FIRST Scholarship FAQs
Answers to common questions asked about FIRST Scholarships
General Questions About FIRST Scholarships
Q: What are FIRST Scholarships?
These are college scholarships for which students who have participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) programs may apply. Most FIRST Scholarships are exclusive to FIRST students and are funded and offered by colleges and universities for use at their campus. However, some FIRST Scholarships are offered by corporations, organizations, and professional associations for use at any college or university. FIRST Scholarships are not funded or administered by FIRST.
Q: What kinds of scholarships are available?
Most FIRST scholarships are merit-based scholarships and are renewable each year if you maintain an acceptable academic average. There are a few need-based scholarships. There are scholarships for a broad range of scholastic abilities. The majority (~60%) are for special majors such as engineering, math, science, computer science or technology. Others (~40%) are for any major you choose. Each scholarship is unique and has its own award amount, eligibility requirements, application requirements, and application deadline.
Q: What is the amount of a FIRST Scholarship?
Each scholarship is unique and has its own award amount. They range in value from $1,000 non-renewable to full tuition for all four years (total value ~$150,000). Some schools offer a range of scholarship amounts, dependent upon your academic average.
Q: Who can apply for a FIRST Scholarship
High school students participating on FRC and FTC teams can apply for FIRST Scholarships. Most scholarships are for seniors, but there are a few scholarships available to juniors and a few available to college students. Each scholarship may also have other eligibility requirements, be sure to check carefully that you are eligible to apply.
Q: When do I apply for a FIRST Scholarship?
Application deadlines range from early December to the end of August. Most scholarship applications are due during January through April. Each scholarship has its own application deadline. Pay close attention to the application deadlines of the scholarship(s) for which you want to apply.
Questions about Searching for FIRST Scholarships
Q: Where do I find the list of FIRST Scholarships?
The current FIRST Scholarship Opportunities listing is at: http://www.usfirst.org/scholarshipsearch.aspx This is an alphabetic list (by school/scholarship provider) of the available scholarships. Follow the "More details..." and "View application..." links to see detailed information specific to each scholarship.
Q: There are so many scholarships in the list of FIRST Scholarship Opportunities. How do I find the scholarships that are appropriate for me?
You can refine your search by using the drop down menus and check boxes in the "Narrow the results with these filters" box. Once you have made your selection, click the Update button. Also see How to use Scholarship Search Filters.
Q: I'm on an FTC team, how do I find scholarships for which I can apply?
Using the "Narrow the results with these filters" box, select FTC from the Program drop down menu. Then click the Update button. This will display only scholarships for which FTC students can apply.
Q: I don’t plan to be an engineer. Are there any scholarships for me?
YES! Approximately 40% of the scholarships are for "any course of study". The remaining 60% are for special majors such as engineering, math, science, computer science, or technology. When searching the FIRST Scholarship Opportunities list, try using the "For any course of study" option in the "Narrow the results with these filters" box. This will display all scholarships that can be used for any course of study.
Q: I'm not a US citizen, but I am a Permanent Resident of the US. How can I find scholarships for which I can apply?
Using the "Narrow the results with these filters" box, select US Permanent Resident from the Citizenship/Residency drop down menu. Then click the Update button. This will display scholarships for which Permanent Residents are eligible to apply.
Q: I'm not a US citizen and I participate on a FIRST team in another country. How can I find scholarships for which I can apply?
Using the "Narrow the results with these filters" box, select Citizen of country other than U.S.A. from the Citizenship/Residency drop down menu. Then click the Update button. This will display scholarships for which are eligible to apply.
Q: How can I see what new FIRST Scholarships have been added or updated since I last looked at the website?
To sort the list of scholarships by the date they were posted on the website, select Sort By - Date Posted in the "Narrow the results with these filters" box". Then scroll to the bottom of the list to see the most recently added/modified scholarships.
Q: Some of the scholarships in the FIRST Scholarship Opportunities list say "Not Yet Confirmed" and have a deadline date from last year. What does that mean?
Each year our Scholarship Providers must confirm that they will offer their FIRST Scholarship again for the coming year. Not all providers have made this decision before September when we post the FIRST Scholarship Opportunities for the coming year. We leave scholarship information from last year so that you can see what was offered in the past. We will post new information as soon as the provider confirms the scholarship. Although it is likely that the scholarship will be again offered for the same amount and same deadline, there is no guarantee. So if you are interested in a "Not Yet Confirmed" scholarship, keep checking the FIRST website, or contact the Scholarship Provider directly.
Q: The college that I want to attend doesn’t offer a FIRST scholarship. Any suggestions?
Look for FIRST scholarships offered by corporations or associations that are not associated with a particular school. To do this easily, check the "Can be used at any school" box in the "Narrow the results with these filters" box. You can also call the Director of Admissions or Dean of Engineering at the school you want to attend and ask why they don’t offer a FIRST scholarship. If that person is unfamiliar with FIRST , tell them about your FIRST experience and why they are missing out on promoting their school to thousands of talented students like you. (Maybe your contact will be responsible for that school ultimately deciding to offer a FIRST scholarship!)
Questions about Applying for a FIRST Scholarship
Q: How do I apply for a FIRST Scholarship?
Each FIRST Scholarship has its own unique application process. Be sure to carefully read the scholarship description (display this by following the "More details." link). If there is a "View application." link, be sure to follow that also.). You will find instructions on how to apply within the scholarship description. You may need to write an essay and/or send a recommendation letter from a mentor. Plan to do this before build season if possible. If you have any questions about the application process, contact the Scholarship Provider directly.
Q: When should I apply for a FIRST Scholarship?
Each FIRST scholarship has an associated application deadline date, but it may be to your advantage to get your application in before this date.
Q: Can I apply for more than one FIRST Scholarship?
Certainly! At the time that you need to apply for a scholarship, you may not know which school you will be attending. If you are applying to two schools that each offer a FIRST Scholarship, it makes sense to apply for both of those FIRST scholarships. Winning a FIRST scholarship may affect your decision of what school you will attend.
Q: I missed the scholarship application deadline. Is there anything I can do?
That depends upon the school policy and whether they have received enough applicants for their scholarship. Contact the school and explain why you missed the application deadline. Some schools accept late applications.
Q: It’s late in the spring and I know I have missed many of the scholarship deadlines. How can I easily see what scholarships are still accepting applications?
To sort the list of scholarships by deadline date, click on the column heading "Deadline". Then scroll down the list until you reach scholarships with future deadline dates.
Questions about Winning a FIRST Scholarship
Q: What are my chances of winning a FIRST scholarship?
There are many factors that affect your chances of being offered a FIRST scholarship. Certainly high on the list is how well you match the eligibility criteria for that particular scholarship. Some scholarships get many applicants, others get only one or two applicants each year. On average, in 2010, approximately one out of every three students who applied for a FIRST scholarship was offered a scholarship. These are VERY good odds.
Q: I’m not a great student. Is there any chance I could win a scholarship?
Yes. You don’t have to be an A student to qualify for every FIRST scholarship. There are FIRST scholarships for a broad range of scholastic abilities. Look carefully at the eligibility requirements. Some scholarship descriptions list minimum GPA, and/or test scores. Some schools will consider any student who has been admitted. Call the school directly if you have questions about whether you would qualify for their scholarship.
Q: If I win a scholarship offered by a college and then decide not to attend that college, what happens to my scholarship?
Most colleges and universities offer scholarships for use only at their campus, so you will not be eligible to receive the scholarship if you attend another school. If the school has campuses in multiple locations, be sure to check with the school to see if your scholarship can be used at the campus you plan to attend.
Q: Can I take my scholarship with me if I transfer from one college to another?
Probably not. If the scholarship was provided by a college or university, the scholarship typically is for use only at their campus. However, check with your Scholarship Provider.
Q: I won a FIRST scholarship last year. Now that I am in college, what do I need to do to renew my scholarship for next year?
Many of the FIRST Scholarships are renewable, but may require additional paperwork and/or a minimum GPA in college. Be sure to check with your college Financial Aid Office or your scholarship donor to see what is expected of you. There may be a deadline by which you must file some paperwork, so check with them early in the year.