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 g.co/gsoc 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 tags and your list to narrow down the long 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.
File a bug. Better yet, send a patch or pull request. Orgs want to see that you are genuinely interested in them.
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.
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 :-)
8. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO APPLY.
(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.