National Geographic

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Geographic Bee?

The National Geographic Bee is a competition for public schools, private schools, and homeschools in the United States and its territories, as well as the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS).


Who can participate in the National Geographic Bee?

Registration is open to schools with students in grades four through eight (4-8). Participating students must not reach their 15th birthday before September 1, 2017. A student is eligible to participate in the Bee for a period of five years total. A student may not be enrolled in more than three academic courses at the high school and/or college level during the school year. We reserve the right to disqualify a student if these rules have not been followed.


How do schools register for the Bee?

Starting August 2, 2017, schools can register online.

Beginning August 2, 2017, any paid school employee can register their school for the National Geographic Bee (Nat Geo Bee) online.

Any paid employee at a public or private school can register the school for the Nat Geo Bee. In the case of homeschools, an individual affiliated with the homeschool group can register the school. In both cases, a school “Bee coordinator” must be identified, and that person cannot be a relative or guardian of a student participating in the Nat Geo Bee at their school or any other school.

Registration information needed in order to officially register a school include the name, email address and position of the designated school Bee coordinator, school phone and fax number, the principal’s name and email address, and estimated number of years the school has participated in the Nat Geo Bee. A username and password must be created on the registration site so that the school Bee coordinator can return to the site to download materials and administer the qualifying test to the school champion.

The National Geographic Bee registration fee is $120 per school until December 21, 2017, and $140 from December 22, 2017 until registration ends on January 26, 2018. Checks and credit cards are accepted on the registration site through December 21, 2017; after December 22, 2017, only credit cards will be accepted through the remainder of registration, ending on January 26, 2018. The system will generate a printable invoice for schools paying by check to remit with their payment. Purchase orders are not accepted as payment for the National Geographic Bee. Registering by credit card ensures faster access to the downloadable materials. School competition materials are ready for download beginning October 2, 2017, for all schools who have completed the registration process, including receipt and processing of payment. School Bee coordinators who have registered prior to October 2nd will receive an email notifying them that materials are available.

Schools needing financial support can complete a Registration Discount Request.


How can my child be registered for the Bee?

Individual students may not register. Only schools can register for the National Geographic Bee, and then eligible students at the registered school may participate.


What if there are not six eligible students in the school or homeschool association?

There must be a minimum of six eligible students at the school in order for the school to participate, no exceptions.


What materials are included in the registration fee (by download vs. in the mail)?

Downloadable materials include instructions for the school Bee coordinator, the official contest questions, study tips for students and parents, a link to the state Qualifying Test for the school winner, media relations material, and Bee merchandise information. Please note: the Bee packet of questions is no longer mailed to schools. On October 2, 2017, or once payment is processed thereafter, school Bee coordinators can sign in to the Registration and Resource Center (note: coordinator's password is case-sensitive) to download materials.

By mail, the school Bee coordinator will receive a certificate and a school Bee champion medal. These items will be mailed to all registered and paid schools beginning mid-October 2017.


How can students prepare for participation in the National Geographic Bee?


What is the timeline of the Bee competition?

Schools may register for the Nat Geo Bee online starting on August 2, 2017.

  • Starting on October 2, 2017, schools may download materials and hold their school Bee.
  • Registration by check closes on December 21, 2017, to ensure enough time for processing and administration of the school Bee and qualifying test. Registrations processed on or after December 22, 2017 are $140 and only credit card payments are accepted.
  • The school champion must take the online qualifying test, which is proctored by the school Bee coordinator, by February 2, 2018 11:59 PM EST.
  • The top 100 ranked students in each state qualify to represent their school in the state level Bee, held on April 6, 2018.
  • The designated state champions attend the national championship in Washington, D.C. from May 20-23, 2018.


I notice my school is already registered for the Bee. How can I find out who my school Bee coordinator is?

You will need to check with your school to find the current school Bee coordinator.


I’m a parent. May I register my son/daughter’s school?

No. Only paid school employees may register a school for the National Geographic Bee, and then your child, if eligible, will participate through the school.


How much does it cost to register for the National Geographic Bee?

The registration fee is $120 per school until December 21, 2017. From December 22, 2017 – January 26, 2018, the cost is $140.


What is an acceptable form of payment for a school to register for the National Geographic Bee?

Check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express). Paying by credit card ensures faster access to downloading Bee materials.

It can take up to three weeks to access materials after submitting a check; thus, registration by check closes on December 21, 2017. Please keep in mind State Bee Qualifying Test scores will not be accepted after February 2, 2018 at 11:59  p.m. EST. If paying by check, please mail your check to:

National Geographic
Bank of America
PO Box 417123
Boston, MA 02241-7123


Do you accept purchase orders?

No. Credit cards and checks are the only acceptable forms of payment. If your school needs to create a PO prior to generating a check, that is acceptable, but Bee materials will not be available until we receive and process the check.


Can I request a registration discount based on financial need?

Yes, a Registration Discount Request Form is available here.


May I purchase a National Geographic Bee packet to use at the school-level only?

Yes, your school may register and then only participate in the school level Bee. However, there is no reduction in cost.


Can homeschools participate in the National Geographic Bee?

Yes. Please visit Homeschool Rules for details.

Homeschool groups and associations can register for the National Geographic Bee under the following conditions:

The school Bee coordinator for a homeschool group or association must not have any children participating in any National Geographic Bee. The homeschool Bee coordinator must be the individual who conducts the school Bee, administers the Qualifying Test, and communicates with National Geographic about the homeschool winner. There must be a minimum of six students (in grades four through eight) participating in the Bee. The homeschool must allow other homeschool students in their area to participate in their Bee. The students participating in a homeschool Bee must be registered as a homeschool student and can only participate in one homeschool Bee per calendar year. For the purposes of the National Geographic Bee, our staff may assign a name for the homeschool group that reflects the area in which it is located.


How do homeschools register for the National Geographic Bee?

When registering for the first time, a homeschool representative can create a school Bee coordinator account here. Once the school Bee coordinator submits the homeschool information, the Nat Geo Bee staff will review it. Once approved, the homeschool Bee coordinator will be able to complete the registration and payment process. If a homeschool was registered in 2017 the school name will still be in our system. When you register for 2018, select the school zip code used last year, then proceed to register the homeschool again for this year.


I registered my school for the National Geographic Bee online. Do I keep my same username and password each year?

No. Beginning with the 2017-2018 registration period, the school Bee Coordinator will need to create a new account and password each year for the Bee Coordinator. Locate your school by zip code, then proceed to create an account with your email and password for this year. Please note that passwords are case sensitive.


Why is the Geo Bee registration website not loading or not appearing correctly in my browser?

The Nat Geo Bee registration website supports the most recent version of the following browsers: Chrome, Safari, IE (Internet Explorer), and Firefox. If you are experiencing issues, please make sure that you are using the most recent version of the supported browsers.

You might also try with a different computer, possibly outside the school, as it is also possible that your school firewall won't allow you to connect to our website or to the registration page. If that is the problem, you may need to contact your network administrator.


How and when will I be notified if our School Bee winner qualified for the State level?

Schools and parents will be notified by email by March 2, 2018 if their student qualified for the State Bee. Only schools and principals are notified if the student did NOT qualify for the State Bee. A list of qualified students will be posted on each state National Geographic Bee website.


Am I required to use the School Bee materials exactly as outlined in the instructions, or can I adapt the materials to work for my school/students?

Schools are encouraged to use the materials in a way that is engaging and appropriate for the ages and skill level of their students, and may adjust the number of rounds or use of questions accordingly.


What are the prizes for the winners who compete in the National Geographic Bee National Championship in Washington, D.C.?

The winner receives a $50,000 scholarship, a lifetime subscription to National Geographic magazine, a trip, and $500 cash. The 2nd place winner receives a $25,000 scholarship and $500 cash. The third place winner receives a $10,000 scholarship and $500 cash. The 4th -10th place winners receive $500 cash each.


My child is in the third grade, but very interested in geography. Can he/she participate in the National Geographic Bee?

No. The Bee is open only to students in grades four through eight (4-8) who have not reached their 15th birthday on or before September 1, 2017. Students are eligible to compete in any level of the Bee for a period of five years only.


My child is interested in participating in the Nat Geo Bee but his/her school is not registered for the Bee. Can my child participate with another school in the area?

No. Students can only participate with the school they are enrolled in. Unfortunately, if a child's school doesn't register for the Bee, he/she cannot compete.


I missed the registration deadline for the Nat Geo Bee. Can I still obtain materials to use in my school?

You can still purchase the school Bee materials, but your students cannot advance to the state Bee after registration has closed. Please email for more information.


Is the National Geographic Society the sole vendor of the Nat Geo Bee?

The National Geographic Bee is administered on a not-for-profit basis by the National Geographic Society and is the sole source for the school level contest materials. The school Bee packets are generated by the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. and are only available to schools/homeschool associations that have registered to participate in the National Geographic Bee.


How do I get vendor information on the National Geographic Bee?

We do not complete vendor information forms. The federal tax identification number for the National Geographic Society is 53-0193519. Download a completed NGS W-9 form. You may use the information provided here to add the National Geographic Bee as a vendor in your system.


How do I contact the National Geographic Bee?

You may email the National Geographic Bee office at The fax number is 202-862-8633.