We've survived the selection process!

Posted on by Laura

Les jeux sont faits – The chips are down!
We know most of you were eagerly and almost compulsively checking your email last Friday – on the day we said we’d send all acceptance letters to applicants. Choosing wasn’t easy: We received more than 60 team applications in April, and our selection committee took a lot of time to rate every application according to several criteria.

During the selection process, which spanned over two weeks, every single member of the committee looked at every application and at the learning history and skill level of each student and made notes and comments, to later be discussed within the whole group. Part of our google hangout conference call for the selection discussion was even done from an airport – if that’s not commitment, then we don’t know what is..

What we looked for, among other things, was an involvement within the community, a strong motivation to learn, and a solid project plan that showed initiative and understanding of the project. As stated in our requirements, we also strongly gave preference to two-women teams and non-remote teams that have found local support in the form of coaches and study groups. In spite of our criteria and requirements, we also understand that every applicant is an individual with different personal histories and goals, and that it being a global program, not all the criteria might apply everywhere. This is why we attempted to get to know the applicants through their applications and carefully read each one several times.

It truly breaks our hearts not to be able to accept everyone, as we have limited funding and resources. In spite of all the students we had to reject, we also have some good news. This year we broke a personal record by having the highest amount of sponsored teams to date!

To all the students who did not make into into the program this year: we encourage you to try again next year. If you’ve sent us an email about wanting extra feedback regarding your application, you will hear from us soon, but please be patient. We are truly hoping that you will not give up – there are a ton of great initiatives and programs out there, and we encourage you to get involved in your community and find like-minded people who will join you on your learning path.

We’re looking forward to an amazing summer with all of you: students, coaches, supervisors, volunteers. Thank you for being a part of this – here’s to the Rails Girls Summer of Code 2015!

dance party Looking forward to the summer! (Image: reactiongif.com)


Posted on by Sara

Imagine one weekend full of Open Source and then imagine spending it with the most amazing people ever! Add some imaginary electric atmosphere and that’s how we felt about being at the first Ruby Open Source (ROSS) Conference in Vienna. On the weekend of the 25th and 26th of April, some of us from the RGSOC Core Orga team attended this Conference which consisted of a mix of tech-talks in the morning and a hands-on, energetic hackathon session in the afternoon – allowing for some very special interaction between speakers and attendees. With an excellent line up of Open Source Software maintainers and contributors (two of them being potential mentors for our 2015 edition of RGSoC), there was no shortage of inspiration and energy.

copyright Manuel Gruber

Posted by ROSSConf Vienna on Monday, 27 April 2015

Also @railsgirlssoc is worked on at #rossconf

A photo posted by Floor Drees (@floordrees) on

Laura, Anika and I got to meet up and even managed to smuggle in some RGSoC work , which we tackled together, as well as participate in the Hackathon. As a vast majority of our coaches, supervisors, mentors and orga team members are remote from one another, having a chance to meet face-to-face feels truly special. We also met and work with these potential RGSoC mentors, namely Katrina Owen of Exercism.io, and Lisa Passing of Diaspora*.

Katrina Owen, among other things, is the maintainer of Exercism.io which is a platform where you can get feedback on your coding exercises. Katrina started this when working with students who would never complete their warm up exercises at college. She figured out that without the potential of getting feedback, there was no real incentive to completing their coding exercises. Exercism received 30 pull requests during the weekend, which goes to show just how much interest there is in keeping it flourishing.

copyright Manuel Gruber

Posted by ROSSConf Vienna on Monday, 27 April 2015

Lisa Passing (RGSoC mentor, coach, supervisor, and developer - yes she is THIS awesome), presented Diaspora*, and the many challenges of maintaining the world’s biggest open source, distributed Social Network . With all issues being decided democratically, maintaining a project with such a diverse user base can be extremely complex. But it’s all worth it - since it’s such an amazing communtiy and a wonderful alternative to ehem some other big social network.

copyright Manuel Gruber

Posted by ROSSConf Vienna on Monday, 27 April 2015

We also met with friends and long time supporters of Rails Girls and Rails Girls Summer of Code; Michal Papis (of RVM), Piotr Szotkowski (of Reek, and RGSoC coach), and Arne Brasseur (of Yaks, formely a supervisor and core organiser).

Events like this reminded us again just how important Open Source Software is to developers and non-developers alike and how many great projects there are which you can support. Even huge projects like RVM need a diverse set of skills to help maintainers continue their amazing work in providing software that everyone can use.

Our heartfelt thanks go to Floor, Aaron and the entire organisational team who made ROSSConf happen and had the vision to put something like this on. It is no easy feat being a community organiser, and they deserve so many hugs for taking the time to create events.

Oh, and did we mention that the conference was completely free? That’s right, free, thanks to the excellent sponsors who covered the costs, and to Sektor5 for offering to host the event free of charge.

If you’re reading this thinking, “But I can’t contribute to open source as a designer/content writer/lion tamer”, take a look at a few of these resources. It can’t be said enough that we need more than code to make awesome open source projects and most projects need those writing/designing contributions badly!

The first edition of ROSS Conf may be over, but you can follow their social channels for updates on future events. Rumor has it there might be a ROSSConf in a big german city this year still. But psssshhhht. We’ll keep you posted.

Application Wrap-up

Posted on by Laura

Our application period has officially ended a few days ago; some of us (I’m looking at you, Sara and Anika) stayed up past the deadline to answer all of your questions. The last 24 hours before a deadline tend to be wild, and we’ve witnessed a lot of last-minute applications coming in – but we made it!

cheering We made it! (Image: teen.com)

We’ve received 61 applications from 19 different countries and all continents (okay, except for Antarctica). At the time of closing, there were still 46 application drafts(!!). It makes us so happy to see there is such a huge interest in our Rails Girls Summer of Code worldwide, and now it’s time for the next step: we’re looking forward to reading all of your applications.

Here’s a rundown of what’s going to happen in the next few weeks:

April 16th — April 24th: Mentor Sign-off
The mentors will have a few days to “sign off” on your applications, to certify that you’ve contacted them about your project plan.

April 25th — May 10th: Selection
Our selection committee will go through all the applications several times and select the best ones. We are foreseeing some long days and nights, but we will hopefully get through it unharmed, just in time for…

Mid-May: Acceptance letters!
By mid-May, we will hopefully have made a final decision on the selected teams, and each one will receive an email from us. \o/

Mid-May: Closing the crowdfunding campaign
As much as we <3 seeing just how many people are willing to support us in order to fund our students, by the time we will have sent the acceptance letters, it will also be time to close the crowdfunding campaign.

THANK YOU again to all of you who applied – you will hear from us soon!

Help us fund the last 5 students!

Posted on by Laura

On March 5th, we opened up our crowd funding campaign. What a ride! Before we go on and give you the full rundown of what happened in the last 25 days, we’d just like to share how proud we are of our amazing community and sponsors with a gif:

Thank you so much! (Image: imgur)

Now let’s get down to the cold, hard facts. Since March 5th, 98 individual donations were made and 25 sponsor packages were purchased. The strongest days for individual donations were the first two days of our campaign (March 5th and 6th) with 23 and 14 donations, respectively. The strongest week for donations was the first crowd funding week (44 donations), and the second strongest was last week (23!). In the last 25 days, there were only four days on which no donations at all were made; on all the other days, we were happily flooded by wonderful tweets such as these:

Our most popular sponsor package seems to be the Bronze package, followed by the Silver. And believe it or not: with the donations collected thus far – totalling 76516 USD – you funded 7.5 teams! But it’s not over yet, and we want to be able to fund at least 10 teams – this means we still need your help to achieve our goal!

We’ve asked some of our team members why you should donate to RGSoC, and here’s what they said.


(Photo: Anika Lindtner)

(Photo: Ramón Huidobro)

(Photo: Laura Gaetano)

(Photo: Sara Regan)

We’re sure you can think of a lot more reasons why anyone would want to donate to the Rails Girls Summer of Code. Tweet about them with the hashtag #donatebecause; make sure you mention us (@RailsGirlsSoC) so we can retweet! And don’t forget to go to our campaign page, make a donation, and help us reach our goal <3

2015 Applications Open Today!

Posted on by Sara

After a few months of very diligent work on our Teams App, we’ve made preparing your application for Rails Girls Summer of Code a whole lot more straightforward. Here’s the low down on applying in 2015!

Check out if you’re eligible

This year, we have made the eligibility criteria for applicants a bit clearer.

As our focus is on providing opportunities for further learning post Rails Girls workshop, we do require that applicants have attended at least a Rails Girls or similar community-driven workshop.

While no one is discouraged from applying on the basis of gender, preference will be given to applicants who identify or have been socialized as female. To see the full criteria please take a look at our application guide.

If you’re not sure about any of the eligibility criteria, please contact us.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the program is full-time for three months, for sponsored teams, so you may have to save any long holidays for post-program ;)

Establish Your Team

Find a Pair

One of the requirements of the Summer of Code is that you are a two-person team.

Establishing a team means not just finding someone else to lodge an application with, but someone who you will be able to get along with over three months of intense project work. Establishing a team that will be able to deal with and work through moments of stress and conflict will be extremely important to the success of your summer. For more about finding a pair, take a look at our guide

Find a Coach

Teams will also need to have at least one coach who is able to give them active support throughout the summer. While coaches can be approached a number of ways, we have some advice on finding coaches here, and a blog post on ‘Where to Start’.

If you want to provide potential coaches with more information on what you will need from them over the summer, you can direct them to our guide for coaches.

Finding a coaching company

Finding a coaching company who can offer you a place to work from, and a team of coaches on hand to support you is a terrific boost to your application. To start approaching and asking companies for the help over the summer, share with them our guides for coaching companies.

Select a project

Thanks to the invaluable feedback from last year’s teams, mentors, coaches and supervisors, we have improved the way students can select a project for their application.

This year, applicants will be required to select from projects on our approved list, that can be found in our projects repository.

If you know of an amazing project you want to contribute to that is not yet on our list, you will need to contact the maintainers to submit the project to us. Check out our guide for mentors and submitting projects.

Work on Your Application

We’ve added some fantastic functionality to our application system, which will be extremely helpful as you complete your application.

You now have the ability to save your application as a draft. It may not seem like much, but being able to save and go back to your application to add coaches, coaching companies, and further clarity to your project goals may be the difference between lodging an awesome or average application.

The deadline for submitting your application is Tuesday 14th April, 2015. So take your time to create the best application you can using our drafting feature, before submitting.

Project Mentors will be required to sign off on your application in the week after submissions close; 15th - 22nd April, 2015.

Assess your coding level

We know that trying to outline your coding level can be pretty subjective. Therefore, this year’s application form contains ‘skill level guidelines’ to help guide you in your self-assessment.

While there can still be grey areas in your learning that you will want to tell us about in your application, these guidelines should provide more clarity on what we expect your skills to be at each level, instead of just a number on a scale.

This post is just the basics and new stuff about the application process. Get on over to our Students Section to check out the full application guide, and start getting your team and application together!

Good luck!

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