Today we’re launching our second iteration of the MLH Fellowship, a remote internship alternative for student technologists. Applications are open now at https://fellowship.mlh.io! This batch will happen remotely, from September 21st to December 14th, 2020.

Our first MLH Fellowship, launched back in May, had nearly 20,000 amazing applicants from around the world. We were able to bring nearly 150 of them on board to spend their summer contributing to open source projects under the mentorship of experienced engineers. You can read more about the projects they’ve been working on in our kick off post here.

It has been a truly inspiring experience watching our 150 inaugural MLH Fellows Learn, Build, and Share code with the world. For many of them, this was their first time contributing to open source projects.

On average, MLH Fellows submitted 1000% more Pull Requests in July and August than they did in the previous two months (or the two before that). Around 75% of these Pull Requests have been merged. Code written by MLH Fellows is now being used in production by millions of developers around the world. You can read some of the first-hand accounts of their work on DEV.to with #MLHGrad!

The feedback we’ve been receiving from mentors, maintainers, and the Fellows themselves convinced us that we absolutely needed to run this program again, and has helped us to figure out some improvements and changes we can make to the program for the next iteration.

Application Fees

The first change that many prospective MLH Fellows might notice is that we have added a small application fee. One of our learnings from the first iteration is that we physically did not have the time or money to review most of the 20,000 applications we received. This is a common problem for many folks running university recruiting programs, and results in a combination of machine filtering and first-come/first-served application review. This is not ideal for us or the applicants, and our hope is that having some additional funding directly tied to the number of applications we receive will allow us to implement a better and more thorough review process. Depending on the volume of application fees received, these funds may also be used to expand the number of Fellows we can support in each program.

This fee starts at $25 in the United States and increases or decreases based on the Purchasing Power Index of an applicant’s home country. If an applicant says they cannot afford the fee, it will be waived with no questions asked. It is simply a checkbox on the application form.

Fall, Spring, & Summer Batches

The second change we are making is to plan further into the future. Launching a Fellowship Program on May 4 with a June start date is daunting, to say the least. We are now publishing our forward-looking schedule with a Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 Fellowship already in the works. Fellowships will now be offered with both part-time and full-time participation options to accommodate students who are still in school this year but want to learn practical skills alongside their academic courses.

The dates of the upcoming batches are as follows:

  • Fall 2020: September 21st — December, 14th, 2020 (Deadline: September 13th)
  • Spring 2021: January 18th — April 12th, 2021 (Deadline: January 4th)
  • Summer 2021: May 24th — August 16th, 2021 (Deadline: May 10th)

 

Need-based Stipends

The third change is that we are shifting how we handle stipends. In our first batch, every Fellows received a stipend, adjusted for their country’s Purchasing Power Index. We quickly learned that some Fellows could have used more money, and some didn’t need it. We believe this gap will widen now that students are resuming their courses. Now that we’re offering part-time programs, things are even more complicated.

Fellowship applications will be needs-blind, and once a Fellow is accepted they will be given the option to apply for how much of a stipend they need. Ultimately, the MLH Fellowship is not a job but we do believe the time students put into it is valuable.

Due to this change we will be able to offer stipends up to $5,000 USD to fellows who require the stipend to participate in the program.

Explorer Fellowship

The final change, and perhaps one of the biggest ones, is that we are opening up a new track in the MLH Fellowship. In addition to contributing to open source projects with the help of a mentor, students can now apply for our Explorer program where they will get to build out their portfolio by working on hackathon-like projects, but over a longer period of time and with the guidance of an experienced mentor. This addition was inspired by the hackathon projects we see every weekend, and the amazing things that have come when students were able to continue working on them. We want to provide the support structure and mentorship to make this possible!

We look forward to seeing all of the amazing applicants for our Fall 2020 MLH Fellowship batch and as always, we can’t wait to see what you build.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Happy hacking,
Swift & the MLH Family