Advice for People Applying for GSoC

We get a lot of questions about "How do I get started?" Here is some step by step advice that should help.

1. Read the entire site including all linked materials.

We spend a lot of time making sure all the information you need is available on the program site. Remember, a big part of open source is self-reliance. We expect you to look for answers before you come to us for help. Look at the Program Rules, FAQ, Timeline and Contributor/Student Guide at the very least.

2. Now think about you.

What computer science subject area or specific issue or problem interests you? What are your skills? What languages do you know? What tools are you familiar with? Make a list.

3. Look through the mentoring orgs on the program site.

Use the provided Categories and/or Technologies options on the program site to filter your list. Pick 3-5 orgs to research in depth.

4. Visit the org's site and repos. Look at the code.

Review mailing lists and chat logs to see if you're comfortable with the style of the communication each community uses. Think about what you see versus what you want to work on.

5. Narrow your list down to 1 or 2 orgs, and then get involved with them. TALK TO THE ORG!

File a bug. Better yet, send a patch or pull request. Orgs want to see that you are genuinely interested in them.

Talk to the organization (via their chat channel, etc.). You must reach out to the organization to talk to them about your proposal. An organization won't accept a person based solely on a nice proposal. The mentors want to chat with you to understand your interest and engagement with the project and learn more about how you would tackle the project.

As an added bonus, talking to the org can significantly help you determine what to write in your proposal since you are essentially getting their feedback in advance.

6. Write your proposal.

Limit yourself to one or two. Quality is more important than quantity. This isn't a lottery. Submitting several weak proposals hurts your chances of being accepted. Over 94% of people accepted last year submitted 2 or fewer proposals.

7. Verify your application meets all requirements

Make sure your application includes the specific information and format the org asks for, as well as what is required by the GSoC program rules. Double check your work before submitting the proposal: misspelling in writing has a similar result as does misspelling in code :-)


(This is so important, we put it in ALL CAPS.)

Every year we get potential contributors asking for extensions to the application deadline. We can not give extensions for any reason, even if your internet is down, you were in exams, your computer was stolen, you misunderstood the timezone, you were on a plane or in the hospital. It is in your best interest to submit the application early.

Plus, the longer the org has to review your application and give you feedback on your draft, the better your chances of being accepted as a GSoC contributor.