How to Write a Diversity Essay: 4 Key Tips

What Is a Diversity Essay for College?

A diversity essay for college is an opportunity for applicants to showcase their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It is an essay prompt that invites students to discuss how their personal experiences with diversity have shaped their identities and perspectives. The purpose of the diversity essay is to provide admissions officers with a deeper understanding of the applicant's cultural, ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, or other dimensions of diversity and how it has influenced their outlook on life and their interactions with others.

In a diversity essay, students are encouraged to reflect on their personal experiences and share stories that highlight the value they place on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This could include experiences of growing up in a multicultural environment, overcoming adversity related to identity, participating in community service or advocacy work, or engaging in activities that promote diversity and inclusion.

When writing a diversity essay, it is important to convey authenticity, self-awareness, and reflection. Applicants should focus on the positive impact diversity has had on their lives and how it has influenced their personal growth, perspectives, and goals. It is essential to be respectful and sensitive when discussing sensitive topics and to avoid generalizations or stereotypes.

Admissions officers are looking for applicants who can contribute to the diversity of the college community and who have a genuine appreciation for diversity. They are interested in understanding how applicants will engage with and contribute to a diverse campus environment, fostering a sense of inclusivity and understanding among students from various backgrounds.

To write an effective diversity essay, applicants should consider the following tips:

1. Self-reflection: Take time to reflect on your personal experiences with diversity and how they have shaped your perspective and values.

2. Authenticity: Be genuine and true to yourself when writing your essay. Admissions officers appreciate honest and authentic narratives.

3. Specific examples: Use concrete examples and anecdotes to illustrate your experiences with diversity and how they have impacted you.

4. Impact and growth: Discuss how your experiences with diversity have influenced your personal growth, values, and aspirations.

5. Contributions: Articulate how you plan to contribute to the college's diverse community and create a positive impact on campus.

6. Avoid stereotypes: Be cautious not to reinforce stereotypes or make generalizations in your essay. Instead, focus on personal experiences and individual perspectives.

7. Proofread and revise: Edit your essay for clarity, coherence, and grammar. Seek feedback from teachers, counselors, or mentors to ensure your essay effectively conveys your message.

In conclusion, a diversity essay for college provides applicants with an opportunity to share their unique experiences with diversity and its impact on their lives. It is a chance to demonstrate an appreciation for different perspectives and contribute to a diverse and inclusive campus community. By reflecting on personal experiences and conveying authenticity, applicants can craft compelling essays that highlight their value for diversity and make a strong impression on admissions officers.

Diversity Essay Sample Prompts From Colleges

Diversity essay prompts from colleges vary, but they typically revolve around the theme of diversity and inclusion. Here are some sample prompts that you may encounter when writing a diversity essay for college:

1. University of California (UC) Personal Insight Question 4: Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

This prompt encourages applicants to reflect on their educational journey and discuss any challenges they have encountered due to their background or circumstances. It invites them to showcase their resilience, determination, and ability to seize opportunities.

2. Stanford University: Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate -- and us -- know you better.

Although this prompt does not explicitly ask about diversity, it provides an opportunity to share aspects of your identity, experiences, or cultural background that will help your future roommate and the university community understand you better. You can focus on sharing unique perspectives or traditions that contribute to a diverse and inclusive environment.

3. Georgetown University: Briefly discuss a current global issue, indicating why you consider it important and what you suggest should be done to deal with it.

This prompt invites applicants to engage with a global issue of their choice and share their perspective on its significance. It encourages applicants to consider the diverse challenges faced by societies around the world and present their thoughts on potential solutions. Applicants can draw from their personal experiences, cultural background, or community involvement to offer a unique perspective on the issue.

4. University of Michigan: 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.

This prompt prompts applicants to explore a specific community to which they belong and share their experiences and contributions within that community. It allows applicants to discuss their cultural heritage, identity, or any other community that holds personal significance. Applicants can reflect on the impact of their involvement in the community and how it has shaped their perspectives.

It's important to note that these sample prompts are just a few examples, and actual prompts may vary. When writing your diversity essay, carefully read and understand the prompt provided by the college you are applying to. Tailor your essay to address the specific question, showcasing your unique experiences, perspectives, and contributions to diversity and inclusion. Be authentic, reflective, and use specific examples to illustrate your points.

What Do Colleges Look for in a Diversity Essay?

Colleges look for several key elements in a diversity essay to gain insights into an applicant's experiences, perspectives, and potential contributions to campus diversity and inclusivity. While specific expectations may vary among institutions, here are some common aspects that colleges typically consider when evaluating a diversity essay:

1. Unique Perspective: Colleges seek students who bring diverse perspectives to their campus community. They want to understand how your background, experiences, or cultural identity have shaped your worldview and contributed to your unique perspective. Your essay should highlight your individuality and provide insights into the perspectives you can offer to enrich classroom discussions and campus life.

2. Personal Storytelling: A compelling diversity essay goes beyond listing demographics or accomplishments. It engages the reader through personal storytelling, sharing experiences, challenges, or defining moments that illustrate how your background has influenced your values, beliefs, or aspirations. Authenticity and vulnerability in sharing your story can help create a meaningful connection with the admissions committee.

3. Impact and Growth: Colleges are interested in understanding the impact of your diverse experiences and how they have shaped your personal growth, resilience, or character development. Reflect on how your background has influenced your outlook on life, your ability to overcome obstacles, or your commitment to making a positive impact. Showcasing personal growth and demonstrating how you have used your experiences to learn and contribute to the world around you is valuable.

4. Contribution to Campus Community: Colleges seek applicants who will actively contribute to creating a diverse and inclusive campus environment. Explain how your unique perspective, experiences, or skills can contribute to the campus community. Consider discussing your involvement in diverse communities or organizations, your commitment to social justice, or your ideas for promoting inclusivity on campus. Demonstrate your understanding of the importance of diversity and how you can make a positive difference.

5. Writing Style and Clarity: A strong diversity essay showcases effective writing skills, including clear and concise language, well-structured paragraphs, and a coherent narrative. Adhere to proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling to ensure that your essay is polished and professional. Your essay should be engaging, thoughtful, and easy to understand.

Remember, colleges are not looking for a specific story or set of experiences in a diversity essay. They are interested in the insights you can bring, your potential contributions to the campus community, and your ability to think critically about diversity and inclusion. Use your essay as an opportunity to showcase your authentic self, share meaningful experiences, and demonstrate your commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity.

How to Write an Effective Diversity Essay: 4 Tips

Writing an effective diversity essay requires thoughtful reflection, careful planning, and skillful execution. Here are four tips to help you craft a compelling diversity essay that showcases your unique experiences and perspectives:

1. Reflect on Your Experiences: Start by reflecting on your background, identity, and experiences that have shaped your understanding of diversity. Consider how your upbringing, culture, heritage, or personal circumstances have influenced your worldview. Identify specific incidents, challenges, or moments of growth that have had a significant impact on your perspective. These reflections will serve as the foundation for your essay.

2. Tell Your Story Authentically: Personal storytelling is a powerful tool in a diversity essay. Use vivid anecdotes, descriptive language, and emotional depth to convey your experiences and their significance. Be honest, sincere, and vulnerable in sharing your story. Avoid generalizations or clichés and focus on specific details that will make your essay memorable and engaging for the reader.

3. Highlight Your Unique Contributions: Show the admissions committee how your diverse background and experiences will contribute to the campus community. Discuss specific ways in which you have engaged with diversity, whether through extracurricular activities, community involvement, or personal initiatives. Articulate your values, beliefs, and aspirations related to diversity and inclusion. Explain how you plan to make a positive impact on the campus and promote a more inclusive environment.

4. Connect Personal Experience to Larger Issues: Expand your personal experiences to address broader societal issues related to diversity and social justice. Discuss the significance of your experiences in the context of current events, cultural movements, or social challenges. Demonstrate your ability to think critically, analyze complex issues, and articulate your perspective on diversity-related topics. This shows that you are not only aware of your own experiences but also engaged in understanding and addressing larger social issues.

Additional Tips:

- Be concise and clear in your writing. Use specific examples and avoid vague statements.

- Tailor your essay to each college or scholarship application, highlighting aspects that align with their mission, values, or diversity initiatives.

- Seek feedback from trusted mentors, teachers, or friends to ensure your essay effectively conveys your message and resonates with the reader.

- Proofread and edit your essay multiple times to ensure proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Remember, an effective diversity essay goes beyond mere representation of your identity. It demonstrates your capacity for self-reflection, critical thinking, and active engagement with diversity-related issues. Use your essay to showcase your unique perspective, contributions, and commitment to creating a more inclusive society.


In conclusion, a well-crafted diversity essay is an opportunity for applicants to showcase their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. By reflecting on their personal journey, connecting it to larger issues, and highlighting their contributions, applicants can demonstrate their value in promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. With careful planning and effective storytelling, a diversity essay can leave a lasting impression on admissions committees and contribute to a more diverse and vibrant college community.