UVA Darden: Future Year Scholars Deferred MBA Program

Considering applying to Darden's Future Year Scholars Deferred MBA Program? Look no further! In this guide, we delve into important information about the program, key deadlines, and tips for maximizing your application.

Posted March 12, 2024

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What is the Future Year Scholars Program?

The Darden Future Year Scholars program is designed for students who have just completed their undergraduate education and are planning to pursue a MBA degree in the future, typically after gaining 2-5 years of work experience.

Darden’s Future Year Scholars provides many benefits for students:

  1. Early assurance – participants are guaranteed a spot in the MBA program once they complete the deferral period and meet any specified requirements.
  2. Consideration for merit-based awards at the time of admission with additional opportunities for scholarship consideration at the time of matriculation.
  3. Individualized career support.
  4. Access to Darden’s student and alumni network, comprising 18,000+ people spanning 90 countries around the world.
  5. Networking opportunities with Future Year Scholars, current students, faculty and alumni at Darden events.

Read our full Darden MBA guide here for an in-depth look into the school and application process: The University of Virginia Darden School of Business — MBA Program & Application Overview

Admit Profile

Committed Applicants: 74

Countries Represented: 10

International: 32%

Women: 36%

Average Age: 22

Average GMAT: 707

Average GPA: 3.78

Average GRE: 325

Non-Business Bachelor’s Degrees: 61%

Schools Represented: 43

Most Common Schools Represented: UVA, Cornell, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Wash U. St. Louis

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Application Details (2023-2024)

Application Deadline: TBD

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Application Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Select Your Deadline
  • Review Application
  • Acquire Your Transcript
  • Take a Standardized Test
  • Sharpen Your Resume
  • Identify 2 Recommenders
  • Respond to Short Answer Questions
  • Complete the Application
  • Interview (Invitation Only)

Please note that there is no application fee to apply to Darden’s Future Year Scholar Program.


The application process for the Future Year Scholars program is accessible to all candidates who meet the criteria outlined below:

  • Any bachelor's degree student in their final year of study
  • Any full-time masters student that has not held a full-time work position

Students who graduate between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023 are eligible to apply in spring 2023, even if they begin full-time employment after their graduation.

Who is Darden Looking For?

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

Coach Recommendations

The best way to nail your deferred MBA applications is to work one-on-one with an admissions coach. They'll be able to provide in-depth, customized guidance based on your personal background, budget, and goals. Below are some of our most popular admissions coaches, browse all of them here.

Why Darden?

The Darden School of Business stands out for several reasons that make it a compelling choice for individuals seeking to further their education and career in business:

  1. Academic Excellence: Darden is renowned for its rigorous and comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes case-based learning. The school has a strong reputation for delivering high-quality business education and fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  2. Faculty Expertise: Darden boasts a distinguished faculty composed of accomplished scholars, practitioners, and thought leaders in various business fields. Their expertise and industry connections contribute to a dynamic learning experience.
  3. Case Method: Darden is known for its unique case method approach to teaching, which immerses students in real-world business scenarios. This method helps students develop practical skills and insights they can directly apply in their careers.
  4. Collaborative Learning Environment: The school promotes a collaborative and tight-knit community among students, faculty, and staff. This sense of community fosters meaningful connections and lifelong friendships, enhancing the overall learning experience.
  5. Global Perspective: Darden offers opportunities for global learning, including international residencies and projects. This exposure to different business cultures and practices prepares students to thrive in a globalized business world.
  6. Career Support: Darden provides robust career services to help students achieve their post-MBA goals. The Future Year Scholars Program offers individualized career support to assist students in aligning their professional aspirations with their Darden experience.
  7. Network: Being part of the Darden community grants you access to a diverse and influential network of alumni, faculty, and fellow students. This network can open doors to numerous opportunities throughout your career.
  8. Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Darden encourages innovation and entrepreneurship through various programs and resources, making it an attractive choice for individuals interested in launching their own ventures or driving innovation within established organizations.
  9. Reputation: Darden has a solid reputation in the business world, consistently ranking among the top business schools nationally and globally. The school's reputation can positively impact your job prospects and overall career trajectory.
  10. Engaging Campus and Culture: The UVA campus and Charlottesville provide a vibrant and engaging backdrop for your education. The rich history, cultural events, and natural beauty of the area enhance the overall experience of being a Darden student.

In this video, current Darden students discuss why they chose to attend UVA; these are great points to consider touching on in your application materials.

Common Questions

  • 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.
  • How does Darden think about standardized tests and does Darden have a test preference?
    • Standardized tests are just one piece of information in a broad, holistic application review process, and one way for a candidate to demonstrate their readiness for an MBA curriculum. The Admissions Committee accepts the following tests – GMAT, GRE, EA, MCAT, LSAT, SAT and ACT – and applicants are encouraged to choose the test that best aligns with their strengths, background and application plans.
  • Should I apply with my existing SAT or ACT score?
    • It depends. When approaching the application process, we encourage candidates to first take a step back and think about their candidacy as our Admissions Committee will – holistically and objectively. This is particularly important when it comes to demonstrating your academic readiness for an MBA curriculum. As you may know, at Darden, there is a required core curriculum that includes both quantitative and qualitative courses, and, as an Admissions Committee, we want to make sure we are putting each student in a position for success during their time at Darden. There are a number of ways for a candidate to demonstrate their academic readiness for an MBA curriculum through their application materials, including degree-related coursework, non-degree-related coursework (MOOCs, Coursera, MBA Math, etc.) and professional certifications. Standardized test scores are another important consideration and when it comes to submitting an existing SAT or ACT score or choosing to take a new test, you will want to think about your current scores and whether you would benefit from having a more recent academic-related data point. Furthermore, for candidates looking to differentiate themselves amongst a competitive pool for merit based scholarship, you may want to consider taking a graduate standardized test. Test scores can offer the Scholarship Committee another factor to weigh when making these awards, and, for candidates seeking to maximize their opportunity for a scholarship, having a GMAT or GRE score can provide an additional data point for the Scholarship Committee when conducting this evaluation. Lastly, when deciding which test to submit, you will also want to consider whether your post-MBA career goals include working in an industry that requests a GMAT/GRE score as part of the recruiting process.
  • What is the minimum accepted TOEFL score?
    • We do not have a minimum requirement, but the average TOEFL is 106. TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date.
  • 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 a positive indicator no matter when it is received. Candidates for the Future Year Scholars Program may interview with a member of the admissions staff. All interviews will be conducted virtually for the foreseeable future.
  • What is the interview format?
    • Our interviews are 30–45 minutes in length and your interviewer will not have read your application nor resume. It is our policy to conduct anonymous interviews, so there is no need to send or bring in your resume to the interview.
  • 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 2-5 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 2-5 years immediately upon acceptance?
    • 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.

Where Can I Start?

Applying to any MBA program can be a stressful, time-consuming, and costly process. That is why, here at Leland, we have lots of resources available to help you along the journey.

Read these articles to start your deferred MBA journey:

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