FIRST Dean's List: What Now?

As of today, the FIRST official season is canceled. Luckily, we can try again next year. However, the Dean’s List award is a time-sensitive award in the fact that the Juniors who were nominated will have to apply to colleges before the start of next season’s competitions. Furthermore, there are colleges like WPI who offer huge scholarships for winning Dean’s list. That being said, how are we going to move forward? Should the interviews move forward via online video calls? Maybe the now-juniors apply along with next year’s as well, and events register twice as many? Cancel the opportunity altogether? Either way the situation seems sticky. Maybe I’m missing something that could be done, but it seems pretty futile with the full cancellation of the season.


I think the right thing to do is allow teams for the next 2 years to allow seniors to be eligible. Two years because the effects can affect teams for up to that long based on the max entries of 2 per team.


I don’t see any reason why nominees can’t be virtually interviewed and why Dean’s List Finalists and Winners can’t be selected based off that.


Big changes are out of our hands as teams and individuals - that’s up to FIRST. The best we can do is prep our semifinalists to be able to discuss the situation and turn it into a positive - it’s not about losing the opportunity to become a finalist/winner, it’s about how you lead your team through a difficult time. How do you turn a prematurely terminated season into a stepping stone for better things next year? How do you keep your fellow students engaged and passionate? A student that can have that discussion, either in person or in an essay, would make a strong impression on college admissions boards and with potential scholarship opportunities.

I know it’s frustrating for those nominated. It’s frustrating for those of us that nominated you, too. Focus on controlling what you can control - that’s the best path to success!


I think everyone understands this. This is about suggestions to help salvage the situation.


Students who have been nominated but didn’t get to be interviewed at an event can still list themselves as DL Semifinalists on their college applications. Colleges will know that the finalist/winner status was largely unavailable this year.

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I’d imagine they’d do remote interviews, and decide from there. I think postponing this could require a lot of changes to the dl structure, and would give an upper hand to anyone applying now over then sophomores and juniors, which could really shut out many juniors from winning (historically, they’ve favored juniors).

I’d be unfortunate if they cancelled DL this year altogether, going to the deans list summit and having the opportunity to go to WPI for two weeks was an incredible experience.


I think Dean’s list and Woodie Flowers should go on. This is not the year not to have a Woodie Flowers winner, and I know that Dean’s list can have a huge effect on colleges, particularly ones such as WPI.


Assistant Regional Director for Western & Central Pennsylvania, West Virginia & Ohio email, relevant excerpt (see full email):

Deans list: they don’t have an answer right now- they would like some of the awards of the season to continue – but they don’t have any answers right now- but hope to have a plan very very soon.

Both Dean’s list and WF can be completed without the events. There is provision for phone interviews for Dean’s list. Not ideal but doable. There is no interview for WF.

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FYI, I just heard this morning that our Dean’s List semifinalists are being interviewed by teleconference this week. We were at a week 3 competition that was postponed before judging started. They seemed to be our local judges based on their email addresses. Hopefully others will hear news about your interviews, soon.

Just posting this so people will know that this process has started. Good luck, semifinalists!

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