Dear First Year Organization,

Congrats! We know you’re excited to participate in GSoC. We also know it can be overwhelming, but remember the GSoC team has done this before and knows what it’s doing. The program is well documented - here are a few tips to get you started.


  • This is about building the GSOC CONTRIBUTOR’S experience. Getting code in your project is a nice side effect.

  • Know and meet the deadlines for every part of participation: organization administration, GSoC contributor participation, and mentor participation. Use Google Calendars’ alert feature and look at your GSoC dashboard at least once a week to remind you of upcoming deadlines.

  • Search the site and the Resources section in particular, but don’t be afraid to ask questions on the appropriate mailing list, particularly the GSoC Mentor List.

  • Talk to experienced organizations for advice; talk to new organizations for brainstorming.

  • Spread (don’t spam) the word that your organization is participating in GSoC.

GSoC contributors, mentors, and project slot requests:

  • GSoC contributors are not experienced project members and will take longer to write code than the core team. Plan accordingly.

  • Mentors should expect to spend about 2-4 hours a week for each GSoC contributor. Some weeks may be more, some weeks less. More time spent during the community bonding period and the first few weeks of the program have led to more successful and engaged GSoC contributors.

  • The mentor/GSoC contributor process is:

    • OAs invite mentors to their organization.

    • Talk with potential GSoC contributors about project ideas (some orgs give applicants a task they need to complete such as a PR etc., that is up to you).

    • Receive and review GSoC contributor applications.

    • Determine which mentors are fully committed to mentor a proposal.

    • Rank your excellent proposals with dedicated mentors. (OAs submit requests)

    • Receive confirmation from Program Administrators with your organization’s number of slots.

    • The number of slots will determine which ranked proposals are automatically selected. If your org asks for 7 slots but is given 5, ranked proposals #1-#5 will automatically be selected as your org’s GSoC contributor projects.

  • The application process is a great initial test of the GSoC contributor’s dedication and skills, so don’t offer too much help during it. Feedback is good but if you have to hand hold them now, it will be worse during the program.

  • Use code tests and personal conversation to help select GSoC contributors. The applicant with the best proposal might not be the applicant who can produce the best code.

  • Request 1 GSoC contributor slot for every 2 mentors you have. As a first year organization you will probably receive fewer than 3 students. THIS IS A GOOD THING. Use your first year to get used to the process. Expand in your second year.

Coding, community, and communication:

  • Treat the GSoC contributor like a core contributor. Private repos or branches can prevent the GSoC contributors from blocking releases, but can also isolate them from the rest of the project.

  • Publish weekly or daily goals. This helps to keep scope, show progress, and keep GSoC contributors active.

  • Communicate often and be sure to talk with your GSoC contributor about their roadblocks/delays. You may wish to extend the evaluation deadlines for your contributor by a few weeks if the contributor is behind schedule but putting in the effort. But remember - extensions must occur before the GSoC contributor’s midterm evaluation or final submission period begins.

  • It’s okay to fail a GSoC contributor. If a GSoC contributor doesn’t communicate, or they disappear for days/weeks on end, they write poor code and haven’t shown signs of improvement or they aren’t engaged in the community they should be failed.

  • Make all communication public. If it didn’t happen in public, it didn’t happen.

  • Show; don’t tell. Screen sharing and pair programming are often more effective than conversation.

If you have any questions just ask. We know you’ll be awesome!

Best wishes,

One time GSoC First Year Organizations

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