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Future Year Scholars Program

Exceptional college students have the opportunity to gain acceptance into one of the world’s top MBA programs before beginning their professional journey. Darden MBAs gain the tools to become impactful global leaders through Darden’s purpose-driven learning experience.

Apply Now. Start Later.

Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program invites outstanding college students to join the ranks of a Top 5 business school, before ever gaining work experience. Admitted scholars may choose to begin their MBA after gaining two, three or four years of work experience.

Application Deadlines

The application for the 2020 admissions cycle is now closed. More information will be shared once the 2021 application is available. 

Learn More!

Interested in hearing more about the Future Year Scholars Program on demand? Watch this recording of our program overview titled 'Ask Us Anything' with members of the Admissions team as they discuss the tangible value of an MBA and why getting a jumpstart makes sense for any undergraduate background.

Upcoming Virtual Events:

  • Is an MBA in your Future? Why an MBA makes sense for all majors, plus tips on getting a head start on your MBA journey. 
    29 October | 12:00-1:00 P.M. Eastern | Register

Stay Connected

Tell us a little more about yourself.  

For additional insights about the Future Year Scholars Program, be sure to check out the Discover Darden blog for news about the Darden MBA and community updates.

  • Timeline

    Secure Your Spot for the Future

    Secure Your Spot for the Future

    Apply during the final year of your undergraduate program. Students who are currently pursuing a 5th year master’s degree are also eligible to apply.


    Tap into the network

    Tap into the Network Today

    As admitted scholars, you will have many opportunities to grow your network through engagement with our community, as well as a Darden mentor and individualized career support.


    Gain professional experience

    Gain Professional Experience

    Choose to work for two, three or four years, gaining insight into the workplace and forming a foundation for your MBA experience.


    Begin at Darden

    Begin at Darden

    Start the MBA program with newfound expertise and perspective. All scholars will be considered for scholarships at the time of admission and may receive additional awards at the time of matriculation.

  • Why Apply?

    Why Apply?

    In addition to receiving an offer of admission to Darden before beginning their professional career, Future Year Scholars receive:

    • Consideration for merit-based awards at the time of admission with additional opportunities for scholarship consideration at the time of matriculation. 
    • Individualized career support.
    • A personal Darden mentor.
    • Access to Darden’s student and alumni network, comprised of 17,000 people spanning 90 countries around the world.
    • Networking opportunities with current students, faculty and alumni at Darden events.
    • No application fee!
  • FAQs

    Who is eligible to apply?

    Students who are completing their undergraduate coursework or a fifth-year Master's program with a graduation date between September 2019 and August 2020 are eligible to apply in our upcoming application cycle.

    Students graduating from an undergraduate program between September 2019 and August 2020 who intend to matriculate at a 5th year Master's program following the completion of their undergraduate studies should apply to the Future Year Scholars Program in the year they complete their Master's. For example, a student who graduates from college in May 2020 and plans to start a fifth year Master's program in August 2020 would apply to the Future Year Scholars Program in 2021.


    When should I apply?

    We encourage you to apply once your application is complete and you have fulfilled the testing requirement. Offers of admission are based on merit. There is no evaluative advantage to applying in an earlier deadline. 


    What is the Admissions Committee looking for in prospective students?

    We are looking for exceptional students who aspire to be future ethical leaders and managers in a global world. The Admissions Committee will review and evaluate applications based on three broad areas: academics, extracurricular involvement and personal characteristics.


    Do I need to have studied business as an undergraduate student to apply?

    No. We are looking for students that come from a variety of different academic disciplines. While some admitted scholars have studied business, others have studied biology, engineering, public policy and economics.


    What type of job should I pursue after college before coming back to Darden?

    We encourage students to explore industries, functions and geographies that will begin shaping them into the leaders they aspire to be. Current Future Year Scholars are working in fields such as consulting, local government, defense, investment banking, or starting their own company.

    While admitted scholars are expected to work for 2-4 years prior to coming to Darden, having a job offer at the time of application is not required. However, it should be shared within the application if secured. 


    Would I need to decide whether I will work for 2, 3 or 4 years immediately upon admittance?

    No. Admitted scholars will be asked each year, starting one year after their graduation, whether or not they plan on matriculating to Darden the following fall. Students need to gain a minimum of two years of professional experience before beginning at Darden.


    What does the application require?

    The application requires a GMAT or GRE score, resume, transcript, essay and two letters of recommendation.


    Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

    Recommenders are asked to comment on the applicant’s work ethic, strategic orientation, leadership skills, ability to work well on teams and communication skills among other things. Strong recommendation letters are written by people who know the applicant well, both inside and outside of the classroom or work environment.

    Good options for recommenders might include a former supervisor from a summer internship, a faculty member or an academic advisor.


    What is the application fee?

    There is no application fee to apply!


    Is an interview required?

    Interviews play a critical role in our assessment of candidates and are required prior to acceptance into the Future Year Scholars Program.

    An invitation-only interview is conducted after your application has been submitted and reviewed by the Admissions Committee.
    Invitations to interview are sent on a rolling basis up to and including the decision release date for each round. There is no significance as to when an interview invitation is sent; an invitation to interview should be seen as positive indicator no matter when it is received.

    Candidates for the Future Year Scholars Program may interview with a member of the admissions staff. In light of recent developments surrounding COVID-19, all interviews will be conducted virtually for the foreseeable future.


    Interview Format

    Our interviews are 30–45 minutes in length and your interviewer will not have read your application nor résumé. It is our policy to conduct blind interviews, so there is no need to send or bring in your résumé to the interview.


    Is there a deposit?

    Yes. Admitted Future Year Scholars are required to pay a non-refundable, $500 tuition deposit each year prior to matriculation to hold their place in a future class. They will be asked to pay the remainder of the tuition deposit for the incoming class the year in which they matriculate.


    Which standardized test may I submit with my FYSP application? 

    All applicants have the option to take the GMAT, GRE, MCAT or LSAT.

    Starting with the academic year 2019-2020 (July 1, 2019), University of Virginia undergraduate students applying for Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program may submit whatever standardized tests are required by UVA’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions (currently the SAT or ACT) in lieu of the tests listed above. If you are a UVA undergraduate student and were not required to take the SAT or ACT as part of your college application process, please contact us directly to discuss your options.

    Applicants are encouraged to submit the test score(s) they believe best illustrate(s) their ability.


    I'm an international applicant. Do I need to submit an English proficiency test score? 

    Please see our International Applicant process webpage for additional guidance regarding our English proficiency requirements for international applicants. For candidates for whom an English proficiency test score is required or recommended, our Admissions Committee will consider this test score an additional indicator of qualitative ability.


    What role do test scores play in the scholarship process? 

    All Future Year Scholars will automatically be considered for scholarship awards at the time of admission.

    Scholars are also eligible for additional scholarship opportunities at the time of matriculation. While our admissions process is holistic in nature, our scholarship process typically focuses on indicators of academic merit. These include but are not limited to standardized test score(s), Undergraduate GPA, Graduate GPA, additional coursework, professional certifications, etc. Additional considerations could include type and quality of work experience, and leadership among others. 

    A strong GMAT or GRE score can make a candidate more competitive for certain merit-based scholarships. 


    Anything else I should know about the GMAT and the GRE?

    The GMAT and GRE can play an important role in the MBA job search process.

    Some top employers will request a GMAT or GRE score as part of their application processes - for both internships and full-time positions. For this reason, we recommend you take one of these tests prior to matriculating at Darden. 


  • Connect with Us

    Schedule a Conversation

    Schedule a phone or in-person conversation with a member of Darden's Admissions Committee to discuss how Darden could help launch your career.


    Join Us for an Event

    We host a variety of in-person and online events. An event is a great way to make a personal connection while learning more about the Future Year Scholars Program. 


    Email Us

    If you have any questions about the Future Year Scholars Program or the admissions process, contact us at [email protected].