FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

2021 Judging & Interview Process - Frequently Asked Questions

Feb 17, 2021 Written by Fiona Hanlon, FIRST Robotics Competition Program Specialist




We have seen some confusion and chatter on the judging and interview process, so we put together a blog to hopefully help clarify the information.

We still need more judges to help ensure teams and volunteers have the best experience possible this season. Judges are most needed for the Game Design Challenge and INFINITE RECHARGE at Home. For more information about the judge role, check out this overview and volunteer today! If you need help finding the correct “event,” follow these step-by-step instructions!

Team Related Questions

  1. When will my interview occur?

Dates can be found within the At Home Challenges Manual in Section 2.3.4, 3.4.4, 4.4.5, and 5.2.1, and a summary of the interview windows is included in the table below.

Interview windows for 2021 judging process
Description Start End
At Home Challenges March 5th15th* April 11th
Dean's List
    District Round 1 March 5th April 1st
    District Round 2 April 11th April 25th
    Regions March 5th April 11th
Chairman's Award
    District Round 1 March 12th April 1st
    District Round 2 April 11th April 25th
    Regions March 12th April 11th
*At Home Challenges Start date corrected Feb. 17, 2021
  1. When will my interview be scheduled?

Expect to hear from your Judge Advisor a few weeks or so after the submission portals close (exact dates vary based on the challenges/awards for which you’re submitting. Refer to the At Home Challenges Manual or the FIRST Robotics Competition calendar for specific dates).

  1. Can I continue to work on my presentation and practice my interview until my interview takes place?


  1. On what platform will interviews occur?

Interviews are virtual and hosted on Microsoft Teams, but a Microsoft Teams account is not required to join the call. A free account can be used for remote interview practice (and we do recommend every team to practice so they know how to use the technology before their interview). See Using Microsoft Teams for instructions.

  1. When will award winners be announced?

Districts and Regions will host their own award show broadcasts to announce winners. These shows will recognize any teams within the Region/District that have won any award this season.

  • Expect Regions to schedule their award shows between May 9th and May 15th.
  • Districts will hold two award shows.
    • The first show recognizes Dean’s List District Championship level semi-finalists and District-level Chairman’s winners. This show should occur between April 4th – 12th.
    • The second show announces the Dean’s List Finalists, District Championship-level Chairman’s Award winners, Woodie Flower Finalists, and all other awards from the At Home Challenges. This award show should occur between May 9th and May 15th.

Some award shows may take place outside these dates. Details will be announced by local leadership once specific dates are confirmed.

  1. How do I know what Region/District I am in?

See Section 5.2 within the At Home Challenges Manual.

  1. What if my question was not answered here?

Please use the official Q&A sponsored by Autodesk or email Team Support if it is a specific question related to your team.

Judge Related Questions

  1. When will I be assigned?

Final assignments will not be made until early March. This permits us to determine the final number of submissions for each online challenge before assigning judges to one or more challenge groups.

  1. When will judging take place?

Judging will be scheduled from mid-March to mid-April. Each Judge Advisor will work directly with their judges to determine an interview schedule that works best for the judges and the teams involved.

  1. How do I indicate when I am available to volunteer if the dates within Volunteer Registration are not correct?

The dates within the system are notional, but judges can add comments when applying to let us know availability. Judge Advisors will also reach out to assigned judges to ask for availability before scheduling any interviews.

  1. How much time is required to volunteer?

We expect the time commitment, per challenge group, to be fewer than 10 hours. This includes reviewing team materials, interviews with the teams, required training, and a Judge Deliberation call to decide award winners.

  1. I have never been a judge, am I qualified?

Yes - as long as you meet the minimum age requirement (19 for At Home Challenges, 23 for Traditional Submitted Awards)! FIRST HQ will provide training so you know what is expected of you in this role. You will be paired with another judge and can ask questions directly to a trained Judge Advisor.

  1. I mentor a team, can I judge?

Yes! If you have a conflict of interest with a team (i.e., mentor, team sponsor, etc.), we will ensure you are not assigned to judge that team. You will indicate your conflict by filling out a Conflict of Interest form.

  1. What if my question was not answered here?

Please reach out to with any additional questions on judging. 

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We are trying to find out when our interview will be for the innovation challenge.  The school has spring break next week and interviews are supposed to be over by next week.  So we are in a bit of a quandary.  I have e-mailed thrice with no luck at all.


Hello, Interviews are occurring between now and April 11th but exact dates will vary by judge group. Can you please email with your team number and we can look into this for you!

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