FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is a unique varsity sport of the mind designed to help high-school-aged young people discover how interesting and rewarding the life of engineers and researchers can be.
The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard "kit of parts" and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in competitions designed by Dean Kamen, Dr. Woodie Flowers, and a committee of engineers and other professionals.
FIRST redefines winning for these students because they are rewarded for excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, gracious professionalism and maturity, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Scoring the most points is a secondary goal. Winning means building partnerships that last.
What is unique about the FRC program?
- It is a sport where the participants play with the pros and learn from them
- Designing and building a robot is a fascinating real-world professional experience
- Competing on stage brings participants as much excitement and adrenaline rush as conventional varsity tournaments
- The game rules are a surprise every year
Recently, Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities conducted an independent, retrospective survey of FIRST Robotics Competition participants and compared results to a group of non-FIRST students with similar backgrounds and academic experiences, including math and science. Highlights of the study’s findings include:
When compared with the comparison group, FIRST students are:
- More than 3 times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
- About 10 times as likely to have an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op in their freshman year.
- Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree.
- More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.
- Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
- More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.
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