Personal Information

The strongest applications are transparent, self-aware, and embody an authentic voice and world view. You will start your application by telling us basic information about yourself.

Demographic Information

This includes:

  • Birthdate
  • Citizenship status
  • Social Security number (for U.S. citizens and permanent residents only)
  • Contact information

Background and Perspective

Next, we ask you to tell us about a time when your background influenced your participation at work or school. Your answer should give us a bit of context about who you are and how your story has evolved.

This is a brief opportunity to reflect on one aspect of your background, such as your education, upbringing, skills, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or ethnicity, and how it influenced the way you participate in the world. Give us insight into the lens you would bring to Stanford GSB.

Career Aspiration

We ask you to provide a brief summary of what you aspire to do after graduating.

Many of our students use their year to:

  • Accelerate within a field where they have significant experience
  • Pursue an entrepreneurial or start-up venture
  • Build knowledge to pivot to a different industry, geography, or function

Your own exploration and vision will be more specific to your background and goals. And while your aspirations may evolve, we want to ensure you are realistic in how you envision using one year at Stanford to advance your goal. Whatever you are not able to capture in this short statement can be further described in your second essay.


Activities provide insights into your personal and professional achievements and demonstrate your initiative to build knowledge and support others. In this section, detail the significant activities that are not included in your work history in order of their importance to you. These activities may include:

  • Athletics
  • Charitable giving
  • Civic duties
  • Volunteering for nonprofit or professional organizations

Awards and Honors

Share up to five honors or awards you have received that are related to academic, civic, or professional activities. List them in the order of importance to you, and for each, provide the basis of selection criteria.

shining lightbulb

Student Tip: Use Your Performance Reviews

“Go back through your past performance reviews or calendar and take note of awards and honors you may have forgotten about. List the activities where you spent significant portions of your time.”

— Megan Goering, MS ’19