Application Guide for Students

If you’re thinking about applying for Rails Girls Summer of Code, this guide will tell you everything you need to know. Please read through it carefully to ensure you know about all the requirements of a good and complete application.

Note: we’re currently getting ready for the next edition of RGSoC, so we don’t yet have a timeline or application guidelines for 2019 (the guidelines below are from 2018). We’ll share more information as soon as possible.

Who is eligible to apply?

All people with non-binary gender identities or who identify as women (transgender or cisgender) are welcome to apply. Aside from this main requirement, 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 one 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) 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 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 dependent on where you live, how much your 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. Each team consists of 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’s important that you both work well together as you will be working very closely throughout the program, planning your team goals together, and being the first point of support for one another!

If you don’t know how to go about finding a teammate, check out our detailed guide here.


Coaches are developers who help you with your project. They sit down with you at regular intervals, guide you through relevant coding steps and troubleshoot problems you may run into. Consequently, it’s recommended that coaches are based in the same city as the team.

Based on past experiences, we recommend 4–8 hours per week of coaching time. Therefore, we require a minimum of 2 coaches per team, and a maximum of 4, so they can share the time commitment. This way, you and your teammate will have more support coverage without exhausting just one coach.

Our guide for coaches will give you insight on what’s required of them and help you explain what is needed 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 right next to your teammate and your coaches is the ideal scenario. You will need a work 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 freely choose from 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. There won’t be anyone next to you at all times, telling you what to do. While you will have time with your coaches each week, you won’t have them by your side 24/7.

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 the 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 2018. We have a wonderful variety of interesting Open Source projects, so we understand that it can be tricky to know how to choose!

Ask your prospective coaches for their input on which project they feel would be suitable, and talk to other people in your local community — in particular, people who are familiar with your level of experience. We also recommend getting in touch with the mentor of the project you are considering applying for to introduce yourself, talk about the project features you’d like to work on, and see whether they think you’d be a good fit.

Submitting your application

At the bottom of this guide, you will find a checklist to help you 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 all your team members (teammate and coaches). After saving your team, clicking “Apply now” in the navigation should take you to the application form.

The application form itself is split into three sections. In the first section, you will be asked to answer 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. In the project section, select your project via the drop-down menu. You will also have the opportunity to select a secondary project as a backup, 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 process

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 we pay attention to during the selection process and which can impact the final rating of your application.

  • Community involvement is important. The more involved you are, 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 brief examples of code written by you are a good option, too.
  • Don’t hesitate to share your prior accomplishments. Have you ever built something cool? Do you have achievements you are proud of? Or just small but functioning things you made for fun? Your ability to set goals and be proud of your achievements is what matters.
  • We don’t require you having local coaches, but strong local support is a factor that makes your team stronger and your participation in the program more productive. However, we understand that not all locations make it easy to find local coaches and we 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 the 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 choose the most suitable project for your team.

Applications sent after the deadline cannot be considered for selection.

Requirements during the program

Rails Girls Summer of Code focuses on students learning to code, but it’s also a community event. Throughout the program, we have the following requirements which students have to sign for in a written agreement prior to starting the program.

You will agree to:

  • Participate full-time from July 1st to September 30th
  • Continuously work on your chosen and approved Open Source project
  • Keep track of your work with a short, daily summary
  • Keep in regular contact with your supervisor and your mentor and stick to previously agreed upon reaction times for answering communication
  • Provide an email address for communication about social and promotional events
  • Participate in non-coding related community events (e.g. the all-team chat, RGSoC social events)
  • Agree to have team information published on our website and blog (e.g. team introduction, team blog posts); this includes a photo or other likeness 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. For further insight on this or on setting up a good working environment, please read our article on “What to expect” where we have collected suggestions and recommendations for our 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, please contact us.

A note on part-time teams

This year, Rails Girls Summer of Code has introduced part-time teams in addition to the full-time teams. Part-time teams are teams that participate in the program part-time (~20 hours a week) with the monthly stipend.

Part-time teams adhere to the same guidelines as full-time teams, receive the same amount of support as the other teams and are just as involved in the social activities. Due to this, part-time teams are also subjected to the selection process.

In your application, you will have the option to select whether you are applying as a full-time team, a part-time 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:

If you need help setting up your application, go to the “Help” Section in our teams app:

More questions?

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