Captain & mentor

If I am a captain of a robotics team, would it be appropriate for me to claim that i am mentor for my team; does FIRST have any restriction on that? Can I claim that I am mentoring my team on my college application?

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If you are in high school, you are not a mentor. You certainly may be learning those skills, but you’re not there yet.


In TIMS, Mentors and students are registered differently. If you are not registered as an adult mentor, I would not say that you were a mentor.

I think you have to be 21 and up to be officially recognized as a FIRST Team Mentor. Other than that, you’re still a student on the team.

I’ve known students from other teams who are “Student Mentors” where they are based in Team A but they work with Team B throughout the build season, or both.


I think describing your role as a team captain would better communicate with colleges about your role. Some of my FRC students mentor FLL or FTC, but I wouldn’t encourage them to use “mentoring” to describe their role on FRC.


While it might not be appropriate to title yourself as a mentor on your team, it certainly doesn’t take away from the fact that part of what a good student captain does is to ‘mentor’ younger students on your team. On my team, final year students are sometimes called ‘student mentors’ to reflect that a large part of their role is to pass on knowledge to newer students. So just because you’re not called a mentor, doesn’t mean you haven’t been mentoring.


I do not believe that there is an age restriction on mentoring, unless that is new.

I was able to register as the lead mentor of an FRC team when I was 19*. We also once had a mentor who were technically younger that some students (but was a freshman in college).

I certainly do not think it appropriate for a HS students to register as a mentor.

*Before I get a bunch of comments about becoming a lead mentor so young…it was an odd situation. Don’t nessisarily recommend that path for most (but if I was able to go back, I still would have made that situation).

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I am a freshman on my team.

As a freshman in HS, you should probably not register as a mentor.

That said, I believe you will find that explaining you were a team captain on a college application will serve you very well.

Teaching others new skills is very important. Not only do they learn, but when I teach others I find that I tend to learn even more about the topic I am teaching. Starting so early in your “robotics career” should help you learn a lot and really reenforce lots of skills.


A good Team Captain has a lot in common with a good mentor. They are actively passing on their knowledge to newer students, helping facilitate productive discussions, making tough decisions when needed, and not doing all the work themselves but letting others get their hands dirty.

The difference is that the Captain can participate as a team member and the mentor cannot. The Captain might, for example, be a driver on the Drive Team or a presenter for Chairman’s. A mentor cannot do either of those things.

When describing the role of Team Captain in an essay or an a resume or something, you may wish to use a phrase like “mentored other students” to help convey your role more clearly. But that still doesn’t change the title.

Sports are not a perfect comparison (since mentors are allowed to touch the robot in FRC), but think of it like a coach for a sports team vs. the star player. The coach isn’t getting on the field/court/rink/whatever to play, they are only providing guidance. The star player (maybe even called Captain) is providing all the same guidance, but they play, too.



  1. an experienced and trusted adviser.
  2. advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague).

HS students could be a “Mentor” to grade school students as they obviously finished it (experience) and those people are (younger)

HS students are not “experienced” until out of HS hopefully completing it.


Is there any particular reason you cannot or have an aversion to claiming “Team Captain” on your (very) future college resume?


As others have said above “mentor” as a noun is probably not good, but “mentoring” as a verb is fine. For example:

Team Captain, FIRST Robotics: oversaw overall strategy, mentored junior members, …


From my understanding you can’t be a mentor if you are a student member. While there are student mentors, stating that you are one of them while likely having direct influence over decisions and designs wouldn’t be right. In the case of First teams, mentors teach and give advice on team decisions, anything more than that would be a student member or a mentor taking too much charge on the team. I would state that you taught many junior members of the team if you did as the teams captain. Although if you mentored another FIRST team while being team captain, you could claim that you where a team captain of one team and a student mentor of another.

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These words don’t have strict definitions in the context of a college application. Go nuts, but explain it, demonstrating what you exactly do (“brought students from no CAD experience to highly competent” tells me you’re a real mentor, not just “tells people what to do”)


After reading everyone’s advice so what I understand is I should not claim that I am a mentor of the team when in fact I am a captain and participant of my team. I should share that as a captain I have taught or train newbies on the team. It would be unethical of me to claim that I am both the captain and a mentor. Although, I can be a youth mentor of a different that I am not participating in. Thank you everyone for your advices.


This is correct.

Missing word that might be important?

Well, less so unethical as it would simply be factually incorrect. You may do some teaching on the team, but as you said, your official position on the team is Team Captain, and as such I recommend you list it as such in your resume.

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You do have to be 18, because of the YPP screening. I remember because I became 4130’s lead mentor on my 18th birthday!

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In your description of what you do as team captain, it’s totally okay to use “mentored”/“mentoring” as a verb to describe your role, e.g. “I mentored younger students on the team”, but as others have noted, the title of “mentor” is generally understood to refer to post-high school adults.

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