As an Outreachy alum and mentor, I’ve offered to help Outreachy applicants for the past two application rounds by answering questions, giving advice, and looking over essays. I figured I’d compile all of my advice in one doc. Let’s get started!
Outreachy is an organization that provides paid, remote internships twice a year to those who are underrepresented in tech all around the world. Internships consist of interns working with mentors to contribute to an open-source project during a three-month period.
The Outreachy application process consists of two distinct stages: initial application and contribution period. To read more about the process, check out Outreachy’s Applicant Guide, which is an in-depth guide detailing EVERY step of the process. It’s your Holy Grail when applying to Outreachy!
The initial application consists of your typical “Who are you?” questions followed by a number of essay questions to determine if you’re eligible.
I recommend reading Outreachy’s Eligibility Criteria before filling out the initial application to make sure you’re eligible before applying. Otherwise, you may not make it past the first round. If you haven't already done so, check out the Applicant Guide while you're at it. Outreachy lists the essay questions for potential applicants to see before applying and lists essay tips to help you submit a stellar application. (What did I tell you? The Applicant Guide is your Holy Grail!)
While you’re writing, keep in mind that your goal is to tell your story in the best way possible; you’re telling your story about how you persevered in an industry that may have made it hard for you to succeed. Make sure to include as much detail as possible (but not too much) in your responses so Outreachy can properly determine if you’re eligible or not.
When you’re done writing your essay responses, rewrite your first draft as many times as needed. If you’re not confident in your English writing skills, ask other people to take a look or use a grammar and spell checker.
Next up is the Contribution Phase! It consists of two parts:
- Making at least one contribution to the project(s) you chose.
- Filling out the final application for the project(s) you contributed to.
Start early. Choose 1-2 projects to contribute to, which is the recommended amount by Outreachy. Each project will list project information, skills and skill levels required, and project mentor details. Reach out to the mentor and introduce yourself to the community. From there, mentors will guide you through the contribution process.
Each project will have its own contribution process. There isn’t an ideal number of contributions to submit for each project. Remember, quality > quantity. Projects want to see you invested in the project early on and have made at least a few valid contributions. They also want to see you interact with the community. You can do so by saying hello to newcomers or answering questions.
After making at least one contribution to a project, you have to fill out a final application to be considered for the internship. If you can guess where the questions are located for potential applicants to see before applying, I'll give you a piece of virtual candy. Answer: the Applicant Guide!
- Timeline? Deadlines? Guess where? The Applicant Guide! (You get another piece of virtual candy if you guessed right.)
- What type of projects are there? Depending on what open source projects are participating and what intern projects they offer, the project list can differ every round. However, there is usually a variety of projects available, such as frontend and backend development, technical writing, QA, research, mobile development, etc.
- How much programming experience do I need to have? There’s no right answer. Every project is different but having some programming experience will help a lot for most projects.
- Do I need to have open-source experience when I apply? No!
- Can I apply again even though I was rejected X number of times? Of course. I was rejected the first time because I started too late in the process. I took what I learned from the first rejection and applied again. I got the internship the second time around!
If you have any other questions, feel free to DM me on Twitter @maggiecodes_. Good luck!