How do I write a diversity statement?

Many graduate school programs require or give the option to include a diversity statement in your graduate school application. Including an optional diversity statement can make you a more competitive applicant and offer an opportunity for you to stand out through your individuality, experiences, and potential contributions to the program.

One common misconception is that diversity statements are only written by applicants who identify as a member of an underrepresented group. Anybody can write a diversity statement. Within, you will want to communicate how you can contribute to the program and your views on topics like diversity, inclusion, and institutional racism. Reviewing the program and school’s student demographics, program features, and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives can be a great place to start.

Be sure to address any specific questions or prompts the program’s application provides. The diversity statement is an opportunity to highlight new information about you, your identity, your personal and/or academic background and experiences, and how you can contribute to the program.

When there is little to no guidance given on what content to include, you can address these topics:

  • Your background (family, ethnicity, socioeconomic factors)
  • Lessons you’ve learned from unique experiences (how you have applied them or will apply them in the future)
  • First-generation college student
  • International work, school, or travel
  • Community engagement
  • Hardships you have overcome

Sample diversity statement prompts:

  • How will you contribute to the program’s or school’s diversity?
  • What experience have you had that set you apart from peers or the culture of the school?
  • How has your background influenced your worldview?
  • How will you contribute to a culture of inclusion?
  • Describe your thoughts on systemic racism

Whether you need help getting started, are wondering what information you should disclose, or need someone to review your final draft, Greene Center career advisors are available to meet with you to brainstorm and discuss your diversity statement.