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UCSB Clinical Psychology: Personal Achievements/Contributions Statement


So I'm currently working on my UCSB Clinical Psych PhD application, which is due in less than two weeks. I'm not too worried, but I have an idea for the diversity statement that may or may not go over well with the admissions committee and I'd like some opinions on it. 

This is the prompt: 

UC Santa Barbara is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study. For example, please describe if you have experienced economic challenges in achieving higher education, such as being financially responsible for family members or dependents, having to work significant hours during undergraduate schooling or coming from a family background of limited income. Please describe if you have any unusual or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bicultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect underserved segments of society, or evidence of an intention to use the graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations.

Now I've never really experienced financial hardship - so I don't plan on focusing on that part of the prompt. I am financially dependent on my parents who are homophobic (I'm part of the LGBT+ community) which may come into play but like I said, that won't be the focus of my statement since I'm not out and haven't had to face the consequences of being out to my parents. I have however, thought about speaking on my experience as a child of immigrants who barely knew English, being bilingual, and how that has shaped my view of America. 

My plan so far is to talk about the intersection of race and sexuality and how that has been an isolating experience for me that I have turned into a motivating factor for studying clinical psychology. Often I've felt that finding a therapist who works to understand rather than pity or assume very hard, which I'm not sure if I should mention. I've been working at my university's LGBT+ resource center for the past couple of years, I've been a mentor for incoming South Asian freshmen for two years, and my honors thesis is on how bicultural identity affects the relationship between internalized stigma and well-being among LGBT+ South Asians. The research lab I've spent the most time in focused on Asian American mental health, and the project I worked on was specifically centered around abuse in Asian American households. Right now I'm confident that this will be enough evidence that I've been dedicated to serving diverse populations and will continue to do so. 

However, I have a few worries. I know that my racial identity is not usually associated with being disadvantaged, so I wonder if it's even relevant to mention. Among South Asians it's common knowledge that mental health and LGBT+ identities are taboo topics (though that is changing, thank god). In addition, I am worried about being pigeon holed or too specific about my research interests. What do y'all think? 


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