Being asked to write a diversity essay as a secondary in med school is something a lot of pre-meds struggle with.
But one of the best places to go for inspiration, especially as it’s nameless and faceless, are communities like Reddit.
There, people seem to feel freer to express their essay ideas. As well as get critique!
Here I’ve distilled through a ton of posts to present some of the best tips I could find on the topic.
Ready to get started with Reddit’s 14 best? Let’s go!
Need detailed writing tips first? Check out this article; How To Write The Best Diversity Essay In Medical School (Explained).
Tips For Diversity Essays In Medical School (Reddit’s 14 Best)
Open yourself up
You don’t have to hone in on just one aspect of yourself; you can write about multiple things.– u/scubapollo
An important point to start on. Especially when sitting down to come up with ideas.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you only have to pick one!
It doesn’t need to be overly crazy
It doesn’t need to be some crazy experience. How many doctors do you think are marathon runners? Probably not many. You could write about your challenges and process of running, how you push through the obstacles, what you like about it, and how those qualities will benefit you as a student. What matters is that you transform something you do into a way to reflect on the qualities allow you to do it, what you’ve learned from it, and how that changes your behavior/perspectives in the future.– u/ouganoma
A lot of people get hung up coming up with ideas because they feel their history or story isn’t interesting or exciting enough. That doesn’t need to be the case.
Seemingly run-of-the-mill hobbies can make for interesting subjects.
My diversity essay was very light hearted. I just talked about how much I love gardening. I hadn’t really talked about it much in my primary application, so I thought that it was a good place to add it in. If you feel strongly about your two experiences, it’s totally acceptable to write about them.– u/poopooj
The same goes for activities.
Show passion (or a love for something) in your diversity essay, and you’ll often highlight unexpected parts of yourself. You don’t need to be serious or academic. Adcoms are looking for relatable humans above anything else!
Show you’re a real person who cares about things!
Its not about it being “some objectively cool activity” its about having something you care about. Real people have interests and things they care about. Seriously, I wrote about reading and going on walks with my dog as some of my interests. That’s a pretty average interest, yes, but I care about it. Adcoms are looking for real people who care about things and by doing so, enrich the lives of their classmates, their patients, and their communities.– u/bright_and_peachy
This comment proves exactly that.
Even things as common as reading and dog walking can be used to craft an excellent diversity essay.
Diversity Essay White Girl – dilemma solved!
I am an upper middle-class white girl – I wrote my diversity essay on opera. Seriously. And the people who’ve edited my stuff have seemed to like it so I guess I did OK!
Step 1: pick a thing you enjoy that is important to you.
Step 2: explain how that thing influences the way you think about yourself, other people, and the world.
Step 3: relate step 2 to medicine in literally any way (as long as it is true for you).– u/bluemooniris314
One of the biggest sticking points many have with diversity essays is when they’re written from the perspective of someone who’s not typically “diverse”.
But, as this commenter proves, that doesn’t have to be an obstacle.
Again, focus on something that you have a passion or love for.
Diversity Essay White Guy – dilemma solved!
This one was tough for me because I am a white male that grew up in an advantaged family and community. I tackled my diversity essay by describing my experiences and how they helped me to develop a unique perspective and approach to medicine.– u/fruitandnuts
There’s no need to shy away from what you are either.
If you don’t feel you’re particularly diverse, it’s fine to show an understanding of that. What matters is that you show you’ve been on some kind of journey to expand your cultural experiences.
Sell your travel experiences
I wrote about some crazy experiences I had backpacking in Asia for half a year. I spent a decent amount of time in some rural or third world areas and met some amazing folks. I wrote about the perspectives I gain and my philosophy on culture.– anonymous
One way of also overcoming the above is to capitalize on your travel experiences or adventures.
Showing what you’ve learned from travels in other parts of the world; and how they’ve helped develop your character, can be a great way to start coming up with some good ideas.
Talk about your involvement in societies or clubs
I spun my involvement with my school’s Japanese Culture Association as a diversity essay for a couple of schools. I’m not Japanese, but even if I were, even that could be spun as diversity by espousing the virtues of inclusiveness and getting others involved in another culture.– u/Celdurant
Likewise, you don’t need to have necessarily traveled someplace to gain cultural insight.
Involvement in clubs or associations can often deliver important lessons and new understandings.
Consider your history
Some ideas for diversity: do you play an interesting musical instrument? Have an interesting hobby? What is that “wow” factor that people like hearing about you? Have you grown up outside of the U.S? Speak multiple languages? What organizations are you involved in at school? Are you non traditional? I.e. Did you pursue another career path before medicine? Are you studying something really unique outside of basic sciences?– u/serpuoy
Coming up with the best ideas can involve a lot of questions. Prepare to go deep. Prepare to get personal.
Perhaps think about some of these someplace quiet outside in nature.
I know that I’ve had some of my best ideas there!
I talked about being a first-gen college student and the perspective on education that comes with that as well as the challenges of earning a degree.– u/myboysiddartha
How you were brought up can be just as informative as what happened to you while growing up.
Being the first generation of your family to do anything major can be a great starting point.
It shows courage in the face of adversity!
Consider any past careers
Teaching and tutoring could be a pretty decent diversity essay. You bring the perspective of someone who’s spent time educating, which is a huge part of a practicing physician’s job!– u/alwayspositiveguy
Certain careers pair very well in terms of diverse experience.
Teaching and tutoring are two good examples, often bringing harmony and unity to broken or fractured communities.
Typical pre-med stuff? That can be diverse enough too!
Don’t automatically write off all of your activities as being “typical premed stuff”. If you have unique volunteering/research that you believe has contributed to your character significantly, those traits most certainly have a place in a diversity essay. I like to think of these essays as, “through my various experiences, what qualities/perspectives have I developed that will bring something different to the table in med school.”– u/jayhiller21
And if you’re worried that your extracurriculars may not help you look all that diverse, don’t be.
Just use this advice to help frame them more uniquely.
…including extracurricular research
I wrote one of my diversity essays about my research experience working with people from different cultures. My main points was that everyone was in the lab for different reasons and motives (To get a job in the US, for personal growth, or unknown reason), and despite our differences, we worked together in harmony, while respecting each other’s values.– u/stoyloks
But be careful about your passions
Diversity essays are not where you discuss historical abuse done to underrepresented populations, but rather where you talk about your OWN diversity, what you bring to the school, and the underrepresented populations you have subsequently worked with. Calling out bigotry is good, but not what you would write in a diversity essay.– u/nerdanese
Don’t get too carried away with the politics if you can help avoid it. Passion is good but it can lead you to risky places.
Be careful not to put people (especially Adcoms) on the defensive.
Stay as neutral as you can.
I hope hearing real advice and stories from other pre-meds who’ve gone before you might serve as encouragement.
I appreciate the hardest thing is getting started, but sometimes you’ve just got to go do that.
If you need any help structuring your essay or putting your ideas into words, make sure you check out my article; 6 Medical School Diversity Essay Examples (Ranked Best To Worst!)
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.