Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible for the Fellowship?

Applicants are eligible if they, at the start of the program (October 28):

  • Are aged 14-20
  • Haven't started university
  • Are located anywhere in the world

When should I apply?

Applications close August 25th, 2024, 2024, 2024, 11:59pm Pacific Time (PT)

We conduct rolling interviews, so the earlier you apply, the earlier you can find out whether you were accepted.

Do I have to pay to apply?

No, it costs you nothing to apply – it's 100% free. And our program is 100% free.

Our donors support the fellowship because they expect us to improve the world by helping you solve the world’s most pressing problems.

What countries do you accept applications from?

We accept fellows from all over the world. You are eligible to apply regardless of your location.

Do I need to have an idea before I apply?

No, you don't need to already have an idea for an impactful project.

We aren't looking to hear the ideas you've already had in our application. We're looking for your potential.

As a result, our program is designed to help you come up with ideas, as well as implement them.

What do you look for?

We empower some of this generation’s sharpest thinkers to use their talents to address vexing social challenges.

We look for applicants who demonstrate:

  • World-changing ambitions: Producing a meaningful improvement in humanity’s plight is not trivial – it will likely take decades of hard work. We look for those with the resolve to make a difference over the long term.
  • Critical-thinking: We look for applicants who are able to think deeply and analytically about complex problems. You can demonstrate this with the quiz and critical thinking tasks in our application.
  • Curiosity: How could you do the most good? The answer to this question is non-obvious and constantly changing. We look for the drive to determine how the world works, and what you can do to change it.

What is the application like?

Process overview: Application → Finalist → Interview → Fellow

You can preview the written application questions. You can submit your application in an hour, though it often takes longer.

Here's an overview:

  • Stage 1: Email address (~0 minutes)
  • Stage 2: Written application (~30 minutes). Application preview.
  • Stage 3: Puzzle quiz (~25 minutes). Sections on brainteasers, probability, game theory and more.

Finalists will participate in a two-week program to help them research impactful project ideas, which are submitted at the end. All Finalists meet participants from around the world, receive a free book, and are awarded a certificate of completion.

Select Finalists will be invited to schedule an interview at a time of their choosing.


When is the Fellowship?

The Fellowship is a 8-week part-time program. The next cohort begins on October 28, 2024. You'll work on your project and present it at Demo Day on December 20, 2024.

What happens each week?

The Fellowship is a combination of online lessons, calls with your project group (groups of 3-5 students who discuss their projects), and 1:1 calls.

You can complete the independent learning, and 1:1 calls with other fellows at your own pace.

Weekly calls with your project group will occur in your timezone. When you're accepted, you will indicate your availability and we'll do our best to match you up with a group that is available at the same time and who shares your interest.

How many hours a week is the program?

With flexible participation options, the Fellowship can be completed part-time alongside other programs and schoolwork.

The program requires a minimum commitment of 5 hours per week, which can be completed on a flexible schedule that works for you.

Our team is dedicated to providing support and resources to ensure that part-time participants can still have a meaningful and impactful experience.

Participants who invest more time and effort into their projects often see the greatest results. Those who work on their projects full-time have a higher likelihood of securing funding and making a significant impact.

Who is funding the Fellowship?

We’re grateful for all the support we receive to enable Non-Trivial to fulfill our mission of helping you help the world. Since our founding in 2022, we’ve received over $1 million in donations.

The largest funder of our current work is Open Philanthropy, a major US-based foundation. They support our work because they expect us to improve the world by helping you solve the world’s most pressing problems. Open Philanthropy’s main funders are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and Asana.

2022 Future Fund Grant
In early 2022, Non-Trivial received a $1 million grant from the Future Fund, which was primarily supported by FTX employees. In November 2022, FTX filed for bankruptcy. In light of this situation, Non-Trivial ceased spending any Future Fund money until further notice.

What can I spend the $‎500 scholarship on?

Award winners will receive their scholarship funds at the end of successfully completing the fellowship. The scholarship is not contingent on attending university.

Recipients must use the scholarship for the purposes of educational and personal development. This means, for example, purchasing textbooks, courses, technology, tuition, tutoring, or supplementing unpaid internships.

What language is the fellowship in?

The fellowship will be entirely in English. You don't need to be a native-English speaker; however, it is important you be able to converse with other fellows and instructors in English.

How many people will be accepted?

We plan to accept between 100 and 200 fellows for our July 2024 cohort.

We may decide to accept more or fewer applicants depending on the applications we receive.

What will I learn?

It’s up to you! 

We have a weekly curriculum of videos and reading, interactive group activities, and advisors available.

But it’s up to you to figure out what you need to learn to plan your impactful project and to increase your impact on the world.

What is the $30,000 in funding?

Prizes are awarded based on which projects have made the most progress, show the most promise for impact, and were best presented in their Demo Day presentations.

There are three prizes on offer:

  • First place will receive a $15,000 grant award.
  • Second place, which will be awarded twice, will receive a $5,000 grant award.
  • Third place, which will be awarded 5 times, will receive a $1,000 grant award.

See our Prize Terms & Conditions


When will I know if I was accepted?

You’ll receive a decision on your application no later than October 25th.

However, we're reviewing applications on a rolling basis, so if you’re accepted to the next stage, you will hear from us sooner.

When will I hear back about my application for the February 2024 fellowship?

Unfortunately, due to unexpected commitments, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the February 2024 Non-Trivial Fellowship.

However, you can now apply to our July 2024 cohort. If you previously indicated interest in the July 2024 Fellowship, you will automatically be considered without needing to reapply.

Will there be more cohorts in the future?

Yes! As long as you’re eligible, we hope you re-apply for future cohorts.

Please subscribe to the newsletter to get updates on new fellowship cohorts, resources for starting an impactful project, and opportunities to get involved in the Non-Trivial network.

Can you give me feedback on my application?

Unfortunately not. We received thousands of applications and won't be able to provide individualised feedback.

In general, we look for the dedication and ability to positively change the world. The best way to demonstrate that is to start making a change! So regardless of whether you'd like to re-apply, getting started solving the world's most pressing problems is a good start!

Can I appeal the decision?

Unfortunately the decisions we've made so far are final. However, we hope you apply again in the future.


Why work on my own project?

  1. Have an impact on the world. You might already be capable of actually contributing something important to a pressing problem. Self-evidently, this is good.
  2. Demonstrate what you’re capable of. Young people are among the most undervalued talent in the world. One reason for this is that employers and funders tend to be risk averse, and pick applicants with track records. Successfully starting a project proves you can do it, and strengthens your negotiating position in the future.
  3. Leverage your success. Use your project to set yourself up for your next step, whether that’s an internship, a college application, a full-time job, or fundraising to take your project to the next level.
  4. Real-world learning. You retain more knowledge when you apply what you’re learning to what you’re working on.

What kinds of projects can I work on?

Your project should be designed to directly contribute to solving one of the world's most pressing problems, rather than some other goal (such as getting into university or learning about a new topic). However, we expect that working on an impactful project to frequently contribute to other secondary goals.

It’s up to you to come up with an impactful project that you’re excited about. But our program can help you come up with ideas and shape them into their most impactful form.

Whatever the category, if your project could have a big positive impact on the world, we’re excited to support it. For example, we're excited to support impactful projects that involve:

  • Research
  • Policy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Communications
  • Engineering

Can I do a group project?

Absolutely! Many of our previous winners completed their project in a group (and many on their own).

As part of the program, we have sessions designed to help you find someone to work with who shares your interests.

What if I’ve already got a high-impact project?

What project you work on is your decision. However, we hope you'll to make a good faith effort to explore the highest impact projects for you.

Our program is designed to help you work out what you could do to have the biggest impact on the world. If you already know exactly what that is, the program won't be as valuable.

We expect many prize-winners to work on completely different problems and/or with different approaches than what they initially have in mind. This is because changing projects can demonstrate progress towards having more impact, or can help your project show more promise.

We reserve the right to not support any project we think would have a negative impact on the world.


Are you hiring?

Not for our upcoming cohort, but you can let us know you might be interested in the future.

You can submit an expression of interest or email our founder Peter ( with your CV/LinkedIn and why you might be interested.

How do I give feedback?

Feedback is crucial to helping us improve – especially critical feedback.

To give us feedback, you can:

How do I ask a question not already covered?

Please contact us so we can help you.

Note: We receive a high volume of inquiries and don't have the capacity to reply to every message. However, we read every message and greatly appreciate hearing about issues with the website and application.

Don't Wait to
Change the World

Apply now to join a world-class cohort.

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Apply by
August 25, 2024
$500 scholarship
zero fees
Ages 14-20, worldwide
OCT 28-DEC 20, 2024
Flexible timing
$30,000 in Funding
View Program