Google Summer of Code in 10 Minutes: A Crash Course

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Every year since its inception in 2005, Google organizes an annual program called the Google Summer of Code (GSoC), wherein students work on open source projects of various organizations during the summer. The GSoC is for students over 18, and its counterpart for high school kids is Google Code-In.

After the program is announced for each year, open source organizations first submit their applications to Google to be selected as mentoring organizations. Once mentoring organizations are announced, students submit detailed proposals to work on the projects of the selected organizations. The selected students then code during the summer, working with their respective mentors to complete their projects. On successful competition of the project, Google pays each student developer a stipend of US DOLLAR 5500, and US DOLLAR 500 for each successful project goes to the mentoring organizations. Did I just get your attention?

Understanding the GSoC 2015 Timeline

Before we go on to the general guidelines of getting selected for a project, let’s look at the timeline of the GSoC 2015 program. I’ll be discussing the events that are relevant to students, and the detailed timeline can be found on the Melange site.

  • 2 March: List of accepted mentoring organizations published on the Google Summer of Code 2015 site.

  • 16 March: Student application period opens.

  • 27 March: Student application deadline.

The period of 2nd March to 27th March is of utmost importance to students who wish to get through. This is the time when you decide which organizations to work on, connect with the mentors of the project and prepare your proposals to be reviewed by your mentors. By 27th March, you must have submitted your proposal on the Melange site, after which your proposal is locked. If, however, you find mistakes in your proposal, you may ask your mentoring organization to make it editable.

  • 15 April: Slot allocations published to mentoring organizations.

Although the mentoring organizations are announced earlier, the number of projects for each organization is done later. By 15th April, your mentoring organization would know how many students it should accept for the summer. This information is not declared publicly, but you may ask your mentor about it to know your chances of selection.

  • 21 April: First round of de-duplication checks happens; organizations work together to try to resolve as many duplicates as possible.

A student is allowed to submit at most five proposals to the program under various organizations. It is therefore possible that two or more proposals are selected. But a student can work on only one project during the summer as per the rules of the program. So the organizations try to resolve it first among themselves, or ask the student which project they would like to work on.

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