Schwarzman Scholars

Award Information

“There is no better way than through the development of the next generation of leaders to ensure mutual respect and understanding going forward. That is the critical mission of the schwarzman scholars.”

Condoleezza Rice, 66th United States Secretary of State


Schwarzman Scholars are selected on the basis of not only their academic aptitude and intellectual ability, but also their leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, ability to anticipate and act on emerging trends and opportunities, exemplary character, and desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions.

Courses (taught in English) were developed for students of exceptional caliber and include a core curriculum to help participants better understand the role of China in a globalizing world. Students will also work with faculty advisors and tutors to design a set of individual concentration courses that reflect the scholar’s professional and academic interests. Concentration courses will focus on one of three broad fields; Public Policy, Economics and Business or International Studies.

Up to 200 Schwarzman Scholarships can be awarded annually. They cover tuition, fees, room and board, travel to and from Beijing at the beginning and end of the academic year, in-country study tours, required course books and supplies, a Lenovo laptop and smartphone, health insurance, and a modest personal stipend.


For a complete list of eligibility requirements, please consult the Schwarzman website. In general, students should:

  • Have their undergraduate degree successfully completed by August 1.
  • Be at least 18 but not yet 29 years of age as of August 1.

—Back to Award Introduction—


Are you a potential Schwarzman Scholar? Learn more about this nationally competitive, distinguished scholarship and the processes involved in applying for it. You should:

  1. Review the goals and criteria of the Schwarzman Scholars program.
  2. Become familiar with all of the useful information about the Schwarzman Scholars website at Be sure to:
    1. Review the application guidelines section.
    2. Determine how you will demonstrate your leadership skills with specific examples.
    3. Carefully review the actual online Schwarzman Scholars application after it has opened in mid-April.
  3. Take actions that demonstrate commitment to the goals of the Schwarzman Scholars program. This means getting involved—preferably beginning your freshman year. Your involvement might include campus, research, and community activities. Stay involved and commit to a few key things. Assume leadership roles. Make a difference. If possible, secure a paid job in your academic area of interest.
  4. Maintain a good GPA, particularly in your major.
  5. Attend a Schwarzman Scholar workshop offered by the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program.
  6. Schedule a meeting with the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program. Send an email to

—Back to Award Introduction—

Application Process:
Multiple Steps with Deadlines over Several Months

Applying for a Schwarzman Scholarship is a process. Throughout, you will gain valuable insights into your strengths and goals. The WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program will provide you support throughout the process.

  • Step One: Gather Key Materials

    Deadline: March 11

    Well in advance of this date, you must prepare by studying Schwarzman Scholars information online and considering your related accomplishments. No later than this date, you must submit key application materials to the Director of Distinguished Scholarships. This includes your:

    1. Personal essay that explains why the Schwarzman is the distinguished scholarship that you seek, and are qualified for, this year. Describe both your short-term objectives for the 1-3 years after the program and your long-term aspirations. Also address how the Schwarzman Scholars program and deeper knowledge of China will help advance your goals. (750 words maximum.)
    2. Leadership essay. Focus on longer term projects and challenges and provide specific examples of your initiative to act, ability to envision solutions, inspire others to join an effort, and push through resistance challenges in reaching results. (750 words maximum.)
    3. Current affairs essay. Make a realistic recommendation of how local, national, or international leaders should intervene should address an issue in contemporary social, international, business, environmental, diplomatic, arts, or other policy that is of interest to you. (500 words maximum.)
    4. List of four-to-six (4-6) recommenders. (These are people who personally know you well enough to write a strong letter of recommendation for your Schwarzman Scholars application.) Four letters will ultimately be submitted, but having extra recommenders gives you backup options. Note that the Schwarzman Scholars application has two special requirements for letters of recommendation:
      1. While all of your recommenders must be able to comment on the your leadership qualities from first-hand knowledge, at least one recommender must comment on the specific examples of leadership described in your application.
      2. For currently enrolled undergraduated students, one of the four letters should be an institutional letter of recommendation. The Distinguished Scholarship program will oversee the preparation of this institutional endorsement letter, but we recommend that you become familiar with its criteria.
    5. Updated résumé or academic vita.
  • Step Two: Meet with Director to Review Submitted Materials.

    Deadline: Late March

    1. Contact the director of Distinguished Scholarships program to arrange a meeting.
  • Step Three: Review by the Selection Committee.

    Deadline: Early April

    1. Application materials will be reviewed by the Distinguished Scholarships Selection Committee. Note: Not all applicants will be selected. WSU will only nominate students who are chosen by the reviewers to represent the university. You will be notified in mid-April whether you will be put forward as a university-nominated applicant.
  • Step Four: Finalize Letters of Recommendation.

    Deadline for Receipt: June 1

    No later than this date, you must make any necessary arrangements for the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program to receive:

    1. Final versions of four-to-six (4-6) letters of recommendation supporting your Schwarzman Scholars application; each recommender may mail or email their document directly to the Distinguished Scholarships program director.
  • Step Five: Have Your Transcripts Sent.

    Deadline: June 1

    Not later than this date, you must make any necessary arrangements so that the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program will receive:

    1. One (1) official transcript from every college/university where you have received academic credit; the institution(s) must mail or email the document directly to the program director.
  • Step Six: Application Review

    April – June

    During these months, you, as a nominee, will have the opportunity to revise your application materials based on feedback from the reviewers and other faculty members. You will work closely with the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program to:

    1. Revise, re-draft, and then finalize your personal essay, leadership essay, and current affairs essay.
  • Step Seven: WSU Endorsement.

    Late June

    Each WSU student who has been chosen by the Distinguished Scholarships Selection Committee to apply as a Schwarzman Scholar must meet with the Distinguished Scholarships Endorsement Committee. The director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program will arrange for you to:

    1. Meet in person with members of the Distinguished Scholarships Endorsement Committee, who then prepare the institutional endorsement letter nominating you as an applicant from WSU.
  • Step Eight: Prepare Your Video


    Note: submission of a video is strongly recommended but not required.

    1. Record a video of up to one minute in length that introduces yourself as a candidate. The video can be in any style or setting, so choose one that best conveys your interests and personality. Note: the file must be less than 20MB in order for you to upload it to the application.
  • Step Nine: Submit Your Application.

    Early September (i.e., 7-10 days prior to that year’s Schwarzman Scholars deadline)

    To complete final application tasks, you must:

    1. Complete the Schwarzman Scholars online application by uploading your video, final essays and carefully filling in all fields.

    You must also make any necessary arrangements for the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program to receive:

    1. Your recent portrait. It must be no larger than two inches wide by three inches tall (2×3) and that is high resolution (no less than 300 dpi; so it should be at least 600×900 pixels in scale). The director will help you arrange for such a photo if you do not have an acceptable one.

    The director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarship Program will:

    1. Complete a thorough review of your application materials and contact you by phone with any concerns.
    2. Confirm with your recommenders that they have completed their letters and submitted them online directly to the Schwarzman organization.
    3. Submit to Schwarzman your WSU nomination letter as well as university transcripts.
  • Step Ten: Notify Director.

    Upon announcement of Schwarzman Scholar interviews and, later on, awardees

    When you receive notification whether you are being interviewed for a Schwarzman Scholarship (or, later on, that you have been awarded), you should:

    1. Notify the director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program. This allows the director to determine any next steps to be taken.

—Back to Award Introduction—