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I've read many other posts about the diversity essay that a lot of schools have in their secondaries. A lot of people say that it doesn't necessarily have to be about identity/race, that you can just talk about your experiences working with diverse patient population. However, this is not the sense I get from reading Harvard's diversity essay prompt, attached below.

If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity, not addressed elsewhere in the application, that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Many applicants will not need to answer this question. Examples might include significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, identification with a minority culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Briefly explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine.(4000 character maximum)

I'm basically as normal as they come. I'm straight, had access to education growing up, parents are well off financially. It's like I'm now being penalized for not having any obstacles that I had to overcome during my life. Am I screwed? Should I try to force something to make it sound like I'll contribute to the school's diversity?
 

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Diversity isn't just who you are; it's also what you do. What have you done to interact with those unlike yourself? Have you spent significant amounts of time pushing beyond the bounds of your comfort zone? Have you gone out of your way to gain significant insight into another culture? Have you become proficient in a foreign language? Are you accomplished in a musical or artistic discipline? Have you developed a skill to the point of being able to participate in exhibitions or competitions? All of those things bring diversity to a medical school class. One of the best residents in my department is a straight white male...who spent several years as a professional musician before medical school. One of my strongest internship classmates was a straight white male...with battlefield experience as an artillery officer. There are plenty of ways to contribute diversity to the medical field.
 
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Diversity isn't just who you are; it's also what you do. What have you done to interact with those unlike yourself? Have you spent significant amounts of time pushing beyond the bounds of your comfort zone? Have you gone out of your way to gain significant insight into another culture? Have you become proficient in a foreign language? Are you accomplished in a musical or artistic discipline? All of those things bring diversity to a medical school class.

yes, I understand that. I feel I can easily answer that by talking about my time working in inner city public schools, and also hospital volunteering with a diverse patient population. These have often put me in very uncomfortable situations. However, some prompts (like the one I included above) seem to be asking about how I as a person (and not my activities) would bring diversity. Any ideas?
 
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Diversity isn't just who you are; it's also what you do. What have you done to interact with those unlike yourself? Have you spent significant amounts of time pushing beyond the bounds of your comfort zone? Have you gone out of your way to gain significant insight into another culture? Have you become proficient in a foreign language? Are you accomplished in a musical or artistic discipline? Have you developed a skill to the point of being able to participate in exhibitions or competitions? All of those things bring diversity to a medical school class. One of the best residents in my department is a straight white male...who spent several years as a professional musician before medical school. One of my strongest internship classmates was a straight white male...with battlefield experience as an artillery officer. There are plenty of ways to contribute diversity to the medical field.
I will add a different sport, activity, collecting, anything. I have had people write about backpacking and they people met on the trail. Or another who had developed an interest in a certain cultural history and dove deep. Or a job in McDonalds
 
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I will add a different sport, activity, collecting, anything. I have had people write about backpacking and they people met on the trail. Or another who had developed an interest in a certain cultural history and dove deep. Or a job in McDonalds

Would this answer the prompt? The prompt sounds like it only wants socioeconomic, race, sexual orientation, and things like that, but not unique activities/hobbies. Or am I reading it wrong? They also say that "Many applicants will not need to answer this question". Would it be better to leave it blank than try to force it when clearly I wouldn't add that much to their diversity?
 

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I didn't answer the HMS diversity prompt and got an interview.

I think they include it as a way for people with major obstacles to education to share their story. The other activities/experiences that make you "diverse" do shine through in other parts of your application if you are thoughtful in what you share.
 

gonnif

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Would this answer the prompt? The prompt sounds like it only wants socioeconomic, race, sexual orientation, and things like that, but not unique activities/hobbies. Or am I reading it wrong? They also say that "Many applicants will not need to answer this question". Would it be better to leave it blank than try to force it when clearly I wouldn't add that much to their diversity?
What do these things say about you? What introspection, understanding, or reflection in whatever connection or context you have in as any background or identity of any kind can you discuss. Instead of getting hung up on the examples try reading and answering the actual question which is only

“If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity, not addressed elsewhere in the application, that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here.”
 
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Goro

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I've read many other posts about the diversity essay that a lot of schools have in their secondaries. A lot of people say that it doesn't necessarily have to be about identity/race, that you can just talk about your experiences working with diverse patient population. However, this is not the sense I get from reading Harvard's diversity essay prompt, attached below.

If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity, not addressed elsewhere in the application, that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Many applicants will not need to answer this question. Examples might include significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, identification with a minority culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Briefly explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine.(4000 character maximum)

I'm basically as normal as they come. I'm straight, had access to education growing up, parents are well off financially. It's like I'm now being penalized for not having any obstacles that I had to overcome during my life. Am I screwed? Should I try to force something to make it sound like I'll contribute to the school's diversity?
What's cool about you?

That's the prompt.
 
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LizzyM

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Or the OP could simply follow this particular school's advice

Many applicants will not need to answer this question.

Absolutely! If you are a bisexual, albino Korean-American who was adopted and raised by soybean farmers in Iowa, by all means, answer the prompt but if you've got nothing to add to your application that answers the specific prompt, then don't waste the committee's time with something unresponsive to the specific prompt.
 
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gonnif

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Absolutely! If you are a bisexual, albino Korean-American who was adopted and raised by soybean farmers in Iowa, by all means, answer the prompt but if you've got nothing to add to your application that answers the specific prompt, then don't waste the committee's time with something unresponsive to the specific prompt.
can soon be found as a sitcom streaming on Netflix called "Hill of Beans." Pilot "White Like Me" and Episode 2 "Tariff Turmoil "

(apologies to Langston Hughes and John Howard Griffin)
 
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jarednogeek

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Diversity does not have to solely be race. What unique background/experience/mindset etc do you have that will add to the medical school class.
 
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Wait this makes me more confused lol. Some people are telling me to answer it based on experiences I had, some people said to leave it blank.
 

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Wait this makes me more confused lol. Some people are telling me to answer it based on experiences I had, some people said to leave it blank.

No one here knows you but yourself. They’re giving you great options, just make a decision.
 
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