For Mentors

Thank you for considering or stepping up to be a mentor for Outreachy!

Time Commitment

Mentors for Outreachy should be able to commit 5 hours a week on most weeks towards the mentorship from the beginning of the application process through the end of the internships. Having a co-mentor or a project team who can review contributions and point people in the right direction can help spread the load. However, it's the primary mentor's responsibility to guide the intern, connect the intern with other people who can help, and review and merge intern's contributions throughout the internship or ensure other project participants do that.

Application Process

Relevant Contribution Requirement

All applicants are required to make a small contribution to the project they are applying to work on. As a mentor, you will need to help applicants identify a suitable first task and help them out with it during the application process. Many successful applicants complete multiple tasks during the application process - please encourage them and support them in doing so.

Defining a Project

Please discuss with the applicants the details of the work they'll be doing during the internship period. It is best if the accepted participants work as part of the team, starting with smaller tasks (i.e. bugs) and progressing over time to more complex tasks (i.e. features), with each task being suggested by you based on the current priorities of the team. So the applicants just need to know what areas of the project they are likely to work on and a tentative timeline.

The project should consist of manageable and relevant tasks that can be incorporated into the project throughout the internship period. Stand-alone projects proposed by an applicant are not suitable at all for people who are not established contributors. Please try to avoid situations when participants work on features that are not yet designed or agreed-upon, have too many moving parts, and would only land in the main code-base after the internship is over as a best-case scenario. This rarely works out. Instead, look for agreed-upon manageable bugs and small features that have a shared theme and would allow the participant to feel the satisfaction of landing their changes throughout the internship.

Redirecting Applicants

Because we ask the applicants to collaborate with mentors during the application process, mentors often find themselves overwhelmed with potential applicants. Please do not hesitate to redirect applicants to other projects or to learn more on their own if one of the following applies:

  • You already have one or two strong applicants working with you, whom you are likely to want to accept, reaching the number of people you are willing to mentor in one round. Please post [No longer taking applicants] next to the description of your project and, if you have strong runner-up applicants, beyond the ones you think you would be willing to mentor, suggest that they find a different project with your organization or a different organization.
  • You already have as many applicants as you can possibly work with during the application process, though you are not yet clear if any one of them will be a strong enough candidate to want to accept. Please ask new people who don't seem highly promising who contact you to look for a different project. Post [No longer taking applicants] next to the description of your project if that seems most effective, at least until you figure out if there is a strong candidate among the applicants you are working with.
  • The applicant clearly lacks the basic skills needed for succeeding in your project. Please point them to the relevant resources that can help them learn more first.

Your organization's coordinator and Outreachy coordinators will often be able to help you redirect strong runner-up applicants and new applicants to projects with few applicants. Please let Outreachy coordinators know when you are no longer available to work with new applicants, so that we can update the listing for your idea on the main page for the round appropriately.


Please see the information about agreements mentors will need to sign on the main page.

Internship Time

Please see this internship time guide for mentors and coordinators. It's useful to read it ahead of time to know about the recommended practices and what to expect.

General Mentorship Resources

Good mentorship is a cornerstone of this program. These resources are useful for prospective mentors to review prior to participating in the program for the first time:

Outreachy/Admin/InfoForMentors (last edited 2017-03-16 20:50:37 by MarinaZ)