Eligibility Requirements

Can I apply to become a Fellow?
Why do I need 2-10 years of experience?
Do I need to work in the nonprofit sector?
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

When is the next application deadline?
What are some tips for a great application?
How does the placement process with Host Organizations work?
How long does the placement process take?
Can I request a specific Host Organization?
Can I contact potential Host Organizations?
I applied before September 2019; do I need to re-apply on the new application form that Atlas Corps launched in September 2019?
I’m a Semi-Finalist but was not matched for the most recent class?
I was not a Semi-Finalist – Can I apply again?
What documents or attachments should I prepare 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?
Does Atlas Corps provide housing?
What is the Atlas Corps Global Leadership Lab?
How do you determine the living stipend?
What does the stipend cover?
How much money should I bring with me?
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 social sector, which can include NGOs/nonprofits, businesses, government, social enterprises, or media organizations

♦ Bachelor’s degree or equivalent

♦ English proficiency (oral, writing, reading)

♦ 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 12 to 18-month fellowship

♦ Commitment to living on a basic stipend that covers food, shared housing, and local transportation

Why do I need 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.

Do I need to work in the nonprofit sector?

The Atlas Corps Fellowship is designed for mission-driven individuals seeking social change. Competitive applicants will have 2-10 years of experience, and most tend to be in the nonprofit/NGO sector. However, the Atlas Corps Fellowship also includes individual in business, technology, media, government, and other sectors. Those who are not in the nonprofit/NGO sector have should provide examples of how they have integrated their desire for social change into their career. For example, a candidate in the business sector may be using information and communication technology to achieve social missions, bringing entrepreneurship programs to marginalized communities, or doing volunteer work.

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 indicate 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.  Currently, we are not accepting applications for Fellowships outside the U.S.

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. Atlas Corps places a high value on inclusivity across multiple dimensions․ We encourage candidates of all abilities to apply. On the application’s question about accommodations, please describe the accommodations you may need to serve full-time in an office environment if selected to be a Fellow. Your answer will not affect your eligibility for the program․ Atlas Corps will work with selected Fellows to develop a strategy on a case-by-case basis. Please note that the travel insurance plan that the Atlas Corps Fellowship provides only covers new injuries and new illnesses that arise during the Fellowship, not pre-existing conditions, so Fellows are responsible for any costs related to the treatment of those conditions, including doctor visits and prescriptions.


Application/Selection Process

When is the next application deadline?

We accept applications year-round. We have certain priority deadlines to be considered for certain Fellowship start dates. Please check apply.atlascorps.org for the most updated information about deadlines. We encourage applicants to apply early and not wait until the deadline so that they can be considered for the next step of the selection process as soon as possible. Aside from our general application deadlines, we occasionally do special recruitment campaigns for candidates of certain backgrounds in high demand.

Aside from these two deadlines, we occasionally do special recruitment campaigns for candidates of certain backgrounds in high demand.

What are some tips for a great application?

1. Think about what is distinctive and impressive about you and be sure to communicate these things! If you’re having a hard time with this, try asking a friend, colleague, or parent what they think is most impressive about you.

2. Have an English-speaking friend proofread your application to make sure your writing is understandable and has good spelling and grammar.

3. Give specific details and examples when you’re describing your skills and interests. If you say you manage volunteers, how many volunteers do you manage? If you work in fundraising, how much money have you raised or how many successful grant applications have you worked on?

4. Review our most current Fellow Agreement to better understand the  benefits and responsibilities of becoming a Fellow. You can access it here http://bit.ly/AtlasCorpsFellowAgreement

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. Matching Semi-Finalists with Host Organizations is a multi-step process. Once we receive a position description from a Host Organization, we send them the profiles of several candidates that could be a good match. They then pick candidates to interview and may assign tasks such as a writing sample, portfolio, or an assignment, after which they may pick a candidate for the Fellowship, or choose not to host a Fellow at that time.

How long does the placement process take?

Atlas Corps receives approximately 10,000 applications each year, and to give each candidate a thorough review, it may take up to a few months for our team to complete each stage of the review process. We review candidates based not just on eligibility and quality of their applications, but also how well they fit with the desired profiles our potential Host Organizations are looking for at any given time, so some candidates may advance more quickly through the process than others.

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 applied before September 2019; do I need to re-apply on the new application form that Atlas Corps launched in September 2019?

We are considering applications from September 2019 and earlier for our January 2020 Fellowship class. If you want to be considered for our April 2020 class or later, you must re-apply on the new application form (see apply.atlascorps.org for instructions). You will still have access to your old applications if you use the same login, so you can re-use some of your answers on the old form, but please read instructions and questions carefully to take note of changes on the new application form.

I’m a Semi-Finalist but was not matched for the most recent class. What should I do?

After Atlas Corps completes placement for each class, we email instructions to Semi-Finalists who were not matched for that class, but are still eligible for placement, on what are their next steps to remain in consideration for the Fellowship. Usually, these instructions include updating your availability for the next class(es), and occasionally filling out a new application form. You must update your availability through your account every 2-4 months in order to have your application considered for placement with prospective Hosts. Don’t forget to also update your application with any new and relevant information. Atlas Corps will continually reassess Semi-Finalists to determine if they are still being considered for future Fellowship placements. In some cases, Atlas Corps may ask for additional information or another interview.

I was not a Semi-Finalist – can I apply again?

If you applied in a previous application cycle and were NOT designated as a Semi-Finalist, you may reapply, but you should only apply once a year. We recommend, however, that you take your time and fill out the application completely, with detailed and thorough answers. In most cases, you will need to start a new application. See apply.atlascorps.org for the most up-to-date information on how to apply. Please review the eligibility requirements before applying.

What documents or attachments should I prepare for my application?

The application process requires:

♦ A copy of your undergraduate transcript or diploma: You will be able to submit your application without this attachment, but you won’t be able to move on to the final stages of the selection process until you submit it.

♦ Two references: You will also need to submit contact information for two references as part of the application. Once you enter their contact information, the system will send your references an email with instructions on how to fill out our reference form. The reference forms do not need to be completed in order for you to submit your application, but you won’t be able to move on to the final stages of the selection process until your reference forms are submitted. Please choose someone who can comment in detail on your professional abilities․ Most applicants choose supervisors/managers, but you may also choose colleagues, professors, faculty advisors, or others who can comment on your professional abilities.

♦ Samples of your work: You may be asked to submit samples of your work to provide evidence of your professional skills. See the Skills section (Part 8) of the application for instructions.

Attaching a resume/CV is encouraged but not required. Test scores or certificates from past training are not required at this time. You will also need to have a valid passport, but you do not need to attach it to your application.

I’m having trouble submitting my recommendations. What should I do?

Within the application form, you can resend the reference form to your recommenders, and edit or delete the contact information for your recommenders. If you are still experiencing issues, email apply@atlascorps.org with the subject line “Recommendation Issue,” and explain exactly the problem 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 months. In 2020, Fellowships will start in January, April, July, and October. Each Fellowship begins with a one-week orientation program.

When does the program end?

Most Fellowships end 12 months after they begin. In rare cases related to certain Atlas Corps Special Initiatives such as the Atlas Corps TIMEP Bassem Sabry Democracy Fellowship, Fellows may do a six-month Fellowship. Fellows and Host Organizations may choose to extend the Fellowship, up to a total Fellowship length of 18 months. 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

♦ Program-related domestic travel

♦ Basic health insurance that covers new injuries and illnesses

♦ Monthly stipend for basic living expenses (shared housing, food, local transportation, and a phone plan)

♦ 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 (leadership development training series)

Does Atlas Corps provide housing?

Atlas Corps does not secure housing directly for Fellows in most cases and instead provides Fellows with the resources necessary to help them secure their own housing. While we do hold some housing in Washington, D.C., those spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis, and not all DC Fellows will receive a room. Once accepted to the Fellowship, the Atlas Corps staff will help guide Fellows through the process of finding temporary and permanent housing. Atlas Corps provides a relocation stipend for Fellows in Satellite Cities outside of D.C. based on the cost of living. Atlas Corps has also recently partnered with a homestay program that provides optional temporary housing for Satellite Fellows. All Fellows are guaranteed housing for the first week of Orientation.

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, a phone plan 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 the city as of September 2019. (The cost of the phone plan is automatically deducted from the following stipend amounts each month.)

♦ Boston: $1,874

♦ Chicago: $1,657

♦ New York: $1,693

♦ San Francisco: $2,150

♦ Washington, DC: $1,657

What does the stipend cover?

As volunteers, Fellows receive a modest living stipend intended to cover only shared housing, food, and local public transportation. Atlas Corps also provides all incoming Atlas Corps Fellows with a SIM card and phone plan. 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.

Monthly budgets vary from city to city, but a suggested monthly living budget for a Fellow in Washington, DC, is as follows:

♦ Rent & Utilities: $950

♦ Transportation: $150

♦ Phone Plan: $32

♦ Food: $400

♦ Other small necessities: $125

Total $1657/month

How much money should I bring with me?

Once Fellows arrive in the U․S․, we require that they deposit a minimum of $500, ideally more, into their U.S. bank accounts to help prepare them for expenses during the year that may not be covered by their stipend․ These expenses could include the security deposit on an apartment, furniture, clothing for cold weather, or medical expenses that are not covered by health insurance. A recent survey of Fellows suggested that incoming Fellows try to bring between $500 and $1,000 with you to meet common expenses that come up during the year that are not covered by the stipend. We only require that Fellows bring $500, but we are suggesting that Fellows try to bring as much as $1,000 with you if they can.

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. Atlas Corps does not sponsor J-2 visas (non-immigrant visas). Most family members who visit Fellows in the U.S do so on a B-2 (visitor) visa since Atlas Corps is unable to provide documentation to secure a J-2 visa.

After the Fellowship, do I have to leave the United States?

Yes. One of the primary goals of Atlas Corps is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practices between social change leaders in the U.S. and 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. Fellows are expected to return to their country at the end of their Fellowship; typically this is for two years unless stated differently on the visa. The one-year requirement is an Atlas Corps requirement. Fellows are required to leave the U.S. within 30 days of the program ends. Fellows may not come to the United States to participate in the Fellowship and remain in the United States after the Fellowship has ended. Program participants are expected to fulfill not only the terms and conditions of the Fellowship but also the home residency requirement directly upon completion of the Fellowship.