Summer of Code/Application Guidelines
There is intentionally no specific format to our applications. BUT... students are strongly encouraged to be detailed, creative, and interactive with the developers you'll be working with throughout the application process. Students are encouraged to utilize a wiki page to discuss your proposal before it's officially submitted. That said, students should be sure to include at least the following information:
- Personal Information
- E-mail address
- IRC username
- Brief background info
- (optional) Link to resumé
- Project Information
- Project Title
- Brief project summary (<500 words)
- Detailed project description (>500 words)
- Links to any code or algorithms you intend to use
- Deliverables (specific, measurable goals)
- Development schedule
- List at least three milestones
- Describe time availability (40+ hours/week assumed)
- List any known commitments (e.g., exams, vacations)
- (optional) Why us?
- (optional) Why you?
- (optional) Anything else?
You will be required to agree to our participation requirements should you get selected.
Writing a Successful Application
Early proposal submissions are strongly encouraged as it gives us more time to review the proposal in detail, comment on it, potentially ask for additional input, and iterate with the student on their ideas. Submitting closer to the deadline isn't necessarily a negative consideration as all submissions are predominantly judged on merit, but submitting and discussing early is an advantage for submissions that have similar goals.
Students should propose what they actually want to work on, how they intend to work on it, what they intend to DO, what they know about that task, some details about themselves, etc. Their ability to perform the task is outright presumed by the nature of submitting a detailed application. Students should propose a task that they are comfortable and knowledgeable with performing within the timeframe of the program and considering any extenuating circumstances.
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. Impress us.
Get Involved Early. Join IRC, download our source code, try things out, and get involved in our community. Talk to the other developers, find a mentor that likes your proposal idea. Don't forget to mention your IRC nick in your application. We interact with a lot of people so give us a personality that we can recognize when it comes to reviewing the applications. Communicate early, communicate often.
Be Bold. We love new innovative ideas. You should make sure your idea fits into the scope of our project and is something we're interested in mentoring, but new projects are welcome. If your proposal is for one of our ideas, be innovative and ambitious 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. Don't be so bold that you are unrealistic. Keep your abilities and time constraints in mind. If you've got another part-time or full-time job, you probably won't be able to put in the work necessary.
Be Passionate. Show enthusiasm for your idea. Be excited to work with us. Excitement and passion are never a substitute for competence, but they vastly help your chances all other factors being equal. Express your passion and any background information about yourself that reinforces your interests.
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 isn't any more than a few hundred words or less, then 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 suggestions from others.
Don't be discouraged. We have accepted those with basically 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.