Yes, we ask that no more than two students per school submit an application. If there are multiple eligible students at a school, we suggest the school host an internal selection process to identify the top two candidates to move forward with submitting an application.
Only students who are juniors at a public high school during the current academic year may apply.
No. The educator nominee must be a principal, vice principal, guidance counselor, or classroom teacher from the student's high school who intends to work at the high school during the following academic year.
Educators submit their nominating information as part of the student's application. The student will be provided a link to send to the educator they nominate. This link is unique and tied to the specific student’s application. The form includes basic questions about background, teaching style, and a few short written responses.
Scores from at least one of these standardized tests are required as part of the application. An unofficial copy of your score report is sufficient—we do not require an official copy from ETS.
Applications must be completed and submitted by February 9, 2018. A complete application includes all parts of the application, including the principal's letter of support, the educator nominee form, and two letters of recommendation.
To start an application, you must first affirm eligibility and create a profile. Your profile allows you to save and return to your application any time prior to the deadline. Once you submit your application, it can no longer be edited. The application contains two parts:
This part includes basic background information, school details, coursework, standardized test scores, extra-curricular activities, and three written responses. Be sure to have unofficial copies of transcripts and test scores to upload.
In order to demonstrate support for your application, your school principal must complete a short form with information about your school.
You must also nominate an educator to partner with you as a Scholar; the educator will join you in Aspen and support you in the year to come.
You must identify two people to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. You might consider asking a teacher, mentor, or community member to submit a letter of recommendation.
Links are provided in the application for you to send the online forms directly to these individuals.
Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that your principal, educator, and those submitting letters of recommendation do so before the application deadline.
To date there have been more than 300 Bezos Scholars and educators!
Applications will be read carefully by members of an external election committee. The committee—comprised of a diverse group of leaders in education, global advocacy, science, design, media, and youth leadership—will select finalists based on academic rigor, written responses, demonstrated leadership, community engagement, and submitted recommendations.
We’re seeking passionate and intellectually curious young people, who are rising leaders in their schools and communities. We value cultural, racial, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity among applicants and schools.
In an effort to provide this opportunity to a broader number of schools, priority will be given to schools that have not had a Bezos Scholar in the previous two years.
We’re looking for high school students who are independent thinkers, demonstrated leaders, and engaged community members. Be sure to show how this opportunity will serve you as an aspiring leader! Top applicants:
June 23 – June 29, 2018. Selected students and educators are required to attend all dates of the programming in Aspen. The Bezos Scholars Program exclusively covers costs associated with lodging, and travel to and from Aspen, Colorado on the required dates of attendance at the Aspen Ideas Festival. The Bezos Scholars Program does not cover any travel costs or accommodate travel outside of program dates, nor any travel not associated directly with attending or returning from the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Arrive with a big appetite for new ideas and inspiration! On the Aspen Institute campus, Scholars and educators attend seven days of seminars, tutorials, lectures, and debates, and Scholar-exclusive conversations and meals with provocative thinkers, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and change-agents from around the world. Scholars teams are encouraged to attend Aspen Ideas Festival sessions of their choosing. In addition, tailored, interactive personal and team leadership development training prepares Scholar teams for the challenge ahead: creating sustainable community change projects, known as a Local Ideas Festival. Days begin early and end late! Aspen is at high altitude, and is located 8,000 ft above sea level. Days are often sunny, morning and evenings are often cool - but dry.
Aspen is remarkable year-round, but summer is especially beautiful! At an elevation of 8,000 feet, days in the Rockies will be warm and sunny with cooler mornings and nights. Scholars spend days on the Aspen Institute campus, and evenings at various locations on campus and around town. There are cottonwood and aspen trees everywhere, blanketing the town in what appears to be "summer snow," and often aggravates outdoor allergies.
Successful Festivals are an intersection of a true community need and a Scholar's passions. We encourage Scholars and educators to spend time gathering information from their community, however defined, before choosing a Festival theme.
Successful Local Ideas Festivals are different for each student and educator team. Scholars embrace a wide range of issues, including STEM education, literacy, environmental issues, peer mentoring, immigration rights, and more. Success is measured by the Local Ideas Festival achieving goals the team establishes at the beginning, such as measurable increase in community engagement, a certain number of attendees at a given event, or establishing a school club by a given date. We urge Scholars to focus on sustainability, by designing Festivals that grow and evolve year after year. Check out these videos to see examples of successful Festivals.
Scholars and educators function as a collaborative team throughout the year. Beginning even before Aspen, Scholar teams work to identify issues and ideas that resonate with their defined community. Then, in Aspen, both students and educators participate in personal and team leadership development exercises, work together to brainstorm themes and ideas for their Local Ideas Festival, and participate in all the Aspen Ideas Festival offers. Returning home, Scholars build a broader team of students and school staff to support the creation and execution of their community change project.
After returning home from the Aspen Ideas Festival, Scholars write a grant proposal for a $1,000 school award. With support from the Bezos Scholars Program team, Scholars submit their grant proposal, complete a progress report in January, and final report in June. Scholars are also encouraged to seek additional funding from their community, including in-kind donations. The award is made to the Scholar's school or a related 501(c)3 organization, such as a PTA. Schools are eligible to receive $1,000 each year, for up to three years, to continue their Festivals. Schools continuing their Festivals and seeking funding must also complete a grant application.
There are no hidden fees or costs. The Bezos Scholars Program covers ALL expenses, including airfare, transportation, lodging, meals, and festival fees for both students and educators for all days of the Aspen Ideas Festival. Scholars and educators are responsible for any costs associated with travel to and from their home airports and day-of travel expenses, such as snacks. The Bezos Scholars Program does not accommodate travel outside of designated program dates.
The Bezos Scholars Program was founded in 2005 by the Bezos Family Foundation. It is funded and run by the Bezos Family Foundation and hosted by the Aspen Institute, a global forum for leadership and that promotes the spirit of inquiry and dialogue.
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