Dean's List Award Resources Feb. 15 2021| 0 KB

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


When Writing the Essays:

NEW! Follow the prompts below when writing the essays, keeping in mind that each prompt has a 1,000 character limit:

  1. Explain how the student embodies the philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through the FIRST Core Values: Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork and Fun. Please provide examples.
  2. How has the student increased the awareness of FIRST? Describe the student’s interests and/or plans to continue to engage with FIRST beyond high school. Please provide examples.
  3. Describe the student’s technical expertise, entrepreneurship and creativity. How does the student’s individual contributions to the team benefit the team as a whole in areas of fundraising, outreach, robot build, programming, etc.? Please provide examples.
  4. Explain the student’s leadership to their fellow team members. How do they motivate others? What is their leadership style? Please provide examples.

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 1,000-character limit for each prompt.

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
  • 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


In 2021, Dean's List Award interviews will be held virtually.

  • Judge Advisors (JA) will begin reaching out to the nominating mentor within a few weeks after the portal closes to tell student(s) their assigned interview time(s). 
  • If a student cannot attend the scheduled time, the mentor should let the Judge Advisor know immediately so they can reschedule the student's interview. 
  • Judges will review the submissions prior to the interview
  • Each Semi-finalist will be interviewed. The interview is a brief 5-7 minutes and will be conducted by a minimum of 2 Judges.
  • The interview time will begin after a 1-minute buffer to ensure the student has connected to the call. 
  • One adult mentor must attend the interview. Only the nominated student (pre-college) team member is allowed to present information or answer questions from the Judges. The one (1) adult team mentor may observe and later provide feedback to the student, but the mentor is not allowed to provide any assistance during the interview. If the mentor provides any assistance during the interview, the Judges should respectfully remind the mentor of the rule.
  • Interviews are conducted in English (with the exception of teams interviewing in the China Region, FIRST Israel District, Mexico Region, Quebecois teams within the New York & Quebec Region, and Turkish Region). Teams needing a translator or sign-language interpreter may include an additional person to act as that translator/interpreter. The translator/interpreter does not need to be a team member. For these teams, the duration of the interview is increased by three (3) minutes.
  • Recording video, audio or taking pictures (including screenshots) are prohibited during the interview. 
    • In addition to FIRST prohibiting recording, there may be other legal restrictions governing recording. 


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


To see the past winners, see this page.