FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Dean’s List Award Updates

Oct 15, 2021 Written by Ashley Marie Johnson, FIRST Robotics Competition Program Specialist




We have quite a few updates to announce for the FIRST Robotics Competition Dean’s List Award! Submissions open on Thursday, November 4th at 12:00pm ET and close on Thursday, February 10th at 3:00pm ET.

New Resources

We have created a new Dean’s List Award Guide to assist teams in preparing for the submission and for participating in the Dean’s List Award interview. You can view the guide under the Dean’s List Award section on the Submitted Awards page in the Resource Library. We hope this resource helps more teams submit for the Dean’s List Award.

Changes to Essays

Based on feedback from the judges and to give mentors the opportunity to better answer the prompts, we have split one of the essay prompts into two – bringing it to a total of five prompts. The character limit of each prompt is now 800 characters each:

  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 interest and/or plans to continue to engage with FIRST beyond high school. Please provide examples.
  3. Describe the student's technical expertise, using specific examples in the areas of programming, electronics, design, fabrication, making, illustrating how these skills have contributed to the team's success. Please provide examples.
  4. How does the student's individual contributions to the team benefit the team as a whole in the areas of fundraising, outreach, entrepreneurship, and creativity? Please provide examples.
  5. Explain the student’s leadership to their fellow team members. How do they motivate others? What is their leadership style? Please provide examples.

In addition, we have added a question to the nomination with a 30-character limit: “How long has the student been involved in FIRST?”

Changes to Interviews

Based on feedback from judges, we have decided to increase the time for interviews from 5-8 minutes to 6-10 minutes. Students that require a translator or interpreter will receive up to an additional 5 minutes.

As a reminder, in this blog we announced that we have given Regionals and Districts the options of conducting Dean’s List Award interviews remotely, with interviews taking place within 7 days before the event’s load-in date.

  • FIRST will publish a list of all events/Districts that have chosen to do Dean’s List Award interviews remotely in December.
    • Districts that chose this option must do so for the entire District, not event by event, to maintain consistency within a District
  • If the Regional Event selected for the interview is conducting interviews remotely, the Judge Advisor will contact the mentor that submitted the nomination to schedule the interview 2 weeks prior to the event. The interview will occur within the 7 days prior to the event’s load-in date via Microsoft Teams.
  • If your District is conducting remote interviews, the team’s mentor will be contacted to schedule the interview and which event the interview will be applied to. The interview will occur within the 7 days prior to the event’s load-in date. If selected as a District Championship Semi-finalist, the District’s Judge Manager will contact the team’s mentor to schedule the second interview to occur within 7 days prior to the District Championship’s load-in date.

New Requirement: FIRST Consent and Release Form

Students MUST have a signed FIRST Consent and Release form to be nominated and interviewed for the FIRST Dean’s List Award.

Students with a FIRST Dashboard account and a signed Consent and Release form in their profile can be selected in the drop-down list in the nomination portal. If the student does not have a signed form in their Dashboard account, or does not have a Dashboard account, Mentors may check off a new checkbox acknowledging that they have a signed paper copy of the FIRST Consent and Release form before submitting. Paper forms may be acquired by reaching out to your local leadership.

To submit the form if interviewing in-person:

Signed forms MUST be brought to the event in which the student is to be interviewed at and submitted with the Team Roster to Pit Admin. If the student does not have a signed form at the event (whether shown on the Team Roster as being signed in Dashboard or a paper form), the student will be ineligible to receive an interview and continue on for selection as a Dean’s List Award Finalist.

To submit the form if interviewing remotely:

If interviewing remotely, the lead mentor 1 & 2 will receive an email from after nominations close with instructions on how to submit the student’s signed FIRST Consent & Release form. The signed form MUST be received by the deadline outlined in that email or the student cannot be interviewed.  

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Hi, will the Dean's List Winners and Finalists from 2021 be receiving anything like they did in the past? I believe finalist used to get some sort of prize like a teddy bear.

The 2021 Dean’s List Award Winners were honored with gifts and virtual certificates, and the 2021 Dean’s List Finalists were honored with virtual certificates.

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