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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

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Q: What if I graduated from an institution outside the U.S.? What are the eligibility requirements for me?

A: To be eligible for graduate study at Stanford University, you must meet the requirements of the graduate program(s) that you wish to pursue and hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from a college or university of recognized standing. See Stanford's guidelines for minimum level of study for international applicants. (The Office of Graduate Admissions, not Knight-Hennessy Scholars, sets these policies.)

Q: If I graduated in 2017 or before, may I still become a Knight-Hennessy scholar?

A: If you graduated with your first/bachelor's degree more than seven years before your intended enrollment date (in 2017 or earlier, for the autumn 2025 intake), then you are not eligible for consideration as a Knight-Hennessy scholar. This applies even if you have earned an additional degree in 2018 or later. You may still apply to the Stanford graduate program of your choice, and there are many other options for funding your graduate education at Stanford. (Those who served in their country's military have two additional years of eligibility.)

Q: I am an undocumented student. Am I eligible to apply? 

A: If you have been granted DACA status, do not hold formal citizenship in any country, or are otherwise undocumented, you are eligible to apply for graduate study and matriculate at Stanford University and Knight-Hennessy Scholars. For more information, please see the Undocumented at Stanford website.

Q: I have a graduate degree already. Am I eligible?  

A: If you have earned a graduate degree, you remain eligible to enroll as a Knight-Hennessy scholar in 2025 as long as you earned your first/bachelor's degree in 2018 or later. (Those who served in their country's military have two additional years of eligibility.)

Q: I am an enrolled Stanford graduate student. May I apply for Knight-Hennessy Scholars?

A: If you are a Stanford PhD student who started your PhD in 2024, you may apply in 2024 such that you will start KHS in 2025 (your second year of PhD enrollment). Otherwise, if you enrolled in a graduate degree program at Stanford in 2024 or earlier, you are ineligible for consideration as a Knight-Hennessy scholar for your current degree program. 

Q: I am a Stanford graduate student applying to a different program at the university. Am I eligible to apply this year? 

A: You are welcome to apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars if you defer enrollment to 2025, or if you apply for a new graduate degree program at Stanford that starts in 2025.

Q: May I defer my Knight-Hennessy Scholars offer?  

A: No. Deferral of enrollment to a graduate program is the purview of that department. Most Stanford programs do not offer deferrals though some - such as the professional schools of business, law, and medicine - allow deferrals. Regardless of the graduate program's policy, Knight-Hennessy Scholars does not defer scholar offers. If you are selected as a Knight-Hennessy scholar and are unable to enroll, you must reapply for admission for the year you intend to enroll.

Q: I was accepted this year to Stanford but want to defer my enrollment in the Stanford graduate program until next year. May I apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars for the following year? 

A: If you defer enrollment to a Stanford graduate program, you may apply to start as a Knight-Hennessy scholar for the year that you enroll in that graduate program. For example, if you have been admitted to the Stanford MBA Program and deferred enrollment to September 2025, then you may apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars in 2024 to enroll as a scholar in 2025 — thus aligning your initial enrollment in the MBA Program and as a Knight-Hennessy scholar. If you have already received admission to one of Stanford's graduate programs and deferred enrollment to 2025 or later, you may apply to be a Knight-Hennessy scholar. Plan to apply for the year that you would enroll in your graduate program.

Q: I am a first-year Stanford PhD student who has received a fellowship administered by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. May I apply for Knight-Hennessy Scholars?

A: Please refer to the chart below to confirm whether you are eligible to apply to KHS. Awards marked "No" may not be combined with KHS and may not be discontinued in order to apply to KHS.

Transcript(s) & Test Scores

Q: As a result of COVID-19, my home institution graded an entire semester P/F. How will this impact the evaluation of my transcript? 

A: We recognize that many institutions (including Stanford University) adopted a pass/fail or credit/no credit grading policy in response to COVID-19. We will not penalize you for an institutional change that was out of your control. We will continue to review your application contextually.

Q: What if my transcript is not in English? 

A: Transcripts and degree documents that are in a language other than English must be accompanied by an official English translation. 

Q: Is there a minimum GPA or test score requirement to be a Knight-Hennessy scholar?

A: Although we expect Knight-Hennessy scholars to have performed well, there is no minimum requirement for your grades or scores. Please consult the graduate degree program website for their admission requirements including any relevant minimums for grades or scores. 

Q. Will you be updating your testing policy because of COVID-19?

A: We will adhere to your graduate degree program’s decisions about any testing policy changes for admission.

Q: I will not have test scores until AFTER the Knight-Hennessy Scholars application deadline. What should I do?

A: If you will not have test scores until after the Knight-Hennessy Scholars application deadline, you may leave the test scores section of the application blank when you submit your application. You may provide the scores when they are available via your application status page, which you can access only after submitting your application. If you recently sat for an exam that provides unofficial scores immediately upon completion, you may report those to us.

Q: May I update my test score after I have submitted my application? 

A: Yes, you may do this by submitting the Test Score Update form on your status page after you submit your application. 

Q: I am applying to two Stanford graduate degree programs. Do I have to submit required test scores for each of those programs to Knight-Hennessy Scholars?

A: Yes, please submit all test scores required by the graduate degree programs to which you are applying.

Q. Do I need to submit my English proficiency test results to Knight-Hennessy Scholars?

A: If the Stanford graduate degree program to which you are applying requires you to submit English proficiency test results, then you must submit them to Knight-Hennessy Scholars as well. 

Q: What tests do I have to submit for English proficiency?

A: All Stanford graduate degree programs accept the TOEFL. The MBA Program is the only Stanford graduate program that also accepts the IELTS and PTE. Some departments only accept scores obtained within the last 18 months, while others accept scores for 24 months. You may read more about this policy on the Graduate Admissions website (TOEFL) or MBA Admissions Office website (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE).

Q: Is there a minimum score requirement for English proficiency tests for Knight-Hennessy Scholars?

A: Although there is no minimum test score required for Knight-Hennessy Scholars, you must meet the minimum requirements, if any, set forth by the graduate degree program to which you are applying. The minimum TOEFL score for most graduate degree programs at Stanford is 100iBT or 600PBT. Please check the department websites for information about required English tests. 

Recommendation Letters

Q: May I ask the same person to provide recommendations for both Knight-Hennessy Scholars and my graduate degree program(s)?

A: Yes, you may. However, when choosing recommenders, please remember that your applications have distinct evaluation criteria, application requirements, selection processes and timelines, and admissions committees. If you choose the same recommenders, please encourage your recommenders to tailor their letters for each application.

Q: Do you review the recommendation letters from my graduate degree program(s)?

A: Your Knight-Hennessy Scholars recommendations are typically the only recommendation letters that we will review before we provide input to your graduate program(s). We may occasionally request to access and review your recommendation letters for your graduate degree program(s) if we believe they will aid us in our evaluation efforts. However, we encourage you to apply with the knowledge that we do not customarily review your recommendation letters for your graduate degree program(s).

Q: May I ask my family or friend to write a recommendation letter?

A: It is inappropriate to ask a family member to provide a recommendation. A friend is different from a peer. A peer is someone with whom you have worked towards a common goal. You may ask a peer for a recommendation. 

Q: I have both personal and work email addresses for my recommender. Which one should I use for the application? 

A: Please use a work email address when available. 

Q: I am ready to submit my application but I am missing my recommendation letter(s). What should I do? 

A: Do not delay submitting your application because you are waiting for a recommendation letter. You may submit your application before your recommendation letters are received. Even if your recommendation letters are unexpectedly delayed, you must complete and submit your portion of the application by the deadline to be considered for admission.

Short Answers and Essay

Q: What are improbable facts?

A: Improbable facts are aspects about you - experiences, beliefs, traits, skills, etc. - that seem unlikely but are true. These could include: facts that people wouldn’t expect to be true and/or facts that others are surprised to learn about you. This does not mean a list of achievements. Use this as a way to show a different side of you. And have some fun!

Video Statement

Q: Does my video have to be about something academic?

A: No, the prompt is intentionally broad so that you may select from a wide range of topics.

Q: Do you select finalists solely based on the strength of the video?

A: No. The video is added to your other required application materials which you submitted to us in October. We select finalists based on the application, the video statement, and verification that you remain competitive for admission to a Stanford graduate degree program.

Immersion Weekend

Q: What if I have a conflict during the Immersion Weekend dates?

A: Barring unforeseen circumstances and/or immediate family obligations, you must attend Immersion Weekend to be considered for selection to Knight-Hennessy Scholars. 

Q: I need a visa to visit the US. Can you send me a letter of invitation for the visa?

A: If you are selected as a finalist, we will work with you to coordinate a visa invitation letter as necessary. We cannot provide letters of invitation before finalists are selected. 

Q: Will I have already received my admission decision from my Stanford graduate degree program(s) before Immersion Weekend? 

A: The Stanford degree program(s) conducts its own distinct review and communicates its admission decision to you on its own distinct timeline. Depending on the program, you may receive your Stanford admission decision as early as December or as late as April. Some Knight-Hennessy Scholars finalists will have already been offered admission to their Stanford program(s), while others will still be vying for admission to Stanford. 

Q: I need to interview for my graduate program. May I interview for Knight-Hennessy Scholars then too? 

A: No, Knight-Hennessy Scholars interviews take place only during designated time periods for finalists.

Other FAQ

Q: I earned a degree at an institution outside of the U.S. Am I eligible for graduate study at Stanford?

A: To be eligible for graduate study, you must have earned a U.S. bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing. See Stanford's guidelines for minimum level of study. For questions on this policy, contact the Office of Graduate Admissionsnot the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.

Q: May I apply to Stanford for a graduate program even if I did not study that field as an undergraduate?

A: In most cases, you are eligible to apply to a graduate program even if you did not study that precise field as an undergraduate; please refer to the graduate degree program’s website for specific information about its requirements.

Q: Do I apply only to Knight-Hennessy Scholars to be considered for the Stanford graduate program(s) I am interested in?

A: No. You must complete both your Knight-Hennessy Scholars application AND the entire application process for your graduate degree program(s), including any standardized test that your graduate degree program(s) requires (GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.) and, if applicable, an English proficiency test (TOEFL; or, for MBA program only, IELTS or PTE). The Stanford graduate degree program application(s) may require a fee. Please visit the graduate program for specific information about its requirements.