Deadline March 9: WPI FIRST Scholarships

Since 1996, WPI has been offering full tuition scholarships to members of the FIRST community.

Two full-tuition scholarships are available:

  • WPI FIRST Design Innovation Scholarship. In addition to the full scholarship, three runners-up will receive $20,000 scholarships. Submissions must be a video or presentation focusing on the design innovations of your team’s robot and also touch on team spirit, sportsmanship, or teamwork.
  • WPI FIRST Community Scholarship. Submissions must be an essay focusing on leadership and its impact and the role of science and technology in society. This scholarship is intended to be awarded to a student who identifies as part of traditionally underrepresented group in STEM.

We want to have so many submissions it keeps us up for days reading them!

To apply, you must already be accepted at WPI. The deadline for scholarship submission is March 9th. You may apply for both scholarships if nominated by your team for both.

Specifics about the scholarship, eligibility, and application process can be found here:

If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them to the best of my ability or direct you to someone who can.


What medium (video, slides, ect.) has typically best conveyed the message of a design innovation applicant? I’ve seen a few different methods over the years so I’m genuinely curious about what you like to see most. Thanks!

For design innovation, videos are best, esp when we can see and know who you are by the end of the video.

Content is more important that flash as well. Filming it with your phone or webcam is totally fine.

Remember to read the prompt and focus on design innovation. An overview of your robot is ok, but the vast majority of the video should be about the specific innovation(s) of your robot, plus a little bit about spirit/sportsmanship.

Additionally, I know some folks struggle with how to format/flow the video, but having other folks on your team explain the innovation (even if they were key in developing it) is not ideal. We want to hear from the person who is applying!

Here’s a couple examples of quality submissions from the past that are available if you search youtube:

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Thanks for the info, a prospective (international) WPI student here! A quick question: I had already applied to WPI during the Early Action round and got deferred. However, I require a scholarship near full tuition and FIRST scholarships are not something I want to miss out on.

I will be receiving my decision later than the scholarship deadline, so I definitely won’t be accepted at WPI before the deadline. Can I still apply for these scholarships? If yes, how?

Thanks a lot for the information.
Hope to join you on campus this fall!

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Definitely apply! It really should say you must already have applied to WPI (typo on my behalf, sorry!) as regular decision will not be available before the deadline.

Please see the scholarship page for instructions and how to proceed. Besides your submission, you will need a recommendation from a coach/mentor on your team, and we don’t review applications missing the recommendation, so make sure the person submits it!

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Deadline coming soon… I posted it below but my original post has a typo, and you must have applied to WPI (not be accepted) to submit for these scholarships.

Being a week out, we have very, very few submissions. These are full-tuition scholarships worth over $190K so we hope to see a lot more applicants!

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Hello! I just wanted to clarify, on the website with the information about the scholarship, it also says that we can talk about how teamwork is important to developing the robot. Is this not the case?


I see the deadline for applying to WPI has passed, but question out of curiosity: Would international students qualify for the scholarship? My team is based in Ontario so curious for future interested students.

Yes, teamwork is fine also!

International students are definitely eligible! Anyone who is a participant in FRC, FTC, or FIRST Global and has applied for admissions to WPI can submit for either (or both) scholarships.

Ok, long shot, but is there a chance to put in a late application for this year still or is the Feb 15 deadline pretty firm?

Awesome! Should teamwork be focused on teamwork within the team or can it also be focused on teamwork with other teams and communities?

Hi Colleen,

Our candidate for the design innovation scholarship was going to focus on the software design aspects of the robot and touch upon mechanical design since he’s a lead programmer. I want to just make sure that writing the essay from this perspective is still within the bounds of the scholarship.

Thank you,

@Akash_Rastogi Innovation is innovation, so software is totally fine.

Just remind them it’s about describing a design innovation and should focus on that. A general overview of the robot and challenges are fine, but lots of submissions fall into the trap of just giving a description of the entire robot (like a rundown you might give to the judges) and never go into greater detail about the innovation.

It’s more about depth than breadth!

@Gandagorn Per the prompt, teamwork should focus on “[t]he importance of teamwork in developing the robot”. As long as it focuses on robot building, it would be ok if it extended beyond your team.

If you want to talk about collaboration outside your team, I’d definitely say that falls more in the realm of “[h]ow your team demonstrates sportsmanship.”

And spirit isn’t just cheering! It can be very broad and really encompass general enthusiasm for what you do and how you celebrate that (maybe through community outreach…)

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@ca2devri the answer to that is beyond my scope! but it never hurts to ask, so I’d call up or email ASAP and find out.

I don’t know for sure, but I believe you can also create the slideroom account and start the scholarship submission process in the meantime also. They would just note it as not eligible depending on the decision they made.

Really quickly I just want to thank y’all for being so helpful here, most scholarship reviewers just stop at the prompt. It has a huge impact, so thanks again!

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Happy to help! Looking forward to seeing some awesome submissions!

I know the scholarship is due tomorrow but it doesn’t seem to specific anywhere what time, do you know what it is? Build season and having a week 1 has been kicking my butt haha