During the MD admissions process, this question is often dreaded, as applicants reminisce on the mundaneness of premed requirements and volunteer experiences. As with questions of, "What are your strengths?", "Why should we accept you?", and "What makes you unique?", applicants may fear coming off too arrogant and self-promoting. In all these questions, the interviewer is trying to get a sense of how you would add to the medical school class and what unique perspectives you can bring. Instead of dreading this question, take this as an opportunity to highlight something that may not be apparent in your application or to emphasize what drives you and all that you've accomplished!
What is diversity?
Diversity is multidimensional, and everyone can contribute diversity to a class. If you are struggling to determine how you would contribute diversity, consider some of the various dimensions of diversity and ask yourself the following questions:
- Your identity
- What is your race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, etc.?
- Did you immigrate to the US? Did your parents immigrate? Are you a first-generation college student?
- Your passion
- What drives you to pursue medicine?
- What do you want to do in your career? (E.g. Do you want to be a primary care physician taking care of underserved communities? Do you want to lead a research lab to develop new therapies for multiple sclerosis?)
- Your experiences
- Was your college major unique? You don't have to have majored in 19th century costume design to consider your major unique. If you majored in something non-science, you can explain why you chose that major and what you learned from your courses.
- Did you participate in any volunteer, clinical, or work experience that changed your perspective of the world and what you're passionate about?
- Do you have any personal experiences where you felt like an outsider, whether in your neighborhood, school, or broader community? How did that shape your understanding of diversity?
How to approach this question
- Make a list of the ways in which your past experiences, who you are, and the way you think adds a unique perspective.
- If one of the main reasons why you think you are unique is because of your experiences, reflect on why you chose to pursue those experiences and what you got out of them.
- Research the school and see what they offer. How can your uniqueness contribute to that school specifically? How can you grow from whatever programs that school offers? Are you excited to work with the patient population that the school/hospital serves?
- Pick 2-3 ways in which you are unique and how that fits in with the school's objectives. Hone in on those to make your argument of how you contribute diversity. You do NOT need to present your 10 different reasons for why you'd contribute diversity.
Keep in mind that a good answer should touch upon:
- What is unique about your identity and experiences and how this makes you a strong applicant.
- How your uniqueness would benefit from what this medical school has to offer.
- How your uniqueness would contribute to the med school class.
- How your uniqueness drives your passion and goals.
As with all interview questions, the most important thing is to be genuine and to have fun! There is no one right or wrong answer so take this opportunity to really reflect on your story and your goals.
Cambridge Coaching has the most qualified team of medical school writing coaches available anywhere. Our team is composed of MD, MD-PhDs, and professional writers because we understand that the best coach is going to help you produce a dazzling AMCAS essay, as well as a suite of supplementary materials that provides a persuasive, integrated argument for why you belong in medical school.
The challenge of the medical school application process isn’t just due to the workload, either. It has to do with the sheer competitiveness of the system. You can’t take anything for granted; every aspect of your application has to be solid - your GPA, your MCAT, your recommendations, your interviews, your activities, and your personal statement. That’s why we go beyond the usual options and offer coaching that covers the entire application, not just your personal statement. While we are happy to work with clients on a single essay or drafts, we find that we achieve the best results with clients who work with us throughout their application process - from the MCAT through to the admissions deadlines.