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How To Get Accepted Into Google Summer Of Code (GSoC)

There have been various discussions in both the GSoC mailing list and official IRC channel regarding improving your chances of getting into GSoC. Since the 2009 process has already finished, I have these suggestions for 2010 students and beyond:

  • Be active in the community.
  • Write a good proposal, submit it early.
  • Subscribe to your update notifications for your proposal.
  • Update your proposal.
  • Be active in the community.
  • Submit Patches.

Let’s break these criteria down further:

1) Be active in the community.

Originally I had “Write a good proposal” first, but I decided to change it in favor of community involvement. This is the single most important aspect of getting into Summer of Code. I would recommend /join-ing the IRC channel and subscribing to the mailing lists of all of the projects that you are interested in working on. Forming an early bond with the community is something that will set you ahead in the competition with your peers. It is also important to note that these mentors will sometimes drop hints on which proposals are more important – and thus more likely to be accepted.

2) Write a good proposal, submit it early.

Your proposal is used to spread your idea throughout the entire project that you are applying to. All of the mentors and administrators of the organization will be reviewing your application and giving it a score based on how well you have done and how viable your project is. Each organization will require different criteria for your proposal, but it is always a good idea to include the following:

  • Summary
  • What I Plan To Do
  • Why This is Important
  • Time line - Detailed
  • Deliverable
  • Maintenance
  • Availability
  • Contingency Plan
  • Myself

If you cover all of these sections thoroughly, as well as the sections required by your mentoring organization, you should do fine.

3) Subscribe to your update notifications for your proposal.

We can keep this one short and sweet – subscribe to notifications! Every time a mentor/admin posts a public comment on your proposal, you will receive an e-mail informing you of this. This is not a default option, and if you don’t do this you will be left guessing.

4) Update your proposal.

Throughout the application process you will be asked – and required – to update your proposal. Your mentoring organization will require you to add more information to your proposal and clarify some aspects of your proposal. If you do this, you are in good shape.

5) Be active in the community.

I’m listing this twice because it is one of the most important things you can do during the application process. You should have already picked a project that you have interest in, so go ahead and make your interest known.

6) Submit Patches.

Some projects require you to submit patches to be considered for acceptance, others do not. Regardless, you should be submitting patches to your mentoring organization before the application deadline. These patches show the mentors and administrators that you have the skills required to complete your proposal. Your mentoring organization is looking for the “skills to pay the bills”

Doing all of these things will highly increase the probability that you are accepted by the mentoring organization that you apply to. Also, remember that you can submit multiple proposals. You want to be sure to keep your options open in case one of the organizations that you apply to does not accept your proposal.

I will post my Thousand Parsec application in a later blog post for review. I hope to provide updates on how I could have improved my application as the GSoC period goes on and I learn more about it myself.