Flow of GSoC Selection Process

An article for those who have less or no idea about Google Summer of Code program, and are willing to participate in it.

I will try to keep this article short and straight to the point. First make sure you read the official GSoC student guide.

Step 1. Pick (an) organization(s).

Any organization(s) of your choice.

  • Cons:
    - one may find more competition in such organizations
    - it means that one might have to start contributing to the organization very early (October-December)
  • Cons:
    - you do not know if the org will participate/will be selected in next year’s program
    - the org will get relatively lower number of slots, so maybe small number of people will get accepted.

Step 2. Introduce yourself and get going.

Now that you know which org you’re going to contribute to, better get in touch with the members. A good practice would be to introduce yourself on the mailing list/common IRC channel. Read their documentation on how to contribute.

Step 3. Select a project.

Most of the organizations will have a GSoC Project List where they mention their potential projects that are needed to be completed during the next summer. Each project is associated with (a) mentor(s). If you find a project intriguing and do-able, contact the mentor and ask more about the project. Ask your mentor what you need to do to know more about the project, any bug fixes revolving around the project, or anything that you can do before writing proposal.

Always communicate with mentor. Good communication with the org will help you in ways you cannot imagine.

You can always come up with your own project idea and discuss with the org members. If someone finds it interesting enough, they might agree to mentor you.

Step 4. Start drafting proposal.

Now that you have selected a project, you need to write in detail how are you planning to accomplish it and work towards it in the following summer. Use your mentor’s help as much as you can to know about the technical aspects of the project.

Step 5. Submit your proposal.

Submit your draft proposal and ask your mentor for feedback — basically communicate with your mentor about everything. Make the changes they ask you to. Submit the proposal.

Step 6. A pause…or is it?

There is a month long wait between the time when you submit the proposal and the results are announced. A lot of students stop working after submitting the proposal and they wait for the results. I did make this mistake the first time I applied for the program.
This is the golden opportunity; this is the time when you prove yourself to your mentor so that they know that you’re serious about it and they can consider selecting you. Use this month well. I would recommend to start working for your project during this month itself.

Results are announced

If you do not get selected, try again next time. If you keep working for the org, chances are more that you will be selected this time. This way, you have a head start for the next GSoC. If you’re really sad, this will help you.

Break a leg!


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