Google Summer of Code moves in phases after you are accepted. The first phase is the Community Bonding Period in which you get to know your community and get familiar with their code base and work style. The next phase is the initial phase of coding (Phase 1) which is evaluated with Phase 1 evaluation a month into the Google Summer of Code term. The second phase (Phase 2) is evaluated two months into the program coding period. The final phase is your time to complete your project. There will be a final evaluation at the end of the term; you will also need to submit a sample of the code you produced.

Evaluations

Evaluations are not as daunting as they may sound. This is an opportunity for you to evaluate your mentor and your mentor to evaluate you, not a quiz on your coding abilities. Some mentors even choose to review their evaluations afterward with the student in order to integrate the feedback into the coding process for the rest of the term. Be honest about your experiences with the program. This helps GSoC improve in future years. Remember, you must complete your evaluation of your mentor at each phase or you will receive an automatic fail.

Payments

Payment is in three pieces. The first payment is sent shortly after you pass the Phase 1 evaluation. The second payment is sent after you have passed the Phase 2 evaluation; the final payment is sent once you pass your final evaluation. All of these payments take a few business days to become active on your card or in your bank account if you choose direct deposit.

T-shirt and Certificate

You may receive a t-shirt, sticker and a digital certificate of completion at the end of the program if you successfully pass GSoC, unless you are in a Restricted Country. If you are in a Restricted Country you will receive a digital certificate of completion. The fulfillment company has to ship each individual package to your home, so please be patient. Mail systems are particularly hard to navigate in some parts of the world and can take over a month to reach some locations.

The rest of your experience with the program will be determined by your interactions with the community within your mentoring organization. Most students consider the interactions with their mentor and the rest of the open source community they’re involved with to be the most important part of the Google Summer of Code experience.

Participant Roles

There are four roles in the Google Summer of Code program:

Student

This is you! A student participant in GSoC is typically a college or university student; the only academic requirement is that the accepted applicants be enrolled in an accredited academic institution. Students must be at least 18 years of age to participate. Students come from a variety of academic backgrounds, and though most students are enrolled in a Computer Science program there is no requirement that they be studying CS. Past students have come from disciplines as varied as Ecology, Medicine, and Music.

Organization Administrator

Org admins are the “cat herders” for GSoC open source projects. Some org admins also mentor students during GSoC. Org admins are the final authority about matters such as which student projects will be accepted and who will mentor whom. If you’re having difficulties communicating with your mentor or making progress, an org admin can help.

Mentor

Mentors are people from the community who volunteer to work with a student. Mentors provide guidance such as pointers to useful documentation, code reviews, setting milestones for the student, etc. In addition to providing students with feedback and pointers, a mentor acts as an ambassador to help student contributors integrate into their project’s community.

Program Administrator

Program administrators are employees of Google’s Open Source Programs Office who run the program. These folks do a variety of tasks: select the participating open source projects each year, create and analyze the program evaluations, administer the program mailing lists, ensure that participants are paid, respond to inquiries about the program. Program administrators do not select which student proposals are accepted into Google Summer of Code.

Afterward

It is a primary goal of Google Summer of Code that the student participants stick around long after the program has ended and continue contributing to their project communities. Great mentors continue working with their students and encourage them to do so. In the end, mentors and students take a well-deserved break before the GSoC cycle starts again.

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