FIRST is the Varsity Sport for the Mind
“The Varsity Sport for the Mind,” FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.
"The only sport where everyone can turn pro"
FIRST, which stands for “For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is a nonprofit organization founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. Structured around a high-school robotics competition, the FIRST Robotics Competition is much more than just a competition, combining gracious professionalism with technology to create an environment that fosters a deeper appreciation for science and technology. Professional mentors as well as college students partner with teams to teach students valuable engineering and professional skills while helping the team succeed. Furthermore, FIRST teams are encouraged to spread the word to increase appreciation of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math in society as a whole.
FIRST College Scholarships
Many colleges and universities, professional associations, and corporations offer college scholarships to high school students on FIRST teams. This year, FIRST has 170 confirmed scholarship providers making available individual scholarship opportunities with a total value of over $20,000,000!
These scholarships are not just for engineering majors - roughly 35% of FIRST Scholarships can be used for any course of study. Scholarships vary from one-time awards of $500 to full four-year tuition.
The FIRST Impact
The positive impact on FIRST Robotics Competition participants is gratifying and well documented. Over 88% have more interest in school, 90% have more interest in taking a challenging math or science course, and 90% are more interested in attending college. View the FIRST Impact
FIRST Robotics Competition teams get to:
- Learn from professional engineers
- Master STEM skills
- Learn and use sophisticated software, hardware, and power tools
- Build and compete with a robot of their own design
- Improve teamwork, interpersonal, and communication skills
- Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
- Understand and practice Gracious Professionalism™
- Earn a place at the FIRST Championship
- Qualify for $22+ million in college scholarships
Hard work pays off! Each FIRST Robotics Competition season culminates with district and regional events where qualifying teams compete for awards and a spot at the FIRSTChampionship. Events at every level offer students an amazing experience as they celebrate their hard work, have fun, make new friendships, and are exposed to ideas and ideology that will enhance their lives for decades to come. Every participant is eligible to apply for college scholarships!
FIRST Robotics Competition team members, adult Mentors, and Volunteers all agree – season-ending events (various Regional Event, District Events and FIRST Championship) are the most amazing, inspiring experiences they’ve ever had. Where else can you make new friends, share ideas, solve problems on the fly, compete like crazy, and get pumped up over technology all while having the time of your lives? At FIRST Robotics Competition events, students realize more than ever that FIRST is all about teamwork, sharing, helping others, and respect.
A big advantage to participating in FIRST is gaining access to millions in college scholarships made available by colleges, universities, and corporations who support FIRST. This is an exclusive pool of financial help open only to FIRSTteam members, giving them a competitive leg up on other students seeking educational funds.
- Most are for use at the specific Provider college or university, but some can be used at any school
- About 40% of FIRST Scholarships can be used for any course of study, not just engineering
- Amounts vary from one-time awards to full four-year tuition