Application Guide

This guide gives you all the information about what you will need when applying for Summer of Code. Please read this carefully to ensure you know about all the requirements of a good and complete application.

Applications for RGSoC 2017 will open on February 1st, 2017 at 18:00 UTC and close on March 8th, 2017 at 18:00 UTC. Apply here!

Who is eligible to apply?

All people with non-binary gender identities or who identify as women (transgender or cisgender) are welcome to apply. Further to this, we look for applicants;

  • who are involved with, or have attended one or more workshops organized by communities like Rails Girls, Railsbridge, Black Girls Code, PyLadies, or similar initiatives.

  • with at least a year’s experience of continuous learning, i.e. people who have significantly expanded their programming skills in a study group, or independently, by working on a suitable project. We will ask for coding examples.

  • who can spend 3 months (July to September 2017) working full-time on their Open Source project of choice.

  • who are proficient (spoken and written) in English. You will be communicating with several people from different countries, writing daily logs and blog posts, and English is our main language of communication.

  • who have never participated in our program as a sponsored team before.

You do not have to be a student at a University to apply, and there are certainly no degree or age limitations.

How much is the scholarship?

The scholarship will be based on where you live, how much your set expenses are, and any special circumstances which you might wish to share with us so that we can consider them.

What do you need to apply?

Another student to pair with

Finding a teammate before submitting your application is required. The team consists of exactly two people, working from the same city. Having a team that consists of more than two students is not possible. It is also not possible to apply alone.

It is important that you both work well together as you will be working very closely throughout the summer, planning your team goals together, and being the closest support for one another!

For further information on finding a teammate we have prepared a detailed guide for you here.

Coaches

Coaches are developers who sit down with you, guide you through relevant coding steps and troubleshoot with you at regular intervals. Consequently, it is recommended that they are based in the same city as your team.
From past experiences, we recommend a time of 4-8 hours per week of coaching time. Therefore, we require a minimum of 2 coaches, so they can share the time commitment, and you and your teammate will have more flexible support.

Our guide for coaches will help to give you insight on what is required of them, and help you to explain this to prospective coaches. For further information on how to find coaches, we have also prepared a detailed guide here.

A place to work

Working at a desk next to your team pair and to your coaches is a great scenario and having access to a team of coaches who can share the load is ideal. You will need an environment beneficial to dedicating yourself to your project for 3 months. This could be your home, a co-working space, your current work office or a Coaching Company. As long as you are safe and productive, you can choose where you will work.

The ability to self-manage and motivate

This is a very important point for us, as the program is self-guided. This means that there will not be someone beside you telling you what to do at all times. While you will have time with your coaches each week, you won’t have them by your side for the entire duration of the project.
As a team, you will be required to define your goals for the program, and plan together how you will meet these goals. We are always here to help you with this planning, but it’s up to you to stick to your plan and achieve your goals.

A project

Your project must be selected from our list of projects approved for RGSoC 2017. We have a wonderful variety of interesting Open Source projects, so we understand that it can be tricky to know how to proceed! Be sure to already ask your prospective coaches for their input on which project they feel would be suitable, or other people of your local community — in particular, people who are familiar with your experience so far. We also recommend getting in touch with the mentor of the project you are applying with to introduce yourself, get to know them, and see whether they think you’d be a good fit.

Placing your application

Applications for RGSoC 2017 will open on February 1st, 2017 and will close on March 8th, 2017 (18:00 UTC).

In order to submit your application, you are required to have a teammate and, at a minimum, two coaches. At the bottom of this guide you will find a checklist to make sure that you have everything you need for a complete application. Before filling out the application form, you will need to create a team: click on “New Team” on the Teams page and add your team members (team mate and coaches). After saving your team, clicking “Apply now” in the navigation should take you to the application form.

The application form is split into three sections. In the first section, you will be asked to answer lots of questions about yourself, your experience with coding so far, and other information that is relevant to our decision-making process. We want to get to know you! You and your teammate will fill in this information separately.
The other sections are related to your project and team setup and they should be filled out as a team. For the project section, you will select your project via a dropdown menu. You will also have the opportunity to select a secondary project, which is there as a back-up, in case you don’t get your first choice. Adding a second project to your application is not mandatory.

It is possible to save drafts of your application. This means that you can partially fill it in, and save your progress for later. Once your application is submitted, it won’t be possible to edit or delete it, so only submit the application once everything has been filled out properly.

Due to some application glitches last year, which might or might not have been the result of simultaneous editing, we’d recommend team members not to fill out the application form at the same time, as this can result in loss of data.

If you have any queries about the application process, please contact us.

Selection and judging

Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by a group of real human beings in the coding community; we aim for a diverse group of teams consisting of different countries, projects, backgrounds and skill levels.
Remember: Successful applications are not “first in, best dressed”, but are judged on how well they fulfill eligibility criteria.

On top of the eligibity criteria above, there are a few other things which we pay attention to during the selection process and which can impact the final rating of your application.

  • Community involvement is important. The more you are involved the better.
  • Experience. We want you to have some experience in programming and working in a team. We don’t expect you to be an expert, but knowledge of some basic concepts and practices is an advantage.

  • Concise code examples. The best case scenario is linking to a completed coding challenge provided by your mentor (if provided). Links to good and somewhat laconic examples of code written by you are a good option, too.
  • Don’t hesitate to share your prior accomplishments. Have you ever build something cool? Do you have achievements you are proud of? Or just small but functioning things you made for fun? Your ability to work and achieve matters.
  • We don’t require you having local coaches, but strong local support is a factor which makes your team stronger and you Summer of Code more productive. However we understand that not all locations make it easy to find local coaches and consider this circumstance, too.
  • The project of your choice might also impact our selection decisions. We don’t often choose more than one team per project; so the higher competition for the project of your choice is, the harder it may be to go through the selection process. You can see how many teams applied to which projects here.

Don’t rush your application, but rather take your time to find your teammate, your coaches, and to choose the most suitable project for your team.

Applications sent after the deadline cannot be considered for judging.

Requirements during the program

Along with this application guide, please also read about what will be asked of you over the summer, besides diving into code. Rails Girls Summer of Code focuses on students learning to code, but is also a community event.

During the Summer of Code we have the following requirements which students have to agree with and, in case of being selected, will sign for in a written agreement:

  • Participate full-time from July 1st to September 30th 2017
  • Continuously work on the chosen and approved Open Source project.
  • Keep track of your work with a short, daily summary.
  • Keep regular contact to your supervisor and your mentor and abide to reaction times for communication.
  • Provide an email address and Twitter account for social and promotional events.
  • Participate in non-coding related community events (e.g. the all-team chat, RGSoC social events).
  • Agree to have published team information on our website and blog (e.g. team introduction, team blog posts). This includes some form of visual material of yourself.
  • In case of participation in a conference where tickets are provided by RGSoC: Hold a lightning talk about your project work or write a blog post about the conference.

Rails Girls Summer of Code will assist and support you with any of these requirements. As a further insight on this, or on setting up a good working environment, please read our article on “What to expect”, where we gathered suggestions and recommendations for students. We strongly advise you to get acquainted with these requirements before and during application time. We will make sure they are complied with and will take steps in case of breaches.
If you have any questions about the above list, please contact us.

A note on volunteer teams

As well as the funded teams, every year Rails Girls Summer of Code has also had a few selected volunteer teams. Volunteer teams are teams that participate in the program without the monthly stipend. Volunteer teams adhere to the same guidelines as funded teams and apart from the stipend, they receive the same amount of support as the other teams and are just as involved in the social activities. Due to this, volunteer teams are also subjected to the selection process. In your application, you will have the option to select whether you are applying as a funded team, a volunteer team, or you can select both options.

Before you apply: the checklist

Here is the basic checklist for your application:

  • Have you read, and fully understood, this guide?
  • Have you found a teammate?
  • Has your team selected a project?
  • Have you gotten in touch with the mentor of the project you have selected?
  • Has your team found at least two coaches who will commit to helping you?
  • Has your team found a suitable workspace for the duration of the program?
  • Do you agree with and meet all of the requirements listed above?

Submit your application

Can you check off all these checkboxes? Then go ahead and create your application here: https://teams.railsgirlssummerofcode.org/apply

If you need help setting up your application, go to the “Help” Section in our teams app: https://teams.railsgirlssummerofcode.org/pages/help.

More questions?

If you have more questions on how to apply, you can also hop into our Student Support Slack channel.