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Application Requirements

Below, we explain what the application process entails. There are two applications: one is for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, and the other is for your Stanford graduate degree program. Your Knight-Hennessy Scholars program application is due by 1:00pm (Pacific Time) on September 27, 2017.

Application One: Knight-Hennessy Scholars program

Please note: We highly recommend that you apply using a current version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars online application comprises the following materials:

1. Online application

You must complete and submit the online application for admission (including personal and academic information, etc.). We will ask for basic biographic and demographic information, as well as information about your activities and interests. There is no application fee for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, but you must pay the application fee required of your graduate degree program.

Are you an international student? See how Stanford assesses international academic credentials.

2. Transcript

Provide an unofficial or self-reported transcript of your academic performance in college and, if applicable, graduate school. We do not need transcripts from study-abroad experiences if those credits are included on your transcript.

3. Standardized tests scores

​Provide your scores on standardized tests for admission, as required by the graduate program that you are pursuing  e.g., GMAT for the MBA Program, LSAT for the JD Program, MCAT for the MD Program, GRE (with GRE subject test encouraged) for PhD in biophysics. It's helpful and preferred if you have the test scores by the time you apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, but this is not a requirement. You must, however, have these test scores by the departmental deadline.

If you have a degree from a university at which English is the language of instruction, then you do not need results of the TOEFL. Otherwise you do. You may read more about this policy on the Graduate Admission website.

​4. Resume / C.V.

You will include a resume or curriculum vitae that provides an overview of your education, personal activities, and professional experiences. Our guideline is one page for every decade of experience after secondary school.

5. Two recommendation letters

Through the online application, you will select two individuals who know you well to provide letters of reference comprising specific examples, anecdotes, and evidence of your ability and determination to make a difference.

  • Your Knight-Hennessy Scholars recommendations are the only reference letters that we will review before we provide input to your graduate program.
  • Once your graduate degree program shares its feedback with the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, we also will review your departmental recommendation letters. As such, your recommendation choices for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program should make a compelling independent case, and also complement the references of your graduate program.
  • It's fine to ask the same person to provide recommendations for your graduate department and for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, but ensure that he/she submits distinctive letters of reference that address the questions each application requires.

We ask your recommenders to assess some character and leadership traits in the reference letters, and to address the following questions: 

  1. Please explain how you know and interact with the candidate. 
  2. Tell us about a time the candidate did something that benefited others. 
  3. Tell us about a time the candidate did something that surprised you. 
  4. Is there anything else (positive or constructive) that we should know about the candidate?

5a. If you are still in college or graduated within the last few months, we will request:

  1. A letter of reference that addresses your leadership experiences and potential — your professional competence and personal character. You may request this recommendation letter from a current or past supervisor, an advisor, a mentor, a peer (but remember there's a difference between a friend and a peer), etc. Use your best judgment.

  2. An institutional assessment from your university that provides context on your academic experience that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. Some institutions will require you to obtain a campus endorsement, which may have an internal deadline that is well in advance of the September 27, 2017 deadline. Seek guidance from the campus contact at your university. If your college has no campus contact (which is often the case for international institutions) then follow the guidance on the campus contacts page.

5b. If you graduated from college more than a year ago, we will request:

  1. Two letters of reference that address your leadership experience and potential  your professional competence and personal character. You may request these recommendation letters from current or past supervisors, advisors, mentors, peers (but remember there's a difference between a friend and a peer), etc. Use your best judgment.

6. Two personal essays

These reflections give us a chance to understand who you are and how you aspire to grow and learn. There are two prompts:

  1. Connect the dots. Tell us how the influences in your life have shaped you.
  2. Describe three potential paths for your career and life. To prepare for them, what do you need to learn at Stanford as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar?

While there are no word limits for these questions, we believe most applicants will find a range of 750 to 1,750 words sufficient.

7. Two short-answer responses

These responses help to see a different side of you. We'll ask you two questions:

  1. Please tell us eight improbable facts about you. 
  2. If you could take any course or study with any instructor at Stanford, what would you take or with whom would you study, and why? (No, you can't pick John Hennessy. You'll already spend plenty of time with John as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. And please don't contact Stanford faculty to answer this question.)

8. Video submission

We would love to interview every applicant, but it's not feasible. Instead, the online application allows you to record a video of no more than two minutes. This medium gives you a chance to introduce yourself and present a different view of the person we've "met" in your application. We are not worried about "production value" for this; we just want to get a chance to meet you. You choose one of the following three questions to answer:

  1. Tell us about something for which you are grateful.
  2. Tell us about your crazy idea.
  3. Tell us about your most meaningful commitment.

9. In-person assessment

We will invite the finalists for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program to visit Stanford for Immersion Weekend, which will be evaluative and informative (and fun!). We'll give you a chance to learn more about your graduate degree program, about the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, about Stanford University, about your fellow Scholars, and about yourself.

Application Two: Graduate degree program

Don't forget that you still will need to apply separately to the specific Stanford graduate degree program that you want to pursue for fall 2018. This is essential! The deadline for your graduate degree program depends on the specific program.

Graduate Degree Program Application Opens  Application Deadline
Stanford MD Program June 2017 Due through AMCAS a few weeks before the official deadline of September 29, 2017. We strongly recommend that you submit the Knight-Hennessy Scholars application before you submit the Stanford MD supplemental application. This will allow you to include your Knight-Hennessy Scholars application number (available upon submission) in your Stanford MD supplemental application, which will speed processing of your application.
Stanford GSB MBA Program June 2017 Due by the first-round submission deadline of September 19, 2017
Stanford GSB PhD Program September 2017 Due November 15, 2017
Stanford Law School JD and advanced degrees September 2017 Due November 15, 2017
Any other Stanford graduate degree program September 2017 Due November 15, 2017

Regardless of the standard deadline for the department, the deadlines above apply if you want to be considered as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. (The Stanford Honors Cooperative Program is not eligible for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.)

Tips for your graduate degree program application

Your application for your graduate degree program must stand on its own. Focus your application solely on your candidacy for that program. Do not consider the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program in your graduate degree program application.

Are you an international student? See how Stanford assesses international academic credentials.

We ultimately will receive access to the degree program applications — the reference letter(s), in particular  as we are making final decisions on candidates to invite to Immersion Weekend. As such, these departmental materials will complement your Knight-Hennessy Scholars application. Again, it's fine if you select the same person(s) to provide recommendations for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program and for your graduate program. Ensure, however, that the letters themselves address the questions each application requires.



Last modified June 18, 2017

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