5 things you should do to get selected for the 2nd phase of your Google-Udacity Scholarship

From the pen of a former scholar of the previous scholarship program: A guide to help you get into the top 10% of scholars who will earn the additional 6-month Nanodegree scholarship.

First of all, congratulations for getting selected for the scholarship challenge. You surely did a good job with your application! You can be proud of yourself! Many people got rejected, so if you’re in, feel yourself privileged!

Yay! You’re in!

No matter if you were selected for the Front-End Web Developer, the Mobile Web Specialist, the Android Basics, or the Android Developer track, this article will help you get into the next phase, where the real magic happens. 
So, let’s see what you need to do to get in!

Get rid of your Fear and/or Disappointment

When the scholarship starts off, you may feel confused or overwhelmed. You may even think the whole scholarship experience is nothing but chaos, especially when you join your scholarship #Slack channel and see the tremendous number of posts flooding in. Here are a few reactions you may experience:

  • Based on your skill set, you might think this is not for you, either because the initial video lessons seem to be too easy, or too hard
  • Based on your schedule, you might feel that you are at a disadvantage, since there are a lot of people who can participate full time
  • Based on your expectations, you might feel this is not for you in general.

Well, let me tell you I had a similar feeling 9 months ago when our Android Basics Nanodegree scholarship started. I won’t say that your worries and fears are not valid, but you definitely have to overcome them. And remember this: It’s pretty likely that all of your fellow scholarship students have the same feelings.

Start working

You had your reason to apply. You wanted to learn something new. You should not forget this. Generally, if you want something really bad, you don’t even need a scholarship, right? You can keep listing all your cons and problems, but they will not get you closer to your goal.

So, just stop it. Start watching the videos and get your quizzes and projects (if there are any) done. This whole seemingly chaotic situation will calm down soon.

Understand the “Why”

If you are wondering why this first phase is necessary, let the words of Anaïs Bourg (Community Manager Europe Udacity) make it clear:

“So, why do we have a challenge course? Well, we know that following an online course is hard. While the Phase 1 of the scholarship is relatively “light” in terms of content, the second part really requires a lot more work (definitely 10–15 hours a week) . So, we want to make sure that the people who get selected will actually finish their Nanodegree program; that they will put in the time, that they will persevere when they face an obstacle, that they won’t abandon ship when things get harder. In an ideal world, we would like every single student who gets awarded the full Nanodegree scholarship to go through with it. So this challenge course is designed to help us figure out who has the right mindset for this, who really wants to learn and can show us that they deserve this. This is not a competition against others, this is a competition against yourself, to prove to yourself that you can do this long term.
— Anais Bourg

You get it, right? You don’t marry someone you met 1 hour ago. You want to spend some time together first!

Understand the Selection Process

There is so much more you can get from Udacity than a simple video course and a credential. The Udacity community is something that you definitely want to be part of (There are a thousand reasons why this is true; I wont go into details now, just trust me on this!). And Udacity takes it seriously to build it even further. That’s why the contribution to this mission is the second most valued aspect in the selection process.

But let’s get more specific and see what the two aspects are, listed according their importance:

I. Successful completion of course material and meaningful attempts at all quizzes and projects.

(Note: there is no reward for finishing first or early)

II. Support of fellow students and being active in forums and on Slack.

This makes a lot of sense. But how will recipients actually be selected? Well, in the case of course completion and the forum, Udacity has all the data they need:

My Forum Summary @Udacity
My completed course in the Udacity classroom

But how about Slack? You’ll have mentors, moderators and community managers, whose one job is to help and engage students. But Udacity also monitors the participants, and I think they prepare a list of the ones who are putting time into helping others. So the Big Brother is watching! — Haha! :)

So here are the 5 things you need to do to get selected for the 2nd Phase:

  • Overcome your initial fear/confusion/dissapointment
  • Complete your course material to 100%
  • Use the forum: Read, ask questions, answer questions, post your work, start useful threads/topics, and you’ll be good.
  • Participate in Slack: Udacity monitor all channels. Try to spend at least 10 minutes each day to see what’s going on in your country channel, in the announcement channel, and in the other channels you might be interested in.
  • Enjoy! It’s always important!

That’s it! Easy, right?

Once again: I understand all your worries and problems, but hey, you know exactly what you need to do now! I know it’s hard, I know it takes time, but it is absolutely worth it:

Now go and do your best! Quality over quantity. Try to be helpful rather than a spammer. Complete all tasks in the classroom. You’re going to love the second phase!

I’m George, Android Developer @ Codeyard and Co-founder of Workaline, the site that helps you find your next remote job. Udacity changed my life. If you are curious about how, you can read the following articles:
How Udacity Changed my Life at 30
Why you should apply for the Udacity-Google scholarship
If you were selected for the Android Basics track you might want to have a look at this github repo; you will be building similar apps in 8 months! :)
Please clap and recommend, I want to make my mom proud! :)