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bugabooo

Diversity: Disability success story?

3 posts in this topic

Even though most of my applications have been sent in, there's something bothering me. I tried to search for a similar and active topic, and did not find any.

Applications tend to ask "diversity" questions. For example (using myself as the applicant), all of my schools know that I'm female and that I'm a minority. Most applications I've seen ask about military status (I marked dependent if the option was present, otherwise I would mark non-military), some ask for religious affiliation or if you identify with the LGBTQ+ community. Now, this type of question is frequently optional, which makes sense. What doesn't make sense to me is that none of my applications asked about disabilities, even as an optional question.

I am not physically disabled, but am diagnosed with what legally qualifies as a learning disability, and it's a huge part of my life. Obviously. This is part of the reason that I had mediocre grades right up until I was diagnosed and began treatment, which is when my grades (and, frankly, quality of life) skyrocketed and stayed high. I have a small section of my SOP that touches on this by naming the diagnosis and explaining some of the near-magical results gained through proper treatment. Part of the reason I felt I needed to talk about it is because there's a very obvious difference in my academic and professional life before and after diagnosis. My life is, without exaggeration, almost entirely different. I don't mean to "play a card" to help me get an edge, but it is an extremely important part of my life and who I am. If I'm going to be a good fit for a university, this detail might matter.

So I'm a Hispanic female who is a military dependent with a disability that is not physical. 

Did I make a huge mistake? Is this going to haunt me? Does it even matter? Can anyone else share similar experiences? Anything?

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I doubt this disclosure will haunt your application process, especially if it helps the faculty understand some parts of your application. A small section from your SOP sounds like a reasonable way to share this information. It doesn't sound at all like you're "playing a card." 

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Just an update: literally no one asked about anything related to diversity during my interviews. However, questions related to my original post were frequently asked outside of the formal interviews by other applicants and current grad students. A lot had to do with the rural area I'm from. 

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