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How To Craft a Diversity Statement for Graduate School Application

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In recent years, more and more institutions of higher education are requesting applicants to graduate programs to write a statement of diversity. A diversity statement, also sometimes referred to as a personal history statement, is used by these institutions to gauge how their future student population will contribute to their ongoing efforts to promote and maintain a culture of equity and inclusion.

Typically, diversity statements are one-page double-spaced documents that highlight how you, as a future student, will foster diversity within the community. The narrative tends to be more personal than that in a statement of purpose, with particular emphasis on cultural competence and understanding of current issues and efforts surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion.  In composing such an essay, it might be helpful to include some of the following elements:

  • Statements of values  as they relate to your understanding of historical barriers to diversity, inclusion, equity, and/or justice in higher education and your commitment towards dismantling those barriers. If you belong to a minority population, you can discuss how that experience shaped your outlook on life and your willingness to champion others who are in similar circumstances.
  • Examples   of experiences  that highlight your efforts in promoting the success of underrepresented students, peers, and staff and supporting various viewpoints in the classroom, lab, campus, or community. For example, if you have taught a class, how did you ensure equitable learning in that environment? If you have volunteered in underrepresented communities, what did you learn from those interactions? Try to include at least 2-3 relevant experiences, and for any of those be sure to emphasize what you did to promote diverse perspectives.
  • Relevant projects and coursework that address topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. For example, if you have sat in on a workshop on how to address intrinsic or extrinsic bias, you could convey how you incorporated what you learned into your daily living. If you have undertaken a project for a class that touched on issues surrounding diversity, you could highlight that as well.
  • Future plans  for continuing to advance inclusive excellence, diversity, or equity in your research, teaching, and service to the campus community. You can also talk about your personal growth as you continue to educate yourself on issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Be genuine in your narrative and present yourself as a person who is willing to learn and adapt to change.

Should You Self-Disclose Elements of Your Personal Identity?

Although most people are willing to share elements of their personal background and upbringing in their actual statement, it is ok if you do not. Nevertheless, if you do identify as a member of an underrepresented group, reflecting on your personal circumstance might provide context to the values that you articulate in your statement. Additionally, be sure to focus on your own experiences and accomplishments rather than those of your family or loved ones. If you have questions and/or concerns regarding any aspect of the diversity statement, do not hesitate to reach out to your mentors or pre-grad advisors to ask for

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  • Diversity Statements

Though an increasing number of faculty search committees now ask candidates to submit diversity statements, guidance about how to compose an effective statement—indeed, even about what they are and why they can be valuable to institutions and candidates’ own professional development—remains scarce. You may think that diversity statements require you to locate diversity within your own social identities. You can, of course, note how your identities and life experiences motivate your commitment to diversity. However, beyond your motivation, universities and colleges want to know what you have accomplished in your career to this point and how you will contribute to their goal of making their institutions more inclusive and equitable. The most compelling diversity statements offer your definitions of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) and demonstrate how your research, teaching, and service actualize your EDIB goals.

Schedule a consultation on your diversity statement (Harvard FAS affiliates only) Download our "Composing Your Diversity Statement" worksheet

What is a Diversity Statement?

A diversity statement is a polished, narrative statement, typically 1–2 pages in length, that describes one's accomplishments, goals, and process to advance excellence in diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging as a teacher and a researcher in higher education.

The Building Blocks of a Diversity Statement

The following categories are core components of diversity statements. Effective diversity statements will address each of the following areas and answer some, if not all, of the associated questions.

  • Defining your values
  • Demonstrating your competency
  • Evidencing EDIB in your research, teaching, and service
  • Proposing future action

Equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) are defined in multiple ways across and within institutions. The mission for this component of your statement is to define how you understand these terms and identify your EDIB priorities.

  • How do you define equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB)?
  • What animates your approach to EDIB work in higher education?
  • How do the principles of EDIB relate to your values, approaches, and goals as a scholar and teacher?

> Download a copy of our "Composing Your Diversity Statement" worksheet

EDIB practices, in part, emerge from scholarship that researches the following: (1) the benefits and significance of diversity in higher education; (2) the obstacles and oppression that people who hold marginalized social identities face in higher education; (3) the processes for creating research and learning environments that benefit everyone. The mission for this component of your statement is to highlight your awareness of these conversations and show where your EDIB practices engage with them.

  • How do you regularly account for and address your privilege, bias, and EDIB learning edges?
  • Can you demonstrate knowledge of key EDIB terms (e.g., equality vs. equity; anti-Blackness; race vs. ethnicity; non-binary; DACA; neurodivergent and neurotypical)
  • Do you know how the following operate in the academy: implicit bias, different forms of privilege, (settler-)colonialism, systemic and interpersonal racism, homophobia, heteropatriarchy, and ableism? Can you identify how those factors currently and historically impact marginalized populations in your discipline?

EDIB refers to values, goals, processes, assessments, and outcomes. The mission for this component of your diversity statement is to provide examples of your processes and assessments for attaining your EDIB goals in your research, teaching, and service.

  • How does your research promote or advance equity and inclusion?
  • How does your research engage with and advance the well-being of socially marginalized communities?
  • How does your research acknowledge or interrogate power and privilege?
  • What strategies do you use to respond to the needs of students who are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, age, nationality, sexual identity, ability, and religion?
  • How do you facilitate challenging conversations on race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, age, nationality, sexual identity, ability, and religion? What are the benefits and outcomes of your approach?
  • What EDIB theories and approaches do you draw from when teaching (e.g., critical inclusive pedagogy, anti-racist pedagogy, decolonial pedagogy, feminist pedagogy, universal design for learning, active learning)?
  • How do you account for the power dynamics in the classroom, including your own positionality and authority?
  • How do you design course assessments with EDIB in mind?
  • How have you solicited feedback about your EDIB pedagogy from students? What did you learn? How did you incorporate their feedback, and what were the outcomes?
  • How have you engaged in or led EDIB campus initiatives or programming? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? What skills or knowledge did you build in the process?
  • Have you engaged in or led other EDIB service beyond your institution? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? What skills or knowledge did you build in the process?
  • How has your past participation in EDIB service or activities prepared you to successfully take on your next position?
  • How do you measure the success of your EDIB work?

Your diversity statement should not only showcase the EDIB work you have already accomplished but show how you integrate feedback and assess institutional needs to plan your future EDIB goals.

  • How do you plan to continue advancing inclusive excellence, diversity, or equity in your research, teaching, and service?
  • How do you solicit and respond to EDIB feedback from a range of academic communities?
  • How do your future EDIB goals align with your target institution's EDIB mission and needs?

Some Final Tips and Advice

Some don’ts

Don’t (over)rely on self-disclosure. While you may choose to disclose the social identities you hold while narrating what motivates your commitment to EDIB work, your diversity statement should focus on the work you have done and will do to create diverse, inclusive, and equitable spaces of higher education. A diversity statement is about your commitment to furthering EDIB within the context of institutions of higher education, not about cataloguing everything virtuous you’ve ever done to prove that you’re an ally to a marginalized group. Also, never feel compelled to emotionally bleed for a search committee. Keep in mind that some diversity statement prompts may let you know what they prefer in terms of self-disclosure. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s published guidelines to writing a diversity statement emphasize their desire for candidates who share the institution’s commitment to inclusive excellence, “regardless of personal demographic characteristics.”

Beware of false equivalencies. A personally challenging circumstance or series of events is not equivalent to holding a marginalized social identity throughout your lifetime. Similarly, the experiences of having one socially marginalized identity are not the same as the experiences of having a different marginalized social identity.

Don’t use “diversity” to refer to a BIPOC individual or a homogenous BIPOC community. Diversity does not mean a BIPOC individual or a homogenous BIPOC community. Diversity refers to the condition when individuals or communities from different backgrounds, cultures, frames of reference, social identities, or perspectives come together in a social context. It does not refer to a person (including yourself) or a homogenous community who experiences marginalization.

Don’t tailor every statement. Your diversity statement should demonstrate how you have and would effectively plan to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across contexts, with clear EDIB objectives, expected outcomes, and forms of assessment. Your cover letter is the place for you to tailor your EDIB discussion, possibly referencing institutional contexts and departmental missions while describing specific initiatives you could plan and mentioning potential collaborations with centers and committees.

Learn more about the EDIB challenges and goals of institutions. Before you draft your diversity statement, take time to research a range of websites from the institutional offices of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the universities, colleges, and departments to which you may apply. Note any recurring EDIB challenges and goals, and consider how your experiences and skills might address their needs and further their initiatives.

Show your process. Avoid only stating your belief in EDIB principles without showing methods for attaining your EDIB goals. Additionally, you can also demonstrate how your process reflects your EDIB principles. For example, if decolonizing your pedagogy is your EDIB goal, your process to achieve this may be to revise the readings on your syllabus to include voices outside of the traditional canon. To make the process align with your decolonial approach, you might solicit feedback from students on the readings and curriculum rather than unilaterally selecting the required readings yourself.

State your outcomes and lessons learned. The strongest diversity statements show what you accomplished with your initiatives and how you learned from feedback. Be mindful to state any skills or knowledge you acquired.

Connect your EDIB practices with evidence. Evidencing the effectiveness of your EDIB practices can come from your own assessments and can also be bolstered by the research of scholars who have qualitatively or quantitatively assessed the EDIB practices you utilize.

For more information...

The Effective Diversity Statement (Inside Higher Ed)

Demystifying the Diversity Statement (Inside Higher Ed)

Framework for Diversity Research & Scholarship (National Center for Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan)

Sara P. Bombaci and Liba Pejchar, "Advancing Equity in Faculty Hiring with Diversity Statements"

Becoming an Anti-Racist, Equity-Minded Educator (Amherst College Center for Teaching and Learning)

Guidelines for Writing Your Diversity Statement (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

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How do I write a diversity statement?

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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.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Diversity Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you write a diversity statement in preparation for an academic job. Although it is geared toward academic jobs, much of the advice throughout this handout can be used to construct diversity statements for other fields. Overall, this handout offers insights into the form and construction of an effective diversity statement.

What is a diversity statement?

The diversity statement is a relatively new addition to the job application portfolio. It tends to be a one- to two-page document that explains your experiences with and commitments to diverse populations of students. A university that seeks this statement from applicants is typically concerned with ensuring that faculty hires are familiar with its diverse student populations and willing to support students in line with the university’s mission statement. A successful diversity statement talks about your background and how you will create a diverse and inclusive learning environment for all students.

What is diversity?

There is no universal definition that all institutions use for diversity. This lack of definition can be frustrating. You may find yourself at a loss for how to talk about a concept that is not defined. However, there are still clues, usually provided by the institution. You can ask:

  • Does the university have a diversity statement on its website?
  • Does the university have a diversity and inclusion office? If so, what is its mission statement?
  • How has the university’s alumni magazine discussed the current student population?
  • Does the office of institutional research publish public reports about diverse populations?

However, not having a definition can be freeing. It allows you to really consider your commitments to students and examine what diversity could mean. For example, if you are considering a college or university set in the mountains, it may mean a student population that identifies as Appalachian. Conversely, schools in North Carolina might be concerned with the enrollment and matriculation of Indigenous students. In other words, how diversity is interpreted depends largely on the institution, its location, and its current student population. Ask yourself:

  • Have you worked with first-generation students? International students? Students from underrepresented minority groups?
  • Have you worked with students from rural or urban environments?
  • Are you familiar with students from the South, Northeast, Midwest, Northwest, Southwest?
  • Have you worked with students who identify as neuroatypical?
  • Have you worked with students who identify as LGBTQIA+?
  • Are you familiar with students from a range of socio-economic backgrounds?
  • Have you worked with non-traditional students?

This list of questions is not meant to be comprehensive but to help you think about how you consider diversity as a future instructor at a university. If you happen to have little to no experience working with diverse populations of students, do not fear. There are strategies, which will be addressed below.

Before you start writing

Bear in mind that writing this statement will require you to be flexible in both how you define diversity, as we discussed above, and how you have encountered diversity throughout your career. Below are some strategies for demystifying the expectations for diversity statements.

Consult models

Because the diversity statement is a new addition to the application portfolio, you may find that your usual mentors are unable to give you more direct guidance in its composition. However, it does not mean that you do not have options. You might:

  • Reach out to colleagues and friends in the early stages of their career and ask them about their experiences writing diversity statements.
  • Ask your university’s career services if they have any examples.
  • Try to find examples from successful job candidates.
  • Ask people who have recently served on hiring committees.

All of these suggestions can help demystify the process of writing a diversity statement. You also might want to reflect on how diversity is discussed on your current or most recent campus, and compare it to how diversity is discussed at the potential new campus.

In order to tailor a diversity statement to a specific institution, you need to think about the concerns of your audience and how your approach to diversity fits into the broader mission of the university and the department. In essence, this essay allows you to communicate how you will potentially serve the students at your new university in a way that is slightly different than your teaching statement and job application letter. Below are some questions you might consider:

  • How has the university approached diversity recently?
  • Does the university have a diversity and inclusion office?
  • How has the university defined diversity in the past? How are they defining it now?
  • What populations does the university serve?
  • Are there any populations on the rise or in decline in the university or university system?
  • Is the university in the midst of any diversity initiatives? If so, what are they?
  • Whom does the department serve?
  • Do certain student populations take more courses in the department than others?
  • Is the department involved with any diversity initiatives?

These questions can help you consider the institution’s commitments and make clear the populations of students with whom you will be interacting. Moreover, they can help you understand your audience and anticipate what information might be most pertinent or interesting to them. After all, part of the goal in writing this statement is presenting yourself as capable and competent in teaching and interacting with the students whom the university serves.

Writing a draft

Because diversity statements continue to evolve, there is no set form. The lack of a standard form allows for creative freedom—hopefully a positive. As such, this section will provide a variety of considerations and strategies to compose a diversity statement.


You have many options for crafting your statement to emphasize the aspects of diversity most important to you. Below are a few examples of different organizational strategies:

Think of your statement as a narrative (past, present, future). This strategy allows you to build upon past experiences to point towards future development. You might consider these questions:

  • How have your previous experiences informed your understanding of diversity?
  • How do you currently approach diversity and inclusion in and outside the classroom?
  • How do you think your current practices will translate to a new environment?
  • If you have had little interaction with students from diverse backgrounds, how have you learned about diverse student populations? How might you make your classroom inclusive?
  • How might you apply the knowledge you have learned in the future?

This approach can help you think about how your approach to diversity has changed over time and demonstrate your ability to adapt to new environments.

Structure your statement around your commitments to diversity. This strategy asks you to prioritize your commitments and expand upon them based on your past and current experiences, as well as your future goals. You might consider these questions:

  • How have you made your classroom accessible and inclusive?
  • How have you invested in diversity or inclusion in the past?
  • Have you worked with specific groups of students or student organizations?
  • Have you integrated your commitments into your research? If so, how?
  • Have you integrated your commitments into your teaching? If so, how?
  • How does your research inform your teaching?
  • How have you or will you make the classroom inviting to a variety of students?

This approach ultimately helps you think about how diversity is an integral part of who you are as a researcher and instructor. It can help demonstrate how you connect your work inside and outside the classroom.

Narrow your focus to teaching. This strategy focuses on practical application of diversity in the classroom. It asks you to think about how you may have shifted your teaching to serve different groups of students. You might consider these questions:

  • How do you foster diverse student perspectives?
  • How have you integrated diverse perspectives in your teaching?
  • How have you approached controversial topics, such as religion or politics, in the classroom? How did you include all students in these types of discussions?
  • How does your course material reflect contributions from diverse perspectives?
  • How have you modified class discussions and course materials to include all your students?
  • How have you in the past and how will you in the future continue to encourage students to think about the effects of racial, cultural, gender, socioeconomic, and other differences?

This approach can characterize what is distinctive about your teaching and how it serves students, as well as how it expands their view of diversity.

Make it autobiographical. This strategy focuses on you as an individual, and it should explain how diversity has impacted your career. In this essay, some applicants might choose to self-identify. Others may instead choose to focus on their pedagogical experience with diverse populations over their career.

Talk about your own experiences as a member of an underrepresented group.

  • Discuss how you have grown to understand diversity over your education and instructional experiences.
  • Discuss how you have been impacted by diversity throughout your academic career, directly or indirectly.

Possible pitfalls

Not being specific. Make sure that when you talk about a certain strategy or a certain group of students that you provide a concrete example. The diversity statement is not simply a list of all the work you have done working with diverse student populations or a restatement of your CV, but it should highlight the most important aspects of how you have approached diversity in the past and include a reflection on those actions. To avoid falling into this trap of listing, you need to think about your specific experiences as evidence. This list is not exhaustive, but it will help you consider the type of examples that a reader might expect in a diversity statement:

  • Specific topics you covered in class and student reactions.
  • Specific assignments and students’ reactions.
  • Specific strategies you have used to include all students in the classroom.
  • Specific anecdotes and comments from students.
  • Examples from course evaluations.
  • Specific events or initiatives you participated in and their success.

Not telling the truth. Above all, be honest! If you have not had experiences with diverse groups of students or you are not a member of an underrepresented group, then you can talk about how you would approach working with students from diverse groups and backgrounds. You can mention that you have researched or studied pedagogy working with diverse groups of students. You can offer examples of techniques or classroom strategies that you would use or think would be helpful for the institution that you are applying for.

Forgetting to revise. Remember your first draft is not your last draft. For some, the revision process is the most difficult part of writing. However, sometimes the best way to tackle indecision about a draft is to receive feedback from a variety of different readers. Outside readers can help you see any shortcomings, point out places where you might need more information, and affirm that you have done a complete job. You can ask: your advisor, your mentor/s, colleagues, and other early-career scholars. For more information about the revision process, see our Editing and Proofreading handout or Proofreading video for some strategies.

Ignoring your audience. Make sure that you address the needs of the department and university. Neglecting to consider the short term and long term goals of the university or the needs of the student population at the institution makes you appear at best unprepared or ill-informed and at worst obtuse.

Not doing yourself justice. The statement should not be an exhaustive list of all the times you worked with diverse populations, a treatise on the ideal classroom, or the appropriation of a student’s or a student group’s experiences as your own. Nor should your statement fail to offer some personal reflections on your experiences in teaching or possibly outside of the classroom. The statement should share your thoughts and recognize the rewards, challenges, and difficulties of making course material and research relevant to diverse student and faculty populations.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Bryce, Leah. n.d. “Making Sense of the Diversity Statement.” Chronicle Vitae . Accessed April 4, 2014. .

Flaherty, Colleen. 2018. “Breaking Down Diversity Statement.” Inside Higher Ed , November 19, 2018. .

Golash-Boza, Tanya. 2016. “The Effective Diversity Statement.” Inside Higher Ed , June 10, 2016. .

Kelsky, Karen. 2015. “What Is a Diversity Statement, Anyway?” In The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job , 185–90. New York: Three Rivers Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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6 Tips on Writing a Diversity Statement for Graduate Admissions

Diversity statements aren’t just for organizations or for faculty job postings. Many law schools and some graduate programs may ask applicants to provide a short statement about their personal background and potential contributions to the school or program.  

Students can feel stymied by these prompts - especially if they are optional - but these can provide a great opportunity to showcase your individuality and contributions to your future program. 

Here are some tips to help you compose a strong diversity statement:

  • Consider why the prompt is there. Is the institution actively seeking to diversify its student body? Is it an opportunity to provide more personal detail that you haven’t addressed elsewhere? 

Think about what diversity might mean to that program. They may provide a description of what they define as diversity, but you can also do a little research by reviewing the facts and figures for that institution or program to find out details about the student body. If you aren’t sure that you are physically or representatively diverse, do you have experiences that will contribute to a different perspective to the community of the school or program at large?  How are you different from your peers or to the culture of the school?

Focus on adding new information for the review committee to consider,don’t repeat what you have already provided. You will likely be asked to provide a separate personal statement, which should address your reason for applying to the program (outlining your goals and expectations after admission). 

Keep the focus on what you can contribute. Start by thinking about the statement as having three sections - your background/experiences that responds to the prompt, lessons you learned, how you have applied them and/or how you will apply them. 

Stick to the word limit.  If one isn’t provided, try to fit the statement between 500-800 words. 

Check your work and get additional readers to help you catch typos and other errors. Each document you provide for your application should demonstrate your strength as a writer, so make sure that it is polished.

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Crafting an Effective Diversity Statement and Cover Letter

In Spring 2019, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA), Core Programs in the Graduate School, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) co-sponsored an interactive workshop led by the UW Postdoc Diversity Alliance, Crafting an Effective Diversity Statement and Cover Letter . A panel of four speakers — Rickey Hall, vice president and university diversity officer, OMA&D; Evangelina Shreeve, director, STEM Education and Outreach, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Butch de Castro, professor and associate dean, School of Nursing; and Cynthia del Rosario, diversity, equity and access officer, Information School — shared insights on topics related to diversity statements and the job application process. We are summarizing the highlights from the panel discussion, including strategies to create effective diversity statements.

Diversity not only includes demographic characteristics like gender, race, and ethnicity; it includes all dimensions of one’s identity, such as first-generation status, economic background, immigration status and more. Some characteristics are more salient and visible than others. Inclusion means that diverse voices are included in the decision-making process. There are distinct differences between equality and equity. Equity involves giving people what they need to be as successful as non-minoritized groups; conversely, equality is to treat everyone the same. Diversity is extremely important in the science community, where different perspectives are and should be highly valued. Organizations that value diversity and inclusion strive to provide a space where all members are respected. If a system or structure perpetuates inequity and inequality, we should encourage one another to challenge this system or structure. While we are making strides to address diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI) in academia, there is a lot of work ahead of us.

Diversity Statements need to be personalized: they are a reflection of your positionality, and a place where you demonstrate your passion and compassion. You can give examples about how to bring diverse perspectives into your inclusive teaching. While some organizations do not require diversity statements as part of the job application, you are encouraged to provide examples of how you uniquely prioritize DEI elsewhere in your application materials. For example, documents required by government jobs are standard. To distinguish your voice and highlight why you are the right person for a particular position, you can consider framing your cover letter (and all the other application materials) from your diversity perspective when appropriate. Use specific examples from your personal experiences. Think whether your research, teaching or public service addressed any diversity issues. Your statement works the best when you have an understanding of the diversity mission and the holistic strategic plan for your dream organization. If you haven’t had any experience with diversity, propose a plan on how you are going to be more involved when you get hired. Also consider asking your reference letter writers to address how you contributed to diversity. Authenticity is the key: be sure to let your true self come through in your application materials.

Diversity work is important. As Ricky Hall said,  “Let’s hold ourselves and our colleagues accountable. We lead by engaging.”  Good luck with preparing your application materials. And know that your efforts to improve the climate and culture at the UW and beyond are appreciated.

Center for Teaching

Developing and writing a diversity statement.

diversity statement examples for graduate school

What is a diversity statement, and what purpose does it serve?

What topics might be included in a diversity statement.

  • Getting Started

Writing Prompts

Adapting your statement for a job application, additional resources.

Increasingly, institutions of higher education are becoming more intentional and programmatic about their efforts to embrace principles of inclusion, equity, justice, and diversity throughout campus life. As they do so, they are more focused on finding faculty who have experiences and competencies that can contribute to these efforts. Consequently, universities and colleges frequently are requesting that job applicants address how they can contribute to a culture of inclusion and equity within the campus community in the form of a “diversity statement.”

diversity statement examples for graduate school

Sometimes, a job ad will request that applicants address diversity in the cover letter or the teaching statement, but a request for a separate diversity statement is becoming more common. From the perspective of some universities, the purpose of such documents is to demonstrate that the applicant has commitments and capacities to contribute to the institution’s projects of inclusion and equity via their work, including scholarship, teaching, service, mentoring, and advising. Asking faculty applicants to speak to inclusive excellence in their application materials or during the interview process shows a university’s commitment to inclusion and ensures that new faculty share that commitment (2018). The document is also an opportunity for applicants to highlight their understanding of the barriers faced by under-represented or marginalized groups, as well as their own experiences meeting the needs of a diverse population of students, staff, and peers. For example, The University of California at San Diego requests a separate “Contributions to Diversity” statement from all faculty applicants, and its published guidelines suggest describing “your past efforts, as well as future plans to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.” (2.1.18, ).

The wording that universities and colleges use in framing the request for a diversity statement varies widely. Below are a few examples from job ads posted in the 2017-2018 academic year.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland (public liberal arts college, faculty posting in Psychology):

Applicants should submit a statement explaining how their teaching at the College will contribute to a culture of inclusion and campus diversity .

Denison University (private liberal arts university in Ohio, faculty posting in Anthropology):

A description of how the applicant would contribute to the development of a diverse and inclusive learning community at Denison through her/his teaching, research, and/or service .

Angelo State (public university in Texas, faculty posting in Engineering):

The required Other Document should be no longer than 2 pages and should discuss how the candidate would help achieve Angelo State University’s goal to attract and graduate more women, Hispanic, and students from other underrepresented groups .

Georgia College and State University (public liberal arts college, faculty posting in Psychology)

Qualified candidates should submit a research statement, and a diversity statement (describing how you incorporate diversity into your teaching, research, and/or service). Teaching, research, and diversity statements should be limited to two single-spaced pages.

Franklin & Marshall College (private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, Visiting Assistant Professor Position in Psychology)

Pursuant to the college’s vision for cultivating a diverse and inclusive community, the search committee will ask all applicants to address how their past and/or potential contributions might serve to advance F&M’s commitment to teaching and mentoring young people from a variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews th at arise from differences of culture and circumstance.

Since the diversity statement is an emerging genre in the context of faculty job applications, there are few set guidelines on what must be included. Keeping in mind that the purpose of the statement is to demonstrate a commitment to fostering diversity, the following elements may be appropriate:

  • Statement of values as they relate to your understanding and commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and/or justice in higher education.
  • Examples of experiences that demonstrate your commitment to fostering the success of underrepresented students, staff, and peers, and supporting a diversity of perspectives in the classroom, lab, campus, or community.
  • Future plans for continuing to advance inclusive excellence, diversity, or equity in your research, teaching, and service.

Getting started

diversity statement examples for graduate school

  • What are your values regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity in your professional life? Why do you think diversity is valuable in higher education settings? How about in your discipline specifically?
  • What kinds of student, staff, or faculty diversity are you thinking of as you answer this question, and are there other ways in which diversity manifests in campus communities that might be valuable to consider?
  • What elements of your own identity inform your teaching, research, or scholarship in a tangible way?

It is worth noting that diversity statements are fundamentally about your values, commitments, and capabilities, and not necessarily your identity and the ways it shapes your work. If you choose to disclose your identity in a diversity statement, you should be aware of some issues.

Should You Self-Disclose Elements of Your Personal Identity?

Note that some people wish to share elements of their personal background in their actual statement, and many do not. Reflecting on your own frame of reference can be useful regardless. Some degree of transparency may help readers contextualize the experiences and approaches you detail in your statement. For example, you may wish to share that you grew up in a bilingual household or that you attended graduate school as an international student, if either has influenced your approach to mentorship or teaching. A 2014 study investigated the content of 191 cover letters for faculty positions in which applicants were specifically asked to address diversity and inclusion; less than a quarter of applicants self-disclosed some aspect of their personal identity (Schmaling, Trevino, Lind, Blume, & Baker, 2014). Despite the low percentage of applicants who chose to self-disclose and despite the authors’ note that they could not determine which applications advanced as a function of the applicants’ choice to self-disclose, they write that “self-disclosing one’s diversity may reconceptualize membership in a previously stigmatized group as an advantage, particularly if the self-identification reinforces a coherent academic and professional identity (Schmaling et al., 2014, p. 10)..”

However, be advised that there is risk in disclosing details that may carry stigma or induce subtle biases on the part of readers. For example, some research confirms that biases toward African Americans and women influence evaluation of written application materials (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000; Moss-Racusin, Dovidio, Brescoll, Graham, & Handelsman, 2012), specifically when the application is not exceptionally weak or exceptionally strong (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000). The potential benefit of self-disclosing one’s mental health history or sexual orientation, for example, should be carefully weighed against the risk. To be sure, an excellent statement can be written without sharing elements of personal identity, and some universities that request statements are beginning to highlight this. The University of San Diego’s published guidelines to writing a diversity statement, for example, emphasize their desire to identify candidates who share the institution’s commitment to inclusive excellence, “regardless of personal demographic characteristics.”

The following prompts are meant to help you identify areas of strength to highlight in your diversity statement. For each of the following areas, think about your past experience and what you plan to do in the future. You don’t need to answer every question, as all may not apply.

Research and Scholarship

  • Does your research/scholarship directly address issues of diversity, inclusion, or equity? If so, how?
  • Does your research/scholarship address issues specific to marginalized groups? If so, describe the connection.
  • Has your research/scholarship been shared with the community or public in a way that promotes access to scholarship?
  • Has your scholarship involved collaboration with diverse groups of colleagues or commentators?

Mentorship and Advising

  • Have you worked with any students in a mentorship or advisory capacity who are from marginalized groups? If so, how did you help them identify and overcome barriers to success? Think about your experience with research mentorship, teaching or tutoring, academic advising, and community mentorship.
  • If you plan to train undergraduates and/or graduate students in your future role, what efforts will you make to recruit and retain students from marginalized and underrepresented groups?
  • How do you plan to serve a student body that is diverse in a multitude of ways? Think not just race, ethnicity, and SES, but about age, religion, academic preparedness, disability, gender expression, or other differences.
  • How does your approach to course design take into account considerations of diversity? You may wish to reflect on using a range of assessments, preventing bias in grading, diversifying course content, using inclusive language in the syllabus and classroom, or utilizing student feedback to improve classroom culture or tone. Try to generate at least one specific example of how your decision affects student’s learning in your course. (Note: One prominent example of inclusive syllabus language is diversity statements within syllabi; see examples from Brown University , Yale Center for Teaching and Learning , and The Eberly Center at Carnegie Mellon University )
  • What do you do as a teacher that creates a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere? How do you ensure that students in your class feel a sense of belonging?
  • How does your approach to facilitating discussion (and/or structuring active learning activities) take into account considerations of positionality, power, and/or diversity? You may wish to reflect on using semi-structured discussion techniques, online access points for student participation, classroom seating arrangements, or other ways in which you create opportunities for student engagement. Try to generate at least one specific example of how your pedagogical choice facilitates student engagement in a particular course.
  • Does your discipline lend itself to dialogue about diversity? If so, how do you incorporate this dialogue into your courses? Describe the impact of doing so on student learning and engagement.
  • How do you ensure that your course readings and sources reflect diverse perspectives? Have you had any experience diversifying/decolonizing content for your courses, and if so, what has been the impact on student learning?
  • Have you participated in any service activities (e.g. university committees, symposiums, workshops, volunteer work in the community) whose goals relate to diversity, inclusion, and equity? If so, describe your experience. What did you accomplish? What did you learn? What skills did you build in the process?
  • If you have engaged in diversity-related service, how will you incorporate your experience into the job for which you are applying? (Note: here is where – having done your research on the school to which you are applying – you might consider referencing an existing diversity-related initiative to which you could contribute or which you could expand)

After you have developed a statement that reflects your strengths and experiences related to diversity, inclusion, and equity, you may wish to tailor it for individual job applications. Be sure to do your homework about diversity-related programs and resources at the schools to which you are applying, and consider including how you plan to contribute to or expand existing programs at that institution. For example, if you have been particularly active in social justice initiatives and are applying to a school with no existing programs addressing race, power and privilege in higher education, it may be appropriate to propose a program modelled on something you’ve already done. However, you do not need to propose a new diversity-related program to write an effective diversity statement. Perhaps you envision your contribution as serving on faculty committees related to diversifying curriculum in your department or advising LGBT-student groups or research initiatives. Be honest about where you are and how you can contribute.

  • Golash-Boza, T. (2016). “ The Effective Diversity Statement .” Inside Higher Ed.
  • University of California: Contributions to Diversity
  • Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2000). Aversive racism and selection decisions: 1989 and 1999.   Psychological Science, 11 (4), 315-319.
  • Schmaling, K. B., Trevino, A. Y., Lind, J. R., Blume, A. W., & Baker, D. L. (2015). Diversity statements: How faculty applicants address diversity.   Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 8 (4), 213-224.
  • Moss-Racusin, C., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students.   PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (41), 16474-16479.

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See 2 Successful Law School Diversity Statements

Experts say the best diversity statements convey an applicant's resilience in difficult circumstances.

2 Successful Law School Diversity Statements

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A strong diversity statement conveys how an applicant's background would allow him or her to bring a unique perspective to a law school class, experts say.

Deciding whether to submit a diversity statement in a law school application is not necessarily an easy call.

After some hesitation, Madeline Baker, a student in the Class of 2020 at the California Western School of Law , decided that the essay gave her the opportunity to explain her life story. Baker was born in South Korea and adopted and raised by a Caucasian family in the U.S.; in her diversity statement , she described how her adoption into a family with a different ethnicity has shaped her identity.

Initially, she was reluctant to write a diversity statement because she did not struggle with poverty. "I felt that having grown up with a two-parent household in a middle-class family didn't leave me many diverse experiences to talk about," Baker said via email. "I find that funny looking back at it, because I now feel being adopted is a huge part of who I am."

Learn how to

Admissions officers say that Baker made a smart decision when she elected to write the diversity statement. "This essay worked because it provided a glimpse into the student's life and upbringing and her struggle to confront her heritage, appearance, and nature versus nurture," Christopher Baidoo, assistant dean of admissions at the California Western School of Law, said via email.

Iris Fugate, assistant director of admissions at the school, says she was struck by the high level of empathy displayed in Baker's diversity statement. Since lawyers often represent people from varied walks of life, Baker's statement highlighted an aspect of her background that made her an attractive J.D. applicant, Fugate says.

Admissions experts say it's important to ensure that the diversity statement is relevant to each law school 's specific essay prompt and to avoid repeating anything written in the personal statement.

"You want to make sure that it is lining up with the rest of your application but also saying something a little bit different about you," says Matt Shinners, associate director of pre-law programs at Manhattan Prep, a test-prep company.

Experts say a diversity statement is most compelling when an applicant explains how their diverse background informs their desire to be a lawyer. But they warn that merely describing hardships is not sufficient.

"I'm looking to see that the applicant has told a story about themselves that's got an arc from where they came from to how that's impacted the things that they've done and the way that they approach the world and why that arc should continue into law school," Shinners says.

Any account of an experience with adversity needs to be coupled with a description of overcoming that challenge, lessons learned and how that has shaped the individual into a strong J.D. candidate, experts say.

"It's better to have no diversity statement than to have a weak diversity statement," Shinners says.

Briana Williams, a third-year student at Harvard Law School , says she spent more than a month crafting and polishing the written components of her law school application, including her diversity statement, to ensure that the application felt cohesive as a whole. "I took my entire trajectory on as a marathon," she says.

Williams, who was homeless for a period during high school, wrote in her diversity statement about her challenges with poverty and how they motivated her to help others with disadvantages.

Below are the diversity statements that Williams and Baker wrote. Hover over each essay to see annotated comments from the authors, noted with blue circles, and admissions experts, noted with red circles.

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How to write a Diversity Statement & Samples

What is a diversity statement in higher education.

  • When do you need a diversity statement?

How to write a good Diversity Statement?

Diversity statement writing tips, how long should a diversity statement be, how to write a diversity statement if you are white, adapting your diversity statement to job application.

There are two types of diversity statements that are regularly used, and they are very different in terms of who is writing it, and how it is being used.

The first type of diversity statement is in relation to different types of applications in the higher education context; while the second type of Diversity Statement is in relation to the type of “diversity position” an organization position herself in the context of equity, diversity, and inclusion .

In this article, we are focusing on the first type of diversity statement which is related to the higher education sector .

Creating a diverse environment is not a top-down process, it is an environment that is co-created by the people who participate in it. In an academic environment, the people are the students, faculties, staff, senior administrators, and also the principal. In order to hire or add new members to the community, the institution typically prefers to hire or recruit new members who appreciate diversity and inclusion. A diversity statement is a form of an artifact that allows the new member to express their view on diversity.

The most common situation that you need to write a diversity statement includes:

Undergraduate and Graduate admissions Diversity Statement

Top tier schools have more student applicants than they need, so they get to be picky and select only the ones that fit their target student profile. Diversity and Inclusion views of the student have become an important factor to gauge the quality of students, such as in Law school.

Fellowship, Grants, and Awards Diversity Statement

When a graduate student wants to apply for a fellowship, it is common that a diversity statement is required as part of the application package. A fellowship provides financial support to graduate students to pursue graduate studies without associated teaching or research responsibilities (as they are in a teaching or research assistantship). Fellowships are generally merit-based  internal or external awards to support a student in a full-time course of study. 

Similarly, a diversity statement is often required for a grant application. Grants are need-based awards that do not need to be repaid as long as the student maintains eligibility. For certain funds, disbursement is dependent on enrollment status. Grants tend to be need-based and are available to students based on criteria such as family income. Federal and state government are the primary sources of grants, The Pell Grant is a well-known federal grant program. State-funded grants ordinarily go to students pursuing an education in that state.

Postdoctoral and Faculty Position Job Application Diversity Statement

Faculty job postings are increasingly asking for diversity statements, in addition to research and teaching statements. Diversity statements have become an integral part of the materials submitted as part of an application for employment. They are just as important as the resume, cover letter and writing sample. A diversity statement is a personal essay that is a depiction of your past experiences and explains how these experiences have contributed to your personal and professional growth. It allows the applicant the opportunity to explain to a search committee the distinct qualities and commitment s/he can bring to the table.

Promotion to Tenure position with a diversity statement

It has become more popular to list a diversity statement as a requirement for tenure promotion in higher education.  A  tenured  post is an indefinite academic appointment that can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances , such as financial exigency or program discontinuation. Tenure is a means of defending the principle of academic freedom, which holds that it is beneficial for the society in the long run if scholars are free to hold and examine a variety of views . A tenure assignment is an important process because it can seldom be reversed once assigned, knowing the point of view of a tenure candidate is becoming an important factor in tenure assignments.

You can write a diversity statement using a systematic approach.

  • Research on the requirement
  • Know your values
  • Describe your experience
  • Detail your future plan
  • Draft, Revise, Revise, and Revise

Define your views on Diversity and Inclusion

When you write your diversity statement, you are to write what you believe. You shouldn’t write something that you don’t believe and otherwise, you are making a false statement or making a false representation of yourself. There are some questions that can help you to start.

  • What do equity, diversity, and inclusion mean to you ?
  • What quality of your personal experience inform your academia experience y?
  • Why do you think diversity and inclusion are important and the benefits of diversity ?
  • Why is diversity important to you or the classes you teach?
  • in your new role of student, faculty, professor, how do you think you can help with diversity and inclusion
  • Describe your values regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity in your professional life ?
  • Why do you think DEI is important in Higher ed? How about in your domain?
  • How do you work to ensure your classes are inclusive and welcoming to all students?
  • Do you belong to any types of diversity ?
  • Do you do any service or work with diverse or underrepresented populations? If so, what?
  • Did you have any challenges with your gender identities ?
  • Does your research connect to diversity efforts or our understanding of diverse populations? If so, how?
  • Are you personally diverse in any way that might be relevant to your work? For example, were you a first-generation student, or were you a woman in STEM who aims to expands opportunities for these populations?
  • What would you like to do in future departments related to diversity and equity?

After you have a good idea of how you define diversity and what diversity means to you, you can start by writing them down.

Another way to learn more about diversity is to learn what are the trending news in diversity in the workplace . You can learn the latest development of diversity and inclusion in different sectors or in the corporate world.

Describe your Diversity experience

After you draft out your beliefs and your point of views, now is your time to describe your personal experience about diversity. You can write about initiatives or actions that you have taken to promote diversity and inclusion. If you are part of a diverse group, talk about your experience and how it has impacted you.

If you have participated in any social or professional groups that promote diversity and inclusion, write about why you have decided to join such a group and the impact it has on you, and on the community.

Describe your future plan around Diversity and Inclusion

Write, review, and revise your diversity statement.

Draft, review, revise, having someone to proofread for you. I think you know what I mean.

Here are some tips on writing a diversity statement in academic or job application purposes.

Use Concrete Examples in Diversity Statements

Use actual, real examples in your life. Whether it is a mistake you realize you have made before, or you are a victim of discriminations. Tell your story with examples that the reader may be able to relate to.

Tell your own Story

Be sure you are telling your story, not generically as a group or just things you think the readers want to hear. Speak as yourself and tell your own story why you believe diversity and inclusion are important in your expected role, and how it can impact the institution or future team if diversity. If you don’t have tons of experience, then say it that you look forward to the opportunities to learn more. You don’t need to know everything, but it is an opportunity to be open-minded.

Don’t limit to your future role, think about Outreach

When you talk about your future plan to promote diversity, think about outreach, rather than reactive plans only. An example could be (if time permits), you want to join and participate in future diversity and inclusion initiatives in the new workplace. Or, how on your own, promote awareness of diversity.

Do Not Contradict yourself

Well, yes and do not contradict yourself. It is important to be admitted or get a new job, but be sure that you are telling the truth and it is really what you believe in, or what you have experienced personally.

Have a strong commitment with your diversity statement

First, check if there is a requirement of length to the diversity statement. Some applications require more serious thoughts and answers, and they need 2-3 pages to know you.

In general, I would recommend anything between 100-150 words would be enough to share your belief, experience, and future plan about diversity. It is an important topic, but a lot can be said within 150 words or 3 paragraphs.

A white person can experience diversity or even discrimination as well. Diversity doesn’t limit to a racial diversity only, it could be gender, age, and disability. You can think of the perspectives that you have experienced diversity discrimination or any other experience that you have witnessed diversity discrimination.

It is more important to show your awareness of the needs and impact of having a diverse environment and your beliefs or values on how to improve the situation.

In addition, a white person can be a champion or a leader in diversity and inclusion as well. In many cases, there are advantages in doing so.

It is not yet a popular ask for diversity statements in a job application , however, it is never a bad thing to summarize and put it on your application or resume to reflect who you are. Companies value team working and they embrace diversity in culture, work habits, age, skills, and gender. Knowing that you are ready and have experience with a diverse working environment is going to be a plus for your job application. Why not right?

What is a Diversity Statement?

The first type of diversity statement is in relation to different types of applications in the higher education context; while the second type of Diversity Statement is in relation to the type of “diversity position ” an organization position herself in the context of equity, diversity, and inclusion. more on How to write a diversity statement?

How to Write a Diversity Statement if You Are White?

A white person can experience diversity or even discrimination as well. Diversity doesn’t limit to a racial diversity only, it could be gender, age, and disability. More on this at Writing a Diversity Statement

There is not hard answer to the question. First, you should follow the requirement guidelines. Some institution may need 250 words, while some may need a 5 page essay.

More importantly, is the content. You should try the best to communicate the what, how, and your ideas to make diversity and inclusion a part of your focus in future work. Read more at How to write a great diversity statement ?

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Writing an Effective Diversity Statement

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The diversity statement asks graduate school applicants to identify and discuss their demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. While a diversity statement is not required for all graduate school applications, it is becoming increasingly common. Prompts can vary widely across institutions and can change yearly. They are not always available on a program’s website and are often encountered once you have opened an application for that school. Below are a few examples of prompts from recent years. Notice the difference and similarities in what applicants are being asked to address.  

  • UC Santa Cruz is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. In an essay, discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity within your chosen field; and/or how you might serve educationally underrepresented segments of society with your degree. (2022)
  • Supporting the development of a diverse student body is central to the University of Minnesota’s mission. This mission is enacted by the inclusion of academically excellent students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and/or a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Please write a statement that identifies the distinctive characteristics and/or life experiences, such as successfully overcoming obstacles or hardships, that you would bring to your graduate program and how that could contribute to the education and enhanced perspective of fellow students at the University of Minnesota. (2022)
  • Yale Chemistry is dedicated to attracting qualified students with diverse backgrounds and experiences. In 300 words or less, applicants should briefly describe their perspectives on diversity, why it is important, and how they have contributed to or will contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion. (2022)
  • Applicants may submit a statement with their application, briefly describing how their academic interests, background, or life experiences would advance Princeton’s commitment to diversity within the Graduate School and to training individuals in an increasingly diverse society. Please submit a succinct statement of no more than 500 words. (2022)

  A helpful starting point is to consider definitions of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart’s definitions are particularly useful because they disentangle the nuances of the language:  

  “ Diversity celebrates increases in numbers that still reflect minoritized status on campus and incremental growth. Equity celebrates reductions in harm, revisions to abusive systems and increases in supports for people’s life changes as reported by those who have been targeted. Inclusion celebrates awards for initiatives and credits itself for having a diverse candidate pool. Justice celebrates getting rid of practices and policies that were having disparate impacts on minoritized groups” (Stewart, 2017).  

  Brainstorming Questions  

  • What are your experiences with diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice? How have you contributed to these initiatives? How have you created, maintained, or prompted diverse/equitable/inclusive spaces and communities?  
  • What experiences come to your mind? Some examples include extra-curriculars, clubs, coursework, campaigns, work, research, volunteer activities, mentoring activities, etc.  
  • Why were these experiences meaningful? What did you learn from them? How did they extend your understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice?   
  • Are there aspects of your identity that inform your approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice? What would you be comfortable sharing with an admissions committee?  
  •   Are there aspects of your identity, or life experiences you’ve had, that help you approach academic work in an uncommon way?  
  •  D oes the prompt encourage you to think about your future engagements in diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice? If so, what do you want to include? How will you engage in such work as a graduate student, in your research, outreach, or beyond graduate school?  
  •   Do your responses answer the prompt?   
  •   Should you zero in on one or more of these experiences? Or will you take a more comprehensive approach in discussing your experiences? In deciding which approach to take in organizing your diversity statement, refer back to the prompt and the other materials in your application.  

Additional Resources    

  • Arizona State University Graduate College
  • Stewart, Dafina-Lazarus. (30 Mar 2017). Language of Appeasement . Inside Higher Ed.
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Office of Graduate Studies
  • University of Minnesota Career Services

This resource was developed in collaboration with Grinnell College’s Writing, Reading, and Speaking Center

Examples of Successful Diversity Statements

We've been asked for examples of diversity statements many times; below are several great ones. It is important to note that diversity statements are truly optional, and not everyone should write one. Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not a missed opportunity to write more about yourself. In fact, we wrote a blog a few years ago on when you should write a diversity statement . We hope these examples are helpful!

Living in the bubble of suburban [City], my family was treated like a blemish on its pristine surface. A house with a black father and white mother, along with a handful of mixed kids, easily stood out in our predominantly white neighborhood. Though some families talked about us, and never to us, my father always reinforced the importance of our lineage and helped immerse me in our culture.

Our family comes from a small village in upper Egypt; its proximity to Sudan and prevalence of Nubian lifestyles created a melting pot of cultures that encapsulates my identity as a first-generation Muslim African American. Although kids made fun of my skin tone and practices, my father taught me to be proud to emphasize the African in being African American. My peers’ derogatory comments and terrorist jokes were so common I became desensitized to the insults. And though I spoke out against their hateful rhetoric, my words seemed only to bounce off the Kevlar vest that is ignorance. It wasn’t until years later, while working on an election campaign, that I found the solution.

A state representative had asked me to stand a few feet farther from the door than the typical distance of my white coworkers while canvassing door-to-door because my dark skin could scare off potential voters. In that moment, she treated me not like the seasoned campaign veteran I was, or even as a person, but as a liability. I pulled the campaign manager aside and talked to him about the representative’s crass comments; from that day forward I helped to advise the campaign on diversity and inclusion issues. Learning about these topics allowed our staff to understand the issues facing underrepresented members of the community, and thus allowed us to better represent the entire district.

That experience taught me the power of education in changing people’s perceptions and led me to use my positions as a platform for diversity issues. As a debater, I promoted racial and ethnic understanding in round by reading from Afro-pessimism or Afrocentricity to broaden my opponent’s perspective. While chief justice of the Student Government Supreme Court, I worked with the student president to create a proposal for a mandatory diversity and equity class that would later be presented to the Faculty Senate.

I am proud of my African background and black ancestry as it has given me the opportunity to shape the outlook of people I meet. Skin tone and religion do not justify malicious behavior, which is why I strive to educate as many people as possible to create a world more accepting of all identities.

I was raised by a single mother, but my home was filled with family. My mother, sister, and I shared a room with two twin-size beds. My aunts, uncles, five cousins, and grandparents shared the two remaining bedrooms. In total, there were thirteen people sharing a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home. For the children, the nonstop playtime and carefree memories mitigated the obstacles that came with our socioeconomic insufficiency. For me, our tight-knit family and living situation made it much easier to overcome the absence of my father.

My father represented many of the negative stereotypes that Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants have to combat. He immigrated to the United States as a young adult and fell into a life of criminal activity during our city’s booming methamphetamine trade. His choices had an adverse impact on not only my family, but also our community at large. I was somewhat sheltered from learning too much about my father, but I knew enough to feel burdened with shame. In fact, that feeling was so strong that I became fixated on the goal of creating a life opposite to that which my father had built.

Pursuing a brighter future did not come without obstacles in my neighborhood and family. Rejecting the criminal element in our community required a deliberate choice to exclude myself from the majority and often made me feel left out. Many of my peers criticized me and called me stuck up or “white washed” because of the choices I made. My family fully supported my goals, but their own education levels and unfamiliarity with the college admission process restricted the amount of guidance they were able to provide. Counselors at my high school were overloaded by high dropout rates and unable to focus on college bound students. It was the small acts of support and encouragement that ultimately got me to overcome my inhibitions and fears of the unknown and pursue a bachelor’s degree: a friend who told me what the SAT was, a teacher who explained the FAFSA and college deadlines. These processes seem basic to some, but can be overwhelming to a first-generation student to the point where it becomes easier to put it off or quit altogether.

I did not spend my entire youth in that overcrowded yet comforting home. Eventually, my mother remarried and we were able to move out of my grandparents’ house. But I still know what its like to feel insecure about where you come from and what you lack—it is something I will carry with me throughout my life and career. My education and career goals have been shaped by my background, and I will continue to aim high despite the challenges that may come my way.

For as long as I can remember, I outwardly portrayed myself as a calm and controlled individual. It is a true reflection of my demeanor, but it is the complete opposite of what I have lived throughout my childhood and adolescence. When I was in fourth grade, my father admitted to me that he was addicted to crack. At the time I did not understand what crack addiction meant, but I was educated by his actions soon enough. Shortly after this confession, the family structure I knew and loved began to collapse. In addition to my family’s dissolution, the neighborhood we lived in is not a place where success stories are born or a location people would visit without important cause. My neighborhood could be described as a breeding ground for gangs, drugs, violence, and anarchy. One of the few bright spots of growing up in my neighborhood is the chemistry children had with one another by having similar troubles at home. It was not uncommon for my neighborhood friends to have a drug abusing parent, a single parent household, alcoholic parents, or experience domestic violence. Even though my father’s addiction clouded his judgment, both he and my mother always warned me about the dangers of our neighborhood. I was not allowed to cross the street without their supervision due to gang members on the corner selling drugs, and playing outside at night was dangerous due to occasional shootings. Growing up in a neighborhood like mine was a double edged sword; it was dangerous, but our common struggles made it easy to relate to one another.

Living with a drug addicted parent was full of uncertainty and confusion. There were many break-ins, but I always had a strange feeling about these break-ins because although valuables were stolen, certain sentimental items of value would remain untouched. I did not learn until much later in life that my father was the one stealing from us. Eventually my mother left my father and moved out in the beginning of my seventh grade year. My sister and I stayed with our father.

In winter the heating bills went unpaid and the temperature in the house would drop to the low forties. My sister and I would walk to the local laundromat at night and warm our blankets and pillows in the dryer in order to have heat through the night. Money for food was scarce, and my sister and I became accustomed to eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner out of vending machines on a budget of six dollars a day. Although this experience was mentally and physically damaging, it served as motivation for me to strive for a better life and made me never want to regress to that standard of living.

After about a year of living with my father, I began my eighth grade year at my mom’s new home in a different neighborhood. I was separated from my childhood friends for that year, but we reunited the next year as freshmen in high school. Things had changed in that year: the friends that I grew up with became the gang members that my parents warned me about as a child. Out of all of my childhood friends, I was the only one to go on to college, let alone finish high school. The toughest part of my transition to my mother’s new home was this shift away from my childhood friends. Living with the feeling of turning my back on them by cutting off communication with them during high school was an isolating experience. If teachers saw me with them, I would be categorized as a gang member, or worse, if other gang members noticed then they would try to attack me because they thought I was a rival. I tried to explain this to my friends but they could not understand and eventually the friendships grew cold.

During the end of my ninth grade year, I was still adjusting to my new life. Although I no longer physically lived in that neighborhood, I still felt like I was alone and was stuck in the same position. My closest friends, the ones I could relate to, were all on a downward spiral in life; at the same time, I could not relate to the students in my honors courses. Many were discussing vacation trips, showing off new clothes or getting a new car for their birthday when getting their driving permit. While some of my classmates were planning on taking family vacations to Disneyland, I was planning to visit my father who had been recently arrested and was serving jail time for robbery. Instead of having memories of helping my parents wash their car in the front yard or riding a bicycle on the sidewalk as a child, I remember seeing people get shot and killed in my neighborhood or seeing a pregnant woman smoking crack.

Sophomore year of high school proved to be the lowest and most humbling part of my life. I remember vividly the moment I found out that I lost my first two friends to gang violence. “V is dead and J is arrested.” Those words made my heart race as I learned J killed V over a drug deal. At the funeral I approached V’s mother and offered my condolences. In a traumatized voice, she whispered to me, “I wished you could have taken V away with you and saved my son.” I can still hear her voice today speaking those words, and the chills still make my bones shiver.

There was a lot of guilt in the weeks that followed; I felt like there was more I could have done to steer them in the right direction. I began to replay my childhood and explore my life direction and I decided a change was needed. All of my experiences up until that point started to serve as an inspiration to become better than where I started and continue to build myself into a stronger person. My natural disposition allows me to see the positive things in every situation, and I realize that no matter how dire the situation seems, it could be worse. Many people say that phrase not knowing what that worse actually is. But I know. Opportunities that have come my way are very much appreciated, and I intend to make the most of them. Knowing where I once was, I am confident in my accomplishments and hopeful for future generations as I start a new trend in my family and build a strong foundation. My childhood is not a weight that drags me down; instead it has become the strength to push through adversity when challenges arise.

My life was supposed to be simple. I wanted to make my parents happy, to give us the future they desired. Winning Quran memorization competitions, fasting, and praying daily: my religious beliefs guided me throughout my childhood. After the September 11th attacks festered resentment for Muslims across the nation, I faced religiously charged backlash in my public school; as a result, I transferred to an Islamic school where I hoped to blend in better. It was clear, though, that another difference would soon set me apart.

My new classmates were quick to point out my effeminate mannerisms that unintentionally flowed from the flicks of my wrist. I, following my natural inclinations, also didn’t consider the implications of knitting in lieu of building toy airplanes. As my sexuality blossomed and the homophobic rhetoric harshened, I wrestled with conflicting feelings of living authentically and living without fear. I questioned whether my religious beliefs could sustain what I knew to be true about myself. I couldn’t see a way through to safe ground.

As a result, comforted by its familiarity, I resigned to the security of the proverbial closet. Clothing myself with a wardrobe of feeble masculinity, I prayed my actions would become my sexuality. By denying my identity, I rejected a part of myself for the sake of my parents. In my head, I was a martyr, bravely sacrificing for the greater good of my family. In my heart, I was a heretic, terrified to openly challenge my religious dogma and familial values.

Over time, though, the need to live genuinely became too great to deny. Sitting in a mosque attending a traditional Pakistani wedding, my own future telescoped before me. As I observed the beaming couple, I realized I would one day face a similar choice. How could I look into the eyes of a woman and speak of love as if I felt it between us? Dejected, I finally understood that what some call the closet felt more like a coffin. What once felt familiar was now incompatible.

Professing my queer identity to my parents swelled our home with such a rage that our relationship fragmented in an instant. They believed homosexuality was incompatible with Islam, and reparative therapy was the only cure for my dis-orientation. They kicked me out of the house and, with no place to stay, I happened to find a Buddhist abbey with a room to rent.

My struggle to reconcile religion and sexuality had left me ambivalent towards religious practice. So, initially, the abbey was only a place to sleep: a momentary reprieve from school and three jobs. Yet, the ringing bells and chanting monks, which now replaced my alarm clock, slowly tugged on my inquisitive nature.

Using my experience as a guide, I studied Buddhism from a neutral lens. As I began to explore the subtle boundaries of cultural practice and religious dogma, I recognized how unadulterated doctrine is assimilated into deeper cultural undertones. Just as some pervert scriptures of the Quran to promote acts of terrorism, others craft its teachings to legitimize homosexual prejudice. My spiritual introspection has galvanized my Islamic understanding: I am a Queer Muslim. I reclaim my faith with a broader interpretation of the Quran – one that advocates inclusion. Through self-reflection, analysis, and contemplation, the fabric of my identity evolves.

In America, the Queer community continues to face prejudice. Yet, in Pakistani society we struggle with blatant persecution. In coming out to my mother, I remember the disgust emanating from her curled lips and grimace. At the time, I took it as a clear sign: believing in Islam had failed me. Today, I am able to use this foreboding memory to fuel new purpose in my advocacy work. My parents still struggle with my coming out, but by shifting the paradigm from myself to empowering my Queer Muslim community, I hope to serve others who endure a similar experience.

As a child, I never found it odd that my parents were immigrants, spoke English with heavy accents, and were only minimally educated. My mother arrived in the United States from the Dominican Republic at a young age, and although she was unfamiliar with the language, she made a fervent effort to forge a new and better life for herself. My father arrived to the U.S., from Ghana, under similar pretenses and worked hard to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities he found here. With their heavily accented English and menial jobs, my parents fostered an environment of love and support that allowed me to construct an identity that truly reflects the social, economic, and ethnic histories that have formed me. Because they were new to the area and struggling financially, my parents decided to settle in the most affordable area they could find, the South Bronx. The South Bronx is everything the media portrays it to be; dangerous, destitute and adverse. Nevertheless, it is still home, and as much as I have resisted it, growing up in the South Bronx has also had an undeniable impact on me.

As a college freshman, the many layers of my diversity unfolded in an inharmonious manner. It took me some time to integrate my experiences as a first-generation Latino and African American and a South Bronx native. I did not find many other students who shared my background when I began my undergraduate studies at the College of the Holy Cross. Along with standing out as one of the few persons of color, I also was an outlier socioeconomically. I soon began to feel inferior about my life and background. I avoided conversations that involved my home life and began wishing for another. I longed for affluent, American parents with professional careers. I desired the lavish home in the serene neighborhood or the summerhouse in Martha's Vineyard; I wanted to live the lives of the other Holy Cross students. Soon these longings festered into embarrassment towards my parents. I silently accused them of being lazy, choosing to be uneducated and thus forcing us to live in the South Bronx. I essentially blamed them for making me different in every possible sense.

Over time, I began to grasp that although I had a different racial and socioeconomic background than the majority of my classmates, these differences were not negative or adverse. My distinct experiences allowed me to stand out from many other students at my college; these experiences became sources of pride and strength. My background brought a fresh voice to the classroom setting, something that my professors greatly valued. As I fostered my perspective, I learned to develop and utilize this voice by speaking up and adding my diverse experiences to class discussions. I identified with the experiences of authors like Junot Diaz and Esmeralda Santiago, who both lived in impoverished ghettos and faced the difficulties of having immigrant parents unaccustomed to the American way of life. I frequently contributed to discussions examining the social and academic difficulties Black students face on predominantly White college campuses. I began to understand that I needed to embrace my diversity rather than suppress it. Consequently, I began to value my multifaceted identity and came to trust in the significance of my diversity.

As I embark on a legal education, my experiences, not just as a person of color, but as a biracial and bicultural son of low income African and Latino immigrants, can help me contribute to the law school environment as well as the legal field. Diversity of thought and perspective are paramount in the study of law, and my unique voice can serve as an asset, allowing me to represent and bring forth the experiences of those who may not have a platform from which to do so.


Diversity statements: what to avoid and what to include

Diversity statements are increasingly important for faculty, both when teaching online and applying for jobs. Pardis Mahdavi and Scott Brooks outline what to avoid and what to include when drafting a diversity statement

Pardis Mahdavi

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Advice on what to do and what not to do when writing diversity statements for online courses

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Search committees at colleges and universities increasingly require candidates applying for faculty or leadership positions to submit diversity statements. And in the post-Covid online world, where interviews are truncated at best, we are increasingly reliant on applicants’ written materials.

Universities across the US are now considering making diversity statements required for all faculty. Many institutions ask faculty to post diversity statements online for students to read before or during their course to demonstrate the institution’s and the individual’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Some universities even offer incentives such as merit raises for those willing to do so.

A well-constructed diversity statement is especially important for online instructors who need to provide a carefully considered response to the additional layer of challenges that many students face when studying remotely.

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Here, we lay out some “red flags” to avoid and key frameworks to embed when writing a diversity statement.

What to avoid – red flags

Common mistakes or pitfalls when writing a diversity statement fall into three major categories:

Diversity by proxy

Personal stories of redemption

The exceptionalist argument.

1. Diversity by proxy

Diversity by proxy is when candidates borrow from the success of others, an organisation or programme. Candidates speak specifically about their department’s student demographics or a programme for students of colour that they direct, are part of or appreciate.

Example 1: “_____ (university’s name) is one of the most diverse campuses in the country. We are ____% white, ____% Latin, ____% Asian/Pacific Islander, ____% African American.”

Example 2: Candidates might mention success and claim some responsibility, implicitly or explicitly. “I’m a faculty mentor for the McNair Scholars programme and we have had wonderful, bright students who just need intense mentorship.”

Example 3: The message of “I support success for people of colour” can be followed by surprise and self-congratulation. “We have students who do very well, one or two have even gone on to graduate school at very good schools! One of my students, from Chicago, a first-generation student from a single-parent household, is a first-year PhD student at Berkeley.”

We called this “diversity by proxy” because the candidate’s example relies on numbers that tell us about where they are and not who they are or what they have done. Secondly, they are borrowing identity, status and achievement by linking themselves to the success stories of students of colour or faculty. In this way, they give undue credit to themselves as a saviour.

2. Personal stories of redemption

Candidates write of personal experiences that have occurred outside of the academy and are meant to reflect their appreciation for diversity and inclusion and their dissatisfaction with racism.

Example 1: They may write about an event that solidified their understanding of privilege: “I grew up in a small town where there was only one Indian family and one of the girls from that family became a close friend. And then, in the sixth grade, everything changed. She and I both auditioned for the school play, Annie , and it was clear that another girl got the lead because she was white and looked the part. But my friend was clearly better than everyone else. I felt bad for her but there was nothing I could do. And that is why I really feel so strongly about racism and exclusion and do what I can to help students of colour.”

Example 2: They may also talk about how they work with and learn so much from their colleagues of colour and students of colour. The focus is on their feeling and how they assuage their feelings of social injustice by their engagement, but does this lead to fighting structural issues found in the academy?

The playing field is never level, and so what do they do for those who they do not deem “clearly better”? 

3. The exceptionalist argument

Candidates write that they are in favour of diversity and inclusion but have not been in a position to fight against exclusionary practices.

Example 1: “Diversity is important but I can’t do it because my discipline is based on dead white men.”

Example 2: Or “I believe in diversity, but I have not been in a leadership position where I might make decisions. I would be supportive if there were some people of colour.”

The exceptionalist argument suggests that impact can only be made from certain positions, thereby exonerating most people who do not go against the grain. This obscures the roles that all faculty play in maintaining the status quo and contributing in small and large ways to discriminatory practices and negative outcomes for faculty, staff and students of colour.

Bias can lead to mis-assessing students, even creating unequal learning conditions. A student may be characterised as “low achieving” when they may need greater encouragement or when they come from a high school with fewer resources. In committee work, colleagues may use different adjectives to describe the quality of work of women colleagues and colleagues of colour.  

Are you interested in diversity issues? Check out our EDI channel, which is dedicated to advice and insight about equity, diversity and inclusion from academics around the world

What to include – key frameworks

Some white colleagues ask: “Can white candidates write something that would be acceptable?” This is a valid question. We say: “Of course they can. And some people of colour will write poor statements.” A good statement could come in countless forms. While some may feel that they cannot write from a position of experience, this is absolutely not the case. Their experiences are different.

We identify four elements found in strong diversity statements:

Diversity as a strategy

Evidence of addressing structural challenges

Recognition and underscoring of the invisible labour done by faculty and staff of colour

Demonstrated enlightened mentoring. 

1. Diversity as a strategy

Creating a plan, rather than simply doing an action, moves people beyond reacting and shows an understanding of intersectionality and the matrices of oppression.

For online teachers, it is especially important to consider the contours of their students’ lives. The strongest statements are ones where they see that there are interlocking issues – food insecurity is connected to student learning, impression management with professors, matriculation and well-being. For example, an online teaching candidate may have buttressed student support with financial and social support and mentoring and even made changes to policies that excluded certain people or groups based on criteria that are unnecessary. The strongest statements are those where candidates articulate how diversity is used centrally in re-thinking budget, curriculum and access.

2. Evidence of addressing structural challenges

Strong diversity statements include examples of candidates advocating for structural changes. They show that they recognise and make systemic changes to address this. Candidates can write about “white space” and how they have educated others and implemented new practices that go against the status quo. They may have found systemic holes and problems that have disparate effects on women of colour. They may have counteracted systemic and institutionalised practices. For instance, strong candidates mention noticing varying language, such as different adjectives, in the evaluations of faculty, staff and students of colour. 

3. Recognition or underscoring of invisible labour 

Supporting faculty and staff of colour must be multifaceted. It is widely known and acknowledged that faculty of colour have different experiences – they are counted on to take on certain services because they are a person of colour; students of colour look to them more than to white colleagues; and they face student racism. 

4. Demonstrated enlightened mentoring

Mentors who are “woke” to and address structural challenges, who use diversity as a strategy, and who recognise or underscore the invisible labour and challenges of faculty, staff and students of colour will mentor in ways that have longer term impacts and that mitigate exclusion and discriminatory practices.  Mentoring is especially difficult in the online world, but candidates who write about ways they have overcome this demonstrate strong commitments to the work of the framework we call JEDI (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion).

The JEDI framework is about more than one or two actions, and goes beyond a checklist. Thus, posting a diversity statement online is, in and of itself, not “enough”. However, this is an important part of systemic change when faculty post diversity statements, and these become an integral part of performance reviews and promotion. We are elevating the importance of JEDI work, and taking a step in the right direction of the structural changes needed for social transformation.

Pardis Mahdavi is dean of social sciences at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and directs the School of Social Transformation, and Scott Brooks is an associate professor with the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, both at Arizona State University .

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25+ Examples of Helpful Diversity Statements [2024 Update]

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How good is your diversity statement? I asked my team to send me some of the best examples of diversity statements they could find.

They reviewed the Fortune 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity list and also Googled “Most Diverse Companies.”

They gave me a list of 30 diversity statements they found.  I whittled that down to 10 that I believe are either excellent overall or at least have an idea or two for you to consider.  Editor’s Note of December 7, 2022: Since we first published this we found another 15+ awesome diversity statements so our list is now more than 25!

I ran the diversity statements through  Ongig’s Text Analyzer software to analyze them for masculine versus feminine words, offensive words, positive and negative words, and overall readability. You can also try these 5 Diversity tools  to write more inclusive content.

Table of Contents

  • How to Write a Diversity Statement
  • 25 Diversity Statement Samples
  • Diversity Statement PDFs
  • Diversity Statement Bonus Tips
  • Diversity Essay Samples

How to Write Effective Diversity Statements

Here are the most popular questions people ask when researching “how to write a diversity statement?”. These tips should give you guidance on crafting your own diversity statement. 

What to look for in Diversity Statements?

The best diversity statements include:

  • the company’s mission
  • a commitment to diversity
  • mention of specific underrepresented groups
  • positive and inclusive language
  • unique information or benefits for diverse groups

How long should diversity statements be?

how long should your diversity statement be

The best companies use 20 to 75 words for their main diversity statement (e.g. typically the first paragraph opening up their diversity page or the words used for their diversity section in their job descriptions or a “workplace diversity statement” that might be plastered on your office walls).

If you have an entire page dedicated to your diversity statement, then you can elaborate way beyond 75 words to support your main statement.

To see some examples of companies that dedicate an entire page to Diversity and Inclusion, check out 5+ Impressive Diversity Pages (and Why!) .

Should I use headlines in my diversity statements?

The best diversity statements have a headline (other than just “Diversity Statement”) because it helps you stand out. Check out T-Mobile’s headline and sub-headline — they are so compelling that the candidate might already have been won over before the lengthier diversity statement below it.

Diversity Statements: Grade level readability

diversity statement examples for graduate school

Most employers write to candidates at the 11th grade reading level but the best employers write at the 8th grade or lower (see my article on Why I Write my Job Postings at the 8th Grade Level (or Lower!).

A good rule of thumb is:

“the lower the grade level the better.”

Check out Oath’s low (good!) grade level readability below. Busy candidates appreciate the time you save them by writing in simple, plain English.

If you want to score your own job descriptions for readability, check out 5 Free Tools to Write Better Job Descriptions .

Words per sentence in diversity statements

The best diversity statements have short sentences because the longer your sentences the lower the retention. Eight words or less per sentence can equate to 100% comprehension; retention slips to 90% at 14 words per sentence, and 43-word sentences lower retention to 10% ( see The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)).

Here’s a (before & after) diversity statement, written to keep the sentences short:

  • Before — “ Inclusion is how we unleash the power of diversity. We strive each day to foster a sense of belonging and empowerment in our diverse workplace, create relevant marketing for our diverse customers, listen before engaging in our diverse communities and work as a team alongside our diverse suppliers. “
  • After — “Inclusion is how we unleash the power of diversity. We strive to foster belonging and empowerment at work. We create relevant marketing for our diverse customers. We listen and engage with our diverse communities. And we value teamwork with our diverse suppliers. “

You’ll notice that the diversity statement samples keep their sentences around 8 words. Here are 3 examples:

  • T-Mobile —  8 words per sentence
  • Genetech — 8.9 words per sentence
  • Hubspot — 6-word headline 

Use of positive words in diversity statements

There are libraries of words proven to evoke positive versus negative feelings by readers. Your diversity statements should be chock full of positive words like:

  • comfortable

Mentioning your mission in diversity statements

This can be useful as long as you tie it in well to your diversity statement (like Google does).

Some companies combine their diversity statement with a mission statement. Here are a few examples of companies with great diversity mission statements :

Ford Foundation’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Mission Statement

At the Ford Foundation, diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of who we are. Our commitment to these values is unwavering – across all of our work around the world. They are central to our mission and to our impact. We know that having varied perspectives helps generate better ideas to solve the complex problems of a changing—and increasingly diverse—world.

Amazon’s Diversity & Inclusion Mission Statement

Amazon’s mission is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company, and this mission is central to our work in diversity and inclusion.

Diverse and inclusive teams have a positive impact on our products and services, and help us better serve customers, selling partners, content creators, employees, and community stakeholders from every background. We are constantly learning and iterating, whether through central programs, or work within our business teams, through programs that are local, regional, and global.

Uber’s Diversity & Inclusion Mission Statement

At Uber, our mission is to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion. We see direct parallels between how we ignite opportunity through our company and how we ignite it within our company. But we also know that a solely data-driven approach will never be sufficient, because D&I is more than a box to check or a target to hit.

The numbers matter, but they’re only a starting point; a commitment to diversity and inclusion has to run much deeper. That’s why we’ve set an audacious goal: to make Uber the most diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace on the planet. And we’re not just setting high expectations for our own good. We’re aiming sky-high because we know from experience that reducing and eliminating inequity is hard to do if all you shoot for is incremental change.

Specifics usually help your diversity statements

The more specific you are the more candidates will trust you. Giving examples of your employee resource groups (like Stanley Black & Decker) is a great example of that.

Note: Another way to make a diversity statement is through diversity videos. Check out this article for inspiration:  Best Diversity and Inclusion Videos.

Here’s an example of a diversity statement that Ongig has recommended to our clients for use at the bottom of their job descriptions (feel free to riff on it or just copy it!):

Ongig D&I Statement

We embrace diversity and equality in a serious way. We are committed to building a team with a variety of backgrounds, skills and views.. The more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. Creating a culture of Equality isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing.

25+ Examples of Diversity Statements

Ok, here are 25+ diversity statements that were either effective overall or have individual great nuggets to borrow from (which we highlight).

T-Mobile Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = Uniqueness is powerful.

Sub-Headline = Be yourself. We like it that way.

Diversity fuels the Un-carrier spirit. Our commitment to inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity, and experience drives us forward every day.

  • Headline/Sub-Headline — “Uniqueness is powerful” and “Be yourself. We like it that way.” is a nice one-two punch that draws the candidate in.
  • Length = 23 words (one of the shortest we’ve seen!)
  • 7.7th grade reading level (Excellent!)
  • Words per sentence = 8 (Outstanding)
  • Positive words (powerful, spirit, commitment, experience)
  • Great, engaging feature image:

diversity statement examples for graduate school

GoDaddy Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = A Culture of Creativity is life at GoDaddy

A Culture of Creativity is life at GoDaddy. We hire the best, give them first-class training and set them loose. If you’re driven to perform, you’ll fit right in. We approach our work fearlessly, learn quickly, improve constantly, and celebrate our wins at every turn. Everyone is welcome—as an inclusive workplace, our employees are comfortable bringing their authentic whole selves to work. Be you.

  • Great headline — Nice use of alliteration (the “Kuh” sound of  the two words: “Culture” and “Creativity”)
  • Length = 58 words (Short and sweet!)
  • 6.7th grade reading level (Superb)
  • Positive words — they use a lot (best, give, fit, learn, improve, welcome, comfortable, authentic, whole)
  • Nice opener — Opening with “We hire the best…” is solid
  • “Everyone is welcome” is a simple and powerful phrase that is rarely used so they stand out again with just 3 words.

Oath Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = It takes all kinds

Diversity. Inclusion. They’re more than just words for us. They’re the hard-and-fast principles guiding how we build our teams, cultivate leaders and create a company that’s the right fit for every person inside of it. We have a global, multicultural following—we want to reflect that inside our walls.

  • Headline — short and sweet
  • Length — 55 words (succinct!)
  • 5.7th grade reading level (Outstanding — the best (i.e. lowest) we found!)
  • Words per sentence = 9.2 words (succinct)
  • Conversational opening — Notice that they opened up with two one-word sentences (“Diversity. Inclusion. They’re more than just words…” The candidate feels like they’re in a conversation with Oath.
  • Positive words (build, create, guiding, right)

Genentech Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = We’re On a Journey

We are inclusive. We celebrate multiple approaches and points of view. We believe diversity drives innovation. So we’re building a culture where difference is valued. We take a holistic approach. We’re always growing our network of people, programs and tools all designed to help employees grow and manage their careers. We foster both a top-down and grassroots approach. This gives us the freedom to address the broadest set of initiatives.

  • Length = 71 words (nice and short)
  • 7.1st grade reading level (Excellent!)
  • Words per sentence = 8.9 (punchy!)
  • Positive words (celebrate, innovation, holistic, grow, freedom)

Google Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = Our accelerated approach to diversity and inclusion

Our accelerated approach to diversity and inclusion Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. When we say we want to build for everyone, we mean everyone. To do that well, we need a workforce that’s more representative of the users we serve. That’s why we’ve embraced a refreshed and accelerated approach to diversity and inclusion.

  • Length = 63 words (Above average short)
  • Tying their mission to diversity in the opening line is powerful
  • Specificity! — They link off to their “diversity report”
  • Short URL – (this is better than being buried in a URL like
  • 9.8th grade reading level (better than average)

Salesforce Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = We’re greater when we’re Equal

Sub-headline = Together, we can reach Equality for all.

Equality is a core value at Salesforce. We believe that businesses can be powerful platforms for social change and that our higher purpose is to drive Equality for all. Creating a culture of Equality isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing. Diverse companies are more innovative and better positioned to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

We strive to create workplaces that reflect the communities we serve and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, authentic selves to work. There is more work to be done, but with the help of our entire Ohana — our employees, customers, partners, and community — we can achieve #EqualityForAll.

  • Headline — Using the word “equal” instead of the usual “diversity” or “inclusiveness” makes Salesforce stand out. They use “Equality” as their theme throughout the diversity statement.
  • 8.1st grade reading level (Excellent)
  • Length = 112 words
  • Progressive Close — They close with a #EqalityForAll hashtag which is a nice tech-savvy touch.

Comcast Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = Diversity & Inclusion: Our Foundation for Innovation

At Comcast NBCUniversal, diversity and inclusion are part of our DNA. Together, we continue to build an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our employees. It fuels our innovation and connects us closer to our customers and the communities we serve.

  • Length = 46 words (Short and Sweet)
  • 10.40 grade reading level
  • Social Proof — Great use of their diversity awards right underneath their diversity statement.
  • Utilizes company color scheme:

Comcast Diversity Statement (Diversity Statements blog)

Hubspot Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = Bring Your Whole Self to Work

We’re passionate about creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and values diversity. Companies that are diverse in age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, and perspective are proven to be better companies. More importantly, creating an environment where everyone, from any background, can do their best work is the right thing to do.

  • Length = 63 words (nice and short)
  • 13.76 grade reading level
  • Compelling headline! — With just 6 words (“Bring Your Whole Self to Work”), they reveal a whole bunch.

Stanley Black and Decker Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = Diversity & Inclusion

To be engaged, you must feel included and valued. We strive to build and nurture a culture where inclusiveness is a reflex, not an initiative. Where there is a deep sense of pride, passion and belonging that transcends any role, business unit, language or country and is unified in our shared commitment to excellence, innovation and social responsibility.

We know through experience that different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds create a stronger and more creative work environment that delivers better results. To support an inclusive environment where employees feel empowered to share their experiences and ideas, we’ve encouraged the creation of a variety of Employee Resource Groups, including groups for Women, Veterans, LGTBQ (Pride & Allies), African Ancestry, Developing Professionals and more.

  • Specificity Rules! — They give examples of their Employee Resource Groups (in bold above). That shows that they are more than just talk.
  • An abundance of words that have proven to attract women (strive, nurture, inclusive, shared, commitment, creative)
  • Length = 120 words
  • 14.33 grade reading level

Schneider Electric Diversity Statement Sample

Headline = Diversity is our heritage and our future. Be part of it.

At Schneider Electric, diversity is an integral part of our history, culture, and identity. Inclusion is the way we treat and perceive all differences. We want to create an inclusive culture where all forms of diversity are seen as real value for the company.

  • Length = 41 words (Short and sweet!)
  • 8.1st grade level readability (Excellent!)
  • Getting words like history, culture and identity in the opening sentence is a strong start.
  • Highlight their headline in company colors:

Schneider Electric Diversity Statement

Adobe Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity Mission Statement Headline:  Adobe for All

Sub-Headline:  What we believe.

At Adobe, we believe that when people feel respected and included they can be more creative, innovative, and successful. While we have more work to do to advance diversity and inclusion, we’re investing to move our company and industry forward.

  • Length = 43 words (Short and sweet!)
  • 9.37 grade level readability (above average)
  • Using inclusive words like respected and included in the opening sentence.
  • Alliteration in the headline “Adobe for All” makes it memorable.

Aon Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity and Inclusion Statement Headline: Inclusion & Diversity at Aon

Sub-Headline: Our Inclusion Commitment

Whether related to accessibility, gender, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation, it’s important to find intentional ways to grow in our understanding and support of others. Aon’s commitment to fostering an inclusive culture is top on our agenda. We believe identifying ourselves as visible and voluntary allies is vital amidst the challenges we face, as it signifies an environment where all colleagues feels supported to bring their whole selves to work.

In support of this allyship, we encourage our leaders and colleagues to pledge ‘I’m in.’ This inclusion commitment gives each individual the opportunity to demonstrate their personal dedication to an inclusive culture, while visibly identifying their allyship to others. We also offer ongoing recommendations on how they may share, participate, discuss, act and continuously learn in support of their commitments.

  • Length = 133 words
  • 15.32 grade level readability
  • Using the word “intentional” is meaningful. It makes people feel like they are focused on D&I, not just saying it.
  • Focusing on allyship and an “I’m in” mentality.

Atos Diversity Statement Sample

Values of Diversity Headline: None

Here at Atos, we want all of our employees to feel valued, appreciated, and free to be who they are at work. Our employee lifecycle processes are designed to prevent discrimination against our people regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, disability status, citizenship, or any other aspect which makes them unique.

  • Strong power verbs in the opening sentence (“valued”, “appreciated”, “free to be who they are”)
  • They mention “neurodiversity” (a rare term in diversity statements — it is meant to be inclusive of people with autism, dyslexia, ADHD and other neurological differences)
  • Length = 57 words (nice and short)
  • 19.13 grade level readability

AT&T Diversity Statement Sample

Statement of Inclusion Headline:  AT&T Diversity & Inclusion

Sub-Headline:  AT&T is All of Us

At AT&T, we align diversity & inclusion to four pillars – our employees, the communities we serve, our customers and our suppliers.

  • Length = 28 words (Short and sweet!)
  • 8.47 grade level readability (Excellent!)

BC Housing Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity and Inclusion Statement Headline: Diversity & Inclusion

BC Housing’s Diversity & Inclusion Program is part of our People Strategy and reflects our vision of building an organization that attracts and leverages diversity in our staff, and strives for respect and inclusion throughout our workplace and in the communities we serve.

As a piece of our overarching People Strategy, the Diversity & Inclusion program has three main goals:

  • Attracting & Onboarding – create a workforce broadly reflective of the larger community.
  • Engaging & Developing – support employees in building the skills and capacity to work in an inclusive manner with one another and with the communities we serve.
  • Building the Culture – build a welcoming workplace in which employees recognize that their unique characteristics, skills and experiences are respected, valued and celebrated.

We recognize that an inclusive and diverse work environment respects the unique characteristics, skills and experiences of all employees. Our Diversity & Inclusion programming includes respectful workplace workshops for everyone.

We offer Understanding LGBTQ Communities training and Working Respectfully with Indigenous Peoples sessions. Our Employee Diversity & Inclusion Committee hosts great events like National Indigenous Day, Canadian Multicultural Day, Pink Shirt Day, Lunar New Year, Black History Month and much more.

  • Listing 3 goals of focus helps keep them focused and accountable.
  • Naming specific communities and events allows people to connect with them and their commitment to diversity.
  • Length = 186 words
  • 15.12 grade level readability Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity and Inclusion Statement Headline: Diversity and Inclusion

Sub-Headline: A bright idea can come from anyone.

The more diversity we have in our team, the more unique perspectives and bright ideas we share. At we are driven by the value of excellence. In healthcare, excellence means everyone deserves the best care, regardless of their race, color, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical abilities, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or criminal history. We embrace employees and candidates from these underrepresented groups to help make this vision a reality.

Read’s statement about  Black Lives Matter .

  • Length = 82 words (above average).
  • 10.58 grade level readability
  • 100% gender neutral.
  • Using “excellence” as a comparison to being diverse in many ways.

Curology Diversity Statement Sample

Commitment to Diversity Statement Headline: Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Initiatives at Curology

Sub-Headline: We at Curology believe that everyone deserves to feel safe, invincible, and equipped to thrive.

This environment of psychological safety should begin at home, within the walls of our offices, and should extend to our entire community of Curology members. Our commitment to joining the #BlackLivesMatter movement begins by looking inward at our hiring practices, workplace policies, approach to marketing, and culture.

  • Length = 62 words (above average short).
  • 15.17 grade level readability
  • Using “safety” and “at home” in the first sentence connects to personal needs.

Hilton Diversity Statement Sample

Company Diversity Statement Headline:  Diversity & Inclusion at Hilton

Sub-Headline:  We are diverse by nature and inclusive by choice

Diversity is at the core of our Vision, Mission, and Values. We are committed to an inclusive workforce that fully represents many different cultures, backgrounds and viewpoints. Our global brands provide meeting places for people from all walks of life to connect, creating a welcoming environment for all. 

  • Length = 57 words (Short and sweet!)
  • 9.36 grade level readability (above average)
  • Focusing on diverse: cultures, backgrounds, & viewpoints.

Indeed Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity and Inclusion Statement Headline:  Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging

Sub-Headline:  Our commitment to transparency and accountability

Indeed’s mission is to help people get jobs. To achieve this, we put jobseekers and companies who use Indeed at the heart of everything we do. In 2019, we declared the kind of culture we want to have and the values that are important to us. These values are: put jobseekers first, pay for performance, innovation, data-driven, and inclusion & belonging – which translates to creating an environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work and make it easy for others to do the same.

  • Length = 86 words (Longer but powerful)
  • 10.52 grade level readability
  • First sentence starts with wanting to help.
  • Focusing on the job seekers is the main theme.

Netflix Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity Inclusion Statement Headline: Inclusion on-screen starts with inclusion in the office

Sub-Headline: Sowing the Seeds: Inclusion Takes Root at Netflix

Netflix’s greatest impact is in storytelling. Stories like  13th, Disclosure, Selena, Da 5 Bloods, Special and The Half of It  broaden representation, empathy and understanding. We create and connect these stories to people all around the globe – removing the barriers of language, device, ability or connectivity. Better representation on-screen starts with representation in the office. Our work has to be internal first, so it can impact what we do externally. We believe we’ll do that better if our employees come from different backgrounds, and if we create an environment of inclusion and belonging for them.

  • Length = 95 words (Longer but powerful)
  • 9.69 grade level readability (above average)
  • Connecting the on-screen with their internal culture and diversity.

Simons Diversity Statement Sample


Many of the greatest ideas and discoveries come from a diverse mix of minds, backgrounds and experiences, and we are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment. The Simons Foundation provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic disposition, neurodiversity, disability, veteran status or any other protected category under federal, state and local law.

  • Strong power nouns in the opening sentence (ideas, discoveries) tied to a “diverse mix of minds”
  • They mention “neurodiversity”, the term inclusive of people with autism, dyslexia, ADHD and other neurological differences)
  • Length = 71 words
  • 23.35 grade level readability

Slack Diversity Statement Sample

Commitment to Diversity Headline:  Diversity at Slack

Sub-Headline:  Slack for Good has a mission to increase the number of historically underrepresented people in the technology industry.

Diversity, engagement and belonging remain at the center of Slack’s values. We are committed to putting resources and attention toward improving the engagement, retention and promotion of the incredible talent we have—whether everyone is sharing an office or working together remotely, as we are now. The future of work must be inclusive, and during this unprecedented time when our customers are facing more challenges than ever before, our commitment to that vision is critical to our success and to theirs.

  • “Slack for Good” mission is creative.
  • Giving examples of how they support and promote and inclusive work environment.
  • Length = 80 words
  • 15.50 grade level readability

United Way Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity Inclusion Statement Headline: United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.

Sub-Headline: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement of Principle

We take the broadest possible view of diversity.

We value the visible and invisible qualities that make you who you are.

We welcome that every person brings a unique perspective and experience to advance our mission and progress our fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.

We believe that each United Way community member, donor, volunteer, advocate, and employee must have equal access to solving community problems.

We strive to include diversity, equity, and inclusion practices at the center of our daily work.

We commit to using these practices for our business and our communities.

Join us in embracing diversity, equity and inclusion for every person in every community.

  • Conversational — Notice how United Way (a non-profit) has a DEI statement that uses “We” rather than just saying “United Way”. This makes it more conversational.
  • One-Liner Bullets (instead of long text) — Most diversity statements are in sentence/paragraph form (which is ok). But United opts for one-liner bullets (even though there’s no bullet) which can be more readable for many. Again, it reads a bit more like a conversation.
  • Length = 116 words
  • 13.46 grade level readability

Women in Development (WID) Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity and Inclusion Statement Headline: Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity

“WID is committed to maintaining a culture of diversity and equity in fundraising and related professions. As a membership body, our strength is in our promise to be inclusive, with intentional strategies to welcome and uplift historically marginalized identities and people within our field.”

  • Length = 44 words (Short and sweet!)
  • 16.32 grade level readability
  • About Us — WID lists their DEI Statement as part of their “Core Values” section on their About Us page. I believe that’s a strong alternative to listing it on a “Diversity” page as most companies do.
  • Making it a “Value” — Calling DEI a “value” is another differentiator. WID President Yolanda Johnson gives this advice to organizations re: DEI statements: “Making DEI a core value helps to ensure that change will come from within the organization and will help protect these efforts from claims that it is not a priority.” (source:  How We Are Creating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion From the Inside Out

Workday Diversity Statement Sample

Diversity and Inclusion Statement Headline:  At Workday, we VIBE™.

Sub-Headline:  Value inclusion, belonging, and equity for all.

Our approach to diversity is simple—it’s about embracing everyone. From building a culture where all employees can bring their best selves to work to deploying diversity initiatives that support everyone, we’re doing what it takes to build an inclusive world for all.

  • Length = 49 words (Short and sweet!)
  • 11.54 grade level readability
  • Using words like “embracing” and “building” show their support for inclusion and diversity.

Options Community Services Statement of Diversity

Statement of Diversity:

Options Community Services (OCS) provides services in one of the most diverse cities in the world. The diversity of our community takes many forms. It includes differences related to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, gender expression and presentation, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability and socioeconomic status. We see diversity as an asset to our organization and communities and strive to be reflective of the communities that we serve. We commit ourselves to promoting better understanding and appreciation of our human diversity; a commitment which is best realized through our individual and collective effort.

OCS is professionally and personally committed to celebrating the rich diversity of people who receive, live and work in our services and resources. We believe that it is critical that our services empower freedom of thought and opinion in an environment of mutual respect. All of our programs, activities, and interactions are enriched by accepting each other as we are and by celebrating our uniqueness as well as our commonality. We are guided by the principle that celebrating diversity enriches and empowers the lives of all people.

  • Length = 181 words (longer but meaningful)
  • 12.4 grade level readability
  • Using words like “asset,” “commitment,” and “celebrate” show their support for inclusion and diversity.

Diversity Statements: PDFs

If you’re looking for a diversity statement sample PDF, here are 3 examples of companies using PDFs to get their message across about diversity:

  • AT&T’s “Everyone is Part of the Story” Diversity Report  includes a diversity statement sample
  • Workday’s “Making an Impact with Workday’s” highlights its diversity statement
  • Hilton’s External Diversity Brochure  features its diversity statement

I hope you found some inspiration above to help you have the best diversity statement in your market.

And, here are some ideas for a “ diversity personal statement” if you need one for a master’s degree or resume:

  • Personal Statement on Diversity and Inclusion Ideas (source: UNC Med School)
  • Personal Diversity Statement Ideas (source:

Diversity Statements: Bonus Tips

If you like this article, you might enjoy some of Ongig’s other blogs with tips on how to create inclusion statements , diversity commitments , and diversity goals . Here’s a list to check out:

  • 10 Examples of Awesome Inclusion Statements
  • 7 Examples of a Great Commitment to Diversity Statement
  • 25+ Examples of Awesome Diversity Goals

Diversity Statements: Essay Samples

“For a long time, the experiences and characteristics that set me apart were the things I felt compelled to suppress. As I learned to embrace my upbringing, my sexuality, and my role as a father, I saw the value of each. Now, I appreciate the invaluable perspective on life that being a single, African, gay father, raised by a single mother, has given me. I was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States when I was six years old. Because my mother did not receive higher education, I relied on the guidance of mentors to navigate academia. Experiencing the benefits of mentorship encouraged me to pay it forward. I took an active role in a nonprofit organization called Natural Productions. Here, I mentored children living in underserved communities that have experienced abuse and violence at home – as I have. I provided the children mentorship, encouragement, homework assistance, and dance instruction to help them rise above the poverty and hardship they were born into. My commitment to mentorship continues in law school. I currently serve as a resource and mentor to incoming minority students to help them succeed through the rigors of law school. When I was nineteen I had a baby with my childhood sweetheart. Although some view having a child at that age as a barrier to success, I envisioned it as motivation. The task of caring for another person was daunting, and I was scared of making a mistake. Despite my age, I adapted and the desire to provide for my daughter motivated me to attend college, start a career in financial services, and later attend law school. The moment I laid eyes on my daughter, I wanted her to embrace every aspect of who she would become. The best way to teach her was by example. Coming to terms with being gay was a tumultuous and liberating experience. I encountered reactions from my family and friends that were unsupportive and agonizing. Yet, I quickly learned to develop a thick skin, compartmentalize my feelings, and focus on being a father. I provide intellectual diversity and a commitment to community. During the 2008 financial crisis, I almost became homeless, but used my expertise to avoid foreclosure. Compelled to assist my community, I used my mortgage experience to provide guidance on the loan modification process with the hope that homeowners in default would save their homes. During my externship last summer, I learned about the significant number of minorities affected by the crisis. Consequently, I would like to help close the disproportionate wealth gap plaguing our society by spearheading the firm’s efforts of collaborating with local organizations to empower minorities by providing financial literacy programs. Diversity extends far beyond visible differences. To me, it represents a sense of belonging to a community and, with that, a fresh point of view. I will utilize my unique experiences as tools for creative problem solving with a diverse perspective that benefits both the client and your firm.” source: American University Washington College of Law — Diversity Statement Resource Guide
  • 10.14 grade level readability (above average, especially for a law school essay!)
  • Using personal life stories helps the reader connect to the writer and their story about the pursuit of diversity in law firms.
  • Tying goals to real problems (e.g., the wealth gap) and giving solutions makes this a strong essay.

Additional examples of diversity statements

Headline — Empowered to do your best work

At Spotify, we welcome you with an inclusion mindset, one that prioritizes growth through listening and learning. No matter where you come from, or what’s playing in your headphones, we want to create a place where you belong.

Length = 38 words (Short and Sweet)

10 grade reading level 

Compelling headlines = Captures attention immediately with only five words

Headline — Let’s build a more inclusive workplace and world.

At Salesforce, our commitment to driving equality and greater business value does not waver. We’re working with employees, partners, Trailblazers, and customers to move closer to equality for all.

Length = 29 words (Short and Sweet)

12 grade reading level 

Compelling headlines = Encouraging and concise

International Rescue Committee 

Headline — Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

At the IRC, our diverse clients, partners and staff have the power, voice and agency to shape programs and operations. Within the IRC, we actively work to end all forms of systemic discrimination and foster an inclusive working environment where everyone feels respected, heard, valued and supported. Our programs seek to reduce disparities in outcomes which are driven by systemic inequality.

Length = 61 words 

14 grade reading level 

Compelling headlines = Concise and straight to the point

Best Practices for Writing Diversity Statements

When it comes to crafting a diversity statement that truly stands out, there are some tried-and-true best practices to keep in mind. Let’s dive into what makes an effective diversity statement and how you can make yours shine.

What is the purpose of your diversity statement?

First things first, it’s essential to understand the purpose of your diversity statement. So, it’s not just another box to check off in the application process. Think ot it as a chance to show your commitment to creating an inclusive environment where people from all walks of life feel welcome and valued.

Reflect on your own experiences

Start by reflecting on your own experiences and understanding of diversity. Think about the different ways diversity has shaped your life and your perspective. Maybe you’ve volunteered with diverse communities, or perhaps you’ve worked in environments with people from diverse backgrounds. So, whatever your experiences, use them to illustrate your understanding of the barriers that marginalized groups face and your commitment to breaking them down.

But remember, it’s not just about listing off your past efforts—it’s about showing how those experiences have shaped your future plans. Talk about specific ways you plan to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in your new role. Whether it’s through inclusive teaching practices, mentoring students of color, or advocating for underrepresented groups, be clear about your intentions and how you plan to make a difference.

Think about your organization

When writing your diversity statement, be sure to tailor it to the specific institution or organization you’re applying to. Do some research to understand the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and how your values align with theirs. Mentioning specific initiatives or programs they have in place can demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely invested in their mission.

Be authentic

And finally, don’t be afraid to be authentic and vulnerable in your diversity statement. Share personal anecdotes or insights that highlight your commitment to diversity and your understanding of its importance. Remember, diversity isn’t just about demographic diversity—it’s about embracing a broad range of ideas, perspectives, and social identities.

By following these best practices, you can write a diversity statement that not only impresses search committees but also reflects your genuine commitment to creating a more inclusive world. After all, diversity isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a fundamental value that should guide everything we do.

Crafting an Authentic Diversity Statement

Creating a diversity statement that truly reflects your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is more than just putting pen to paper. Consider capturing the heart and soul of what you stand for. Let’s look at some tips on how to craft an authentic diversity statement that speaks volumes.

Start by identifying your organization’s core values. What do you believe in? What drives you to create a more inclusive environment? So, by pinpointing these values, you lay the foundation for your diversity statement and ensure that it rings true to who you are as an organization.

But don’t stop there—make sure to involve diverse voices in the drafting process. So, this means seeking input from people of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. After all, diversity isn’t just about what you say—it’s about who you include in the conversation.

Then, as you’re drafting your diversity statement, keep a keen eye on alignment. Make sure that your words aren’t just empty promises but are backed up by actions and initiatives. Your statement should reflect the tangible steps you’re taking to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within your organization.

Also, share your own experiences and insights that highlight your understanding of diversity and your commitment to fostering an inclusive environment. Whether it’s personal anecdotes or examples of past efforts, be genuine and transparent about your journey.

Lastly, don’t forget to review and refine your diversity statement regularly. As your organization evolves and grows, so too should your commitment to diversity and inclusion. So, keep your statement up to date and reflective of the progress you’re making on your diversity journey.

The Impact of Diversity Statements on Recruitment and Retention

Research shows that job seekers are increasingly looking for companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion. So, a strong diversity statement can be a beacon of hope for those seeking a workplace where their unique backgrounds and perspectives are celebrated, not just tolerated.

However, it’s not enough to simply attract diverse talent. You must also be able to keep them around. When employees feel like they belong and are valued for who they are, they’re more likely to stick around for the long haul. So, that means lower turnover rates, higher morale, and a stronger, more cohesive team.

In addition, let’s not forget about the impact on your employer brand. A strong diversity statement sends a powerful message to the world about what you stand for as an organization. It shows that you’re actively working to create a better, more equitable workplace for everyone.

So, the next time you’re updating your job ads or revamping your company’s website, don’t forget to include a strong diversity statement front and center. It could be the difference between attracting top talent and watching them slip through your fingers. After all, diversity isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a key ingredient in building a better, brighter future for us all.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Diversity Statements

Now that we’ve talked about the importance of diversity statements, let’s dive into how we can tell if they’re really making a difference.

You need to have a plan in place to measure their impact and adjust as needed. 

Diversity in hiring

One way to gauge the effectiveness of diversity statements is by looking at diversity in hiring. Are you attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds? Are they making it through the hiring process and joining your team? Therefore, tracking metrics like these can give you a good sense of whether your diversity statement is resonating with job seekers.

But it’s not just about who you’re hiring—it’s also about who’s sticking around. Employee satisfaction surveys can help you understand how your team members feel about the workplace culture and whether they feel included and valued. So, a diverse workforce is only effective if everyone feels like they belong.

Retention rates

Retention rates are another important metric to consider. Are employees from diverse backgrounds staying with the company long-term, or are they leaving at higher rates than their counterparts? So, if you notice a discrepancy, it could be a sign that there are barriers to advancement or that the workplace culture isn’t as inclusive as it should be.

Diverse leadership

And let’s not forget about representation in leadership roles. Are people from diverse backgrounds being given opportunities to climb the ladder and take on leadership positions? If not, it could be a sign that there are systemic barriers holding them back.

Ultimately, measuring the effectiveness of diversity statements is all about ongoing assessment and adaptation. Therefore, it’s not enough to just set it and forget it. You also need to regularly check in to make sure your diversity efforts are aligning with your organizational goals and values.

So, by tracking metrics like diversity in hiring, employee satisfaction, retention rates, and representation in leadership roles, you can get a better sense of whether your diversity statement is having the impact you hoped for. And if not, don’t be afraid to make adjustments and try new approaches. Creating a truly inclusive workplace is an ongoing journey, not a destination.

Why I wrote this article?

Our focus at Ongig is to boost your quality candidate applications including diversity.  Ongig’s Text Analyzer helps analyze the text of any job-related pages. Please click the demo request button on this page if you think we can help you.

March 24, 2024 by Rob Kelly in Diversity and Inclusion

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diversity statement examples for graduate school

Northeastern University Graduate Programs

Graduate School Application Tips & Advice

Graduate School Application Tips & Advice

Applying to graduate school can be both exciting and a little overwhelming. You’re making a decision that could advance your career or allow you to dive deeper into a subject area that fulfills your personal goals, but you’re also making a significant investment of your time and finances.

With proper research, a clear head, and confidence, however, you can find the perfect program and submit an application that the admissions committee will be hard-pressed to reject.

Are you thinking about applying to graduate school? Here’s what every prospective student needs to know.

Tips for Applying to Graduate School

1. find a program that aligns with your goals ..

Finding the right graduate program can sometimes feel like the hardest part of the process. It’s important to find the right program for you, and with different degrees and certificates popping up at universities across the country, there are likely dozens of options available to you.

Write down the most important features of your ideal program before you begin your research. For example, do you want a full-time, on-campus experience or a flexible, online environment? Do you want research-based coursework or a program with experiential opportunities integrated into the curriculum? Once you have your list of non-negotiable features, you can kick off your research.

Learn More: How to Organize Your Grad School Search

After you’ve explored a range of programs, consider your career goals and how each program can help you achieve them. If you’d like to hone your skills to work in a specific focus area of a broader field, for instance, a program that offers a concentration or certificate aligned with those skills can be beneficial. On the other hand, if you’d like to have flexibility in your chosen career, pursuing a broader degree program that can be applied across various functions may be better suited to your needs.

Investing in this research upfront will help you find a graduate program that is right for your specific goals and allow you to feel more confident in your choice when it comes time to complete and submit your application.

2. Ask questions . 

The old-school idea that the admissions office is a scary room filled with judgment is a falsehood. Today, graduate school admissions counselors are here to help guide you through the application process process. They want to be there to support your educational journey. If you have any questions, ask . Don’t worry that your interactions with the admissions team could impact your application. If anything, your interactions will only help improve your application before review and help demonstrate your sincere interest in the program.

Many colleges and universities offer online resources where prospective students can find information about the application process and requirements. Getting in touch with an admissions counselor, though, may be the most efficient way to find answers to specific questions you might have. Engaging with them will also give you a chance to get to know the school better and decide if what they offer is really the right fit for your needs. 

Consider This: Admissions counselors are well-versed in the logistics of application requirements, individual programs, and financial aid and scholarships . If you have specific questions, be sure to reach out to them for the clarity and insight you need at any step of the process.

Prospective students should not be afraid of contacting faculty, either. If there’s a particular class you’re interested in taking or a lab you hope to work in, contact the faculty member in charge. Ask about that faculty member’s research and pose any questions about the degree program that you might have. You may have a better chance of standing out during the admissions process if you express interest early.

Ready to Get Your Questions Answered?

Reach out to our admissions team for personalized advice on the application process.


3. Understand the timeline.

Although the application process varies by college or university, the vast majority will require you to submit your transcript, letters of recommendation, professional resumé , and statement of purpose. Your transcript alone could take weeks to be delivered and processed, so don’t wait until the last minute to start applying.

In an effort to avoid procrastination, consider developing a calendar of deadlines. Map out when you need to apply to each of your desired schools and the specific requirements for that program. For example, if you need to submit your undergraduate grades, create a to-do at least a month before the application deadline that reminds you to order your transcript.   

4. Update your resumé.

Before sending your resumé, make sure it’s optimized for your grad school application . In general, your experience should be listed in chronological order, starting with your current position, and described in bullet points using action-packed verbs, such as “achieved,” “improved,” “launched,” “negotiated,” or “trained.” Quantify any achievements and show your results, whether it’s the number of people you’ve managed, dollars you’ve raised, or articles you’ve written.

To help your resumé align with your grad school application, be sure to tailor it to the program you intend to pursue by showcasing your skills, highlighting relevant experience, and including your professional achievements.

5. Write a strong statement of purpose.

While some might think that a statement of purpose —or personal statement —is an afterthought during your application review, many admissions committees, consider it one of the most important components of your application. The statement of purpose can make or break your application for admission.

The key to crafting an impactful statement of purpose is to not get caught up in what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Use this opportunity to tell the committee more about who you are and your background while also explaining specifically what you hope to get out of the program. Be sure to address the unique features the school offers that interest you most.

For Example: If you plan to apply to Northeastern, you might consider highlighting experiential learning as the unique feature that interests you about your program. In this case, you might explain that you’re excited to tackle real-world projects in your desired industry and learn from faculty who are experts in your field of study.

No matter where you apply, a strong statement of purpose should include:

  • Insight into what drives you, whether that’s professional advancement, personal growth, or both
  • The features about the school that appeal to you most
  • Your expectations of the degree program and its potential impact
  • Authenticity and a clear picture of what makes you unique

6 . Choose appropriate references .

Letters of recommendation are another piece of the application process that helps elevate your application for admission. When it comes to asking for letters of recommendation , carefully consider whom you’re contacting. You want to choose someone who knows you well and can speak to your strengths. 

Reach out to a professor you regularly interacted with who can detail your academic accomplishments and describe why you were a standout student. You can also ask a former supervisor who’s working in a field that aligns with the graduate program you’re pursuing. No matter your choice, make sure it’s someone you know in a professional or academic capacity—not a friend or family member—who will to provide a positive recommendation representative of your character. 

You can typically provide either a professional or academic recommendation in support of your application, but programs have specific requirements around who is writing the recommendation and what the content needs to address. Research what each program requires before you coordinate your references.

When asking for a recommendation, provide your chosen reference with as much information about your request as possible. The more insight you can provide, the better your recommendation letter will be. Include in your first outreach:

  • The name of the school you’re applying to
  • The degree you’re pursuing
  • Why you want to enroll in that specific program
  • Your resumé

Make sure you keep your timeline in mind as you embark on these communications, especially if you reach out to a professor. It’s likely your letter isn’t the only one he or she needs to write, so be respectful of their time by giving as much notice as possible. Four weeks is ideal. 

7. Proofread your materials before applying.

You could be a perfect fit for your desired program, but if you submit materials that are riddled with spelling and grammar errors, the admissions team might dismiss your application before ever digging into it. Triple-check your materials and make sure that when you do press send, you’ve included all necessary documentation and hit all deadlines set in place by the university.

It’s easy for an individual to unknowingly overlook their own mistakes, so it can also be helpful to ask a friend to review your materials before you submit them, as well. Reading your materials out loud to yourself can also help you spot potential mistakes.

Though this may seem like a lot of effort, remember: Your application is the first impression you will make on the university, and it’s important to put your best foot forward.

8. Be true to yourself .

Of all the tips for applying to graduate school, the most important is being true to yourself. Being perfect is not the recipe for admission; admissions committees want to know the real you and understand your ambitions. Whether you’re a working professional hoping graduate school can bring you to the next level of your career or a recent graduate looking to further master your chosen skill, just be yourself, and you’ll start off in the right direction.

Applying to Northeastern’s Graduate Programs

If you are interested in applying to one of Northeastern University’s 200+ online, on-ground, or hybrid graduate degree and certificate programs , there are various resources available to help you along the way. 

First, it is important to understand the application process and requirements. Specific application requirements vary by college and degree, so be sure to explore the admissions information for your desired program before getting started. In general, however, the application requirements for Northeastern’s graduate programs include:

  • A completed online application 
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools you’ve previously attended
  • A statement of purpose that details your goals and interest in the program
  • One to three letters of recommendation (varies by program)
  • Your updated professional resumé or curriculum vitae 
  • Your official GRE, GMAT, or LSAT test scores (if required)
  • A non-refundable application fee 

Additionally, international students who are non-native English speakers must submit proof of English proficiency in the form of TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo test scores, though the minimum scores vary by program. Students who do not meet the minimum requirement for these scores may also apply to the university’s Global Pathways program .

As always, students who intend to apply to a graduate program at Northeastern should also research the application deadlines for their program of interest. Be sure to set a timeline for yourself and avoid procrastination to ensure that you’re able to submit all of the required materials on time.

The faculty and admissions team at Northeastern are always available to help prospective students throughout this journey, and prospective students are always encouraged to reach out to ask questions and get personalized advice . Whether you need information about selecting the right program, the application process, program-specific requirements, financial aid, or anything in between, the admissions team is here to help.

The First Step Toward Grad School Success

Once you’ve made the decision to further your education and pursue a graduate degree or certificate, submitting your application is the first step toward being a successful graduate student. 

No matter where you choose to apply and ultimately attend, there are countless resources available to help you throughout the process. 

To learn more about the specific schools and programs you are interested in, it’s always best to start by reaching out to admissions teams and faculty to get to know what makes them unique and ask any questions you might have. Building these relationships early on will help you find a program that fits your personal and professional goals, and can ultimately help you through the process of getting accepted to a program that’s right for you.

Are you interested in applying to graduate school? Explore Northeastern’s degree and certificate programs , and contact us for personalized advice.

This article was originally published in August 2017. It has since been updated for accuracy and relevance.

Subscribe below to receive future content from the Graduate Programs Blog.

About shayna joubert, related articles.

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Did you know.

Advanced degree holders earn a salary an average 25% higher than bachelor's degree holders. (Economic Policy Institute, 2021)

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  1. 23+ Diversity Statement Templates in PDF

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  1. Presidents Graduate School🏫


  1. How To Craft a Diversity Statement for Graduate School Application

    In recent years, more and more institutions of higher education are requesting applicants to graduate programs to write a statement of diversity. A diversity statement, also sometimes referred to as a personal history statement, is used by these institutions to gauge how their future student population will contribute to their ongoing efforts ...

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    4. Finally, connect the ways you are willing to enhance diversity or achieve equity at the institution to which your are applying, using very specific, concrete examples related to your learning, teaching, research, or service and leadership. Put all of these pieces together, and you've got a rough draft of a diversity statement.

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    Diversity refers to the condition when individuals or communities from different backgrounds, cultures, frames of reference, social identities, or perspectives come together in a social context. It does not refer to a person (including yourself) or a homogenous community who experiences marginalization. Don't tailor every statement.

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    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.

  6. How to Write an Effective Diversity Statement for Graduate School

    However, they all boil down to two objectives: 1) demonstrate the diversity you would bring to the student body and 2) explain how you address diversity, equity, and inclusion in your own life. For the first part, you'll want to discuss the diversity that you would add in the traditional sense, such as race, gender, socio-economic background ...

  7. Writing a Diversity Statement

    Writing a Diversity Statement. A Diversity Statement may be required for some graduate and professional school applications, as part of the primary application process or as part of the supplemental or secondary application questions. This can be a great way to stand out and to emphasize aspects of your qualifications that may not be as evident ...

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    Diversity Statements. The purpose of this guide is to provide a foundation for thinking about your own diversity statement (s). This guide is general and does not provide discipline- or position-specific guidance. The Center for Career Development offers one-on-one appointments to review and discuss your diversity statement.

  9. PDF UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach Diversity Statements

    Diversity Statements Diversity Statement 1 I am a first generation to college individual from a working class Italian-American family. There were enough meatballs and macaroni to feed any guests who might arrive but no college fund. Enduring energy, persistent ambition, and academic aptitude enabled me to complete college and graduate school ...

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    Diversity statements aren't just for organizations or for faculty job postings. Many law schools and some graduate programs may ask applicants to provide a short statement about their personal background and potential contributions to the school or program. Students can feel stymied by these prompts - especially if they are optional - but these can provide a great opportunity to showcase ...

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    In Spring 2019, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA), Core Programs in the Graduate School, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) co-sponsored an interactive workshop led by the UW Postdoc Diversity Alliance, Crafting an Effective Diversity Statement and Cover Letter.A panel of four speakers — Rickey Hall, vice president and ...

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    Adapting your Statement for a Job Application. After you have developed a statement that reflects your strengths and experiences related to diversity, inclusion, and equity, you may wish to tailor it for individual job applications. Be sure to do your homework about diversity-related programs and resources at the schools to which you are ...

  14. How to Write a Diversity Statement for Graduate School?

    The most important thing when brainstorming for your diversity statement is to make sure that your experiences are truthful, relevant, and important to who you are. Below are some topics from our EssayEdge editors that can be included in a diversity statement as a part of your grad school application process, or even undergraduate application ...

  15. See 2 Successful Law School Diversity Statements

    Experts say a diversity statement is most compelling when an applicant explains how their diverse background informs their desire to be a lawyer. But they warn that merely describing hardships is ...

  16. How to write a Diversity Statement & Samples

    Write, Review, and Revise your Diversity Statement. Draft, review, revise, having someone to proofread for you. I think you know what I mean. Diversity Statement Writing Tips. Here are some tips on writing a diversity statement in academic or job application purposes. Use Concrete Examples in Diversity Statements. Use actual, real examples in ...

  17. Diversity Statements 101: An Essay Guide for Champions

    Hi guys, I'm Jordan, author of the Structure is Magic SOP guide and other grad app resources, and today I'm posting what may be the most difficult article I've ever written. Diversity Statements are a tricky topic. This guide is undoubtedly imperfect (and long!). But I know how hard it can be to articulate your life and struggles in a few hundred words, so I hope this clarifies things a little ...

  18. Writing an Effective Diversity Statement

    The diversity statement asks graduate school applicants to identify and discuss their demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. While a diversity statement is not required for all graduate school applications, it is becoming increasingly common. ... Some examples include extra-curriculars, clubs, coursework ...

  19. Examples of Successful Diversity Statements

    Example 2. I was raised by a single mother, but my home was filled with family. My mother, sister, and I shared a room with two twin-size beds. My aunts, uncles, five cousins, and grandparents shared the two remaining bedrooms. In total, there were thirteen people sharing a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home.

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    The strongest statements are those where candidates articulate how diversity is used centrally in re-thinking budget, curriculum and access. 2. Evidence of addressing structural challenges. Strong diversity statements include examples of candidates advocating for structural changes.

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    The DEI Awareness for the Workforce series continues on February 25 from 5:00p.m.-6:30p.m. with "Writing Your Diversity Statement.". Increasingly, positions in higher education and industry require applicants to submit a diversity statement as part of their materials. The goal of this panel is to discuss what a diversity statement is, its ...

  22. 25+ Examples of Helpful Diversity Statements [2024 Update]

    We listen and engage with our diverse communities. And we value teamwork with our diverse suppliers. You'll notice that the diversity statement samples keep their sentences around 8 words. Here are 3 examples: T-Mobile — 8 words per sentence. Genetech — 8.9 words per sentence. Hubspot — 6-word headline.

  23. Tips for Applying to Graduate School

    3. Understand the timeline. Although the application process varies by college or university, the vast majority will require you to submit your transcript, letters of recommendation, professional resumé, and statement of purpose.Your transcript alone could take weeks to be delivered and processed, so don't wait until the last minute to start applying.