knight-hennessy national deadline: October 11, 2023 1:00PM PT

Before you start your application read the Knight-Hennessy Overview. See Application Advice for general tips on fellowship applications, advice about seeking recommendations, and examples of essays by winning candidates.

K-H candidates must submit an application to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program and apply separately to their proposed graduate degree program at Stanford. The Director of Fellowships will provide guidance and application essay support as time allows. See our Knight-Hennessy Application page for more details on how to apply. Institutional endorsement is not required to apply for the K-H. However, if an applicant has been previously endorsed by the Committee on Student Fellowships for other applications and submits a request by August 15th, the Director of Fellowships may be able to submit an endorsement letter on their behalf. Requests for endorsement by other applicants will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and only if they meet the request deadline.  There will, however, be no review by the Committee on Student Fellowships in either case.

Application materials:

The Knight-Hennessy application includes biographical information, two essays, three short answer responses, a resume, all academic transcripts, any standardized test scores required by your Stanford graduate program, two recommendations, and a video supplement. Upon submitting your application you will receive a link to submit your video supplement.

Application Components

The Knight-Hennessy application is accessed through the K-H online application portal. You can find details of the application components and requirements on their Application Requirements page. Read that page closely before you start your application. You must apply separately to your chosen Stanford graduate degree program. Note that some programs have separate earlier deadlines for prospective K-H scholars: find these deadlines on the K-H application requirements page.

Information You Enter

You will enter contact information; basic biographic and demographic details; descriptions of activities, experiences, and interests; and other information. You will also provide answers to the following three questions:

  1. After graduating from Stanford, what are your immediate and long-term intentions?  How will your Knight-Hennessy Scholars experience prepare you to realize your intentions? (250 word limit)
  2. Please tell us when you: a) made someone proud of you, b) were most challenged, and c) did not meet expectations. (150 word limit combined)
  3. Please tell us eight improbable facts (things that are unlikely but true) about you. (150 word limit combined)

Documents You Upload

Essays: You will upload one 600-word essay to help the K-H Program staff get to know you and how you aspire to grow and learn. The prompt invites you to reflect deeply on your life’s journey and the people, events, and circumstances that have impacted it. There is no right answer, topic, or format — only you can tell your own story. Focus much less on what you have done and much more on who you are. The strongest essays balance introspection with recognition of external influences, and are so personal that no one else could have possibly written it. Your essay will respond to the following prompt:

  1. Connect the dots. How have the influences in your life shaped you?

Transcripts: Scan and upload transcripts of any and all undergraduate and graduate level work for each institution you attended for an academic year or longer. You can provide unofficial or self-reported transcripts. For your Amherst transcript, we strongly recommend you use an official version as it is easier to read and carries all pertinent iformation (including degree conferred with date, if you are an alum). Scan front and back. K-H does not require study abroad transcripts if those credits are included on your transcript.

Résumé: Prepare a one-page resumé that includes highlights of your experiences, interests, and academic record in reverse-chronological order. Choose a reasonably-sized font. You will have room to expand on your accomplishments within the application.

Video Supplement: After you submit your online application, you may be invited to submit a video in which you will record a 2-minute video of you teaching something to your cohort of fellow Knight-Hennessy Scholars. The goal of this exercise is to give reviewers a chance to "meet" you -- get a personal impression of you. (Invitations to submit this video are extended on a rolling basis in January; up to 500 applicants are invited to do this.) 

Documents You Request from Others

Recommendation Letters Choose two recommenders who know you well, whose opinions you trust, and who want to see you succeed. Your recommenders should know you in a professional or academic capacity. Professors and supervisors are often able to provide strong recommendations.The K-H committee may also review the recommendations that are submitted in support of your graduate school application. You can ask someone to submit a recommendation in support of both your K-H application and your application for graduate study, however, these recommendations should not be the same. To request recommendations, you will enter the names and work emails of your recommenders. Do not enter a recommender's personal email address. Recommenders are asked to assess the character and leadership traits of applicants and address the questions below. Make sure the person you ask knows you well enought to respond fully (K-H expects no more, but not much less than 750 words):

  • 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?

Direct your recommenders to K-H Overview page for recommendation letter format and submission details.

Standardized Test Scores: If the graduate program to which you are applying at Stanford requires standardized test scores, you must submit them to K-H by the graduate degree program deadline. If they are not required by the department, you do not need to provide them in the fellowship application.

Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536,       
Eric Myers, Associate Director, Fellowships                      
Mail: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, 213 Converse Hall, Amherst, MA 01002