Below are the recommendation letter requirements for last year's application. Check back in late April for updates to this requirement for the upcoming application season.
Through the online application, you will select two individuals who know you well to write letters of reference providing specific examples, anecdotes, and evidence of your ability and determination to make a difference. You obtain a total of two letters; we explain the types of letters in 5a and 5b.
You register these recommenders through your online application. The application then sends each recommender a personalized link to submit her/his recommendation online. For verification purposes, register your recommender using her/his work email account, not a personal account such as Gmail, Yahoo!, etc.
- 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:
- Please explain how you know and interact with the candidate.
- Tell us about a time the candidate did something that benefited others.
- Tell us about a time the candidate did something that surprised you.
- Is there anything else (positive or constructive) that we should know about the candidate?
5a. If you graduated from college more than a year ago
Your two letters of reference should 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. Select individuals who know you well, who believe in you, and who are willing to share insights and experiences that will help the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program understand you better.
If you graduated from college within the last few months, then you should follow the advice for applicants who still are in college. (Applicants enrolled in graduate programs sometimes ask which path to follow. It depends on your situation; use your best judgment. Some graduate students may wish to follow the college-student path.)
5b. If you are still in college or graduated within the last few months
If your college or university has designated a campus contact, then please consult with that individual/office before you decide how to proceed. If your college has no campus contact (which is often the case for international institutions) then follow the guidance on the campus contacts page.
Some universities will provide an institutional assessment or an institutional endorsement from a Fellowship Advising Office or similar university-wide central office (e.g., career advising, dean of students)
In this case, you will submit one recommendation letter and one institutional assessment or institutional endorsement.
Colleges that provide institutional endorsement letters often require you to submit a draft of your Knight-Hennessy Scholars application to your campus contact and then to interview with a campus committee. Your college may set an internal deadline that occurs well in advance of the September 27, 2017 Knight-Hennessy Scholars submission deadline.
Other universities will not provide institutional assessments, and instead may give you guidance on how to select a second recommender.
Please be assured that either approach works for Knight-Hennessy Scholars: neither inherently puts you at a disadvantage or gives you an advantage.