Struggling with Diversity Essay

I’m struggling with what to write. It isn’t that I don’t have a diverse trove of experiences to write about. It’s that I already wrote about them in my personal statement and there are only one or two things I can add. My personal statement might as well be a diversity essay.

I already talked about how the military shaped my desire to pursue medicine. I talk about shadowing, and tutoring, and my role as an advocate for others.

I could write about the challenges I have overcome, but that just boils down to a “poor me” essay.

I have a few volunteer experiences where I wasn’t allowed to do the work I am certified to do. Wasn’t very special.

After I shadowed, I was a panel presenter for a healthcare symposium at my school.

I left out of my tutoring of English Speakers of Other Languages from the personal statement. It isn’t very glorious. I just need more patience and to be slightly more resourceful than previously stated.

Just kicking around ideas and looking to see if anyone has suggesting that elicits a path. I can’t really see any of the above making an essay of adequate length.

Which colleges or universities are you targeting ?

Is there a prompt? The work with non-English speakers is important, as are any obstacles you may have overcome. Do you have any training in anti-racism or disability rights?

D20 chose to write about her very homogeneous neighborhood, town, and high school and how she was hoping the next leg of her educational journey exposed her to a much more diverse environment as she wanted to get a broader worldview.

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I’ll just include the full prompt.

“MGH Institute of Health Professions considers having a diverse student population a key element to the educational experience of its students. Diversity presents itself in many different forms, such as: socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or place of origin, disability, unique life or work experience, etc. We invite you to share with us how you might contribute to the diversification of our institution and your program.”

I think I might have had some diversity training when I took the tutoring course at school, but I don’t recall. I’m a patient and understanding person that actively advocates for all individuals. It is in my character to stand up for people.

My obstacles are really just barriers for entry. I’m veteran from a lower middle-class family. We aren’t connected. I’ve had to fight for everything. For instance, I had to beg to get shadowing experiences. I also didn’t do well when I first went to college before the military. I had to prove my intelligence beyond a shadow of a doubt to my critics. In the military, I had to advocate for myself after I got injured against great persecution and risk. It took advocating for treatment for almost 8 year before I got treatment, which between myself and seeing other soldiers suffer like this is a main drive for going into medicine (But that is in my personal statement).

I don’t want to write about it, but I was bullied extensively in middle school and high school.

Edit: I also couldn’t get schools to accept my military patient care for patient care requirements which lead to me becoming an LNA, which went no where, and then a Medical Assistant which I kept for a little over a year before needing to go back to school.

I replied to the whole thread. :slight_smile:

I think you just answered the prompt with your different work/life experiences. Having a veteran with military experience will provide a different viewpoint in the classroom than others bring. You could can talk about remaining calm under pressure, or in crisis situations, managing the impact of these situations on yourself, recognizing that many in society (whom you will be treating) don’t have the privileges that others do, having experienced that yourself… there is a lot you could write about from this perspective!

Much will be HOW you write about this in framing it in a positive way, of something the institution will value and want. There are many posters on here who help students write essays and apps, so ask if you would like someone to review.

Good luck!


I think the paragraph above on the obstacles you have overcome- all of it - are really good for the diversity essay, and the sentences before that: " I’m a patient and understanding person that actively advocates for all individuals. It is in my character to stand up for people."

These could be a focus:

Lower middle class, not connected, had to fight for everything
In the military, advocating for self and others after injury, 8 years before getting treatment- this experience REALLY argues for your admission because you understand what patients go through

Can you be specific about advocating for others as well? Also, clearly you have prior medical experience (that has not been accepted, another obstacle you are trying to overcome). Also you have tutored non_English language speakers and had some diversity training then.

Don’t worry about repeating the info. You can word it differently and change the focus from your background and goals to diversity and the effects of being “different” because of your health issues in the military, or something like that. And your low socioeconomic background. And being trained for medic work but not fitting in the traditional mode after the military. Lots of ways to do it but cover it all! And good luck!

I don’t think it matters if any or all of this is in your personal statement.


I’m assuming that you are applying for PA school. If so, I think that you have an excellent chance of getting in - you’d be surprised how few veterans have come as far as you have, and are applying for PA school. I think that being a veteran will give you an admissions boost - I certainly hope so!

I would be very cautious about mentioning a brain injury, or psychological injury in your application, if that’s what your injury was. It is a very unfortunate thing, but the fact is, schools don’t want to deal with students with brain injuries or psychological issues, so I would recommend reviewing your personal statement.

The fact is that ANYONE who was in the military since the military was racially integrated right after WWII has had plenty of experience working in a socially, racially, and economically diverse environment!


No my main injury was an ankle injury. I won’t get into it, but getting hurt in the military doesn’t help you out. Thank you for the suggestion.

Thank you everyone. I am trying to turn my experiences into an essay. It’s just difficult to frame it in a satisfactory way. Putting a positive spin is easy enough. Just have to state what I learned from it and how it shaped me.

Not related to you but one of my kids got into a prestigious school with a brain injury. It is against the law to discriminate against people with such injuries, or psychiatric issues. Many people with either are actually very accomplished.

@jkb2021 I would be happy to help with the essay via PM.

Really good point above by @parentologist that serving in the military means you have been in a diverse environment.

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Please read this:

It includes tips for the diversity essay.


I am not sure the prompt is asking for that necessarily. It asks what you will add to the diversification of the school. You have a really good (great, actually) answer for that question just in who you are.


Agree with the PP. They want to know what it is that makes you diverse. That is primarily being a veteran (you are really underestimating how diverse this is) and, to a certain extent, your experiences that identified barriers to care and academic success that you had to scale due to your socio economic status. Having a different perspective than the typical student adds diversity by adding a different perspective. Don’t over think it and you don’t need to use up all the words in the word limit :wink:


Assuming you have fulfilled all the other requirements, I think that the school will be inclined to take you over other similarly-qualified applicants, because you are a veteran. As well they should! You bring experience and maturity that few others have, plus you gave up years of your youth to serve our country. For this reason alone, I believe that you will be admitted, if you are qualified.

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I spent some time looking at diversity essay examples and I guess I am confused.

Most of them just talk about their backgrounds from various positions, what they learned from obstacles, and what they hope to accomplish as a PA/Med student.

I’ve used those examples to set up a frame that I can manipulate before I submit, but i don’t know. I found a lot of the examples to be kinda… fake? If I were an admissions member I wouldn’t find these compelling.

BUT I am doing my best to show my background, address some of my key obstacles, and state how these relate to my goals. Basically unpacking what I posted earlier.

Thanks again for the guidance. :slight_smile:


I think i demonstrate my experience and maturity given how much I try to help others. I am always advocating for someone, checking in on my peers, helping them to understand complex topics and pointing out resources. Even during my medical assisting apprenticeship I did so I could get non-military patient care, I basically stood up front and taught the course and spent a lot of time focusing on helping others understand topics and succeed.

I would think that the diversity you bring is that of having served in the military. It’s not a path a lot of college students choose. In a society that encourages questioning authority and individuaity, you have experienced a pretty different life! You’ve no doubt had to explain your service to folks who have no concept of what you’ve done and who you’ve done it with (and why.) I think this would be a fascinating read and a compelling reason to have you in an admitted class.

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I’ve cut out the section/paragraph introducing my socioeconomic upbringing. I don’t want to make it look like my entire life has been a struggle and would rather expand on military diversity, which is easier to link to college.

Like talking about military values. I want to be careful. As much as I want to say “a core tenet of the military is never leave a fallen comrade” and then relate that to my injury, I don’t feel that is constructive.

I’m also hesitant about mentioning basic training. If I had not been led to believe that I needed permission for everything including healthcare, I would have pushed to advocate earlier, rather than later when my provider informed me I had the right to seek healthcare. I’m not sure that is constructive either.