Schwarzman Scholar
University students wear traditional garments from the Han Dynasty period while meeting on campus, at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University. Source: Frederic J. Brown/AFP

How do you become a Schwarzman Scholar? While the application process is similar to that of many scholarship programmes, there are a few things to keep in mind. Before we take a deeper look on what, let’s get into what the Schwarzman Scholarship actually is. 

This programme is a fully-funded one-year master’s programme in global affairs at Tsinghua University in China. It is as prestigious as the Rhodes Scholarship and was designed in collaboration with unis such as Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Princeton and Stanford. 

If you deem yourself a prospective leader engaging in global issues with Chinese culture and commerce, then maybe becoming a Schwarzman Scholar is for you. Not only will you hone these analytical and research skills, you’ll get to learn a universal language. 

Another big perk is as a Schwarzman Scholar, you’ll have an entire year to experience China and the best it has to offer. Tsinghua is located in its capital Beijing, home to the 2008 Summer Olympics, sculptural monuments designed by Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas, Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City, and more.

Here are the seven documents you need to apply to become a Schwarzman Scholar:


The resume you submit should show your leadership experience. This can include your academic excellence, intercultural competency, and entrepreneurship through awards, projects, skills, and so on. 

If you have a long list, take note that there will be a specific section for you to highlight key roles, awards and recognition. The resume should take up to two pages so you need to make sure you curate your content accordingly.

Recommendation letters

To become a Schwarzman Scholar, the application requests all applicants include three specific letters:

  • one from a professor on your academic abilities
  • one on your leadership abilities (from employer, mentor, etc)
  • one who can give further insight on your status as a current applicant, akin to an endorsement. 

Statement of purpose

This is an essay of up to 500 words and no more. The questions you should answer here are:

  • what issue is your focus of interest?
  • what are the key elements changing this issue?
  • why are you passionate about this issue?
  • how do you hope to positively impact this from a leadership role?
  • how will being a Schwarzman Scholar advance your goals? 

This statement should lay out how studying in China will help you with your intention and engagement. It is also a good avenue to discuss your development opportunities you plan to take advantage of. 

Leadership essay

This is another essay of up to 750 words where you should outline your capacity as a leader — how you would engage with a problem, identify solutions, and executing them. Here is where you would hone on your skill sets, abilities, and leadership components — providing context for the Schwarzman committee. 

Short answer

In 100 words, this should answer the question: “Tell us something about yourself that we would not otherwise know based on the materials in your application.” This should complement the other written essays, filling gaps with the goal of making your application stand out. 

Biographical profile

The goal of this is to summarise your biggest leadership accomplishments and future aspirations in 100 words. Think of it as an elevator pitch to make you stand out from the rest. 

Video introduction

In a one-minute video, you should introduce yourself in a setting you think conveys your personality the best. Most applicants decide to do this from their institution’s library. 

The main message of the video is to highlight the key points of all your materials for the committee. Usually, the structure would be to state where you’re from, talk about your issue of interest, describe an accomplishment related to it and provide an example of your future aspirations.