See also this EA Forum post about EA Global admissions.
Why is there an application process for EA Global and EAGx?
We use an application in order to allocate our limited spots to the attendees who seem most able to help each other pursue their goals.
When will I have a decision about my application?
Applications are processed in batches. Depending on which stage of the batch an application is submitted, the response time can vary. If an application is submitted near the end of the batch, it might take up to two weeks to receive a response; and applications submitted near the beginning of a batch might take four to six weeks. When you submit an application, you will be informed of the specific date by which you can expect a response.
Please let us know if you need a response earlier, for instance if you would need a visa to attend the event.
How does applying to an additional event affect my chances of getting accepted to other events I’m applying to?
It doesn’t. Each event has its own admissions team, which will independently review your application and assess how it fits their target audience profile. We aren't asking for your preferred ranking of events, as each event will accept you if they think you fit their profile.
If there’s a reason you’d like to specifically go to a conference that’s not in your region, please make this explicit in your application.
We do sometimes suggest that an application for a given event might be a better fit for one of the other events. For EAGx event applications, for instance, we tend to prioritize applicants for whom the given event is the closest (of the events in that year’s schedule). So if you’re from the UK and you apply to EAGxBoston, we may suggest that you attend EAGxOxford, instead. If you’re from Egypt, the most accessible event may be EAGxPrague or EAGxOxford.
For EA Global events, we currently don’t prioritize applications based on location.
What are you looking for in my EA Global application?
In general, please write honestly and err on the side of writing more. The more we understand your reasoning, the more we can tell that you would be a good fit for the conference.
We’d like to learn whether you have taken (or intend to take) significant actions to pursue your altruistic goals, and whether these choices are informed by key ideas from effective altruism. By “significant action,” we mean things such as:
- Making career or study decisions based on the principles of effective altruism, such as applying for jobs and internships, choosing a major or field of study, or writing a thesis on a relevant topic
- Spending a lot of your time volunteering for a project in effective altruism
- Donating a significant part of your income to effective interventions
Note that the examples we list in various places (like here or in the application form) are not the only kinds of actions we will consider.
We also sometimes admit people who are less invested in effective altruism than other applicants, but whose professional background or studies make them well placed to help other attendees at the conference achieve their goals.
What if I’m early in my career or still figuring out what I want to do?
That’s fine! You don’t need to have a long impactful career behind you or a polished plan for impact to be admitted to an EA Global conference. Some of the strongest applications are from people who are too early in their careers to have taken many “significant actions.” These applicants were unsure about many things, but what we appreciated was that they explained their motivations and uncertainties in a thoughtful and transparent way.
How much effort should I spend on the application?
We receive a lot of applications, and the admissions process can be competitive. We recommend that you fill out as many fields as possible, and in particular all the fields in the “Your involvement with effective altruism” section of the application. If you provide a comprehensive account of your background, experience, motivation, and general approach to doing the most good, we are more likely to accept your application.
However, this doesn’t mean you should write an essay in every text field! How polished the text is doesn’t matter to us at all. There are also probably aspects of your background that aren’t very relevant; rather than writing up everything you can think of, consider taking a few minutes to reflect on which aspects of your experience and life philosophy you most wish to highlight.
We do sometimes accept applications that are quite sparse. This is usually because the applicant’s background strongly demonstrates their commitment to the principles of effective altruism or that their skills or experience make them particularly well-placed to help other attendees.
Who sees my application? Do you pass along any information?
Only the admissions team and approved individuals (e.g. people at the Centre for Effective Altruism who are processing payments) will see your application unless you consent to sharing details with other EA organizations for the purpose of connecting you to collaborators and opportunities. If you consent to this, we may pass along information to EA organizations who are looking to hire, searching for people to invite to themed events, etc.
I heard some people already got invited directly to the event. Why is that?
We send direct invitations to some people we know we are going to accept. We don’t currently have systems to capture everyone for whom this is true, but we use some proxy measures that allow us to cut down on a lot of unnecessary work. Some proxy measures we’ve used in the past include: having attended previous EA Global events; receiving past invitations to highly selective events; or working on things like EA community building on a grant from CEA or EA Funds.
If my group leader recommends me for the conference, does that guarantee I’ll be accepted?
We sometimes reach out to group organizers with whom we have a history of communication, and ask them to refer group members they think are a good fit for the event. While we treat the fact that you got referred as some information about your application, the application is still the key part of the decision, and we sometimes decide not to admit someone despite a recommendation.
If you are a group organizer and we ask you for referrals, please remind everyone, including the group members you refer, that they should write comprehensive applications in order to be accepted.
If an application is rejected, does CEA provide feedback about why?
Unfortunately, we usually can’t elaborate on our admissions decisions. If you would like answers to a question about a rejection, however, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to reply.
What does a rejection mean?
Rejection only means that the admissions team for this particular event didn’t think that your application demonstrated your fit for that event. A rejected application is not a judgement about the value of your work or your potential impact in effective altruism. Rejections do not signal to funders or potential employers that they shouldn’t collaborate with you. Or that you are somehow not part of this community. We do not share information about rejected applications with anyone who doesn’t need to know it.
The admissions process narrowly considers your fit for a conference, and even then, the process is imperfect; we are aware of times when we rejected someone we realized later we should have accepted.
If you’re rejected from a conference, you are absolutely welcome to apply to other conferences in the future.
If your application is rejected and you don’t think it should have been, please email email@example.com.
What can I do if my application was waitlisted or rejected, and I don’t think it should have been?
If there's information that wasn't included on your original application that you think might be relevant to our decision, you or a friend can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide any information you think we should know. We will consider the new information and get back to you.
Why did someone with similar qualifications or interests to mine get accepted when I did not?
We understand that some of our decisions may seem arbitrary, but we often have to make decisions with incomplete information, and there may have been aspects of the other person’s application that stood out, even if your backgrounds are quite similar. Feel free to let us know via email if you disagree with a judgement we’ve made.
We also think it’s valuable for local EA groups to have at least some members attend EA Global in order to bring back news and ideas to other members of their group. This means we try to accept representatives from a variety of groups.
What reasons might cause CEA to reject an application?
The most common reason for rejecting someone is that we have limited space and think other applicants would get more out of the conference. We don’t have any particular concerns about applicants we reject for this reason, but simply need to save the space for attendees who might be a better fit for the event.
Occasionally, we reject applications because we’re mildly concerned about the applicant’s past behavior at an event. This could include a record of overconfidence, excessive self-promotion, or rudeness that negatively impacted other attendees. We likely won’t go into detail about this when responding to applicants, but we will look for evidence that these behaviors have improved when we consider someone’s future applications. We’ve seen people we were initially concerned about change over time and be admitted to EA Global conferences after getting rejected for this sort of reason.
In rare cases, we have serious concerns about an applicant’s past behavior(examples include harassment or fraud). We reject applications from people about whom we have these kinds of concerns.
How can I check to see if you have concerns about me, my behavior, or my organization?
If you want to know whether we have concerns about your behavior, email us about this and we will let you know. (In most cases, the answer will be 'no'.)
If we do have concerns, we will share them if we can. However, because we must respect the confidentiality of people who report issues at our conference, we will sometimes only be able to tell you the broad nature of the problem.
Can I get rejected because CEA disagrees with my beliefs?
No. We don’t reject people for disagreeing with CEA or for expressing controversial ideas.
We might reject someone’s application for things like:
- Expressing disagreement in a destructive or irresponsible way
- Advocating for or taking actions that we see as harmful (like calling for violence, or encouraging projects with a lot of irresponsible downside risk)
What does it mean if I expressed interest in presenting and I’m not selected to present?
Because we generally focus on the networking benefits of our events, we are unable to have many sessions (talks, workshops, etc.) at EA Global conferences. If you were not selected as a speaker, it’s most likely that the topic you suggested is not a good fit for this event. It could also be that we’ve already selected a speaker for a similar topic.
How can I contact the EA Global team?
Please email us at email@example.com.