All applicants are required to submit a recommendation from a military leader or recent employer who knows them well. The purpose is to gain insights into the applicant’s leadership ability and mission focus, moral and ethical compass, and potential to positively impact society after graduation.

Select a recommender who can best provide the following about you:

  • What leadership trait describes how the applicant leads others to accomplish missions?
  • What moral and ethical value best describes the applicant’s character?
  • After the applicant completes their Vanderbilt education, what do you see as their potential for professional success and continued service to society and the nation?


The video statement is your handshake with the selection committee. Use your three minutes to highlight the unique events and growth that shaped you as a military leader, how you would use that experience to mentor Vanderbilt students, and how you plan to use your Vanderbilt education to serve society and the nation in the future. The selection committee will use the video to gain insights into your mentoring ability and potential to serve society after graduation by evaluating your communication skills, poise, and professionalism.

Consider using the following format for your video statement:

  1. Introduce yourself: name, hometown, branch of service, what Vanderbilt graduate school you want to attend.
  2. Speak briefly about your academic record, but only if you feel it is necessary. The Selection Committee has access to your undergraduate degree, institution, grade point average and test scores. It is not necessary to reiterate your academic record, but it is an opportunity to provide influential lessons, context for performance, and your future academic goals.
  3. Focus your video statement on your military service and the values, discipline and mission focus you learned while serving. As a mentor to and role model for other Vanderbilt students, what would you share with them? Why? Consider using a short vignette from your military experience to illustrate your points.
  4. Conclude your video statement with how you will use your education to serve society and the nation after graduation.

Video Tips

  • Dress professionally.
  • Choose a well-lit, quiet area with a clutter-free backdrop.
  • Prepare an outline to guide and focus your presentation.
  • Rehearse your presentation.
  • Have a mentor or trusted friend to review your video statement to provide feedback.
  • Be proactive, plan ahead and avoid procrastination.