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Resources for Fellowship Advisors

We appreciate your efforts to inform and guide your campus community about the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. 

Letter of Reference Overview

Each applicant to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program must obtain two reference letters. The recommendations are due by 1:00pm Pacific Time on October 10, 2019. This deadline applies no matter which graduate degree the applicant is pursuing. The applicant may submit the Knight-Hennessy Scholars application even if the recommendations have not been submitted yet.

Both letters of reference should come from people who know the candidate well and who will make time to write detailed and thoughtful letters. We offer specific tips for writing and submitting letters of reference on the Advice for Recommenders page.

An institution may provide an institutional endorsement, after a centralized review of applicants from your campus. This is entirely optional and at the discretion of each college/university. Institutional endorsements have no word limits. See the table below for more details about letters of reference and institutional endorsements.

Online Resources

Whether you are coordinating a centralized endorsement process or not, we are committed to assisting you in supporting your students. 

  • For reference only, review a sample of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars application.
  • Explore the Program Overview Welcome Packet that prospective applicants receive upon registering for a Knight-Hennessy Scholars information session.
  • Visit the Advice for Recommenders page for general guidance on submitting a letter of reference, including tips on formatting and technical requirements.
  • Starting in mid-June 2019, access the Fellowship Advisor Portal to see all Knight-Hennessy Scholars applicants who attend or graduated from your institution, and, if applicable, to submit an institutional endorsement for any candidate. If you require access, send an email to with their title, department, and reason for requesting access

Letter of Reference Details

  Letter of Reference Institutional Endorsement
Institutional Prompts* None

Is the candidate on-track to graduate before September 1, 2020?

Has the candidate been suspended, dismissed, placed on enforced leave, or been the subject of disciplinary action?

Please let us know how many applicants your campus reviewed, and how many are you recommending — for example, 18 applicants of whom 4 received endorsements.

Character Assessment Grid Yes Yes
Free-response Questions How do you know and interact with the applicant?
How have the applicant’s actions and insights benefited others? Please provide specific examples.
What is the most important constructive feedback that you have given the applicant? How did the applicant respond?
How has the applicant changed most since you have known each other?
Is there anything else that we should know about the applicant?
We have extensive information on the candidate but are grateful for your willingness to tell us the things we cannot know from the candidate’s application and letters of reference. Most important, why did you decide to endorse this applicant?
Word Limit None None
Sample Forms PDF Sample of Letter of Reference PDF Sample of Institutional Endorsement
Submission Method Via the personalized link in the email you received from  Via the Fellowship Advisor Portal


*If you are providing an Institutional Endorsement, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program asks about a student’s degree progress and disciplinary status. Please be assured that an institution can disclose student records without consent to another educational institution “where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.” 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(2). Please contact your institution's general counsel if you have questions about this.

If you need assistance, please feel free to email us at or call +1.650.721.0771.



Last updated August 20, 2019

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