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Answering “Diversity” Question – US Supplemental University Essay

5 Min Read
November 07, 2022

A common misconception of the term “diversity” is that it is only skin deep and that it only pertains to one's ethnicity or culture. However, this is a very limiting way to look at it. Diversity could also mean having a range of different beliefs, experiences, religions, sexuality, political ideologies, gender, among other identity markers. Each of these identity markers has quite different approaches to them. Read more information about Diversity for your supplemental university essay in this article.

  1. Diversity in belief
    1. Growing up in a society that has very different ideologies or way of thinking than you do is one way of looking at diversity. Where you grew up in may be very conservative and traditional whereas you might find yourself to be more liberal. This clash of morals and thought patterns may make you feel persecuted or perhaps more aware of your surroundings since you think differently than the majority. You can talk about some of these differences and explain how it affects you and your outlook on life.
  2. Diversity in religion or faith
    1. You may be a religious minority and you would like to talk about your experiences being one if it's very impactful to your identity. Depending on your unique experience, you can talk about the obstacles you face because of your different faith or even talk about the religious harmony that exists in your society. Being a minority is not unfortunate to everyone. If you had a positive experience of being a minority and being welcomed by your community, that would be a great topic as well.
  3. Diversity in experience
    1. Perhaps you have very different life circumstances or opportunities which can be both positive and negative. You may talk about how your parents' jobs took you all over the world, how your brother had autism and you spent a lot of your time learning about autism and helping him, how you were chosen as a school representative for an incredible debate competition, or maybe even how you began writing poetry and finding your passion. Our lives are unique and even stories that may seem simply mundane at first glance, are worth telling if done correctly. What have you learned from it? How have these experiences shaped you into the person you are today?
  4. Diversity in sexuality
    1. This is still very controversial across all parts of the globe and it may be difficult to write since many still disagree with it. However, sexuality can be an integral part of someone's identity, shaping how they view the world and how the world interacts with them in return. Sexuality, like other identity markers, are treated very differently in different communities. How were you treated? How do you hope to be treated in the future?
  5. Diversity in Expression
    1. Perhaps you dressed differently, wore your hair in one may consider an “outlandish” fashion, or you wore terribly heavy makeup which caused people to stare at you. As a person who moved from one country to another, I noticed these differences of reception. Back home, my country was more conservative and monoethnic. Dressing or looking different got you unabashed stares in the public. If the way you expressed yourself outside of the norm, how was your experience doing so? Were you scared? Did you feel a sense of empowerment? Talk about your journey of not being afraid to step outside the box and how you were treated by your society.
  6. Diversity in political ideology
    1. This is also another very controversial topic. Depending on the university you're applying to, you must be careful when choosing to talk about political ideology. When applying to a conservative religious university, perhaps your views may be more conservative to suit the views of the school. Whereas if you're applying to a more liberal school (prominent research institutions are generally liberal), then your political ideology should align to more liberal ideas. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Thus, it is very important to justify the things you say or believe because it shows your thought process and how your environment shaped the way you think of the world and its politics.
  7. Diversity in gender
    1. How has being a man or a woman shape your opportunities in life? How do you think you have navigated your community because of it? Did you have an experience where you were discriminated against because you were a certain gender? That you were fitted into certain gender roles that you did not agree with? This can pertain to both men and women, especially if you have difficulty fitting into what the very binary stereotypes that society pushes. Were you a man told to never cry and show emotion? Were you a woman who was told to stay at home and not have any career aspirations? How did this change you as a person?

Thus, you must dig deep into your identity. Who are you? What is your background or culture? How did you fit within that culture? Then you may talk about how this will affect you and stay with you as you enter your university abroad? A general rule of thumb however, is to avoid being overly negative (whether that be to your new environment or to your old one). Even if your experiences have been overwhelmingly negative, show how you would like to improve it and move forward positively into the future. Your experiences should enrich the university, fostering understanding as opposed to divisiveness. You may also talk about the diversity present in the university you are applying to by searching up its demographic composition online. Then also talk about how you can benefit from this diversity of appearance and ideas present in the university that you cannot find as common back home (especially if you grew up in a monoethnic area).