VP 2018 Guidance

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This wiki primarily provides insights into our VP scholarship guidance approach, useful application resources and the guidance itself. If you're just getting started to know about the VP scholarship and application process, then you should first look to quickly take a look at our VP Scholarship Wiki. Familiarising yourself with the basic details about the scholarship will help you understand our guidance approach better. You can find the scholarship wiki by googling for "Rethink Venkat".

If you already know about the scholarship, then this guidance is for you.

Let's get started with our Guidance Systems first.

Our Guidance Framework

Wiki

VP Scholarship Wiki

Wiki is our one-stop information platform. That's where we publish all information relevant to the opportunity, in this case, VP Scholarship. Any new information we have on the program (information like an extension in deadline, FAQs and so on), you can expect it to be published in our wiki page. (The one you just located by googling for "Rethink Venkat".

VP Scholarship Guidance Wiki

This wiki for VP Scholarship guidance is where we will publish all our guidance on how you can apply to VP scholarship. The kind of guidance you can expect is how you should approach the application, how you can create your resume, fill in the essays, who you must pick as your recommenders and so on.

Do note that this is mostly our perspectives and thoughts evolved from years of experience helping students apply to various programs. To take up on it or not is completely up to you.

It is recommended that you go through these two wiki pages time to time to find any new updated information about VP Scholarship or our guidance.

Previous Winners Interviews

So we believe that when it comes to applying to an opportunity, the experience of previous beneficiaries of the program and their tips come very much handy. This is why we have a list of 2017 VP scholarship winners published in our VP Scholarship wiki. Winning applications of these winners will be updated in our wiki as we receive them.

In an attempt to capture their experiences, we did interviews with few previous winners. These interviews can be found on our YouTube Channel here You can also find these by googling. How? Just google for "Rethink Youtube Venkat <winner's name>". If we have a video done, it will come up on search.

To know which interviews with previous winners have been done, checkout our previous winners table to VP Scholarship wiki.

Peer-learning Community

Last year when we helped students apply to the VP scholarship, we explored peer-learning communities where we brought together applicants and previous winners. This time when we interviewed the winners, almost all of them mentioned that those groups were super useful which is why wish to leverage them this time as well.

The learning community is nothing but a telegram group. It is primarily meant to spin off discussions with your peers as well as previous winners and also provide a softer platform for you to clarify your queries.

Students joining the learning community will receive a rough copy of the main application form in which they can work out their answers and also share among peers for review. They will also receive regular emails from us. These emails will either contain specific guidance on how you can approach the various segments of the application form or important updates about VP scholarship or our Guidance system.

Until end of the deadline, these applicants will have our support in attending to their queries and refining their application.

How do you join the learning community?

We have a learning community of this year's VP scholarship applicants where you can ask these questions.

To join the group, what you can do is install Telegram on your phone and then ping our Rethinkbot on Telegram. Here is the link to the bot: [t.me/rethinkbot]

Upon opening the bot, you have to type /venkat to let the bot know that you are interested in joining the VP scholarship Learning Community.

The bot will then ask you few questions to know who you are and then pass on the link to join the group. While conversing with the bot, do note that it might be a tad slow when asking the questions. Request that you be patient and gentle on our Rethinkbot :)

v@r

v@r or volunteers@rethinkfoundation.in. Any student can at any point in time write to us with their query and we shall provide a response. Most of your questions will be resolved in the peer-learning community itself. But any time you wish to interact directly with Rethink, v@r is the best option.

Referrals

Almost all previous scholars say that they knew about VP scholarship from a friend, senior or relative. If we could all intimate at-least one engineering student about the scholarship, collectively we would have reached a lot of students. This time to set this in motion, we have a system of peer-advocacy in place. If you know any student pursuing engineering you care about and think would benefit from the scholarship, do let him/her know about the scholarship by filling in this form <>

Once you do this, we shall write to the student and provide him/her further guidance to put in a good application.

Get started with your application process

About VP scholarship

The first step is to understand more about the scholarship. Getting a broad sense about who Mr. Venkat Panchapakesan was and why Google is offering a scholarship honouring him would really help you in getting to know about the program hosts and their expectations. Once this is done, the obvious next stage is to familiarise yourself with the details of the scholarship such as the application process, deadline and requirements from your end.

We have all the basic details covered in our VP scholarship Wiki which you can find by googling for "Rethink Venkat".

We recommend that you go through the wiki and also through the official websites of the scholarship as well as read up about Mr. Panchapakesan.

Scholar's Experience

Now that you know about the program, you need more contextual information as to what you can really expect from the VP scholarship and what the perks of this scholarship are.

Last year we had 6 scholars from India and they all had a phenomenal experience. We have repeatedly heard earlier applicants mention that they have greatly benefited from experiences shared by previous winners. This time, we are doing interviews with the 2017 winners and publishing these videos on Youtube. Watching at least 1-2 interviews would definitely help you understand the program better and get started with your application.

You can locate the links to interviews with previous winners by googling for "Rethink Youtube Venkat <scholar's name>". Do note to replace <scholar's name> with the name of the scholar.

Familiarising with the application

At this stage, you'd take a step closer to the application process by first going through the application itself. This is more of obtaining preliminary information about what is asked of you so that you can start thinking about how you would like to fill in the answers. If you have already signed up for our guidance system, you would have received a copy of the application form. Go ahead, open the application form and go through it.

Creating your checklist

Now that you know what it takes, the next step is to create your checklist. We have a basic version ready for you and can be found below under 'Resources'. You can make a copy of this and edit it to suit your requirements. Essentially, every action that you need to take, small or large needs to go into the checklist so you don't miss out on anything.

Best Practices

At this stage, you're all prepped to start your application. Before you do so, we highly recommend that you read over our best-practices on how you must approach an application form. Here's the article: Generic Application Approach

Guidance Emails

This is the set of Detailed guidance facilitated to all the applicants who have signed up for our Guidance process. Every day from July 3rd to the deadline, the students received an email with detailed guidance and these emails have been captured in the blogs below.

  1. Day 0: Guidance, Essay question 1
  2. Day 1: Guidance, Essay question 2 and LoR's
  3. Day 2: Guidance, Videos and Resume

Resources

[Application Checklist] --This is a google form that you can fill up regularly to keep track of your status. You will be able to edit this form throughout if you login using the same gmail id that you filled the form with.

Copy of the Venkat Scholarship application --You may use it as a workbook before filling in the actual application form. This is advised since it is easy to edit and share your application draft

2017 Application Resources

  1. Application Walkthrough
  2. Application Video submitted by Previous Winners, 2016
  3. Twitter list of Previous Winners, 2016
  4. Youtube playlist of winning videos

From Our Blog

  1. Why peer-learning communities matter?

FAQ

The following text answers most of the basic questions students have while applying. Do read through to have the most frequently popping up questions answered. Following this text, we have few specific FAQs that we've answered.

About VP Scholarship

Google Venkat Panchapakesan Memorial Scholarship 2018 is an initiative of Google Inc. to promote undergraduate and graduate students in the field of computer science. The scholarship, through its medium, pays a tribute to a young computer science engineer Mr. Venkat Panchapakesan from Google, who passed away due to cancer at an early age.

The scholarship is offered to students of computer science or related fields and every year, 6 students are selected.

Selected students receive:

  • Financial aid of 750 USD to support their education
  • 250 USD to run a community-impact project
  • Fully sponsored trip to Silicon Valley

Read more about Mr. Venkat Panchapakesan here

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student in a college/university in India, for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic year. (That is, you must be in your 1st, 2nd or 3rd of B.Tech course and in first year of your M.Tech or Graduate course)
  • Be currently pursuing a degree in computer science, computer engineering or a closely related technical field (Students in CSE, ECE, EEE, IT, Instrumentation, Applied Electronics, MCA)

If you applied last year but were not selected, you are encouraged to re-apply. However, past recipients of the scholarship are not eligible to receive the scholarship.

Application Process

The application process requires you to write 3 essays, submit your Resume, a short video and two recommendation letter from a Faculty Member or Supervisor. To know more about the questions, check the [1] section above.

Essay Questions

When writing the essay questions, you are required to stick to specific word limits. In some cases, the application form may not permit you to proceed if your essays are longer than they should be. So it is always a good practice to do so.

Read each questions thoroughly and do keep in mind to include only information relevant to the program. Your academic achievements, technical skills as well as your leadership skills (projects, research papers, participation in hackathons/workshops/competitions and internships) within college or outside college could be highlighted in your application.

When writing the essays, do keep in mind that you should be honest and authentic. Pretending to be someone you are not might be a very bad idea because the reviewers will catch you right there if you fake it. Instead, it might be a good idea to thin a bit about your own goals and aspirations. The challenges you have faces and how you have navigated them. Including your personal experiences in the essays/video will also make them feel authentic.

Resume

The Resume you submit should contain information about your experience in the area of computer science, as well as your leadership experiences and the impact you have created.

Do also ensure that you name the file with your Full name, upload it to google drive and that you have set the sharing settings to "anyone with the link". There is no specific Resume style or template that is recommended. You are free to choose a template that suits your style.

Video Testimonial

You are required to submit a video testimonial that is 1 minute long where you explain "Why you would like to receive the scholarship".

You can shoot the video, upload your video Youtube and share the link in your application form. The video need not be of professional quality. You can shoot the video using your phone or laptop camera also. It is recommended that you stick to the content brief and time-limit.

Recommendation Letters

You are required to submit two recommendation letters from your Faculty Members or Supervisors at an internship/organisation you have worked in.

What you need to do is identify two recommenders who know your work well and can vouch for you and your work. This can be someone whose class you attended, someone who guided you on a project, someone you worked with in a college club/organisation. It could even be someone who worked as your manager/team lead at an internship or at any organisation.

Once you do that, speak with them and also communicate the following:

  • Why are you applying to this scholarship? What do you look forward to?
  • Which of your skills are you highlighting in your application?

It is also recommended that you share your application form with the recommenders so they can curate their letters around the points you have highlighted in your application.

Once your recommenders draft the letter, this is what they should do:

  • Title your recommendation letter as follows: "Reco letter for <your full name>"
  • Save it as a PDF file
  • Email it to venkatmemorialscholarship@google.com.

Do note that your recommenders must email the letter by July 6, the deadline and it is your responsibility to ensure that they do.

Support

At any point, if you encounter any technical error or any questions/concerns about the application process, you may write to us at v@r (volunteers@rethinkfoundation.in). If it is something we can offer guidance with, we shall most certainly help out. You also have the option to reach out to the VP Scholarship team directly about your query. You can find their support email in the References section.

Questions

Is there a possibility of the deadline being extended?

There might be, there might not be. We will never know the answer to this question until the Scholarship Team announces something. It is recommended that you do not spend time hypothesising the possibility of the deadline being extended and instead focus on working on your application.

What is the selection criteria?

The program website reads this: "Scholarship recipients will be selected based on the overall strength of their essays and application materials compared to the entire applicant pool. ". There is also an expected candidate profile listed in our wiki. Do checkout.

Should I stick to the word limit?

Absolutely yes! It is always recommended that you stick to the word limit.

How can I upload my video on youtube?

Uploading video to YouTube is quite easy. You must create a profile on YouTube and then you can upload videos to your channel. To get more specific information, checkout this tutorial: Uploading video to YouTube

How do I upload my files to drive and share them in my application form

To know more about uploading your file onto the drive, check this out: Uploading files to drive To know more about sharing your files with others, check this out: Sharing Drive Files

My parents might not allow me to go to Silicon Valley. Should I still apply?

We feel that you should definitely apply to the scholarship. Almost all previous winners say that they also felt their parents wouldn't let them go initially. But when they finally got selected to the scholarship, things changed. But now, if you decide to not apply because your parents might not let you go, then the probability of you getting selected to the scholarship is zero. Some chance of getting selected is better than nothing right?