The organizations for Google Summer of Code 2018 have just been announced and a lot of students are starting to contact mentors in hopes to write a great proposal to get accepted. This is a short guide on how I wrote my proposal for the previous GSoC. The organization I worked for was aimacode, where I wrote on Artificial Intelligence algorithms.

Previously I wrote a short guide on how to contribute to organizations, so that your chances of getting accepted are increased. I suggest you read that blog post first. Here I will give some tips on writing your proposal.

Organization with Templates/Guides

First of all, if an organization has a template or a guide for proposals, read and follow it to the letter. These guides make organizing your proposal a lot easier and usually give you information on how to increase your acceptance chances. Some outright reject students who don’t follow that template, so make sure you do.


Even if the organization of your choice has a template, there is still a lot you need to do to stand out. Before you start dazzling the mentors with your ideas though, you have to make sure you have the basics down.

  • Make sure you have no grammar/spelling mistakes. These show a lack of professionalism, and even if a rogue typo here and there will not cost you anything, a proposal riddled with errors is a huge red flag.

  • Add you contact details. Even if a template doesn’t explicitly state that you have to write your contact details, do so anyway. Add your email/irc handle/github next to your name, so that you are easily reachable if the mentors need to contact you. If you have previously interacted with the mentors, this will also mean there is a good chance the mentors will recognize you. For example, if you have been contributing to a Github repository under a username, mentors will probably recognize your username and that will gain you extra points.

  • Keep it short and focused. A lot of orgs already have that as a requirement, but even if they don’t, keep your proposal as short as you can. Mentors have to go through a ton of proposals, so you want to make sure reading your proposal is not a chore. Thus, keep it as short as possible. To piggyback off that, you must also make sure you do not bog down the mentors with irrelevant information. Go straight to the point and add extra details only where needed.

Proposal Intro Description

(Most of the sections that follow are probably already covered by templates. So what I write below is mainly for those without a concrete template that need some direction.)

Starting your proposal with a short summary of what you will do is a great way to open your proposal. The mentor will instantly know what they are looking at and it will be easier to add some detail in later. This part should be a paragraph or two long, with clear, to the point sentences. Details will be added later on in the proposal.

Work on the Project

A lot of projects allow you to contribute to the project even before the summer. If that is the case, as I wrote on another post, you should take this opportunity to help out. You can later use these contributions to show the mentors what you have already done so that they know what to expect. Most students who are accepted to organizations have already contributed to the project.


Adding reasons why you are qualified helps the mentor decide if you will do a great job. Add previous experiences that are relevant to the project, any skills that will help you pull through and anything else that paints you as a great candidate for this particular position. Remember though that this is not a CV, so try to keep this as short as possible. You don’t have to write in great detail an internship you had; just write a couple of sentences describing what you did.

Detailing Your Ideas + Timeline

In this section you can write in greater detail what you want to do. Use this to tell the mentors how are you going to tackle certain issues that might arise, how are you going to build the things you want to build etc. If you have previously discussed these ideas with the mentors, this is a great place to write down your thoughts that came from these discussions. Again, you should be keeping this section short, but do not sacrifice detail.

Here is where you should be putting your timeline. This should be in the simple format of “Week X - Y: I will do this and that”, where ‘this’ and ‘that’ are things you have described in the detailed analysis of your ideas above. Using bulletpoints under each week segment will help organize the timeline better. Don’t forget to leave some space empty for any unforeseen challenges that may arise!

You can read my previous post on how to contribute to orgs here. Good luck with your projects!