College admission boards and scholarship committees often want applicants to write an essay about how they have overcome adversity in their lives. The key to writing a successful essay about diversity is to stay positive and focus on the outcome rather than the problem itself. Learning how to write a good essay about overcoming diversity has the effect of your story pulling on the heartstrings of the people reading it.
Read successful essays about overcoming adversity. Many college websites and websites with advice about applying to colleges offer examples of successful essays. There is a difference between writing positively about overcoming adversity and whining about your problems. Reading good essays written by other people will help you understand that difference.
Make an outline of your essay before you write it. Writing an outline gives you a starting point for getting what you want to say on paper. It also can help avoid writer's block or stumbling when you don't know where to go next. The standard format for an essay is to start with an introduction that briefly tells the reader what to expect, then the body that goes into greater detail about your adversity and how you overcame it, followed by a conclusion that sums up what your essay is about.
Be positive in your own essay. Talk about your adversity and what you learned from it. Let the reader know how you grew and what impact the adversity and overcoming it had on your life. Also, let admissions and scholarship boards know how overcoming your particular adversity will make you a better student and an asset to their program.
Be honest in your essay. You have overcome your adversity and there is no reason to embellish the details. If you do, chances are the embellishment will stand out to the reader in a way it might not to you. Being caught in a lie or coming across as insincere will almost definitely result in your being denied admission or the scholarship you are applying to.
Use proper grammar and spelling. Most word processing programs have spell and grammar checks. Make sure to run these before submitting your essay. These programs, however, don't pick up every mistake. Read your essay once for grammar and again for spelling, paying attention to every word and punctuation mark. Ask someone who you trust has a good handle on grammar and spelling to proofread your essay for you.
Read your essay out loud before submitting it. Sometimes when you've read your own work many times your eyes glance over problems. Reading out loud will give your ears a chance to pick up on awkward wording or pacing in your essay. Fix any problems before submitting.
Shaunta Alburger has been a professional writer for 15 years. She's worked on staff at both major Las Vegas newspapers, as well as a rural Nevada weekly. Her first novel was published in 2014.