What is the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship?
The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship provides up to three years of funding for any graduate degree at Stanford University, as well as community support and leadership development. As you might have guessed, it is a highly competitive scholarship. However, applying can be very worthwhile. Here, we offer five tips to help you get started with the application process.
Map out a schedule and start early.
To be eligible for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, you must also be accepted (at the same time) to a Stanford graduate program. This is no easy feat! What this means is that you will need to complete the (detailed) scholarship application at the same time you complete the Stanford program application. To make matters even more difficult, the deadline for the Knight-Hennessy is often earlier than the regular Stanford graduate program deadlines. Therefore, it is very important to start working on the scholarship application earlier than you would need to for most other graduate applications to ensure that you finish it by the early October deadline. One way to make sure you stay on track of all the different components is by using a spreadsheet. On the spreadsheet, don’t just list the materials needed to complete the application, but also actively map out when you need to have your first draft completed, then your second draft, and so on. There are many components to juggle, so organization will be key, and starting out with a plan will prevent you from struggling at the last moment.
Use the Knight-Hennessy application to become a better graduate school applicant.
The Knight-Hennessy application contains questions that ask about your research interests, your future goals, and how you plan to make a difference in the world. Sound familiar? It should because these are the types of questions frequently asked in graduate applications. View the Knight-Hennessy as a chance to explore what you want to do professionally while in school and after. This introspection will not only make you a better scholarship candidate but will also be incredibly important for your graduate school applications. If you view the application process as a chance to really home in on your deepest interests and WHY you want a graduate degree, it will not be time wasted, regardless of whether you win the scholarship.
Decide on how you plan to change the world.
The Knight-Hennessy scholarship is all about supporting innovative students who plan to make a difference (and have already started to!). It is not enough to be a great student or have impressive experiences. In addition, you want to demonstrate that you have a specific, achievable future vision for bettering the world. Think about what you have worked on that is nearest and dearest to your heart. When you think about your future, consider not only what you want to do but also WHOM you want to serve through your work. Maybe you plan to be a doctor who develops solutions to aid in preventative medicine. Maybe you will be a lawyer who stands up to corruption. In addition to focusing on your personal goals, your application should highlight the ways in which you plan to use your life to make a real difference.
Have a clear personal story.
The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship asks for you to both describe your research and future goals and connect them to your personal story. To decide how to tell this story, I suggest brainstorming different important moments in your professional and personal development. Some questions to ask yourself include the following:
- When and how did I first learn about the graduate field I am about to enter? (The answer to this could be anything from a life-changing undergrad class to games you used to play as a kid.)
- Why do I care about this area of study? How does it connect to the way I think, my personal history, the people I care about, or the community I want to serve?
- Who helped me succeed along the way? And how do I intend to pay it forward in my work?
Don’t do it alone.
The Knight-Hennessy is not something to attempt without support, whether that is from mentors, colleagues, classmates, friends, or a consultant service (such as Accepted!). The only way to achieve a thoughtful and competitive application is through multiple drafts, lots of thinking, and even more editing. Before you begin the process, consider who might be able to support you and how. For example, a friend might help you decide on which personal stories to include, a professor might write you a letter of recommendation and help you focus on your research interests, and a writing professional or colleague could help you communicate your ideas clearly. This will all be very beneficial during the application process.
Vanessa Febo has ten years of experience teaching academic and professional writing at UCLA, with a special certification in teaching writing techniques. She has drawn on this expertise to guide clients to placements at top institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, and USC. Before joining Accepted, Vanessa coached UCLA students through the application process for graduate programs, major grants, fellowships, and scholarships, including the Fulbright, Stanford Knight-Hennessey, and the Ford Foundation Fellowship. Additionally, Vanessa has extensive experience successfully guiding clients through applications for a diverse range of programs, including those in business, humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields. Want Vanessa to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!