The GitHub Campus Experts program is indeed one of the popular student community programs in tech. In this blog, I'll be sharing my experiences surrounding the program and some tips that will hopefully help you gain some insight into it.
GitHub Campus Experts are student leaders who're driven to lead a tech community in their campus. They strive to build safe, diverse and inclusive spaces for students to learn, build and grow collaboratively.
They work closely with their peers to close the gap between industry and academia, creating new opportunities for students to learn industry-valued skills. Campus Experts can be found spearheading countless initiatives like workshops, meetups, hackathons, projects and more for their communities.
The GitHub Campus Experts program would be an amazing platform for you if:
- You're interested in building/growing a tech community and create new opportunities for its members.
- You'd like to get support and training from GitHub.
- You'd like to collaborate with students leaders beyond your campus.
There are a minimal set of requirements listed by the program that you need to fulfill. You must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a GitHub account that is at least 6 months old
- Be in possession of the GitHub Student Developer pack! (Apply here)
- Be enrolled in a post-secondary institution
- Have more than 1 year as a student before graduating
- Not be enrolled in the GitHub Campus Advisors Program
Q. Do I have to be from a specific stream or background to be eligible to apply?
Not at all! Students from all backgrounds aspiring to build/grow a tech community are encouraged to apply.
Q. Will I be evaluated based on my projects, GitHub profile or GitHub activity streaks?
Nope, you'll be evaluated only based on your application responses.
Q. How many Campus Experts can there be per campus?
The program generally accepts one student per campus, according to the official website.
The Campus Experts program is easily one of the best community initiatives I've been part of. As a GitHub Campus Expert, you get:
- Training from GitHub - learn technical and professional skills like public speaking, technical writing, community leadership, and software development
- Support to bring your community plans to life in the form of swags/prizes for your events and handling travel expenses for in-person events
- Access to speaking opportunities and GitHub events
- Be part of an extensive community of Campus Experts from around the world
- And yes, amazing swag!
All pumped up to apply? Stick with me.
Applications to the GitHub Campus Experts program opens twice a year - in February and August. You'll get about 2-3 weeks to submit your application.
The application form consists of some basic details you'll need to fill and 3 essay prompts to answer. The essay responses are meant for GitHub to understand who you are and what problems you are trying to solve for your community.
My suggestion would be for you to make sure you address the following in your essays:
- Define who your community is. Who are the students who comprise your community?
- Mention whether you are building a community or growing an existing one.
- Talk about the struggles you face as a community. Outline how it hampers students from learning or achieving their goals.
- Detail what the status quo is in your community. In what ways do they cope with these struggles?
- Describe how the program will aid you in growing your community. This is important especially if you are part of multiple programs. It'd help to describe how GitHub Campus Experts, in specific, will support you with your community goals.
- Discuss why you think inclusivity and diversity is paramount in your community. It's a great idea if you could even elaborate on ways in which you can achieve your diversity & inclusion goals.
Here's an excerpt from GitHub's own blog about the program, that talks about 4 key things they look for in applicants:
- Motivation: What makes you tick? What drives you?
- Interest: Why do you want to be part of the program?
- Growth and potential: What kind of skills do you want to learn, and how will they help you grow personally and professionally?
- Contribution: What kind of an impact do you want to make on your campus?
Once the application window closes, the applications are reviewed by GitHub. It takes about 2 weeks for the review.
You will be notified via email at the end of the review if GitHub would like to move forward with your application. You'll then be invited to submit a video resume - a simple video of you talking about yourself, your community and your visions for the community.
The team would like to get to know you on a closer level through the video, so feel free to be yourself and be comfortable while recording your video. You'll have to submit the video resume in 2 weeks time. It takes about a week to review the videos. You'll be notified via email if you make it through.
If you've made it this far, then congrats! You'll now be going through the Campus Experts training program. The training is one of my favorite parts of the program and the process. The value it brings to student leaders is fantastic!
In a span of 6 weeks, the selected Experts will go through a series of modules. They cover a range of skills - such as technical, professional and community building - that will set you up for success as a student community leader.
You analyze your community and apply the skills you gain from the modules to produce a community proposal. Your community proposal serves as a guide towards realizing your community goals. I absolutely enjoyed the process of drafting mine.
Once you complete the modules, your submissions will then be reviewed by the team. You might receive some suggestions to implement in your submissions too. This is to ensure that you make the best of out the training and put up an amazing submission.
When the submissions get approved, you're now a GitHub Campus Expert!
(long one, brace yourself 😄)
Understanding your community and its needs requires a lot of thought and effort. Be sure to spend enough time with your essays before you submit. I highly recommend taking the full span of the time until the deadline to write your essays rather than rushing through it a day or two before.
Reflection helps a lot to refine your thoughts and bring clarity. Often, your first draft is never representative of your best self. Make sure to pen down your ideas, goals and thoughts across regular intervals and draft them as you go. Ideas that may not occur to you at first attempt will come to you as you spend more time with the essays.
You may also try to have conversations with folks in your community to validate your understanding of the community and possibly even pick up points that you might not have thought of.
Try to pen down your thoughts candidly. Your essay responses must reflect how deeply you understand your community and your resolve to contribute positively.
It doesn't help to surf the internet for generic lines from the internet and put them in your essays. Do not attempt to plagiarize others responses either (It will be detected by GitHub). Every community is different and so are their needs. Hence, do set aside ample time to address the prompts. I'm sure that even a genuine, honest response can create an impactful essay. Focus on how you'd like to solve the struggles your community faces.
Do make an attempt to understand diversity & inclusion if you are new to the concept. It might be a daunting prompt to address, but I suggest that you approach it with empathy and an open-mind. Try to analyze where and why you need diversity and inclusion within your community.
I'd suggest to come up with possible solutions of how you will tackle the shared struggles faced by your community as well. Try to illustrate what actions you could take as a Campus Expert that will benefit the community. Remember, it's more about 'us' than 'I'. Lastly, notice that the prompts may contain multiple parts to them. Make sure you address each question in the prompt.
You do not have to be an expert with tech or have tons of achievements under your belt to become a Campus Expert. All you need is the drive to take initiative and a deep understanding of your community to apply!
As for the video resume: I believe that it will be a lot easier for you to tackle it provided you have spent enough time understanding your community needs. The groundwork and effort I put in my essays helped me a lot when I was prepping for the video. It was such a time saver as well. I'm sure it'll be super helpful for you too!
I can't stress enough how much reflection and iteration have helped me. In fact, the efforts I put during the applications were incredibly useful during the Training phase too!
As awesome as swags are, I'd also like to take a moment to note that the GitHub Campus Experts program is a lot more than the swags. Swags are just one visible part of the program. The resources, support and network you receive as a Campus Expert is quite unparalleled compared to other student programs. We must make best use of an opportunity when we're trusted with it, shouldn't we? So I'd kindly request you to apply with a determination to make positive impact through the platform instead of pursuing swags (if you're in that mindset).
I was introduced to the GitHub Campus Experts program through the GitHub Student Developer Pack. It's a goldmine of a toolkit that I enjoy using for building projects, picking up skills and more. I was contemplating bringing a technical community to my campus for the first time, and the program seemed to be a great place to start building.
The GitHub Campus Experts program gave me the much needed nudge to take the step into bringing all my plans to action. The platform the program provides is absolutely amazing! The brilliant community of Experts and support we receive inspires us to impact students more. The training modules were super informative and taught me skills I'll carry into my professional life as well.
So that's a wrap, folks! All the relevant links for this program can be found in the GitHub Education website.
Thank you for reading! I hope this was worth your time and provided you with useful insights. Please feel free to reach to me if you have any queries (or if you'd simply like to connect!) via LinkedIn. I'll be happy to help! Good luck!