So I am one of the students accepted for the round of May to August, and I'll write here some application tips based on my personal experience to future applicants (just saying, it is my own experience, not an official guide or something, maybe your experience will be different from mine).
- Don't feel afraid if you have heard about the program close to the deadline and don't have much experience: When I heard about the program (by a blog post while surfing the web, maybe as you now), there was less than two weeks to go before the deadline, and the applications were running for almost a month when I knew about it. I thought that it would be impossible for me (at least this time), I didn't have any previous contact with those organizations, I thought that only two weeks wouldn't be enough to get to know them and write an application... But I tried, and it worked :) So first of all, is: don't let the challenge of contributing to a FOSS organization that you don't know in a short period of time limit you! :)
- Explore the projects a little, but focus on one: When I decided that I would apply to Outreachy, I started to explore the participant organizations. At some point, I decided that I would apply to Mozilla, but inside Mozilla, there were a lot of different projects that I could apply, and I felt a little lost. But I did a short list with three projects that I was most interested in and contacted the mentors of those projects to know how I could contribute with them (to participate in Outreachy, you have to submit a small patch). The mentors were very receptive and they send some patches that I could work on, but when I was studying about the projects and the issues, one project was the most interesting for me: one related to Pytest and HTML. So I actually started to write my contribution. Maybe if you have more than two weeks to write your application, you can write two applications, but in my case I only had time for one.
- Do a good contribution: While I was applying, I was also encouraging some friends to apply as well, I was talking to a friend about the needed patch and she said: "I'll solve the easiest issue there" (she didn't get selected :P). I didn't solve the easiest issue there, but the one that seemed to be more interesting to me. And because it was not that easy to solve (I had to write some lines of code) I got many corrections from my mentor and I think we started to have some kind of closer relation (like, I had to talk to him almost everyday this week to get some help with the issue). Because I am a very anxious person, I've taken a look on the contributions of the other applicants to the project I was applying, and I saw that nobody has done a contribution that they actually had to write some code, it was basically change some parameters or delete some lines of code (And I got selected, they no).
- Write a good application and communicate: In the application form there are some questions about our backgrounds, I was not very sure if writing a good application would help me a lot (because I thought that the background + the patch would be more important) but after hearing from my mentor I think it was as important as the patch and the background; in an email after the selection he said "[...] and I particularly liked seeing your enthusiasm and how well you've communicated throughout your application.". So my fourth tip to get selected to Outreachy is communicate well why you are so excited to be part of this program (I was very excited to be part of it, and now I am very excited to the internship start, and I could communicate that on my application).