Dean's List Award Resources Aug. 28 2020| 0 KB

Content Type: FIRST Robotics Competition
Tags: Awards, Mentor, Team


When Writing the Essay:

Address as many of the criteria as possible and keep the following in mind:

  • How is the student a leader?
  • How has the student helped increase the awareness of FIRST?
  • Describe the student’s interest and passion that demonstrates their long-term commitment to FIRST.
  • Describe the student's technical expertise.
  • Describe the student's entrepreneurship and creativity.
  • What are the student’s individual contributions to outreach or fundraising efforts?
  • What are the student’s individual contributions to the Team - whether it is building, programming, team captain, etc.?
  • It is not necessary to include the student’s activities outside of FIRST; focus on FIRST related activities.

It is important to remember that this essay is a vital tool used to decide which students should advance to the next level. Including only a few short sentences in the essay can limit an otherwise great candidate from moving to the next level. Try to be as detailed as possible while remaining in the 4,000-character limit.

Who submits the essay?

  • Any team mentor or coach designated as an Awards Submitter may submit the nomination essay in the Team Registration System. 
  • If Lead Coach/Mentor 1 &/or Lead Coach/Mentor 2 are related to one of the nominees, they must invite another mentor, who has passed the YPP screening, to be the Award Submitter and submit the nomination essay(s). Need help assigning an Adult Awards Submitter? Help is here.

Who will see the essay?

  • The student & their parent/guardian will receive an email confirming their nomination after the submissions close. It will include a copy of the essay submitted.
  • Regional and District judges conducting the interviews will read the essays prior to meeting the students.
  • Dean’s List Award Championship Selection Committee will read the initial essay of every Finalist, as well as interview notes provided by the regional and district judges.

Who’s eligible?

  • Sophomores (10th) and Juniors (11th) in high school.
    • NOTE: For regions of the world that do not use grade levels such as this to identify years of schooling: This award is intended for students who are two (2) to three (3) years away from entering college or university. Students that would be attending college or university in the next academic year are not eligible.
  • Mentors will be asked to provide the nominees year of graduation. If “other” is selected, the mentor will see a message appear stating that the student is not eligible and must select a different student.
  • A student involved in both FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge is eligible to be nominated for both programs for the Dean’s List Award in their State’s/region program. However, the Coach or Mentor writing the nomination should focus the essay on the student’s accomplishments in the program in which they are being nominated. If the student is being nominated in each, the Coach/Mentor should adjust the content of each essay to each program.

What Info do you need?

  • Student’s Name
  • Student’s Address
  • Year of Graduation
  • NEW! GPA - Although the award is not strictly academic, the GPA may be considered when determining a student’s academic excellence. Beginning in 2020 mentors will enter the nominee’s GPA and any qualifying details.
    • Example 3.8 on a 4.0 scale
    • note that the GPA is weighted; 4.2 on a 4.0 scale
    • 94% on a scale of 100
    • The mentor will have 200 characters to describe academic excellence.  
  • Event to be interviewed at
  • Essay based on the award criteria above


  • Interviews will last 5-7 minutes.
  • Every student will be interviewed at an event OR prior to their event via conference call or another electronic medium.
  • NEW! - In 2020, Dean's List Interview time slots will be scheduled randomly. Once the interview schedule has been posted, Pit Admin will make an announcement and students can see which slot they are assigned to.
    • Some students may request to change their time slot. In order to do so, the student must find another student that is willing to switch with them. Both students will then come to Pit Admin who can approve the change and Pit Admin must alert the JA or JAA.

Interviews – District Events

  • Mentors who nominate student(s) for the Dean's List Award will be contacted by their districts Dean’s List Manager to inform them at which event the student(s) will be interviewed. If two students are nominated on a team, both will be interviewed at the same event.
  • For the majority of Districts, the number of students nominated for the Dean’s List Award is so great that it is not reasonable to interview everyone at the District Championship.
  • Districts may choose to have a 2nd round of interviews at their District Championship. The number of students interviewed at the District Championship will be determined by the District and will be based on the total number of Semi-Finalists and how many Finalists the District will select.
  • If a District schedules interviews at the District Championship, the Dean’s List Manager will contact the mentors of the students selected for the interviews.

If you have questions regarding the FIRST Robotics Competition Dean’s List Award, please email


To see the past winners, see this page.