Students should propose what they actually intend to accomplish, what they know about that task, and details about their background. Ability to perform the task is outright presumed by submitting a proposal. Students should propose a project catered to their ability that can be completed within the timeframe of the program. Students can demonstrate coding experience with patches.
Early submissions are encouraged as it gives more time to review proposals in detail, offer feedback, and maybe ask questions. Submitting closer to the deadline isn't bad other than not getting feedback in advance.
Be Detailed and Articulate. Go into detail about what you intend to do and how you intend to do it. Don't have typos and be clear in your writing. Cite academic references if they're relevant to your work. Create diagrams, show prototypes, create mock-up visuals, and provide more information via external links. You don't have to solve everything, but we need to see that you've thought things through.
Get Involved Early. Join IRC, say hi on the mailing list, download the source code, and try things out. Talk to others, get to know who is who. Communicate early, communicate often.
Be Bold. We love innovative ideas. Make sure yours is in scope and is something we're interested in mentoring, but you're not limited to our ideas. Be ambitious and thorough in your solution.
Be Realistic. Make sure the scope of your work is feasible and that you will have the necessary skills to implement your project on time. No bonus for proposing to reinvent the Internet. If you've got another job or commitment, your proposal should account for that obligation.
Be Passionate. Show enthusiasm for your idea. Be excited. Passion is never a substitute for competence, but vastly helps your chances all other factors being equal.
Don't copy/paste. If all you have to say about the project idea is what we wrote, it will be rejected. They are just meant to be starting points.
Don't be brief. Anticipate questions, include details. If your application is less than a few hundred words, you're probably not including necessary detail about your plans or yourself. Brief proposals very quickly get cut.
Don't be intimidated. We don't bite. Your ideas will be questioned, we might disagree, and that's okay. It means we're interested. You will need to be able to talk about your ideas without getting defensive, be open to compromise, and take suggestions from others.
Don't be discouraged. We have accepted those with no experience to experts and everything in between. Cater your application to your skills and you'll do just fine. You're expected to work hard and do your homework researching questions, but you're encouraged ask for help if you truly get stuck too.
Don't forget to tell us about yourself. Most of what we know about you and your abilities is going to come from your application. Include details about your background, experience, and anything else relevant to your work. If you have obligations that will impact your proposal, be upfront. You should be interacting with our community on IRC or on the developer mailing list long before you submit your proposal so we have an idea how you interact. Don't forget to mention your IRC nick in your application.
There is intentionally no specific format to our applications. BUT... students are strongly encouraged to be creative, detailed, and discuss throughout the application process. Use a wiki page or the mailing list so your proposal can be reviewed before it's officially submitted. Final proposals should include at least the following information:
You must agree to our participation requirements should you get selected.