FIRST Dean’s List Award – Update

Blog Date: 
Monday, September 23, 2013 - 11:37

I hear you.  The change I announced Friday allowing only Sophomores/10th Graders and Juniors/11th Graders to apply for the FIRST Dean’s List Award excluded Seniors/12th Graders whose teams rightly expected they would be able to be nominated in the 2014 season.  It was not my intention to suddenly exclude this segment of planned nominees.  This was my mistake, and I apologize.

So, for the 2014 season, Seniors/12th Graders may continue to be nominated for the FIRST Dean’s List Award.  The restriction to Sophomores/10th Graders and Juniors/11th Graders will be implemented in the 2015 season.

Regarding different countries having different application deadlines for colleges, I don’t think it would be fair to attempt to compensate for this by allowing Seniors/12th Graders from one country to compete against Juniors/11th Graders from another.  Something else to consider – while students in Canada, as an example, are applying to colleges while they are in the 12th grade, keep in mind we don’t start making the FIRST Dean’s List Award selections until the last week in February, and this continues through the FIRST Championship in late April.  In some cases, even in Canada, depending on the college and program being applied to, this is still too late for a 12th grader to include in her or his application.  This may not be too late for scholarship applications, but setting the FIRST Dean’s List Award selection not later than the 11th grade as a standard makes this recognition available broadly to all for college and scholarship purposes.

I’ll blog again soon.



I definitely have huge respect for FIRST's shift towards listen to feedback from its participants. As a mentor who knows some fantastic seniors this year, this is a very welcome adjustment.

This is great news! Thanks a lot Frank!!!!

Thank you for moving the implementation out a year. Thank you for the apology and statement that you never intended to have a group of students get excluded. My faith is restored, now back to getting the students to understand sensors and actuators...

As Aaron mentioned, I have a lot of respect for how you listen to feedback. I was shocked to hear the original change, but believe you made the right move by both going to that policy (I was a senior Dean's List Finalist winner, and definitely see the benefit of receiving it as a junior) and allowing a transition period.

Great news, thanks Frank!

Thank you on behalf of the entire 2014 senior class. This is the right thing to do!

I was speaking with other mentors in my area over the weekend and we all agreed - the change should wait a year and teams be given "Advanced Notice". You updated us today with the change exactly how we wanted it. Thank you!

Thank you so much! This really helps out the class of 2014 :)

I think this change depreciates the value of the Deans list award. I think it should be an award about the very best students, not some collage application booster. Imagine if we didn't give Chairman's to a team because the couldn't afford go to the World Championships. The award would then about about it's rewards and not the value of the award itself. Not only that, but many students begin their FIRST experience in their Grade 12 or only really get a chance to shine when they reach that point. Do we want to make their achievements worthless in the eyes of FIRST?

As Engineering Mentor for an FRC Team that started 3 years ago, the high school teacher and other mentors have only considered Juniors in nominations for FIRST Dean's List Semi-Finalists. To us it was clear in their written criteria. To quote FRC, "Teams nominating students as FIRST Dean’s List Semi-Finalists should note that colleges and universities are extremely interested in recruiting FIRST Dean’s List Award students and accordingly, FIRST strongly urges teams to nominate a student in his or her junior year as a FIRST Dean’s List Semi-Finalist. (Quoted text was bolded and underlined.)"

As a continuation of my previous comments (limited 600 char.) the high school teacher and mentors knew the importance of only considering Juniors in nominations for FIRST Dean's List Semi-Finalists. To us it was clear in their written criteria. To further quote FRC, “While FIRST judges will consider any student nominated by their team as a FIRST Dean’s List Semi-Finalist, this year (2011) judges will give preference to students in their junior year when they make their selections to maximize the impact of the FIRST Dean’s List Award for students and colleges/universities supporting FIRST.”

I'm glad seniors will remain with the opportunity to be nominated! But is Dean's list ever going to happen in FTC? I think it's a great opportunity that needs to be spread across the programs because FTC team members go through the same challenges and experiences and do the same outreach and design iterations that FRC students do.

Kids from FRC 1382 attend a 3 year private technical high school in Brazil, and range in age from 15-18 (or 14-18, I have to verify) while there. Their school year ends in December each year. Are all 3 years of students on FRC 11382 eligible to apply for Dean's List? How about students who just graduated their 3rd year in December 2013? Are they eligible to apply? They are just entering their season now of taking college entrance exams and applying to colleges in Brazil as well as in the US. Many are back on team for the 2014 season to help guide the new crop of team students. Thanks!

Hi Pat - When the official Q&A opens tomorrow (, please ask your question there for an official answer.

Thanks and good luck!

I feel like now this is excluding students who will be seniors in 2015 because many teams will nominate their seniors this year and students who will be seniors next year have no chance of being nominated. I understand the reason for adding sophomores to the nomination pool but many teams have a long running tradition of nominating seniors and no matter when they make the change of not letting seniors be nominated it will exclude a class of seniors which is unfair to those students.

We have some fantastic seniors on our team this year too We are glad that seniors are included this year because it is important to realize continued hard work for their team. Three seniors were picked by the coaches and the team narrowed down the vote.One senior has been involved in FIRST since middle school and has been lead designer for team since sophomore year. He has really developed his interest in robotics and wants to be a mechanical engineer because of his first experience!!!What process do we go through for our senior(s) is/are picked?Do they still need to write something??

Seniors follow the same submission process as non-Seniors, which can be found in the Awards section of the FRC Administrative Manual, here: . The submission deadline is February 20th!

Thank you for including seniors this year!

Frank, I find it frustrating that complaints netted an adjustment to the Dean's List Award Change and yet complaints about last year's ridiculous Web site (now Digital Media) Award fell on deaf ears. I sincerely hoped that FIRST would reconsider what they did to that award and at least bring it back to one team per region and in Michigan's case, one team for the state.

Commendations on the decision to reinstate seniors for 2014. I implore your committee to reconsider for 2015+. I understand the reasoning from the college application standpoint, however some of our best student ambassadors develop during their JR year, after the submission date, and into their SR year. With this in mind, many young SO's will not have the history to submit a solid application, in essence it will "water down" the pool of applicants. We have several current JR's, one SO, and no FR outstanding candidates for 2015. Please reconsider. More media hype on semifinalists/finalists??

As a 6 year member of FRC I was very excited to be nominated to deans list in 12th grade, but now this sudden change has really impacted not only my dream but also my hard work and dedication.

I love the new change with the interview, but I highly dislike not allowing everyone to have a chance at the award. I think they should keep it the way they had it in the 2014 season. If it was a big deal to have it on a collage application mentors wouldn't choose to pick that student if they are already submitted. As a grade 12 I find it discriminating that not everyone can go for it. I'm not a Dean's List candidate for my team but there are people who have done more than anyone on the team that are now grade 12 who deserve it more than the juniors I think. So please keep it the same!

It seams that 2015 graduating class of seniors who have also worked 4 years are being left out this year. Would it not be more fair if this year's (2015) senior and juniors are included as well. Some of these dedicated kids have burned lot of midnight oil for the past 4 years to make sure their teams do well and are now being side-stepped.

While we had grandfathered last year's seniors in under this change, we don't intend to do so again. As noted in the original blog post, the intent with the change is to to allow this recognition to be broadly used for college and scholarship applications. I recognize that, no matter what year we choose to implement this change, some will be left out, and for that I'm sorry, but I believe this change to be best for the program overall in the long run.

Its the start of the 2015 season and our team is finally ready to summit our first ever Deans list submission in our 11 year team history because we have a couple of students that have over the past 3 years proven themselves to be the best we have ever had and now I find because they are in their 4th year, they probably are not eligible. Is FIRST sure they have thought this out ? These kids deserve an award.

Anyone else have problems with their team's leadership not informing all mentors that they can nominate students for the Dean's List? And not bringing the selections before the entire "leadership committee?" A few select mentors have made this decision for years and most of our members have no idea what the award is about or how the students are chosen. I would think FIRST would be disappointed in this practice.

Thanks for your question! The 2015 Administrative Manual, Section 6.6.2 (which cover’s Dean’s List nomination criteria) states that “although a single mentor must submit the nomination, the team as a whole must verify the accuracy of the submission.” In addition, when submitting the application via TIMS, the submitting mentor will be asked to confirm that the team members have verified the accuracy of the submission. We recognize that each team has their own process for selecting Dean’s List nominees. We rely on the Gracious Professionalism of our community to make Dean’s List nomination.

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