Eligibility Requirements

Can I apply to become a Fellow?
Why do I need 2-10 years of experience?
I’ve mostly done volunteer work and/or internships. Can I still apply if I do not have two years of full-time work experience?
I’m older than 35 years old. Can I still apply?
I am a U.S. citizen or green-card holder (Legal Permanent Resident); can I apply?
What do you mean when you say a bachelor’s degree is required? I don’t have a bachelor’s degree; can I still apply?
I have a medical condition; should I still apply?

Application/Selection Process

How does the placement process with Host Organizations work?
Can I request a specific Host Organization?
Can I contact potential Host Organizations?
Do Finalists need to reapply?
I was not a Finalist – Can I apply again?
What documents do I need for my application?
I’m having trouble submitting my recommendations. What should I do?
My recommender is not fluent in English. Can I send you a recommendation in a different language?

Fellow Experience

When does the program begin?
When does the program end?
What does the Fellowship provide?
What is the Atlas Corps Global Leadership Lab?
How do you determine the living stipend?
What does the stipend cover?
What kind of visa do I get?
What kinds of issues or projects do Fellows work on?
Can I bring my family with me?
After the Fellowship, do I have to return to my home country?

Eligibility Requirements

Can I apply to become a Fellow? What are the eligibility requirements?

You can apply to become a Fellow if you meet the following minimum requirements:

  • 2 to 10 years of relevant experience in the nonprofit/NGO/social sector
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • English proficiency (oral, writing, reading)
  • Spanish proficiency (for the Latin American Fellowship only)
  • Age 35 or younger when the Fellowship begins
  • Applying to volunteer in a country other than where you are from (Americans cannot apply to our U.S. Fellowship)
  • Commitment to return to your home country after the 6 to 18 month fellowship
  • Commitment to living on a basic stipend that covers food, shared housing, and local transportation

Why 2 to 10 years of experience?

Atlas Corps is dedicated to providing rising nonprofit leaders with opportunities to obtain additional skills those leaders will require to have an even greater impact. Atlas Corps does not want to take highly experienced senior-level directors away from the important work they are doing and does not want to recruit students to participate in this program since they may not have enough relevant experience to share with organizations.


I’ve mostly done volunteer work and/or internships. Can I still apply if I do not have two years of full-time work experience?

Our average Fellow is 28 years old and has 2-10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Although we have admitted Fellows as young as 22 years of age before, these individuals demonstrated extraordinary dedication to nonprofit work through various volunteer and service opportunities. If you have had similar experiences, we encourage you to apply. Otherwise, the Fellowship is designed to be of greatest benefit to those with at least two years of work experience. If you choose not to apply for this round of applications, we do hope you will consider doing so in the near future.


I’m older than 35 years old. Can I still apply?

Applicants must be age 35 or younger at the beginning of the Fellowship (Fellows can turn 36 during the Fellowship). Our general age range has been from 23-35 with an average age of 29 years old. Our research and experience indicates that the Fellowship is best suited for young, rising, skilled professionals as opposed to more experienced professionals. The reason for this is that our host organization placements are more appropriate for someone with some experience, but generally not 12+ years of experience. In addition, by having a maximum age limit of 35 we are able to tailor our training program to a more specific age group and skill set. The compensation, the network and the training are all geared more towards individuals who are approximately 23-35 years old, not older than 35.


I am a U.S. citizen or green-card holder (Legal Permanent Resident); can I apply?
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are NOT eligible for the U.S. Fellowship. They may apply for our Latin America Fellowship; please view the requirements here.


What do you mean when you say a Bachelor’s degree is required? I don’t have a bachelor’s degree; can I still apply?
We require all our Fellows to have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent. We say “equivalent” because education systems vary between different countries and the degree may be called different names. In the U.S., a Bachelor’s degree is a diploma awarded for successful completion of 4 years of higher education (post-secondary school). In many countries, the equivalent degree is higher education of 3-5 years, depending on the educational system. At any rate, applicants must have a higher educational degree beyond the compulsory secondary school education.


I have a medical condition; should I still apply?
Yes, please apply to be considered for the Fellowship. We would like to advise you that the health insurance for Atlas Corps Fellows only covers new illnesses and injuries. It has very limited coverage for routine treatment or for pre-existing conditions, and you will be responsible for any costs related to treatment of those conditions, including doctor visits and prescriptions.

Application/Selection Process


How does the application process work?
Applying to Atlas Corps is a three-step process:
1. Online Application and Recommendation Letters: Fill out the application below. We will not accept applications via email or mail. You will need to create a login and you can save your responses so you can return to the application at any time before you submit it. The application consists of background information, education and employment history, and essays. You must also submit two letters of recommendation.
Please do NOT use special characters or accents anywhere in your application.

2. Written English Test: Strong applicants will be invited to take a timed, written English test. If you are selected to take the English test, you will be given no more than seven days to complete it. If you do not take the English test within your allotted seven-day time frame, your application might not be considered for the next Fellowship class. However, you may still have an opportunity to take the English test at a later date and be considered for the next application cycle.

3. Preliminary Interview: A select number of strong applicants who pass the English test will be invited to do a 30-minute video Skype interview with a member of our Selection Board. If you are invited for an interview, you must schedule your interview within seven days of receiving the interview request. If you miss your scheduled interview, your application might not be considered for the next Fellowship class. Not all applicants are selected for an English test or an interview.

Upon successful completion of all three steps, you may be named an Atlas Corps Finalist. Your application is then eligible to be matched with potential Host Organizations for interviews. Atlas Corps staff will notify you via email if you achieve that status. After interviewing with a Host Organization, the Host Organization and Atlas Corps can decide which Finalist, if any, they would like to offer a Fellowship.


How does the placement process with Host Organizations work?
Applicants apply not to a specific Host Organization, but rather the opportunity to be placed at one of our partner organizations. We will match our top Finalists to placements at potential Host Organizations, taking into account the applicant’s skills and abilities and the Host Organization’s needs.


Can I request a specific Host Organization?
Applicants may indicate in their application or interview which organizations most interest them. However, we cannot guarantee placement at any particular organization, and in many cases, those organizations may be looking for a very specific candidate profile.


Can I contact potential Host Organizations?
Candidates should NOT contact potential or current Host Organizations unless they have been contacted by the Host Organization first. Atlas Corps is best able to explain the benefits and responsibilities of hosting a Fellow to potential Host Organizations. Contacting Host Organizations directly will jeopardize your candidacy for the Fellowship. If you already do work with an organization based in the U.S. and would like us to send a U.S.-based staff member information on hosting a Fellow, please send us their contact information (at apply@atlascorps.org); do NOT contact them yourself about hosting you.

I was not a Finalist – can I apply again?
If you applied in a previous application cycle and were NOT designated as a Finalist, you may reapply but you should only apply once a year. We recommend, however, that you to take your time and fill out the application completely, with detailed and thorough answers. You will need to start a new application.
Please review the eligibility requirements on this page: https://atlascorps.org/apply-to-united-states.php to make sure that you still qualify.

What documents do I need for my application?
In terms of documents, you will only need two recommendation letters. Test scores, resumes, or certificates from past trainings are not required. If you have taken the TOEFL or IELTS tests, you may attach those scores, but they are not required. You will also need to have a valid passport, but you do not need to attach it to your application. If you would like to attach a brief (2 pages or less) and professional writing sample, that is acceptable but not required.


I’m having trouble submitting my recommendations. What should I do?
Email apply@atlascorps.org with the subject line “Recommendation Issue,” and explain exactly the problem the you’re experiencing.


My recommender is not fluent in English. Can I send you a recommendation in a different language?
Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to translate letters of recommendation. Letters in English are required.

Fellow Experience


When does the program begin?
The U.S. Fellowship begins every three to four months. In 2019, Fellowships will start in January, April, July, and October. Each Fellowship begins with a one-week orientation program and a one-week Global Leadership Lab immersion, followed by 49 weeks at your Host Organization. In some cases, Fellows may do a six-month Fellowship, which would only only for 23 weeks at the Host Organization. Fellowships may be extended by their Host Organization for up to six months.


When does the program end?
Most Fellowships end 12 months after they begin. In some cases, the Fellowship may end 6 months after it begins (for particular programs like our Think Tank LINKS Fellowship) or 18 months after it begins (if the Fellowship is extended by an agreement between the Fellow and the Host Organization). Fellows must return to their home countries immediately after the program ends.


What does the Fellowship provide?
Fellows – but not their dependents – receive:

  • Program-related international travel (U.S. Fellows only)
  • Program-related domestic travel
  • Basic health insurance
  • Monthly stipend for basic living expenses (shared housing, food, local transportation)
  • Documentation (DS-2019) that enables the Fellow to obtain a J-1 visa.
  • Placement at a Host Organization
  • Participation in the Atlas Corps Global Leadership Lab (nonprofit management training series)


What is the Atlas Corps Global Leadership Lab?
The Atlas Corps Global Leadership Lab comprises of more than 200 hours of experiential learning that is both theoretical and practical. At three, four-day training immersions convened over the course of the 12-month Fellowship in January, May, and September, Fellows participate in presentations and workshops led by innovative social change leaders who share practical strategies for social impact, as well as their own professional journeys. This professional development series intentionally combines hard skills like business planning and proposal writing with intensive workshops that explore critical soft skills like conflict resolution and leadership.

Helping develop the ability to see a better future, inspire others and implement innovative ideas requires a unique combination of awareness, knowledge, skill and experience. Atlas Corps Global Leadership Lab complements the Host Organization experience with the opportunity to develop competencies in four key areas essential for the next generation of global changemakers. These core competencies are interwoven with an exploration of foundational skills of nonprofit leadership.


How do you determine the living stipend?
The amount of the living stipend is fixed and is determined through an assessment of the cost of shared housing, transportation and food in each city. The Atlas Corps stipend is typically 15% higher than the stipend received by participants in U.S. national service programs. Stipends do increase over time to keep up with changes in the cost of living in each city. Here are the monthly stipend amounts by city for 2018.

  • Boston: $1,811
  • Chicago: $1,595
  • New York: $1,633
  • San Francisco: $2,082
  • Washington, DC: $1,597


What does the stipend cover?
As volunteers, Fellows receive a modest living stipend intended to cover only shared housing, food, and local public transportation. The stipend is not intended to cover expenses you may have in your home country; eating out at restaurants; buying new clothes; or emergencies. While Fellows are able to keep their basic expenses (food, shared housing and local transportation) within the allotted stipend, many choose to bring additional funds for personal items, such as clothing, travel, or entertainment. We recommend Fellows have a little money saved for emergencies. The amount of additional funds required will depend entirely on your personal spending habits. Monthly budgets vary from city to city, but the monthly living budget for a Fellow in Washington, DC, is as follows:

  • Rent & Utilities: $950
  • Transportation: $200
  • Food and other small necessities: $447

Total $1,597/month

What kind of visa do I get?
Atlas Corps provides documentation to secure a J-1, Exchange Visitor visa (trainee designation).


What kind of issues or projects do Fellows work on?
Our Fellows work on a broad range of social issues, from education to the environment to human rights, and so on. The Fellow’s role at his or her Host Organization varies greatly from organization to organization. For some examples of what our current Fellows are doing at their Host Organizations, check out their biographies here.


Can I bring my family with me?
Atlas Corps discourages Fellows from bringing family members with them to the United States. Family members may visit the Fellow provided it does not interfere with work and fellowship responsibilities. Family members should not travel to the United States until the Fellow is well established in the Host organization. Atlas Corps does NOT provide financial support or visa sponsorship or documentation for spouses or other family members, and the living stipend and health insurance are only intended for one person. The Fellow is responsible for all costs incurred for and by family members, including the cost of securing a visa.


After the Fellowship, do I have to return to my home country?
Yes. One of the primary goals of Atlas Corps is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practices between U.S. nonprofits and nonprofits in other countries. This exchange is completed once a Fellow returns home and is able to share and apply what he or she has learned.