The Application

Become a Bezos Scholar  

Every year we select 12 top high school juniors and 12 leading educators from across the US to represent their 12 respective high schools. Successful candidates are ambitious students and educators who bring energy, excellence and a desire to create positive change in their community.

The application period for the 2016 Bezos Scholars Program has closed. Many thanks to everyone who helped spread the word, inspire a student to apply, connected with an educator and more to help generate a strong applicant pool for the 2016 Bezos Scholars Program. We appreciate all of your hard work. Stay tuned for the announcement of our 2016 Scholar Cohort in May!


Applicants must be attending a school that meets the following criteria: 

  • Public High School (including Charter and Magnet schools)
  • At least 30 percent of students are eligible for free/reduced lunch program (this is a firm cutoff)

Student Scholar applicants must meet the following criteria:  

  • Enrolled in a public high school that meets the above criteria
  • Public high school junior during the 2015-16 academic year
  • Legal U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Demonstrate leadership in school and community
  • Have taken at least one of the following tests: PSAT/SAT/ACT or ACT Aspire
  • Be enrolled in or have taken one or more Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) classes or college level courses.
  • Available to participate on all dates

The Application Process

To begin, you will sign up for a login, which will allow you to save and return to your application. The application contains three parts:

  1. Part One includes basic background information; school and out-of-school activities; coursework; test scores and three written responses. There is also a release form that you and your parent/guardian will need to sign and upload. Be sure to have your transcript and test scores readily available so you can enter the information on the application form. 
  2. Part Two includes two letters of recommendation. This part will require you to identify two individuals to submit letters of recommendation for you. You might consider asking a teacher, mentor or community member to complete those two recommendation forms. Please note that applicants are responsible for ensuring that references have enough time to complete the recommendation forms by the deadline.
  3. Part Three is for your Principal and Educator Scholar nominee to complete. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that principals and educators have enough time to complete their forms.

The Selection Committee— a diverse group of big thinkers in education and global advocacy, science, academia, design, media and youth leadership—selects Scholars based on academic achievement, essays and references, along with demonstrated leadership and community engagement.

Key Dates

Dates of interest for 2016 Scholars are noted below.

  • February 16: Complete applications must be received by the Bezos Family Foundation. Late applications are not accepted.
  • March 25: Finalists notified via email to schedule a required telephone interview with Bezos Scholars Program staff.
  • March 28 – April 1: Telephone interviews for finalists.
  • April 13: Conditional acceptance of 12 Student Scholars, contingent on the commitment of an Educator Scholar. Alternate Student Scholars will also be notified.
  • April 15: Student Scholar deadline to confirm/decline conditional acceptance.
  • April 18-22: Educator Scholars notified; required telephone conversations scheduled with Bezos Scholars Program staff.
  • April 29: Educator Scholar deadline to confirm/decline acceptance.
  • May 10: Final Student and Educator Scholars announced.
  • June 25 - July 1: Bezos Scholars attend the 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, CO.

Share This Opportunity

Interested in sharing this opportunity with your school or community? Download a shareable postcard!

Contact with additional questions.