How to Apply for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program 2024-2025

Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program

Do you dream of pursuing graduate studies at Stanford University, a world-renowned academic powerhouse? Are you a visionary leader with a drive to change the world? 


If so, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program could be your perfect launchpad. 

This prestigious scholarship offers full funding for graduate studies at Stanford, along with a unique opportunity to develop alongside a vibrant community of future global leaders. 

But how do you stand out from the crowd and secure your place among the Knight-Hennessy Scholars? 

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the application process step-by-step, equipping you with the knowledge and strategies to craft a winning application.

What is the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program all about?

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford University is more than just a scholarship; it’s a transformative experience. Launched in 2016, the program seeks exceptional individuals from all walks of life and academic backgrounds. They target those who demonstrate not only academic prowess but also a commitment to leadership and positive social change.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars receive full financial backing to pursue any graduate degree offered by Stanford.  This opens doors to a vast array of possibilities, from medicine and law to business and engineering.  But the program goes beyond academics. 


Scholars become part of a dynamic community, participating in leadership development programs, mentorship opportunities, and cross-disciplinary projects. This holistic approach equips them with the skills, connections, and vision to become the next generation of global leaders who can tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.

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Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program Eligible Requirements

While there are technical eligibility requirements for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, the true key lies in demonstrating the program’s desired qualities. Let’s break it down:

Formal Requirements:

  • Stanford Graduate Program Acceptance: You must be enrolled in and accepted to a full-time graduate program at Stanford University. This can be any of their many Master’s, PhD, Law, Business, or Medical programs (with some exceptions).

  • Recent Bachelor’s Degree: You should have earned a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) within the last five years. There’s a slightly extended deadline for active or veteran US military personnel.

Unwritten Qualities:

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program prioritizes specific qualities in its scholars. While you don’t need a specific academic background, showcasing these characteristics will strengthen your application:

  • Independence of Thought: Are you a critical thinker who seeks new experiences and challenges assumptions?

  • Purposeful Leadership: Do you demonstrate ambition, resilience, and a drive to make a positive impact?

  • Civic Mindset: Are you humble, inclusive, and dedicated to serving the greater good?

Remember: Fulfilling the formal requirements is just the first step. Tailoring your application to highlight these program values is crucial for standing out as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar.

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Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program Application: A Step-by-Step Guide

Earning a spot among the Knight-Hennessy Scholars is a competitive feat, but with careful planning and a strong application, you can increase your chances of joining this exceptional community. Here’s a breakdown of the application process, step by step:

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you start applying, make sure you meet the basic requirements. Did you snag your bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) within the last five years? (There’s some wiggle room for military personnel.) Are you applying to a full-time graduate program at Stanford? If you check both boxes, you’re good to go!

2. Explore Stanford’s Graduate Programs

Stanford boasts a vast array of graduate programs across various disciplines. Spend time researching their offerings and identifying a program that aligns with your academic interests and career aspirations.

3. Craft a Compelling Stanford Graduate Program Application

Remember, gaining admission to your chosen Stanford program is the first hurdle. Prepare a strong application showcasing your academic excellence, research experience (if applicable), and relevant skills.

4. Prepare for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship Application. 

Once the Knight-Hennessy application opens, gather the necessary materials. Here’s what you’ll likely need:

  • Resume: Highlight your academic achievements, research experience, leadership roles, and extracurricular activities.

  • Recommendation Letters: Secure strong letters from professors, mentors, or supervisors who can speak to your academic potential, leadership qualities, and character.

  • Institutional Letter of Endorsement: Your current or past institution (university, company, etc.) can submit a letter endorsing your application. (Check specific program requirements.)

  • Short Answer Questions: Prepare concise and impactful answers to questions that delve into your background, motivations, and goals.

  • Essay Question: Craft a compelling essay that showcases your unique story, leadership potential, and vision for positive impact.

  • Video Statement (Optional): This can be a powerful tool to personalize your application and showcase your personality and communication skills. (Check specific program requirements.)

5. Tailor Your Application to Program Values

Remember, the Knight-Hennessy program seeks well-rounded leaders. Craft your application materials to highlight your intellectual curiosity, leadership experiences, commitment to social good, and potential for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

6. Submit applications by the deadline. 

Ensure all application materials, both for the Stanford program and the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, are submitted well before the deadlines.

7. Interview (optional, based on application strength)

If shortlisted, you might be invited for an interview. Prepare to discuss your academic background, leadership experiences, and aspirations for the future.

8. Await the decision. 

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program receives numerous applications. Be patient and hopeful while you await the decision.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship only for US citizens?

No, the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship is open to high-achieving students from all over the world!

Can I apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship without being accepted into a Stanford graduate program first?

Unfortunately, no. You must be accepted into a full-time graduate program at Stanford before applying for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship.

What GPA do I need for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship?

There’s no specific GPA requirement, but the program seeks academically outstanding students. Focus on showcasing strong academic performance in your application materials.

Does the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship cover living expenses?

Yes, the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship provides full funding, including tuition, fees, a living stipend, and travel costs.

When is the application deadline for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship?

The application typically opens in April and closes in October. However, it’s always best to check the program website for the most up-to-date deadlines.

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The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford University is an incredible opportunity for exceptional individuals to pursue their academic dreams while developing into future global leaders.

By carefully planning your application, highlighting the program’s desired qualities, and showcasing your unique potential, you can increase your chances of joining this prestigious community.

Remember, the journey to becoming a Knight-Hennessy Scholar begins with a single step. Visit the program website today to learn more and take the first step towards an extraordinary future!

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