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Future Year Scholars Program

Application Guidelines - Future Year Scholars Program - MBA

Application Guidelines

Learn insights about Darden’s deferred enrollment application requirements, the step by step process and more.

Review the application steps for an overview of Darden's application process.

Additional resources that may be helpful include our podcast and our admissions blog. We look forward to receiving your application!

Core Data

The Darden MBA application begins with a request for demographic information, address, education, professional history and so on.

In order to meet regulatory, accreditation, and other reporting requirements, the Darden School asks applicants to report their race/ethnicity, as defined by U.S. Department of Education standards, as part of the application process. This individual applicant information on race/ethnicity is not available to anyone involved in the evaluation process while an applicant being considered for admission to the school.

The residency section of the application requests information related to verification of residency to establish in-state status for Virginia residents. Residency status is assigned by the Virginia Status Office at the University. Visit the Virginia Status Office at the University or call +1-434-982-3391 if you need more information.

We expect that the information provided in and for an application will be valid and will accurately represent your qualifications for admission to Darden. If articles contained within the application are ascertained to contain invalid information or misrepresent your qualifications, sanctions will be taken, up to and including the revocation of the MBA degree.

Step-By-Step Guide to the Application Process

  • 1. Select Your Deadline

    Future Year Scholars Program 2023-2024 Application Deadlines:

    Round 1: 8 April 2024
    Round 2: 1 August 2024

    Which deadline is right for you? Apply as soon as you feel like you can put together a strong application. There is no strategic advantage to applying in an earlier round.

    From the dropdown menu, you will select your application type: 2024 Future Year. Please make sure you select the application type that corresponds to your program of interest.

  • 2. Review Our Application

    Once you have identified your target deadline, we encourage you to review our application. During this first pass, don’t worry about completing anything--just gather information and think about a timeline that will help you plan and strategize working through the application.

    Our Admissions process is holistic in nature. Consider how each component of your application contributes to your overall narrative. Approach the application process as a storytelling exercise. This is an initial introduction to you, and we look forward to learning more about you. Prioritize examples that demonstrate the authentic person behind the application.

    If you participate in an interview, this will be a further opportunity for you to reinforce and supplement this narrative. While not all Darden applicants will participate in an interview, we encourage you to consider how these two phases of the application process complement each other.

  • 3. Acquire Your Transcript

    Unofficial transcripts are fine for the purposes of our application process, and we require transcripts for all degree-related coursework. An unofficial transcript is a transcript issued directly to you. It could be in the form of a PDF download or a document you scan and upload to your application. An official transcript is a transcript issued directly from the institution in question to our office. You will be asked to upload a transcript for each institution you enter in the Education History section of your application.

    If you completed your education at a non-English-speaking institution, you will need to make arrangements to have your academic records translated and sent to our office with the official transcript. All translations must be complete and literal versions of the original records.

    If you matriculate at Darden, we will require you to submit official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions prior to the start of school. But for now, unofficial copies are just fine.

  • 4. Take a Standardized Test

    Standardized Tests

    We accept a number of standardized tests – GMAT, GRE, Executive Assessment (EA), MCAT and LSAT. We encourage candidates to choose the test that best aligns with their strengths, application plans and career goals. Self-reported scores are acceptable for the purposes of our application process, but applicants should also arrange for GMAC, ETS or Pearson VUE to send their official score report directly to the Darden Admissions office. The above graduate-level standardized test scores are viewed equivalently by the admissions committee as part of the application process.

    Candidates are required to report all valid test scores. Candidates are not required to report cancelled or expired test scores. However, you should include cancelled or expired test administrations in the overall test administration counts reported in the Standardized Test section of the application.

    School Codes

    • GMAC: KC7-0X-86 
    • ETS: 4629
    • ACT College Code: 8144
    • TOEFL: 5820 Dept. 02
    • IELTS: 5099

    Test Flexibility: ACT/SAT

    Starting in 2021, all applicants for Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program may submit the SAT or ACT in lieu of the graduate-level standardized tests listed above. When deciding whether or not to apply with an existing SAT or ACT score, we encourage you to take a step back and think about their candidacy as our Admissions Committee will – holistically and objectively. Is your current score one that demonstrates your academic readiness for an MBA curriculum or would your application benefit from having a more recent academic-related data point?

    Additional Resources

  • 5. Sharpen Your Resume

    For applicants with under ten years of professional work experience, a one-page resume is sufficient.

    Remember, we will be evaluating your application holistically, so try to think about your application with this lens as you assemble your materials.

    Consider using your resume to highlight your leadership and impact. What have you accomplished in your roles or responsibilities? Why are these items you have decided to highlight? And whenever possible, try to quantify your results.

    A resume is also an opportunity to display your personality and offer insights about your passions and interests. Hobbies, favorite activities, books you’ve read recently, podcasts you’re currently listening to, countries you’ve visited. It’s all fair game. Including a few of these personal details can help us get a more complete picture of you.

    Additional Resources

  • 6. Identify Your Recommenders

    We require two recommendations as part of our application process.

    Identifying Your Recommenders

    Submit two recommendations from individuals whom you believe can speak directly to your aptitude and capabilities for graduate study and future success as a manager. 

    Identify someone who will help us learn more about your accomplishments and leadership potential through specific examples and anecdotes.

    When choosing your recommenders (and setting expectations), be sure to keep in mind what they will be asked to do. Our recommendation process is completely electronic, and your recommenders fill out two pieces of information — a ratings grid in which they will evaluate you across a set of competencies and a series of short answer questions. The short answer questions are:

    • Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization.
    • How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?
    • Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

    Recommendations are typically the slowest part of the application process, so identify your recommenders well in advance of your target deadline. Make sure they understand why you’re pursuing an MBA in the future, and why you’re interested in Darden. We also suggest sharing a copy of your resume with them. And last but not least: Stay in touch. We find that most recommenders are deadline-oriented, so make sure they know your application timing.

    About the Recommendations Process

    Once you enter your recommenders' information and contact details, they will receive an email with a link to our recommendation materials. Occasionally, this email gets caught in spam filter and does not reach the recommender. In this situation, simply contact our Admissions team ([email protected]) and we will re-send the recommendation link to your recommender.

    Our recommendation process is completely electronic, and your recommendation will automatically associate with your application once the recommendation is submitted. In other words, once you have finished your portion of the application, you may go ahead and submit your materials. However, once you have submitted your application, you will be unable to edit your application or enter additional recommender information.

    You will receive an email notification once your recommender submits their recommendation. You will also notice a green check mark next to their name and information on your Application Status page (a red “X” will display if the recommendation is still pending). 

  • 7. Respond to Our Short Answer Questions

    The 2023-24 application cycle will again feature short answer questions. This part of the application provides a broad platform for applicants to highlight their experiences through multidimensional narratives. These questions are an opportunity to help the Darden Admissions Committee understand who you are and who you will be at Darden.

    1. Community of Belonging: What would you want your classmates to know about you that is not on your resume? (100 words)
    2. Inclusive Impact: Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating a welcoming, global community at Darden. (300 words)
    3. Careers With Purpose: At this time, how would you describe your short-term, post-graduate goals in terms of industry, function, geography, company size and/or mission, and how does it align with the long-term vision you have for your career? (200 words). 

    Remember: We are not reading your responses with a prescribed or “right” answer in mind. This is a chance for us to get to know you. These questions are our opportunity to begin to get a sense of your voice, perspective, experiences and writing ability. In fact, how you choose to answer a particular question is often as insightful as what you choose to write about. The best essay responses not only address the question, but are authentic and genuine. Whenever possible, show don’t tell.

    Favorite Application Tip! Get some feedback on your answers. Share your responses with a friend without telling them the prompts (at least initially). See if they can guess the question based upon your response. If they can, you are well on your way to finalizing your answers!

    Additional Resources

  • 8. Complete the Application

    Now that you have pulled together your supporting materials, focus on filling out your application. This includes everything from providing basic information (address, date of birth, contact details, etc.) to detailing your educational and employment history, uploading your resume, transcripts and test scores, adding your short answer responses and more.

    Once you’ve entered all of this information, take a moment to think about your application holistically. Are there any gaps or ambiguities in the information provided? Consider using the Additional Comments section of your application to provide additional context, if necessary. The Additional Comments section is not an additional essay, just a place to connect the dots.

    Our advice is to be brief, make your point and provide action items if appropriate. Anything you choose to share should be valuable to both you and our Admissions Committee.

    Additional Resources

  • 9. There's No Application Fee!

    There is no fee to apply! Once you've completed your application, hit submit. This cost savings is just one more benefit to our deferred enrollment program.