FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Award Updates for the 2024 Season

Sep 12, 2023 Written by Fiona Hanlon, FIRST Robotics Competition Team Experience Specialist




Edit: This blog was updated on 10/3/2023 to add additional requirements for uploading the video. 

It’s that time of year where we share award updates for the new season. Last week, we shared updates to the Dean’s List Award and that the Team Sustainability Award sponsored by Dow has new award guidelines and today we’ll share a few more updates.

We also wanted to take this opportunity to remind teams of some great award resources that are available such as:

  • Dean’s List Award Guide – This guide assists team in preparing for the submission and for participating in the Dean’s List Award interview. It contains information on the Dean's List Award, best practices for writing the submission and preparing for the interview, and more!
  • Inside Look at the Judging Process – This document covers how the judging process works at events. 
  • Best Practices for FIRST® Robotics Competition Judged Awards - This resource includes tips for talking with judges in the pits as well as tips for the FIRST Impact Award and Dean's List Award.
  • FIRST® Impact Award Resources - This webpage contains multiple resources to help teams when submitting for the FIRST Impact Award including, previous winning team's submissions, an FAQ on the award, and additional resources.
  • New! Award Workbook – This resource contains the award descriptions and guidelines as well as suggested questions that judges may use during pit interviews. This document replaces a document we used to provide with just suggested questions.


FIRST Impact Award Video Changes

For years, teams have been required to bring a copy of their video on a flash drive and provide it to the judges. Over the past couple of seasons, we have heard concerns about the security risk of using a flash drive from our volunteers as well as production companies. We have also had our handful of stories where the team forgot or lost their flash drive and thus were ineligible for the award.

To help combat all of the above, we are making a few changes for the season:

  • The FIRST Impact Award Video will now be entered as part of the submission process. To ensure that videos are able to be played at the events, videos must be posted on a file sharing site (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) and the link must be made public to allow downloads. We recognize that this means that the video deadline is now earlier than it has been in the past.
    • Added 10/3/2023: The video must be hosted on one of these three (3) file sharing sites (Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive) and be made public to allow video downloads.
  • We are removing the requirement of having a video, so the FIRST Impact Award Video will be optional. This video will still not be part of the judging process (unless shown directly to judges during the interview) so teams should not feel like they have to create a video. That being said, the FIRST Impact Award video is a great way for teams to showcase what they do to their supporters and community. Additionally, if the winning team does have a video, it will still be played at the event after the winner is announced.

We also know many teams like producing the video with their media sub-teams but may not be able to finish the video by the deadline. One thing that teams can consider doing is entering a link during the submission process that will later redirect to the FIRST Impact Award video. This allows teams more time to finish the video if they need or to continue to iterate on the video from event to event. One way to do this is using Google Drive and creating a folder and sharing that folder link in the submission. If you take this approach, there should only be one file in the folder at the event.


FIRST Impact Award Feedback Guidance

Last season, we rolled out a new change and allowed teams to submit an optional question that teams could receive feedback on from the event’s judges. We received a myriad of questions, some of which were not relevant to the award and were directing questions to FIRST Headquarters. We wanted to remind teams that these questions do not go to FIRST HQ, they are reviewed and answered by your event judges.

In addition, we wanted to help provide some example questions that teams could choose to use. Check out the Feedback Section under FIRST Impact Award on the Submitted Awards webpage for some suggested questions to use.


Removal of Highest Rookie Seed

We have decided to remove the Highest Rookie Seed Award. This award celebrated the highest-seeded rookie team at the conclusion of the qualifying rounds and was presented at events with more than 1 Rookie. This award was presented at fewer than half of the events last season.

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