Black Lives Matter. Read our message from the Bezos Scholars team.

Application Information

Applications to apply for the 2021 cohort of Bezos Scholars open on October 21, 2020. The deadline to apply is January 11, 2021. Generally, semi-finalists will be notified by mid-February and 2021 Scholars will be selected by mid-April. A public announcement of the new Scholar cohort is shared on our website in early May.

To send an email inviting someone to apply—or to encourage others to help promote the program—please click on "Share" in "Email this Opportunity". To receive an email when the current application opens, please sign up for our “News & Alerts list”. Use our Social Media Toolkit to easily promote the opportunity on your channels

Once the application is open, to begin, click the “Apply Now” button at the top of the page. Next, enter your name, email, and confirm your eligibility. Then, click “Begin”. This will generate an automated email with your username and instructions on how to create a password. We recommend you use a personal email address since some school email accounts have security settings that may block this email or move it to your junk/spam mailbox. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please first check your junk/spam mailbox before reaching out to us. The online application automatically saves as you go, and you can return to it as needed until the deadline.

We encourage talented, driven, smart, and compassionate young people to apply. Please review detailed eligibility criteria below and reach out to at any time with questions or for help.

Email this Opportunity

News & Alerts List

School & Applicant Eligibility Criteria

Applicant's school must:

  • Be a public high school in the United States (charter and magnet schools are also eligible).
  • Have a 30% or greater free and reduced lunch rate.
  • To encourage equity of opportunity, students attending schools who have had a Scholar selected since 2018 are not eligible to apply. Click here for a full list of current ineligible schools.

    Applicant must:

    • Be a junior during the current academic year and at the time they are applying to the program.
    • Be in good academic standing, on track to become a senior and graduate the following academic year.
    • Not currently attend one of the ineligible schools listed in the above link.
    • Have a proven track record of demonstrated leadership in their school and/or community.
    • Be enrolled in, or have taken, one or more Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or college-level classes.
    • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have received DACA status.
    • Be available to fully participate in the year-long program and attend all dates for the Aspen Ideas Festival trip in Aspen, Colorado, June 25 - July 1*. No exceptions for late arrival or early departure can be made.

    *Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 and with safety being our utmost priority, the Scholars trip to Aspen may not be determined until closer to the departure date. If it is not safe to travel, we will still host a 2021 cohort and offer engaging virtual programming for Scholars during the week that we intended to be in Aspen.

The Bezos Family Foundation believes all young people are born with potential and deserve the experiences and environments needed to learn and thrive. To honor these beliefs we are an equal opportunity employer committed to creating a diverse, inclusive, and accessible environment within our Foundation and with those we serve.

Student Promotion Flyer

Educator Nominee Promotion Flyer

Debbie Gonzales.jpg 2 girls.JPG 2 boys on mountain.JPG
2016 Educator group.JPG Scholars walking.JPG STXI LIF.JPG 2 smiling girls.JPG

The Application Process

Here is an overview of what is required in the application.

Part I: Student Application

  • Requires submitting basic personal contact and demographic information.
  • General school information, including overall school free and reduced lunch rate.*
  • Information on your academics, including:
    • Current unweighted cumulative GPA.
    • Be enrolled in or have completed at least one Honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or college-level course.
  • At least two extra-curricular activities.
  • A two-minute introductory video.
  • Three short written essay responses.
  • Submitting college entrance test scores (PSAT/SAT/ACT) and employment history is optional. If you are unable or choose not to submit test scores or employment history, your application will still receive full consideration.

*Overall school free and reduced lunch rate refers to the percentage of students at your school who currently receive free and reduced lunch. If you do not know your school's current rate, please ask a school staff person in your attendance office or cafeteria.

Part II: Educator Nominee Confirmation and Form

Applicants will need to identify and nominate a trusted adult from their school to become their educator nominee. Educators will be required to go to Aspen with students, participate fully in the year-long program, and collaborate with them and the teams they build to help develop and launch community change projects.

Learn who is eligible to be nominated and how to ask someone to be your educator nominee.

Please refer the person you've asked to be your educator nominee here, so that they can learn more about the role, program commitments, and Educator Scholar experience. You can also download and use the Educator Nominee Promotion flyer (linked above) when encouraging potential nominees.

Not sure who to ask? Or is the individual you've asked not able to commit to program requirements? Solicit suggestions on who you could nominate from trusted people at your school and in your community.

Part III: Recommendation

Applicant's will need to identify one person to submit a recommendation on their behalf. This person should know them well and have seen them thrive in a leadership position, successfully manage responsibilities, and collaborate well with others.

Learn who is eligible to provide a recommendation and how to ask someone to provide one.

Check out our FAQ section to learn more about the application process, what to include to submit a competitive application, and more about the free college advising Student Scholars are offered. Review the timeline page for an overview of the Scholar selection process for the year-long program for selected Scholars. Lastly, review the program's impact on students and educators.

Student and Educator Program Commitment:

Student applicants and their educator nominees are asked to evaluate and confirm their capacity to fully participate from May of the student's junior year to May of their senior year. Their commitment generally entails the following:

  • Engaging a specific community; identifying a collective need and how to make a meaningful impact on that need.
  • Attending the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado, from June 25 - July 1, 2021 (all-expenses-paid) if it is safe to travel at that time. If it is not safe to travel, students and educators agree to participate in virtual program offerings during the same time frame.
  • Dedicating between 5-20 hours per month on program-related activities throughout the year (Scholars and Educators). This includes attending two to three virtual sessions a month that are one to three hours long, and monthly check-in calls with other Scholars and the Bezos Scholars Program team.
  • Building a team from their community to help develop and launch a community change project.
  • Submitting a grant proposal and other funding deliverables identified by the program related to the community change project.
2018 student educator team shot.JPG 2019 student educator.jpg
2016 ALA team.jpg

The Selection Process

The Bezos Scholars Program is seeking passionate and intellectually curious young people who are rising leaders in their schools and communities. We value cultural, racial, socioeconomic, geographic, and gender diversity among applicants and seek to select a cohort that reflects the diversity across the United States.

A selection committee comprised of a diverse group of leaders in the fields of education, youth leadership and development, science, the arts, and Bezos Scholars alumni evaluate and recommend candidates.

Review what the committee looks for when selecting Scholars.

This was truly a life-changing experience. I left Aspen knowing I now have a family that will always support me, and feeling confident that my fellow Scholars are making a tangible difference in the world. – Eric Tran, 2017 Bezos Scholar