Of course, if you’re not an under-represented minority and don’t fall into one of those categories, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to write about.

If you are applying to a school and have an unusual or unique experience to share, like serving in the military, becoming part of a dance troupe, or caring for a disabled relative, use your knowledge to convey how you will bring diverse school’s campus.

You could be the first member of your family to apply to college;  you could have struggle your way through college, worked hard in poverty, or raised your siblings.

Diversity is not limited to one’s religion, culture, language, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. It’s an element of your identity that distinguishes you from others.

Going further, let’s talk about some

Do’s and Don’ts

Some do’s: .

- Think about how this helps the admission committee to understand more about who you are.

- Think about several ways you’re distinct from other people.

In numerous ways, you can approach diversity essays like you do “ community” prompts. 

To save some time and effort, consider writing a combined essay that can be used for prompts that think community and focus on diversity. 

Try to think in terms of identity and perspective (which often align with communities).

Some don’ts

- As I mentioned earlier, don’t assume that “difference” only applies to culture or social class.

There are numerous ways to define “difference.”

 - At all costs, avoid privilege clichés.

A common essay on diversity is like this: The writer watches a person on a street or bus, or train. They see the person, whose skin is of a different color than theirs, wears torn clothes or worn-out shoes. The writer expresses a feeling of disgrace and gratitude for their privileged position. They either help the person somehow and feel good, but also bad, or just neglect the person and feel bad or don’t feel anything. These kinds of stories have several problems: 

  • In such a situation, the interaction is minimum, so compelling insights are improbable to occur. As a result, diversity essays often end up displaying a common theme along the lines of “I realized I have so much to be grateful for.”
  • It’s crucial to come to recognize privilege. But understanding privilege in an essay like this runs the danger of showcasing blunt negative qualities.

One important thing to do is link the values you’ve developed 

Help readers see how these factors of diversity have shaped your values and insights. 

Step by step process to write the “Diversity” Essay 

Let’s look at two simple approaches for how you can write your diversity essay:

  • If you belong to a community that embraces how you’ll contribute to the diversity of the campus, you can create your essay around your engagement with that community. 
  • And, if there’s individuality or perspective that represents the diversity you’ll bring to campus, you can work on that also. 

1. First is the “Community” approach 

Step 1: Prepare a “communities” chart by posting all communities you’re a part of. Remember that communities can be defined by ...

  • Place: Crowds of people who live, work, and have leisure time near one another
  • Action: Crowds of people who bring change in the world by building, doing, or solving something together (Examples: Black Lives Matter, March for Our Lives)
  • Interest: Associations coming together based on similar interests, skills, events, experiences, or expertise
  • Circumstance: Gatherings brought together either by chance or external emergencies/situations

Step 2: Once you’ve picked a community, use the following exercise to develop your essay content. 

  • What did you do in that community? (Important Tip: You can use active verbs like “designed” and “directed” to clarify your responsibilities.)
  • What kinds of difficulties/ problems did you solve?
  • What particular impact did you have?
  • What did you learn (your skills, characteristics, values)? 
  • How did you implement the lessons you learned in that community?

Don’t skip that step. It’s significant: it’s easy for students to write just so-so community essays if they don’t take the time to brainstorm specific content.

Step 3: Pick a structure (Narrative or montage).

Narrative Structure works fine for students who have faced a challenge in this community. Otherwise, you can use Montage Structure.

If you choose Narrative, you have to focus on answering the following three-question Structure: 

  • What challenges did you face?
  • How did you overcome those challenges?  
  • What did you learn?

Go with the Montage Structure if you want to approach essays that don’t necessarily focus on a particular challenge.

2. Second is the Identity/Perspective approach 

List out diverse ways in which you identify. Again, think with an open mind. Here an open mind approach is much needed. For example, "I'm a ... writer, rock lover, Indian, dancer, feminist, etc." Try to name as many identities as you think you are. 

Then, in short, describe how these identities reveal different versions of you.

Is there an identity you haven’t spoken about so far in your application that's very important to you, or maybe one you've had a hard time with? If so, what have you found stimulating about it?

Regarding perspective: Talk about some unique experiences that have shaped you. For example, have your values clash with your family’s in complicated ways? Have you been raised differently? What has molded how you see the world and your role in it? (Remember that this can lead to excellent essays, but is a little harder, as “perspective” is a more abstract thing than “identity” or “community.”)

Again, Montage or Narrative Structure can work here.

Option for both approaches: As your prompt and its word count, think about adding some “Why us?” elements to the end of your diversity essay—even if the prompt doesn’t ask you to.

How you’ll contribute to the diversity on campus? Are there groups or communities that allow you to continue what you’ve already done? Or are you planning to start an organization? Express to your reader that you have got an idea about how you want to engage with the school community.

Diversity Essay Example 1

Let’s look at an example that takes the “community” approach:

When I joined the Durham Youth Commission, a group of students chosen to represent youth interests within local government, I met Miles. Miles told me his cousin’s body had been stuffed into the trunk of a car after he was killed by a gang. After that, my notion of normal would never be the same. 

A melting pot of ideologies, skins, socio-economic classes, faiths, and educations, the DYC is a unique collaborative enterprise. Each member adds to our community’s network of stories, that weave, bump, and diverge in unexpected ways. Miles talked about his cousin’s broken body, Witnessa educated us about “food deserts,” supervisor Evelyn Scott explained that girls get ten-day school suspensions for simply stepping on another student’s sneakers, and I shared how my family’s blending of Jewish tradition and Chinese culture bridges disparate worlds. As a person who was born in Tokyo, lived in London and grew up in the South, I realize difference doesn’t have to be an obstacle to understanding. My ability to listen empathetically helped us envision multifaceted solutions to issues facing 21st-century youth. 

My experience in this space of affirmation and engagement has made me a more thoughtful person and listener. I want to continue this effort and be the woman who both expands perspectives and takes action after hearing people’s stories. Reconciling disparate lifestyles and backgrounds in the Commission has prepared me to become a compassionate leader, eager to both expand perspectives and take collaborative action. 

Tips and Analysis

  • Hook us, then keep us: We find that hook jolting every time we read i. But that’s the reason it’s effective. So while your hook doesn’t have to be as shocking and mysterious as this one, always spend some time researching options for ways to hook your reader. While the hook does a great job of hooking us, the body does a great job of keeping us engaged.

We get to see how the writer has explored various perspectives, making space for others to share, and tried to establish understanding by offering her own. The insights she gives are quick but effective, and she transitions perfectly into concentrating on how diversity has shaped her, and how she wants to continue engaging and participating in the future.

  • Show your engagement: The way she described the final paragraph could be set depending on the phrasing of the prompt—some schools clearly ask how you’ll contribute to diversity on campus. For these prompts, remember to add some “why us”-like details, showing that you’ve found associations and opportunities at the school that inspires you. 
  • Save yourself time: Use this essay for various prompts which ask about things like diversity or community, saving her hours of writing. As you brainstorm for your diversity prompts, think about how you can write one essay that can be used for all of them (with needed revisions to fit the prompt’s phrasing and word count).

Diversity Essay Example 2 (with analysis in the essay)

This one focuses more on perspective:

My whole family sits around the living room on a lazy Sunday afternoon when we suddenly hear sirens. Lots of sirens. Everyone stops. My dad peers out the window, trying to get a glimpse of the highway. My mom gets up and goes to the phone. After a few stressful rings, the person on the other line answers. My mom bursts out, “Is Josh ok?”

Great hook! We’re engaged by the questions this essay raises. Is Josh ok? Who is this Josh? Why are there is a lot of sirens?

Josh is my fourteen-year-old cousin, and he lives less than a mile from my house. Whenever we hear sirens, my mom will give their house a call or shoot my aunt a text, just in case. Josh was born with a syndrome that affected the formation of the bones of his head and face. As a result, his hearing, vision, breathing, and some of his brain structures are compromised. He’s unable to do athletics, his tracheostomy always provides a possibility of disaster, and an unwieldy head brace used to grace his head.

Here the writer gives context by describing who Josh is. He also defines “difference” with a few particular details.

Living so close to Josh, we have had the opportunity to interact daily. We go on vacations together, I drive Josh to school twice a week, at every holiday we either go down to their house or they come up to my family’s house, we play wiffle ball in the yard behind their house. One of my favorite activities is board games with him—Risk, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, we play it all. Last Christmas, there were endless laughs when prompted by our fathers’ nostalgia, we constructed a slot car track and raced those miniature cars around tight turns and short straightaways. This game was perfect for Josh, as he could stay in a comfortable seat and still experience the speed and excitement that he is usually barred from.

In this section, the writer shows us how close he is to Josh, and the final sentence shows his sympathy and feeling. 

It goes without saying that Josh has not had an easy childhood. He has had to fight for his life in the hospital when his peers were learning how to multiply and divide in school or playing capture the flag on the beach. A large portion of his childhood has been arbitrarily taken from him. That is most obviously unfair.

Value: Empathy

At our high school, I see Josh every day walking from the second period to the third period, and every day I say hello and have a small conversation with him. One day I was walking with a few of my friends when I stopped to talk with him. During the conversation, I made a little joke at Josh’s expense. It wasn’t at all relating to his disability, but to something completely independent of that—specifically, his Instagram habits. My friends were horrified and chastised me as they saw it appropriate.

He’s setting up for the end and also raised a question: Why did he make the joke at Josh’s expense?

My friends didn’t understand. He is not some extremely delicate dandelion who falls apart at every breath that causes a slightly adverse situation. Everywhere he goes, he’s the most popular guy in the room; people flock to him, surround him, pity him, overwhelm him. All Josh wants is to be treated like any other person. He is my cousin, and he is my friend, so I treat him as such. We joke we make fun of each other, just as any other two friends do.

Insight! The writer treats Josh as he would treat any of his friends—like a normal human being.

Josh has proved to me that people with disabilities are exactly that—people. As if that needed proving. But it’s something that is too easily forgotten. It’s hard to see anything except the handicap. A person’s wheelchair or white cane inevitably trumps any other characteristic. It’s a natural human reaction, but it too often leads to the dehumanizing of disabled people. One of my favorite people on Earth has lived a life of disability. And he plays a mean game of Monopoly.

In the end, he connects the dots and provides a bit more understanding: Treating people differently because of their disability can be degrading.                          

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How to Write a College Diversity Essay – Examples & Tips

purdue diversity essay sample

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.

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May 11, 2023

Writing an Excellent Diversity Essay

What is the diversity essay question and how do you answer it

What is the diversity question in a school application, and why does it matter when applying to leading programs and universities? Most importantly, how should you respond?

Diversity is of supreme value in higher education, and schools want to know how every student will contribute to it in their community. A diversity essay is an essay that encourages applicants with disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds, an unusual education, a distinctive experience, or a unique family history 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.

In this post, we’ll cover the following topics: 

How to show you can add to diversity

Why diversity matters at school, seven examples that reveal diversity, how to write about your diversity, diversity essay example, want to ensure your application demonstrates the diversity that your dream school is seeking.

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 can use it to show how your background will add a distinctive perspective to the program you are applying to.

Download this sample personal background essay, and see how one candidate won over the adcom and got accepted into their top-choice MBA program.

Of course, if you’re not from a group that is underrepresented in your field or 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.

You could be the first member of your family to apply to college or the first to learn English in your household. 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 previous school, or in an earlier work experience. 

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.

Admissions officers believe 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 the 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 they will market more effectively if they can speak to different audiences and markets, which is possible when members of their workforce come from different backgrounds and cultures. Schools simply want to prepare graduates for the 21st century job market.

Adcoms want to know about your personal diversity elements and the way they have helped you develop particular character and personality traits , as well as the unusual experiences that have shaped you.

Here are seven examples an applicant could write about:

  • They grew up with a strong insistence on respecting elders, attending family events, or learning their parents’ native language and culture.
  • They are close to grandparents and extended family members who have taught them how teamwork can help everyone thrive.
  • They have had to face difficulties that stem from their parents’ values being in conflict with theirs or those of their peers.
  • Teachers have not always understood the elements of their culture or lifestyle and how those elements influence their performance.
  • They suffered from discrimination and succeeded despite it because of their grit, values, and character.
  • 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).
  • They’ve encountered racism or other prejudice (either toward themselves or others) and responded by actively promoting diverse, tolerant values.

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

Your background, influences, religious observances, 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.

Your answer to the diversity 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 well ask how you think of diversity or how you can bring or add to the diversity of your school, chosen profession, or 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, well, diversely:

  • Identity : 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.
  • Deeds : 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?
  • Ideas : 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? 

Learn more about this three-part framework in this podcast episode.

Think about each question within this framework and how you could apply your diversity elements to the classroom, your school, or your community. Any of these elements will 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 pass the diversity test!

And please remember, the examples I have listed are not exhaustive. There are many other ways to show diversity!

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

Want our advice on how you can best show diversity?

Click here to sign up for a free consultation.

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

When I was starting 11 th 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:

  • The writer comes from “a comfortable, suburban, Wisconsin life,” suggesting that her own background might not be ethnically, racially, or in other ways diverse.
  • 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.
  • 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 and . This checklist includes more than 30 different ways to think about diversity to jump-start your creative engines.

Related Resources:

•  Different Dimensions of Diversity , a podcast episode • What to Do if You Belong to an Overrepresented Applicant Group • Med School Admissions Advice for Nontraditional Applicants: The Experts Speak

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6 Diversity College Essay Examples

What’s covered:, 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, what is the diversity essay.

While working on your college applications, you may come across essays that focus on diversity , culture, or values. The purpose of these essays is to highlight any diverse views or opinions that you may bring to campus. Colleges want a diverse student body that’s made up of different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and interests. These essay prompts are a way for them to see what students can bring to their school.

In this post, we will share six essays written by real students that cover the topic of culture and diversity. We’ll also include what each essay did well and where there is room for improvement. Hopefully, this will be a useful resource to inspire your own diversity essay.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. That said, you should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and they will not have a favorable view of students who have plagiarized.

In June 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that the use of race in college admissions was unconstitutional. In other words, they struck down the use of affirmative action in college admissions . This will affect college-bound students of color in a number of ways, including lowering their chances of acceptance and reducing the amount of direct outreach they’ll receive from colleges. Another change to consider is the ways in which students should tackle their diversity essays.

Although colleges can no longer directly factor race into admissions, students aren’t prohibited from discussing their racial backgrounds in supplemental application essays. If your racial background is important to you, seriously consider writing about it in your diversity essays. If you don’t, admissions officers are extremely limited in their ability to consider your race when making an admission decision.

As in the essays listed below, discussing your race is an excellent tool for showing admissions officers the person behind the grades and test scores. Beyond that, it provides admissions officers with an opportunity to put themselves in your shoes—showing them how your background has presented challenges to overcome, helped build important life skills, and taught you valuable lessons.

Diversity Essay Examples

I was thirsty. In my wallet was a lone $10 bill, ultimately useless at my school’s vending machine. Tasked with scrounging together the $1 cost of a water bottle, I fished out and arranged the spare change that normally hid in the bottom of my backpack in neat piles of nickels and dimes on my desk. I swept them into a spare Ziploc and began to leave when a classmate snatched the bag and held it above my head.

“Want your money back, Jew?” she chanted, waving the coins around. I had forgotten the Star-of-David around my neck, but quickly realized she must have seen it and connected it to the stacks of coins. I am no stranger to experiencing and confronting antisemitism, but I had never been targeted in my school before. I grabbed my bag and sternly told her to leave. Although she sauntered away, the impact remained.

This incident serves as an example of the adversity I have and will continue to face from those who only see me as a stereotype. Ironically, however, these experiences of discrimination have only increased my pride as a member of the Jewish Community. Continuing to wear the Star-of-David connects me to my history and my family. I find meaning and direction in my community’s values, such as pride, education, and giving—and I am eager to transfer these values to my new community: the Duke community.

What the Essay Did Well

Writing about discrimination can be difficult, but if you are comfortable doing it, it can make for a powerful story. Although this essay is short and focused on one small interaction, it represents a much larger struggle for this student, and for that reason it makes the essay very impactful.

The author takes her time at the beginning of the essay to build the scene for the audience, which allows us to feel like we are there with her, making the hateful comments even more jarring later on. If she had just told us her classmate teased her with harmful stereotypes, we wouldn’t feel the same sense of anger as we do knowing that she was just trying to get a drink and ended up being harassed.

This essay does another important thing—it includes self-reflection on the experience and on the student’s identity. Without elaborating on the emotional impact of a situation, an essay about discrimination would make admission officers feel bad for the student, but they wouldn’t be compelled to admit the student. By describing how experiences like these drive her and make her more determined to embody positive values, this student reveals her character to the readers.

What Could Be Improved

While including emotional reflection in the latter half of the essay is important, the actual sentences could be tightened up a bit to leave a stronger impression. The student does a nice job of showing us her experience with antisemitism, but she just tells us about the impact it has on her. If she instead showed us what the impact looked like, the essay would be even better.

For example, rather than telling us “Continuing to wear the Star-of-David connects me to my history and my family,” she could have shown that connection: “My Star-of-David necklace thumps against my heart with every step I take, reminding me of my great-grandparents who had to hide their stars, my grandma’s spindly fingers lighting the menorah each Hanukkah, and my uncle’s homemade challah bread.” This new sentence reveals so much more than the existing sentence about the student and the deep connection she feels with her family and religion.

Life before was good: verdant forests, sumptuous curries, and a devoted family.

Then, my family abandoned our comfortable life in Bangladesh for a chance at the American dream in Los Angeles. Within our first year, my father was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He lost his battle three weeks before my sixth birthday. Facing a new country without the steady presence of my father, we were vulnerable—prisoners of hardship in the land of the free.

We resettled in the Bronx, in my uncle’s renovated basement. It was meant to be our refuge, but I felt more displaced than ever. Gone were the high-rise condos of West L.A.; instead, government projects towered over the neighborhood. Pedestrians no longer smiled and greeted me; the atmosphere was hostile, even toxic. Schoolkids were quick to pick on those they saw as weak or foreign, hurling harsh words I’d never heard before.

Meanwhile, my family began integrating into the local Bangladeshi community. I struggled to understand those who shared my heritage. Bangladeshi mothers stayed home while fathers drove cabs and sold fruit by the roadside—painful societal positions. Riding on crosstown buses or walking home from school, I began to internalize these disparities.

During my fleeting encounters with affluent Upper East Siders, I saw kids my age with nannies, parents who wore suits to work, and luxurious apartments with spectacular views. Most took cabs to their destinations: cabs that Bangladeshis drove. I watched the mundane moments of their lives with longing, aching to plant myself in their shoes. Shame prickled down my spine. I distanced myself from my heritage, rejecting the traditional panjabis worn on Eid and refusing the torkari we ate for dinner every day.

As I grappled with my relationship with the Bangladeshi community, I turned my attention to helping my Bronx community by pursuing an internship with Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda. I handled desk work and took calls, spending the bulk of my time actively listening to the hardships constituents faced—everything from a veteran stripped of his benefits to a grandmother unable to support her bedridden grandchild.

I’d never exposed myself to stories like these, and now I was the first to hear them. As an intern, I could only assist in what felt like the small ways—pointing out local job offerings, printing information on free ESL classes, reaching out to non-profits. But to a community facing an onslaught of intense struggles, I realized that something as small as these actions could have vast impacts.

Seeing the immediate consequences of my actions inspired me. Throughout that summer, I internalized my community’s daily challenges in a new light. I began to see the prevalent underemployment and cramped living quarters less as sources of shame. Instead, I saw them as realities that had to be acknowledged, but that could ultimately be remedied.

I also realized the benefits of the Bangladeshi culture I had been so ashamed of. My Bangla language skills were an asset to the office, and my understanding of Bangladeshi etiquette allowed for smooth communication between office staff and the office’s constituents. As I helped my neighbors navigate city services, I saw my heritage with pride—a perspective I never expected to have.

I can now appreciate the value of my unique culture and background, and the value of living with less. This perspective offers room for progress, community integration, and a future worth fighting for. My time with Assemblyman Sepulveda’s office taught me that I can be an agent of change who can enable this progression. Far from being ashamed of my community, I want to someday return to local politics in the Bronx to continue helping others access the American Dream. I hope to help my community appreciate the opportunity to make progress together. By embracing reality, I learned to live it. Along the way, I discovered one thing: life is good, but we can make it better.

This student’s passion for social justice and civic duty shines through in this essay because of how honest it is. Sharing their personal experience with immigrating, moving around, being an outsider, and finding a community allows us to see the hardships this student has faced and builds empathy towards their situation.

However, what really makes it strong is that the student goes beyond describing the difficulties they faced and explains the mental impact it had on them as a child: “Shame prickled down my spine. I distanced myself from my heritage, rejecting the traditional panjabis worn on Eid and refusing the torkari we ate for dinner every day.” The rejection of their culture presented at the beginning of the essay creates a nice juxtaposition with the student’s view in the latter half of the essay, and helps demonstrate how they have matured.

They then use their experience interning as a way to delve into a change in their thought process about their culture. This experience also serves as a way to show how their passion for social justice began. Using this experience as a mechanism to explore their thoughts and feelings is an excellent example of how items that are included elsewhere on your application should be incorporated into your essay.

This essay prioritizes emotions and personal views over specific anecdotes. Although there are details and certain moments incorporated throughout to emphasize the author’s points, the main focus remains on the student and how they grapple with their culture and identity.

One area for improvement is the conclusion. Although the forward-looking approach is a nice way to end an essay focused on social justice, it would be nice to include more details and imagery in the conclusion. How does the student want to help their community? What government position do they see themselves holding one day?

A more impactful ending might describe the student walking into their office at the New York City Housing Authority in 15 years. This future student might be looking at the plans to build a new development in the Bronx just blocks away from where they grew up that would provide quality housing to people in their Bangladeshi community. They would smile while thinking about how far they have come from that young kid who used to be ashamed of their culture.

Superhero cinema is an oligopoly consisting of two prominent, towering brands: Marvel and DC. I’m a religious supporter of Marvel, but last year, I discovered that my friend, Tom, was a DC fan. After a vociferous 20-minute quarrel about which was better, we decided to allocate one day to have a professional debate, using carefully assembled and coherent arguments.

One week later, we both brought pages of notes and evidence cards (I also had my Iron-Man bobblehead for moral support). Our impartial moderator—a Disney fan—sat in the middle with a stopwatch, open-policy style. I began the debate by discussing how Marvel accentuated the humanity of the storyline—such as in Tony Stark’s transformation from an egotistical billionaire to a compassionate father—which drew in a broader audience, because more people resonated with certain aspects of the characters. Tom rebutted this by capitalizing on how Deadpool was a duplicate of Deathstroke, how Vision copied Red Tornado, and how DC sold more comics than Marvel.

40 minutes later, we reached an impasse. We were out of cards, and we both made excellent points, so our moderator was unable to declare a winner. Difficult conversations aren’t necessarily always the ones that make political headlines. Instead, a difficult discussion involves any topic with which people share an emotional connection.

Over the years, I became so emotionally invested in Marvel that my mind erected an impenetrable shield, blocking out all other possibilities. Even today, we haven’t decided which franchise was better, but I realized that I was undermining DC for no reason other than my own ignorance.

The inevitability of diversity suggests that it is our responsibility to understand the other person and what they believe in. We may not always experience a change in opinion, but we can grant ourselves the opportunity to expand our global perspective. I strive to continue this adventure to increase my awareness as a superhero aficionado, activist, and student, by engaging in conversations that require me to think beyond what I believe and to view the world from others’ perspectives.

And yes, Tom is still my friend.

Diversity doesn’t always have to be about culture or heritage; diversity exists all around us, even in our comic book preferences. The cleverness of this essay lies in the way the student flipped the traditional diversity prompt on its head and instead discussed his diverse perspective on a topic he is passionate about. If you don’t have a cultural connection you are compelled to write about, this is a nifty approach to a diversity prompt—if it’s handled appropriately.

While this student has a non-traditional topic, he still presents it in a way that pays respect to the key aspects of a diversity essay: depicting his perspective and recognizing the importance of diverse views. Just as someone who is writing about a culture that is possibly unfamiliar to the reader, the student describes what makes Marvel and DC unique and important to him and his friend, respectively. He also expands on how a lack of diversity in superhero consumption led to his feeling of ignorance, and how it now makes him appreciate the need for diversity in all aspects of his life.

This student is unapologetically himself in this essay, which is ultimately why this unorthodox topic is able to work. He committed to his passion for Marvel by sharing analytical takes on characters and demonstrating how the franchise was so important to his identity that it momentarily threatened a friendship. The inclusion of humor through his personal voice—e.g., referring to the argument as a professional debate and telling us that the friendship lived on—contributes to the essay feeling deeply personal.

Choosing an unconventional topic for a diversity essay requires extra care and attention to ensure that you are still addressing the core of the prompt. That being said, if you accomplish it successfully, it makes for an incredibly memorable essay that could easily set you apart!

While this is a great essay as is, the idea of diversity could have been addressed a little bit earlier in the piece to make it absolutely clear the student is writing about his diverse perspective. He positions Marvel and DC as two behemoths in the superhero movie industry, but in the event that his reader is unfamiliar with these two brands, there is little context about the cultural impact each has on its fans.

To this student, Marvel is more than just a movie franchise; it’s a crucial part of his identity, just as someone’s race or religion might be. In order for the reader to fully understand the weight of his perspective, there should be further elaboration—towards the beginning—on how important Marvel is to this student.

Leadership was thrust upon me at a young age. When I was six years old, my abusive father abandoned my family, leaving me to step up as the “man” of the house. From having to watch over my little sister to cooking dinner three nights a week, I never lived an ideal suburban life. I didn’t enjoy the luxuries of joining after-school activities, getting driven to school or friends’ houses, or taking weekend trips to the movies or bowling alley. Instead, I spent my childhood navigating legal hurdles, shouldering family responsibilities, and begrudgingly attending court-mandated therapy sessions.

At the same time, I tried to get decent grades and maintain my Colombian roots and Spanish fluency enough to at least partially communicate with my grandparents, both of whom speak little English. Although my childhood had its bright and joyful moments, much of it was weighty and would have been exhausting for any child to bear. In short, I grew up fast. However, the responsibilities I took on at home prepared me to be a leader and to work diligently, setting me up to use these skills later in life.

I didn’t have much time to explore my interests until high school, where I developed my knack for government and for serving others. Being cast in a lead role in my school’s fall production as a freshman was the first thing to give me the confidence I needed to pursue other activities: namely, student government. Shortly after being cast, I was elected Freshman Vice-President, a role that put me in charge of promoting events, delegating daily office tasks, collaborating with the administration on new school initiatives, and planning trips and fundraisers.

While my new position demanded a significant amount of responsibility, my childhood of helping my mom manage our household prepared me to be successful in the role. When I saw the happy faces of my classmates after a big event, I felt proud to know that I had made even a small difference to them. Seeing projects through to a successful outcome was thrilling. I enjoyed my time and responsibilities so much that I served all four years of high school, going on to become Executive Vice-President.

As I found success in high school, my mother and grandparents began speaking more about the life they faced prior to emigrating from Colombia. To better connect with them, I took a series of Spanish language classes to regain my fluency. After a practice run through my presentation on Bendíceme, Ultima ( Bless me, Ultima ) by Rudolofo Anaya, with my grandmother, she squeezed my hand and told me the story of how my family was forced from their home in order to live free of religious persecution. Though my grandparents have often expressed how much better their lives and their children’s lives have been in America, I have often struggled with my identity. I felt that much of it was erased with my loss of our native language.

In elementary school, I learned English best because in class I was surrounded by it. Spanish was more difficult to grasp without a formal education, and my family urged me to become fluent in English so I could be of better help to them in places as disparate as government agencies and grocery stores. When I was old enough to recognize the large part of my identity still rooted in being Colombian, it was challenging to connect these two sides of who I was.

Over time I have been able to reconcile the two in the context of my aspirations. I found purpose and fulfillment through student council, and I knew that I could help other families like my own if I worked in local government. By working through city offices that address housing, education, and support for survivors of childhood abuse, I could give others the same liberties and opportunities my family has enjoyed in this country. Doing so would also help me honor my roots as a first-generation American.

I have been a leader my entire life. Both at Harvard and after graduation, I want to continue that trend. I hope to volunteer with organizations that share my goals. I want to advise policy-making politicians on ways to make children and new immigrants safer and more secure. When my family was at their worst, my community gave back. I hope to give that gift to future generations. A career in local, city-based public service is not a rashly made decision; it is a reflection of where I’ve already been in life, and where I want to be in the future.

Although this essay begins on a somber note, it goes on to show this student’s determination and the joy he found. Importantly, it also ends with a positive, forward-looking perspective. This is a great example of how including your hardship can bolster an essay as long as it is not the essay’s main focus.

Explaining the challenges this student faced from a young age—becoming the man of the house, dealing with legal matters, maintaining good grades, etc.—builds sympathy for his situation. However, the first paragraph is even more impactful because he explains the emotional toll these actions had on him. We understand how he lost the innocence of his childhood and how he struggled to remain connected to his Colombian heritage with all his other responsibilities. Including these details truly allows the reader to see this student’s struggle, making us all the more joyful when he comes out stronger in the end.

Pivoting to discuss positive experiences with student government and Spanish classes for the rest of the essay demonstrates that this student has a positive approach to life and is willing to push through challenges. The tone of the essay shifts from heavy to uplifting. He explains the joy he got out of helping his classmates and connecting with his grandparents, once again providing emotional reflection to make the reader care more.

Overall, this essay does a nice job of demonstrating how this student approaches challenges and negative experiences. Admitting that the responsibilities of his childhood had a silver lining shows his maturity and how he will be able to succeed in government one day. The essay strikes a healthy balance between challenge and hope, leaving us with a positive view of a student with such emotional maturity.

Although the content of this essay is very strong, it struggles with redundancy and disorganized information. He mentions his passion for government at the beginning of the student government paragraph, then again addresses government in the paragraph focused on his Colombian heritage, and concludes by talking about how he wants to get into government once more. Similarly, in the first paragraph, he discusses the struggle of maintaining his Colombian identity and then fully delves into that topic in the third paragraph.

The repetition of ideas and lack of a streamlined organization of this student’s thoughts diminishes some of the emotional impact of the story. The reader is left trying to piece together a swirling mass of information on their own, rather than having a focused, sequential order to follow.

This could be fixed if the student rearranged details to make each paragraph focused on a singular idea. For example, the first paragraph could be about his childhood. The second could be about how student government sparked his interest in government and what he hopes to do one day. The third could be about how he reconnected with his Colombian roots through his Spanish classes, after years of struggling with his identity. And the final paragraph could tie everything together by explaining how everything led to him wanting to pursue a future serving others, particularly immigrants like his family.

Alternatively, the essay could follow a sequential order that would start with his childhood, then explain his struggle with his identity, then show how student government and Spanish classes helped him find himself, and finally, conclude with what he hopes to accomplish by pursuing government.

I never understood the power of community until I left home to join seven strangers in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Although we flew in from distant corners of the U.S., we shared a common purpose: immersing ourselves in our passion for protecting the natural world.

Back home in my predominantly conservative suburb, my neighbors had brushed off environmental concerns. My classmates debated the feasibility of Trump’s wall, not the deteriorating state of our planet. Contrastingly, these seven strangers delighted in bird-watching, brightened at the mention of medicinal tree sap, and understood why I once ran across a four-lane highway to retrieve discarded beer cans.

Their histories barely resembled mine, yet our values aligned intimately. We did not hesitate to joke about bullet ants, gush about the versatility of tree bark, or discuss the destructive consequences of materialism. Together, we let our inner tree-huggers run free.

In the short life of our little community, we did what we thought was impossible. By feeding on each other’s infectious tenacity, we cultivated an atmosphere that deepened our commitment to our values and empowered us to speak out on behalf of the environment. After a week of stimulating conversations and introspective revelations about engaging people from our hometowns in environmental advocacy, we developed a shared determination to devote our lives to this cause.

As we shared a goodbye hug, my new friend whispered, “The world needs saving. Someone’s gotta do it.” For the first time, I believed that that someone could be me.

This student is expressing their diversity through their involvement in a particular community—another nice approach if you don’t want to write about culture or ethnicity. We all have unique things that we geek out over. This student expresses the joy that they derived from finding a community where they could express their love for the environment. Passion is fundamental to university life and generally finds its way into any successful application.

The essay finds strength in the fact that readers feel for the student. We get a little bit of backstory about where they come from and how they felt silenced— “Back home in my predominantly conservative suburb, my neighbors had brushed off environmental concerns” —so it’s easy to feel joy for them when they get set free and finally find their community.

This student displays clear values: community, ecoconsciousness, dedication, and compassion. An admissions officer who reads a diversity essay is looking for students with strong values who will enrich the university community with their unique perspective—that sounds just like this student!

One area of weakness in this essay is the introduction. The opening line— “I never understood the power of community until I left home to join seven strangers in the Ecuadorian rainforest” —is a bit clichéd. Introductions should be captivating and build excitement and suspense for what is to come. Simply telling the reader about how your experience made you understand the power of community reveals the main takeaway of your essay without the reader needing to go any further.

Instead of starting this essay with a summary of what the essay is about, the student should have made their hook part of the story. Whether that looks like them being exasperated with comments their classmates made about politics, or them looking around apprehensively at the seven strangers in their program as they all boarded their flight, the student should start off in the action.

India holds a permanent place in my heart and ears. Whenever I returned on a trip or vacation, I would show my grandmother how to play Monopoly and she would let me tie her sari. I would teach my grandfather English idioms—which he would repeat to random people and fishmongers on the streets—and he would teach me Telugu phrases.

It was a curious exchange of worlds that I am reminded of every time I listen to Indian music. It was these tunes that helped me reconnect with my heritage and ground my meandering identity. Indian music, unlike the stereotype I’d long been imbued with, was not just a one-and-done Bollywood dance number! Each region and language was like an island with its own unique sonic identity. I’m grateful for my discovery of Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Tamil tunes, for these discoveries have opened me up to the incredible smorgasbord of diversity, depth, and complexity within the subcontinent I was born in.

Here’s an entirely-different sonic identity for you: Texan slang. “Couldya pass the Mango seltzer, please, hon?” asked my Houstonian neighbor, Rae Ann—her syllables melding together like the sticky cake batter we were making.

Rae Ann and her twang were real curiosities to me. Once, she invited my family to a traditional Texan barbecue with the rest of our neighbors. As Hindus, we didn’t eat beef, so we showed up with chicken kebabs, instead. Rather than looking at us bizarrely, she gladly accepted the dish, lining it up beside grilled loins and hamburger patties.

Her gesture was a small but very well-accepted one and I quickly became convinced she was the human manifestation of “Southern hospitality”—something reflected in each of her viscous, honey-dripping phrases. “Watch out for the skeeters!” was an excellent example. It was always funny at first, but conveyed a simple message: We’ve got each other’s backs and together, we can overcome the blood-sucking mosquitoes of the Houstonian summer! I began to see how her words built bridges, not boundaries.

I believe that sounds—whether it’s music or accents—can make a difference in the ways we perceive and accept individuals from other backgrounds. But sound is about listening too. In Rice’s residential college, I would be the type of person to strike up a conversation with an international student and ask for one of their Airpods (you’d be surprised how many different genres and languages of music I’ve picked up in this way!).

As both an international student and Houstonian at heart, I hope to bridge the gap between Rice’s domestic and international populations. Whether it’s organizing cultural events or simply taking the time to get to know a student whose first language isn’t English, I look forward to listening to the stories that only a fellow wanderer can tell.

This essay does an excellent job of addressing two aspects of this student’s identity. Looking at diversity through sound is a very creative way to descriptively depict their Indian and Texan cultures. Essays are always more successful when they stimulate the senses, so framing the entire response around sound automatically opens the door for vivid imagery.

The quotes from this student’s quirky neighbor bring a sense of realism to the essay. We can feel ourselves at the barbecue and hear her thick Texan accent coming through. The way people communicate is a huge part of their culture and identity, so the way that this student perfectly captures the essence of their Texan identity with accented phrases is skillfully done.

This essay does such a great job of making the sounds of Texas jump off the page, so it is a bit disappointing that it wasn’t able to accomplish the same for India. The student describes the different Indian languages and music styles, but doesn’t bring them to life with quotes or onomatopoeia in the manner that they did for the sounds of Texas.

They could have described the buzz of the sitar or the lyrical pattern of the Telugu phrases their grandfather taught them. Telling us about the diversity of sounds in Indian music is fine, but if the reader can’t appreciate what those sounds resemble, it makes it harder to understand the Indian half of the author’s identity. Especially since this student emulated the sounds and essence of Texas so well, it’s important that India is given the same treatment so we can fully appreciate both sides of this essay.

More Supplemental Essay Tips

How to Write a Stellar “Why This College?” Essay + Examples

How to Write a Stellar Extracurricular Activity College Essay

Do you want feedback on your diversity essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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Essay Writing

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres, also known as the modes of discourse, have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these genres and students’ need to understand and produce these types of essays. We hope these resources will help.

The essay is a commonly assigned form of writing that every student will encounter while in academia. Therefore, it is wise for the student to become capable and comfortable with this type of writing early on in her training.

Essays can be a rewarding and challenging type of writing and are often assigned either to be done in class, which requires previous planning and practice (and a bit of creativity) on the part of the student, or as homework, which likewise demands a certain amount of preparation. Many poorly crafted essays have been produced on account of a lack of preparation and confidence. However, students can avoid the discomfort often associated with essay writing by understanding some common genres.

Before delving into its various genres, let’s begin with a basic definition of the essay.

What is an essay?

Though the word essay has come to be understood as a type of writing in Modern English, its origins provide us with some useful insights. The word comes into the English language through the French influence on Middle English; tracing it back further, we find that the French form of the word comes from the Latin verb exigere , which means "to examine, test, or (literally) to drive out." Through the excavation of this ancient word, we are able to unearth the essence of the academic essay: to encourage students to test or examine their ideas concerning a particular topic.

Essays are shorter pieces of writing that often require the student to hone a number of skills such as close reading, analysis, comparison and contrast, persuasion, conciseness, clarity, and exposition. As is evidenced by this list of attributes, there is much to be gained by the student who strives to succeed at essay writing.

The purpose of an essay is to encourage students to develop ideas and concepts in their writing with the direction of little more than their own thoughts (it may be helpful to view the essay as the converse of a research paper). Therefore, essays are (by nature) concise and require clarity in purpose and direction. This means that there is no room for the student’s thoughts to wander or stray from his or her purpose; the writing must be deliberate and interesting.

This handout should help students become familiar and comfortable with the process of essay composition through the introduction of some common essay genres.

This handout includes a brief introduction to the following genres of essay writing:

  • Expository essays
  • Descriptive essays
  • Narrative essays
  • Argumentative (Persuasive) essays

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Purdue Supplemental Essay 2022-2023

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Purdue Supplemental Essay: Quick Facts

  • Purdue University acceptance rate: 67%— U.S. News ranks Purdue as a more selective school.
  • Purdue application: Purdue only accepts the Common Application , not the Coalition Application.
  • 2 (100-word) required essays
  • 2 (500-word) Purdue Honors College essays (required if applying to the Honors College)
  • Purdue Essay Tip: We recommend answering both Purdue University supplemental essays comprehensively and thoughtfully, highlighting in each of your Purdue essays why Purdue is the perfect school for you.

What are Purdue University’s essays?

In addition to the Common App essay , students must also complete the Purdue supplemental essay prompts. 

Required Purdue supplemental essay prompts:

  • How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom? (100 words)
  • Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (100 words)

Required Purdue supplemental essay prompts for Honors College applicants are:

  • One Purdue supplemental essay about your vision for your honors experience at Purdue (500 words)
  • An additional Purdue supplemental essay about the interdisciplinary nature of your chosen field of study (500 words)

These Purdue application essays represent the final step in the Purdue application process. Strong responses to the Purdue supplemental essays can help your Purdue application stand out among the almost 60,000 applications the university receives each year.

So, if you want to get into Purdue, it’s important to spend time on your responses to the Purdue essay prompts. A solid set of Purdue application essays can make a major difference in the Purdue admissions process.

In this guide, we’ll break down each of the Purdue essay prompts and provide expert tips on how to make sure your Purdue application essays shine. Keep reading to learn how to approach your Purdue University supplemental essays!

Purdue application essay requirements

purdue supplemental essay

Many selective colleges require supplemental essays beyond the standard Common App essay, also known as the Personal Statement . The Purdue application requirements are no exception to this. 

There are two Purdue essay prompts required of all applicants. Additionally, Honors College applicants must complete two additional Purdue University supplemental essays. Pay close attention to which Purdue supplemental essays you should complete, as it varies by program. 

So, if you are applying to Purdue University, you must complete at least two 100-word Purdue essay prompts. Each Purdue supplemental essay is designed to give you a chance to show Purdue admissions officers who you are, beyond the rest of your application. You should treat each Purdue supplemental essay as an opportunity to showcase a part of yourself that isn’t highlighted elsewhere within the Purdue application requirements.

Honors College essay requirements

Like many schools, Purdue has additional requirements for the Purdue Honors College. If you apply to the Purdue John Martinson Honors College, you must complete two more 500-word Purdue Honors College essays. These additional prompts help Purdue Admissions ensure that Purdue Honors College applicants go above and beyond the typical Purdue application requirements. 

You should be sure to set aside more than enough time to craft strong Purdue Honors College essays and Purdue supplemental essays.

Purdue Supplemental Essay- Prompt 1 ( Required )

How will opportunities at purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom (100 words maximum).

The first Purdue essay asks applicants to reflect on their academic and personal interests. Then, it asks them to explain how Purdue will help them pursue those interests. In other words, the first of the Purdue essay prompts asks why you want to attend Purdue over any other school. 

You’ve probably encountered similar “why this college?” essay prompts on other applications. So, as you might expect, this Purdue application essay must be specific to Purdue. You won’t be able to copy and paste another school’s essay to answer this Purdue supplemental essay. 

Brainstorming your topic

Before starting to write this Purdue supplemental essay, think about your interest in Purdue. Write down a list of reasons why Purdue made your college list. Does Purdue offer a particular program that interests you? Or does Purdue’s campus culture fit your vision for your college experience? The best responses to the Purdue essay prompts will include specific details.

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Building your narrative

Once you have created your list of interests, identify several that you would like to write about in your Purdue supplemental essays. This Purdue supplemental essay doesn’t give you much space; picking one or two interests, therefore, will help you stay within the word count and give your essay some structure. 

When deciding which interests to focus on, remember your other Purdue essay. You can discuss your intended major in the second of the required Purdue essay prompts. With this in mind, make sure you don’t delve into topics better suited for other Purdue essay prompts. Instead, use this Purdue supplemental essay to talk about interests that you have not discussed in other areas of your application. After all, you want each Purdue supplemental essay to showcase a different part of your identity.

Making it specific

Next, research Purdue to see how your interests overlap with opportunities Purdue offers. The Purdue essay prompts are a chance to show off the research you’ve done; for example, talking to Purdue admissions representatives or visiting campus. If any of these interactions relate to one of your chosen themes, mention them in this Purdue supplemental essay. This shows your knowledge of Purdue’s strengths as a university. 

For example, a prospective student could use this Purdue application essay to discuss the state-of-the-art kinesiology labs she visited and how they would help her pursue her interest in physical therapy. Make sure you discuss what you experienced along with how it relates to your interests. Once again, the best Purdue University supplemental essays will use specific details to show why you belong at Purdue.

Writing your essay

Now that you’ve done the brainstorming and research for this Purdue supplemental essay, you can start writing. Because you only have 100 words for this Purdue supplemental essay, you need to make each one count. Avoid unrelated topics, vague wording, and forms of “to be.” Instead, use clear language and strong action verbs in each Purdue essay. Compare these two sentences below:

“There is no school that is a better fit to support my interests than Purdue University.” (16 words)

“Purdue possesses the resources to support my interests.” (8 words)

The second sentence conveys the same message as the first, but it uses much stronger language and fewer words. Specific details and short, powerful sentences will help your Purdue essay stand out. 

Purdue Supplemental Essay Reflection Questions:

  • Does your Purdue essay refer to 2-3 strong interests from your list?
  • Do you present information not found in other areas of your application?
  • Does your Purdue supplemental essay contain specific information about Purdue based on your research?
  • Do you clearly explain to Purdue admissions how Purdue will help you pursue your interests?

Purdue Supplemental Essay — Prompt 2 ( Required )

Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (100 words maximum).

The second of the Purdue supplemental essays is the typical “why major essay.” The “why major essay” is a common supplemental essay question that many schools require. Purdue is no different—they want to understand why you aim to pursue the field you’ve indicated on your application. 

The reality of the “why major essay” question is that schools want to know you’ve done your research on their programs. As a result of this, your “why major essay” for each school must relate to that school’s unique offerings. While you can include some general details, you should make sure this essay remains school-specific. 

Not all students know what they plan to major in. Choosing your college major is a big decision, and it requires plenty of forethought. This Purdue supplemental essay can be especially daunting if you’re unsure of your major, so let’s explore how to get around that. 

Brainstorming your major

purdue supplemental essay

Before starting to write this “why major essay,” think about the school subjects you enjoy. You may already identify as a lover of math or know you have the most fun in English class. However, Purdue University offers more than 200 different undergraduate majors across their 11 different colleges, so check the full list for options. This research will also help you show demonstrated interest in this Purdue supplemental essay.

When selecting a major for this Purdue application essay, think about the career you might want to pursue. You might consider the topics you have liked learning about, both inside and outside the classroom. If you’re having trouble selecting one major for this Purdue supplemental essay, choose the major you have the most compelling reasons to pursue.

Selecting a field of study for this Purdue supplemental essay might feel daunting. However, don’t be stressed about choosing a major. Instead, as you write your Purdue supplemental essay, focus on showing your intellectual curiosity and engagement with your studies. You can always change your major once you arrive on campus.

Using details

In order to write the best essay possible, include experiences that have made the biggest impact on your academic career. Have you had a teacher who drove you to explore more about their subject? Have you had work or volunteer experience that inspired you to pursue a particular major? Do you have a burning passion to support a specific cause? 

Your Purdue application essay should tell a story. So, highlight stories where you’ve engaged deeply with your chosen subject, whether directly or indirectly. In doing so, you’ll help readers understand why your chosen major excites you. This can help your Purdue supplemental essay showcase your intellectual curiosity.

Whatever major you choose, don’t just discuss the basic reasons why you enjoy it in this Purdue essay. Instead, go deeper. Think of this Purdue essay as a short narrative where you share moments in your life that have influenced you. A student who wants to major in electrical engineering might talk about getting a circuitry kit for Christmas and watching his dad repair wires around the house. She might then share how she helped the school robotics club win a competition. Find those formative moments in your life and use them as the foundation of your Purdue supplemental essay. Again, the best Purdue supplemental essay will be the most specific!

  • Does your Purdue essay focus on the major that most interests you?
  • Do you use specific details about how you came to love that major?
  • Does your Purdue supplemental essay help your reader learn something new about you?

Purdue Honors College Essay Requirements

The Purdue Honors College is a separate program within Purdue University specifically designed for high-achieving students. Recently, the Purdue Honors College became formally known as the John Martinson Honors College. According to their website , “Martinson supports new programmatic initiatives which promote undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity, leadership and professional development, global and community engagement, and innovative pedagogies.” 

You should research the Purdue Honors College thoroughly before deciding if you want to apply. Once you make the decision that the Purdue Honors College is right for you, it’s time to crack down on the Purdue Honors College essays.

The Purdue Honors College supplemental essay requirements are:

  • 1 (500-word) Purdue supplemental essay about your vision for your honors experience at Purdue
  • 1 (500-word) Purdue essay prompt about the interdisciplinary nature of your chosen field of study

Now, let’s break down each of the Purdue supplemental essays for the Purdue Honors College and talk about strategies to tackle each one. 

For more help on writing supplemental essays, click here . For help standing out in the college admissions process, read this article .

Purdue Honors College Essays- Question 1 

Explain your vision, ideas, or goals for how you hope to shape your honors experience while at purdue. please put this in the context of the four pillars which are the foundation of the john martinson honors college. (500 word maximum).

In order to answer the first of the Honors College Purdue essay prompts effectively, you need to reflect on your reasons for applying to the Honors College. Then, you need to connect those reasons to the four pillars that express the Honors College’s values. The best Purdue application essays will directly connect an applicant’s academic goals with the four pillars of the Purdue Honors College.

Understanding Purdue

Before starting this Purdue supplemental essay, you need to have a firm understanding of the four pillars mentioned in the prompt. These pillars are: community and global engagement, undergraduate research, leadership development, and interdisciplinary academics. Reviewing the Honors College mission statement will give you more information about the four pillars. You do not need to reference all four of these pillars in your Purdue essay; instead, focus on whichever ones best fit with your future plans.

Researching the Honors College beyond the four pillars can also help strengthen your Purdue supplemental essay. Start by browsing this year’s Honors College course list . Review some of the research projects done by past Honors students. As you brainstorm for your Purdue admissions essays, look for programs and projects that connect to your interests. You might see a course or research project that lines up with one of your passions. You can use that as evidence in your Purdue essay that the Honors College will provide an ideal learning environment to nurture your interests.

Making it about you

This Purdue essay prompt asks you to imagine how you would spend your time as a Purdue Honors student. That future will likely be rooted in your past experiences. Strong Purdue application essays, therefore, should use the four pillars of Purdue Honors to connect your past experiences to your future at Purdue. 

When you talk about your future, try to be as specific as possible. For instance, saying that you want to travel to India to study their culture is not as powerful as saying that you want to travel to India to research how native fashions have changed due to modern technology in this Purdue essay.

purdue supplemental essay

You can begin brainstorming for this Purdue supplemental essay by doing a fr e e-write based on this prompt: “If I could have any academic experience I want in college, what would it be?” Think about the questions you might explore or problems you would like to solve if you had the freedom to choose. Don’t limit yourself—the best way to start writing is to free yourself from any perfectionism. 

Use this Purdue admissions essay to share the subject that you could stay up all night researching or the idea you cannot get out of your head. Let your ambition come across in your writing, using the four pillars of the Honors College as the foundation for achieving your goals. Finally, help your reader envision how you would contribute to the Honors College in this Purdue supplemental essay.

  • Does your Purdue essay clearly describe your goals for attending the Honors College?
  • Do you include references to at least one of the four pillars of the Honors College?
  • Does your Purdue supplemental essay indicate specific projects you might undertake or resources you might use as an Honors student?

Purdue Honors College Essays — Question 2

Please describe the interdisciplinary nature of your chosen field of study and how it complements or supports other fields. (examples: you might describe how your work in a liberal arts career may impact or inform the work of an engineer.) (500 word maximum).

The second of the Purdue application essays asks how your chosen subject connects to other fields. At first, this Purdue essay can seem daunting. After all, most high school classes are separated by subject without much room for interdisciplinary work. However, with a little creative thinking, you can develop relationships between just about any set of subjects and use those relationships to write a strong Purdue essay.

Finding an intersection

To get you started, here are a few examples of interdisciplinary study that would make good material for Purdue application essays:

  • Creating a business plan for a health care clinic combines medicine with economics
  • Volunteering at a music therapy provider combines Psychology and Music into an interdisciplinary field grounded in helping those with mental illnesses
  • A project about the evolution of manufacturing technology combines history with engineering

These example topics for a Purdue supplemental essay represent a tiny fraction of the ways you could answer this prompt. Each of these potential Purdue application essays could also tie in with some of your activities from high school. 

You might also use your Purdue essay to consider what you have learned working with people who have different interests than yours and how you could bring that knowledge to your studies. Strong Purdue admissions essays can come from anywhere, so don’t limit yourself. 

Getting creative

If you struggle to form connections between academic fields based on your personal experience, you can use your imagination to come up with hypothetical situations that might foster collaboration across fields. These imaginary situations can still make for a great Purdue supplemental essay. 

For instance, as a lover of computer science, you might imagine its applications in the world of digital art to create vivid settings for a video game. The best Purdue supplemental essays will be unique and creative. Additionally, strong Purdue application essays will tell a story. The more you can use narratives to illustrate the wide range of uses for your discipline, the more successful your Purdue admissions essay will be.

Essays Reflection Questions for Purdue Honors College :

  • Does your Purdue supplemental essay demonstrate your enthusiasm for your chosen field?
  • Do you include a variety of possible connections between your chosen fields and other fields?
  • Does your Purdue admissions essay use stories and examples to illustrate the connections between fields?

Want more helpful tips on how to approach your Purdue supplemental essays and other aspects of Purdue University’s application process? Check out this video below from Purdue’s senior assistant director of admissions! 

What does Purdue University look for in essays?

Your Purdue supplemental essays help the admissions team get to know you beyond your demographics, transcript, and activities list. Each Purdue essay also provides valuable insight into what kind of student you would be.

These specific Purdue essay prompts help the Purdue admissions committee understand how you will use your education at Purdue. Purdue looks for students who can articulate their interests and describe how Purdue’s resources will help them pursue these interests. Your Purdue application essays, then, should show the Purdue admissions team how Purdue would help you meet your goals.

Demonstrated Interest

The committee wants to see you show demonstrated interest (DI) in Purdue. DI is a gauge that universities use to determine how interested a student is in attending their school. To take advantage of this, use your Purdue application essays to explain exactly what about Purdue interests you. You don’t need to physically visit the campus to write strong Purdue supplemental essays. However, if you don’t visit , it helps to find other ways of showing your interest. These include contacting admissions officers, reviewing the school’s website, or attending a virtual information session/webinar.

The Purdue admissions team also wants to know if you can write clearly and concisely—an important skill for succeeding in college. So, ensure your writing is strong, clear, and free of any errors. Your Purdue application essays also show your attention to detail and passion for learning. Students who use the Purdue essay prompts to showcase their passions will definitely impress the admissions team.

How do I get into Purdue University?

Getting accepted into Purdue starts with filling out the Common Application and meeting the Purdue application requirements. On the Common Application, you will report your GPA, list your high school activities, and write a 250-650 word Common App essay. 

For the fall and spring of 2023, Purdue is test flexible . This means if you have the opportunity to take the SAT or ACT, Purdue admissions would prefer you do. This is different from test optional because test optional schools truly have no preference for test scores. Purdue, however, makes it clear that they would like to review test scores as part of your application if possible. Strong scores will only enhance your application . 

Purdue application requirements

Your GPA , course schedule, test scores, Common App essay, letters of recommendation , supplemental essays, and extracurricular activities comprise the Purdue application requirements and will all factor into the committee’s decision.

Last year, approximately 60,000 students applied to Purdue University. The median GPA range of accepted applicants was 3.5-3.9, the median SAT was 119-1410, and the median ACT was 26-33. As you can see, Purdue admits students with high scores, which contributes to the U.S. News Purdue University ranking.

Purdue Application

In 2022, U.S. News assigned its Purdue University ranking among national universities at #51 overall. US News also named Purdue as one of the Top 10 most innovative universities in the last four years. Among public universities , the Purdue University ranking is #18 in the country. Purdue University’s top academic programs include Aerospace Engineering (where the Purdue University ranking is #5) and Biological/Agricultural Engineering (where the Purdue University ranking is #2). This makes Purdue a great fit for students specifically interested in those fields.

Finally, the Purdue University ranking attracts many applicants who view Purdue’s rankings as a sign of prestige. This means that Purdue supplemental essays will be used to determine which students are interested in attending for reasons beyond the Purdue University ranking. Remember, your Purdue supplemental essays are your chance to show the admissions team your genuine interest in the school. 

Looking to put your best foot forward when filling out the Common Application and writing the Common App essay? Check out this guide for helpful tips.

Top 5 Purdue Supplemental Essay Tips

How to write an outstanding purdue supplemental essay:, #1 – start early.

Be sure to leave yourself time to edit and revise each of your Purdue University supplemental essays. You don’t want to be drafting and editing a Purdue supplemental essay down to the wire.

#2 – Look at the big picture

When writing your Purdue supplemental essays, consider your application as a whole. Make sure that each Purdue supplemental essay explores something new about you. 

#3 – Be authentic

Don’t lie or exaggerate on your Purdue University supplemental essays. Each Purdue application essay is a chance for you to showcase who you are.

#4 – Show your unique self

These Purdue supplemental essays are an opportunity for you to stand out to Purdue admissions. Don’t generalize in your responses to the Purdue essay prompts. Instead, get specific about your experiences. Use the opportunity to not only demonstrate who you are, but also to show off your writing style.

#5 – Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Edit your essays . You don’t want to craft a stellar Purdue supplemental essay, only to have it marred by poor grammar or a spelling mistake. Have another person look over each Purdue supplemental essay before you submit it. 

Purdue Supplemental Essay — Final Thoughts

Although each Purdue supplemental essay is short, they are also incredibly important. Don’t think that a short essay will take you less time to write—often, short essays are the hardest to write. Given the Purdue University ranking, you should use every chance you get to stand out. This includes crafting strong Purdue supplemental essays.

Be yourself

The Purdue essay prompts help the admissions committee get to know the person behind the grades and test scores. Make sure that your Purdue supplemental essays are full of anecdotes and stories that show why you will succeed as a Purdue student! Let your readers know in each Purdue supplemental essay that you have done your research and thought about why you want to attend Purdue.

Ask for help!

And finally, seek help from trusted sources with editing your Purdue supplemental essays; sometimes a second opinion can help you improve your Purdue essays in unexpected ways.

Purdue supplemental essay

This Purdue supplemental essays guide was written by Laura Frustaci.   Looking for more admissions support? Click  here  to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how  CollegeAdvisor.com  can support you in the college application process.

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Purdue University’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Why this college short response.

How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom?

Honors College Short Response 1

Explain your vision, ideas, or goals for how you hope to shape your honors experience while at Purdue. Please put this in the context of the four pillars which are the foundation of the John Martinson Honors College.

Honors College Short Response 2

Please describe the interdisciplinary nature of your chosen field of study and how it complements or supports other fields. (Examples: You might describe how your work in a liberal arts career may impact or inform the work of an engineer.)

Select-A-Prompt Short Response

Please answer one of the following questions

Oxy’s central mission emphasizes the value of community amidst diversity. What do you value in a community and how do you see your perspectives and life experiences enhancing it?

Briefly describe a current event or social movement that is affecting a place that is important to you. Describe its significance to you and the future implications for that community. How do you anticipate an Oxy education helping you better understand and respond to that event/movement?

Research is an integral part of an Oxy education. Completing a senior comprehensive is a requirement of every Oxy student and there are a myriad of opportunities for research throughout your four years. Imagine you were just awarded one of our research grants for a project of your choice. What are you researching and why?

Why This Major Short Response

Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected.

Common App Personal Essay

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

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.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

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Purdue University 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision Deadline: Jan 15

You Have: 

Purdue University 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 2 short answers of 250 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s):   Why , Short Answer

How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom? (Respond in 250 words or fewer.)

This is basically a super short Why essay and the best way to answer it is to do your research. If you set aside an hour to crawl through the school website and jot down the things that appeal to you, you’ll end up with a pretty comprehensive list of things that are relevant to your interests. Write down literally everything: courses, professors, clubs, traditions, you name it! You’ll put this information to good use in this essay and the next one. When you’ve finished your research spree, group your notes thematically, and pick a small cluster to cover in this brief essay. For example, let’s say you love creative writing (we get you). You might describe how taking a combination of English and history classes will help you write the Great American Novel, while joining an improv group in the meantime will sharpen your wit and creative thinking. College is a time to explore, so show admissions just how you plan to do that. Space is limited, so don’t worry about getting too detailed about your major and professional goals. You’ll have an opportunity to do that in the next short essay you write.

Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (Respond in 250 words or fewer.)

We told you! Can we predict the future? Did we read all the questions before writing this guide? Who is to say? At any rate, now is the time to get nerdy. This prompt is all about your intellectual curiosity, but also your ambition for the future. There are so many reasons to pursue a degree in economics: because you’ve always wanted to apply your interest in math to the real world; or because you’re gunning for a career in finance; or even because you want to make policy one day. No one is more or less valid than the other, so first and foremost, be honest about your reasons. Then refer to your notes to fill in the details with colorful examples. In a short essay like this, you’ve got to shoot from the hip, so be specific and succinct. What makes Purdue the ideal place to pursue your dream? How will their offerings and opportunities inch you towards your goal?

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  3. How to Write the Diversity Essay (Guide + Examples)

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  4. 🌱 What is diversity essay. How to Write a Diversity Essay. 2022-10-24

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COMMENTS

  1. PDF DIVERSITY STATEMENT

    DIVERSITY STATEMENT Denis Ulybyshev, ... Email: [email protected] Homepage: https://cs.purdue.edu/~dulybysh It is great to see that academic institutions explicitly emphasize the importance of campus diversity. Issues of inequality are deeply important to me - personally and professionally. I grew up in a low-income family, and

  2. Diversity Essay

    Many graduate programs use the diversity essay as a criterion when determining recommendations for fellowships. The diversity essay should be 500 words or less responding to the following statement: Describe your leadership, work experience, service experience, or other significant involvement with racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or educational ...

  3. 3 Purdue University Essay Examples

    3 Purdue University Essay Examples. Home of the Boilermakers, Purdue University was established in 1869 and is steeped in history and tradition. From the first 39 students to attend in 1874, to over 33,000 in attendance today, Purdue is matched in tradition only by innovation. Known for its world-class faculty, curricula, and facilities, Purdue ...

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

    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. ... 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 ...

  5. College Diversity Essay Examples

    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.

  6. How to Write a Diversity Essay

    Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. Example: Common Application prompt #1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.

  7. How to Write the Purdue University Essays 2023-2024

    The ultimate goal of college essays is to tell admissions officers something about you—your values, your personality, what gets you excited, why you are the way you are. The more in touch with yourself, the better. It is not enough to simply mention your involvement in something. Depth is better than breadth.

  8. How to Write the Purdue University Supplemental Essays: Guide

    Mistake #6: Thinking of this as only a "Why them" essay. Below is a great sample essay for this prompt. Example: Recently, to become part of the "Smart Cities Initiative", my hometown was awarded a $50 million grant. I wish to research robotics and autonomous sensing at Purdue's Smart Informatix Laboratory.

  9. PDF Purpose of The Diversity Statement /Statement on Open Inquiry

    Diversity, inclusion, and belongingand open inquiry/academic fr eedom are central to Purdue University's achievement of excellence and thus it is imperative that every member of the faculty contribute to a climate of respect for all. Purdue University strives to create a university that values each individual and their viewpoints.

  10. Step by Step Guide To Write a Diversity Essay (Examples + Analysis

    A step-by-step guide to creating a diversity essay with examples + analysis and also find out how you can add diversity to get into top colleges. Contact. Home. Prep. SAT Prep ACT Prep GMAT Prep AMC Prep. ... A diversity essay is an essay that inspires applicants with minority backgrounds, unique experiences, special education, or bizarre ...

  11. How to Write a College Diversity Essay

    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.

  12. Writing an Excellent Diversity Essay

    Take a look at this sample diversity essay, and pay attention to how the writer underscores their appreciation for and experience with diversity. Diversity essay example. 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 ...

  13. 6 Diversity College Essay Examples

    What's Covered: 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.

  14. Help with Diversity Essay

    I am having trouble writing an essay, tailored to the given prompt. prompt : Describe your leadership, work experience, service experience, or other significant involvement with racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or educational communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, and how these experiences would promote a ...

  15. Essay Writing

    Essays are shorter pieces of writing that often require the student to hone a number of skills such as close reading, analysis, comparison and contrast, persuasion, conciseness, clarity, and exposition. As is evidenced by this list of attributes, there is much to be gained by the student who strives to succeed at essay writing.

  16. Personal History Statement

    The Personal History Statement helps reviewers learn more about you as a whole person and as a potential graduate student. This may include relevant details on community service, leadership roles, participation in diverse teams, and significant barriers that you overcame to attend graduate school. The Purdue University Graduate School ...

  17. Purdue Supplemental Essay

    Purdue University acceptance rate: 67%— U.S. News ranks Purdue as a more selective school. Purdue application: Purdue only accepts the Common Application, not the Coalition Application. Purdue supplemental essay requirements: 2 (100-word) required essays. 2 (500-word) Purdue Honors College essays (required if applying to the Honors College ...

  18. Purdue University's 2023-24 Essay Prompts

    Honors College Short Response 1. Required. 500 Words. Explain your vision, ideas, or goals for how you hope to shape your honors experience while at Purdue. Please put this in the context of the four pillars which are the foundation of the John Martinson Honors College. Read our essay guide to get started.

  19. Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

    Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging: Campus Population Overview; Contact Us; Diversity Initiatives. Diversity Initiatives; One Community Grant; Purdue Employee PRIDE; Boiler Inclusion Project; Emerging Leaders Scholars . Emerging Leaders Scholars; Accept Your Offer; Resources and FAQ; Emerging Leaders Scholars Program; Resources. Resources ...

  20. 2023-24 Purdue University Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    The Requirements: 2 short answers of 250 words. Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why, Short Answer. How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom? (Respond in 250 words or fewer.) This is basically a super short Why essay and the best way to answer it is to do your research.