The Atlas Fellowship

For curious students who want to understand how the world works—and change it.

November 2023 Update

The Atlas Fellowship is winding down.

Dear Atlas Fellows, parents, and supporters,

After careful deliberation, we have decided not to run any future Atlas Fellowship programs.

It was a difficult decision, but I believe it is ultimately the right one because:
• I hoped to scale our program to hundreds of talented students per year. The funding landscape for programs like Atlas has changed and is unlikely to support such scaling.
• Our program succeeded at empowering exceptional young talent to pursue ambitious projects aimed at large-scale problems—but we succeeded to a
lesser degree than I initially hoped.
• With rapid advances in AI capabilities, I and other  staff think we will have a greater impact by ensuring advanced AI is developed
safely, and we plan to pursue career opportunities in this area.

This is not a decision we are taking lightly. We reached this conclusion after long conversations with fellows and advisors, thorough evaluation of our program impacts, and careful consideration of alternatives.

While I feel confident that this is the right decision, it is not an easy one. I have personally found the Atlas programs to be incredibly exciting and inspiring environments, unlike anything else I’ve experienced in my life before. I am immensely grateful to:
• the instructors who came up with uniquely challenging and inspiring sessions that covered important gaps in our education system,
• the staff who supported our operations and allowed for unique experiences by fulfilling unconventional requests,
• our funders, who trusted and encouraged us to ambitiously pursue and implement a novel program,
• the parents for their trust and support,
• and most importantly, our brilliant fellows who made our programs truly magical and surprised me again and again with wonderful and fun moments, challenging me intellectually and allowing me to learn from them.

If you are a current high schooler who was hoping to apply to Atlas, here are a few ideas for how you can get exposure to aspects of Atlas:
• Have a look at our 
community opportunities,
• Read some of the books from our
• Go through our list of

Even though the Atlas programs are over, the Atlas spirit lives on—in the analytical thinking that will help us make sense of the world, in our future work on large-scale challenges, and in our fellows community that will allow us to find allies and friends—hopefully for a lifetime.

Thanks—it’s been an incredible adventure!

3, 2, 1, progress,
Co-founder, Atlas Fellowship

Spend 11 days exploring ideas and launching long-term projects with other motivated high school students.

Fellows (up to 100 students) receive: 
• A $10,000 scholarship
• A community of curious people who investigate challenging questions and build ambitious projects
• A completely free 11-day program on topics like AI, epistemology, and personal growth in the San Francisco Bay Area, taking place July 15–26 and August 8–19

Finalists (up to 100 students) receive: 
• A $1,000 scholarship
• A free book from the Atlas Library


• High school students aged 13-19 from across the world (including people on gap years).
• We encourage students to apply if they worked on challenging projects, have explored intellectual topics, or did well on olympiads or competitions.
• If you come from a nontraditional background, please apply!


We have four summer sessions available for Atlas Fellows: June 12–23, July 3–14, July 17–28, and August 14–25, 2022.

Summer 2022


Our summer program is hosted at Piedmont Commons, located right next to UC Berkeley.

Berkeley, California


The first stage takes just 30–60 minutes, the full application (with two written stages and 1–2 video interviews) takes 5 hours. 

‍This is not a college application: we are looking for fresh and weird arguments, analytical thinking, and solutions to fun puzzles—not polished essays.

Applications are currently closed. Sign up for newsletter to be notified if we open applications again.

Sign up for our newsletter
blue arrow right
In-Person Program

Fellows are invited to a fully-funded program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A program to develop big-picture thinking, held right next to the University of California Berkeley campus.

How can you make the most of college? What can Bayes’ theorem teach us about generating knowledge? When will large language models win gold in the IMO? And what can we learn from China’s history about ending global poverty?

We aim to understand the forces that shape the world and the ways people have come to understand how the world works.

We don’t just want you to memorize a collection of facts—we want to help you improve your ability to confront tangled data and draw your own conclusions from it.

This year’s program will have a special focus on artificial intelligence.

Our Mission

Empower exceptional students to understand and change our future.

Like an atlas, we help you navigate the world: in our programs, fellows practice careful reasoning that enables them to make sense of confusing evidence, mitigate cognitive biases, and develop accurate beliefs that map onto reality.

Together, we then apply these analytical tools to global challenges that we think are important, such as global poverty, existential risks to humanity, risks from advanced AI, or the reform of economic institutions.

But most importantly, we hope that Atlas Fellows will discover important problems and solutions beyond our own understanding. We believe that thoughtful young people can fix the parts of our civilization that are broken—so we want to raise their ambitions and empower them with tools, resources, and a community.
About Us

The Atlas Fellowship is a highly selective scholarship for students interested in science, philosophy, and the future.

Our team has run numerous programs for students around the world—including five 11-day programs in 2022 for 111 Atlas Fellows from 18 countries.

The Atlas Fellowship is funded by Open Philanthropy, a large philanthropic organization in the US.

What I liked the most about Atlas was feeling the spirit of continuous desire to discover, present in everything from the application to the summer program itself. The selection process drew me in through articles making me question things I usually took for granted.

Adelina (Moldova, 18)
Atlas Fellow 2022, IChO and EGMO medalist
Jason (17, Singapore)
Atlas Fellow 2022
Atlas Fellow 2022
“I helped develop a proposal for an international AI verification agency”

Inspired by the Atlas content about artificial general intelligence, and the agency and ambition the fellowship espoused, I helped develop a proposal for an international AI verification agency as part of a report for the UNDRR.

Kushal (19, India)
Atlas Fellow 2022
Atlas Fellow 2022
“among the most valuable 10 days of my life”

The summer program was among the most valuable 10 days of my life. We thought about ‘big if true’ ideas, played board games and laser tag, found arbitrages in prediction markets, played around with AI models, debated our wackiest beliefs, and made damn good friends with unique, unusually thoughtful people from all across the world.

Laura (17, Canada)
Atlas Fellow 2022
Atlas Fellow 2022
“Atlas contains the highest concentration of interesting students”

Atlas contains the highest concentration of smart, thoughtful, and interesting high school students in one place I’ve encountered. The program will have a lasting impact on my decision-making, rationality, and confidence to discuss my opinions openly, both from the lesson content and the wonderful conversations with instructors and fellows. I made a video about my experience at Atlas!

Adelina (19, Moldova)
Atlas Fellow 2022
Atlas Fellow 2022
“an ongoing desire to discover”

I found in Atlas the spirit of an ongoing desire to discover. It made me question beliefs I took for granted and exposed me to ideas in rationality, AI safety, and the world’s future, constantly inspiring me to learn about things outside my existing interests.

back arrow
forward arrow

The Atlas Fellowship’s unique emphasis on casual discussion and individual thinking was at once invigorating, exhilarating, and inspiring. The fascinating concepts I learned and debated with my peers in this community led me on pathways to the impact that I’ve always wanted to make.

Jamie Kim (17)
Atlas Fellow 2022
Student profile picture

We can make a larger impact together than we can alone.

Vestibulum pulvinar ante auctor, vulputate dui sed condimentum ex nullam pharetra suscipit entum integer vitae sapien vel est commodo
Aspiring Geneticist
Drone Mapping Expert
Aspiring Geneticist
Award-winning Creative Writer
former program participant
Ocean Conservationist
Aspiring Geneticist
Healthcare advocate
Proud program participant
Aspiring Geneticist
Aspiring Geneticist
Accelerate Your Career

Fellowship Award

We want Atlas Fellows to have access to the resources they need to think clearly about the world and achieve their goals. For example, crafting more thoughtful college and career plans, launching personal projects and startups, and learning things that aren’t taught in school.
$10,000 Scholarship

Receive a $10,000 scholarship for use on education and professional development-related expenses such as tuition, tutoring, project equipment, or travel to conferences.

11-day Program

Discuss artificial intelligence, US-China relations, futures studies, and your career plans with 20–30 other Atlas Fellows at an 11-day program in the San Francisco Bay Area. The program runs July 15–26 and August 8–19, and if we receive many high-quality applications, also November 6–17 and December 16–24. Food, housing, transportation, visas, and all other costs to participate will be covered.


You’ll have the opportunity to join an 8-week Atlas Project with other Fellows: read and discuss essays about meaning and belonging, model infectious diseases with mentorship from a professor, or study deep learning with the support of a top-rated tutor. Projects are set up and run by Fellows, with support from the Atlas team.


Join our daily active Discord server with Atlas Fellows from current and previous application rounds. Find co-founders and collaborators, or discuss topics such as recent developments in artificial intelligence, global supply chain resilience, or public goods funding.

Atlas Fund

Access a fund that offers fast grants and investments to help Fellows learn, experiment, and launch innovative projects and start-ups.

For investments, we partner with Metaplanet VC. We can make grants and investments in the United States and many other countries, but we may occasionally decline awards to comply with the local laws of specific countries.

Career & College Guidance

Work with experienced mentors who try to help you identify ambitious, impactful work and internship opportunities that are a good fit for your skills and interests. Receive support for applying to top US and UK colleges, and advice for making the most of college.


We have four summer sessions available for Atlas Fellows: June 12–23, July 3–14, July 17–28, and August 14–25, 2022.

Summer 2022


Our summer program is hosted at Piedmont Commons, located right next to UC Berkeley.

Berkeley, California

Atlas Library

Receive free hardcopy books from our library, covering topics from math and science to how to make better decisions to the history and future of humankind.

The Process

2023 Application Timeline

May 14
Stage 1: Preliminary Application

Time Commitment: 30–60 minutes

Applicants will know if they’ve proceeded to Stage 2 within three weeks of submitting. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis, so we recommend completing Stage 1 earlier, leaving more time for Stage 2.

We accept late applications until May 14. You will still be required to complete stage 2 by May 16.

Start Now
May 16
Stage 2: Written Application

Time Commitment: 2–5 hours

Are aliens more likely to enjoy the taste of our food or the sound of our music? In Stage 2, you’ll write short written answers and get a taste of the content at Atlas. If you enjoy thinking about the questions and concepts in the application, you’ll probably enjoy our in-person program.

May 22–28
Stage 3: Interviews

Time Commitment: 30–90 minutes

Selected students will participate in a 30 minute individual video interview, and possibly further individual or group interviews. Applicants will be able to select a time slot that works best for them. No preparation is needed.

June 10
Fellows Selected

June 10 2023

All applicants will be notified of their application status. Fellows will receive instructions on how to sign up for the summer program and claim their $10,000 scholarship.

Aspiring Geneticist
Drone Mapping Expert
Debate Champion
Aspiring Geneticist
Award-winning Creative Writer
former program participant
Ocean Conservationist
AI and ML Enthusiast
Award-winning Creative Writer
Healthcare advocate
Proud program participant
Youth Coordinator
Policy Researcher
Healthcare advocate
High school student with nice things to say about the Atlas Fellowship

Atlas gave me a valuable community, novel ideas, and opportunities I never knew existed—and I think it's safe to say that those ten days changed my life's trajectory more than any other.

Samuel Cottrell
Summer Program Beta Tester
Who we’re looking for

Promising Candidates

Students who possess some of the traits and inclinations listed below, or are determined to develop them, will be great fits for the Atlas Fellowship. A promising applicant probably possesses at least three of these traits, though we expect many exceptions and these are merely guidelines.

Intellectual ability

Indicators of this include working on a passion project that displays deep knowledge or skills, conducting original research, winning competitions (in debating, coding, etc.), STEM olympiad medals, or exceptional competitive exam performance (PSAT 1420+, SAT 1500+, ACT 34+, or similar). That said, even if you’re from a nontraditional background and haven’t had the chance to excel in any of these ways, just try the problems in our application—if you can solve them, you’ll do well on our application!


When faced with a challenge, do you invent and pursue your own solutions without being prompted or told to do so? Have you worked on ambitious projects on your own?

An affinity for truth

Do you seek out ideas that challenge your opinions? If you find evidence that contradicts your opinions, do you eagerly update your beliefs? Do you enjoy learning and exploring?

Intellectual curiosity

Do you have a deep knowledge of plants, or the customs of medieval Chinese peasants, or statistical mechanics? Do you wonder what keeps us from falling through the floor, or why plants are green as opposed to red or black, or why the enlightenment didn’t happen thousands of years earlier?

What we're all about

Sound Interesting? Get the latest news and updates about the Atlas Fellowship application process.

* We'll send you helpful application pointers, not spam.
What we're all about

Do you know someone who might be interested? Please nominate them.

Nominate before 30 April 2023, ideally sooner.
Nominating someone does not improve their chances of being selected.
Who we're looking for

Competitive Candidates

Exceptionally strong intellectual ability

Indicators of this include test scores (JEE-Mains AIR Top 1000), achievements in competitions at the national level, conducting original research, or working on a passion project that displays deep knowledge of a field.


When faced with a challenge, does the student invent and pursue their own solutions without being prompted or told to do so? Have they worked on ambitious projects on their own?

Carefully thinks through their values and actions

When asked to make important decisions, does the student think through the precise reasons behind their decisions? Do they optimize for important goals by making a plan and considering many options? When shown a better way to do a difficult task, do they adopt the new method?

An affinity for truth

Does the student seek out ideas that challenge their opinions? If they find evidence that contradicts your opinions, do they eagerly change your mind? Do they enjoy learning and exploring?

Takes ideas seriously

[insert text]

Interest in rationality and cognition

Does the student demonstrate a desire to improve their thinking? Do they enjoy talking about cognitive biases, or reading about psychology, economics, AI, cognitive science, philosophy, or a related subject?

Atlas Fellows on a field trip
Fellows talking by the firepit
Girls working on a problem together
Boys exploring and learning
Teacher writing up Atlas Fellowship  Pillars
Atlas Fellowship program in session
Atlas Fellow doing an experiment
Students talking on a couch.
Students at the Exploratorium.
Fellows eating cake.
Fellows presenting
Atlas Fellow using a microscope
left arrow large light
right arrow large light
background color
background color
background color
background color
background color
background color
background color
background color
background color
background color
background color
background color
left arrow large light
right arrow large light
Solve the first question

Start your application

Aisha is analyzing Brett’s genes, Brett is analyzing Carmen’s genes, and Carmen is analyzing Darius’s genes. Brett has the gene A, but Aisha and Darius don’t. We don’t know about Carmen’s genes.

Is anyone who has the gene A analyzing the genes of anyone who doesn’t?

Our Mission

The program is designed to support talented young people who want to alter the trajectory of humanity for the better.

Atlas Fellowship winners access a range of benefits that help accelerate their path towards impact. We aim to provide top-tier, personalized support to winners in college and beyond.






Atlas Fellowship icon