How does your team recruit students?

My team would like to recruit many more people (we are a pretty small team) for the 2015 season. We think we would like to begin recruiting in September when the school year starts again. My question is do you guys have any DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to recruiting. Also this is recruiting for students who will be elgible to be on a FRC team during the 2014-2015 school year, so basically high school students. Also what has your team done to recruit people, also what have you done to keep the new recruit on your team and keep them from getting bored and leaving before the competition season starts?

Thanks,
John M

Our team demos robot and do a presentation at school on:

  1. Picnic day - target: incoming sophomore and Jrs.
  2. Freshmen orientation - target incoming freshmen & parents

School weekly newsletter sent out by Principal includes a brief write up about FRC events that we attend. This helps in marketing our team to parents whose kids are not on the team.

From my team’s view, September is too late to start recruitment!

We start between champs and the end of the school year. We do demos for the school and for our biggest feeder schools and talk to students about what its like on the team and what we do. We get a short article in an e-mail blast that goes out to all new students (I think that went out a few weeks ago) encouraging them to join the team and inviting them to our summer camp, with links to our website and to the forms for the camp. We then hold the summer camp in the last week of July/first week of August, and usually have a dozen or so interested new students. By the time school starts in the fall, we’re usually done with recruitment!

In the second or third week of school we have an interest meeting after school (just in case we missed anyone who was interested) and get people signed up. Then it’s straight into our fall program, which is all about training and outreach, with pretty much no recruitment going on. That doesn’t mean new students can’t join, we just aren’t going out there trying to find them.

Everything we do is a tool to recruit students – sometimes for immediate opportunities, sometimes sparking long term interest in young kids.

On direct recruitment, here’s some stuff we do:

  1. We have spring callout meetings at each of our local middle schools where we demo the robot, talk about the business, media, engineering, project planning and fundraising experience students can get as well as potential college scholarships.
  2. We set up at Freshman registration and let kids drive the robot and talk to them about FIRST opportunities.
  3. We do the same thing at the Frozen Yogurt party for new students the school does the day before classes start.
  4. We have a booth at the club fair.
  5. We have fall callouts in late August where we invite kids and parents to tour our shop and show them all we do for the robot and Chairman’s.
  6. We set up during Meet the Teacher Night and Parent Teacher Conferences (sometimes you get students when you ‘recruit’ their parents).
  7. We do a float for the homecoming parade.

For indirect/long term recruiting, our outreach events get us exposure in the community. We go and show the robot to elementary schools. We have kids entering high school this year that have wanted to join the team since they saw a demo in kindergarten. We run FLL teams at both the elementary schools and middle schools.

To keep the kids involved and occupied in the fall, we have plenty of outreach events. We do trainings on everything from CAD and electronics, to leadership and teamwork. We have activity nights, movie nights, and team parties. We go to off-season events and let interested students drive.

Typically we start recruiting in September when school starts because we have access and the kids are motivated after the long build and competition seasons. We recruit for a couple weeks and then start fall training in October through December.

This year we have opened up the process earlier and new students can sign up for the team through an online application process and then when school starts we will do a more focused recruiting effort when we have them captured. We find it hard in the summer (locally) because we don’t have access to the kids in large enough groups as well as a lot of them work in the summer.

We do our recruiting in early May. This let’s us get the students hooked on robotics before they run off and join other clubs, let’s them prepare for offseason events in August and October, and let’s us get in many weeks of training in the fall. The idea is that by January, they should be skilled and ready to be a competitive team, without having to learn anything new during build season. This year, we had about 4X the number of applicants we can accommodate, so the early recruiting has allowed us time to form plans to start a Vex team.

For recruiting, we did a demo at lunch time in the school amphitheater area, we put a flyer in every classroom, run a week-long notice in the school bulletin, and send our students to visit math, science, art, and programming classes to give a short talk about the team.

How do you recruit grade 9s?

Team 846 starts recruitment in late May, early June. A couple members from our team visit Miller Middle School, our feeder middle school, and give presentations about FIRST, FRC, and our team’s technical and non-technical sides.
After this, we typically invite interested students to visit our workshop during our summer hours, and show them around. At this time, we also introduce them to the different things they can participate in on the team, such as CAD, Machining, Programming, etc.
The bulk of our actual recruitment happens in late August and September, however, when the students first enter high school. Since we’re a club on campus, we participate in our school’s “Club Day” events. At this time, students register officially on our website and become members of the club. We also speak with interested parents and hold an annual “Parent Night.”

Hope this helps!

We would do 9th grade (only) recruiting in early September. Typically, we would add only about three 9th grade students each year. However, we’ve received such a growing demand for our FRC team that we are moving toward a 10-12 model, with a separate VRC 9th grade team.

If you have the resources I would also strongly recommend presenting at local middle schools. Being a feeder school, this works especially well for us. Knowing that almost all of the local middle school’s promoting class will probably end up here, we can work to our advantage.

As for keeping people interested, see if there are any off season events in between September and January your team can participate in. Here we have Battle at the Border, which comes very close to the real experience of a regional. It really encourages new students when we tell them that it isn’t really the same level of energy at a regional.

If you can’t go to off season events, try miniature build challenges. Give them a game to design a robot for, and the review their ideas. This year we had semi-veteran members mentor groups of newcomers while they designed robots for Lunacy. Any game would work, but we picked Lunacy because it was our mentor’s favorite. :rolleyes:

My team demonstrates the robots during the incoming freshman open-house. We also advertise in the facebook group for incoming freshman for our school. When the school year starts we post flyers around the school, and then we hold an interest meeting where we talk about all divisions.
It’s usually wise to talk about how robotics isn’t just for working with robots, it’s for working with a team and working with awesome people.

Also, newbie retention is also very important. We get many newbies but many of them leave sadly.

We ambush unsuspecting Freshmen as they enter the school, throw a burlap bag over their heads and drag them, kicking and screaming, into the Tech room.

Seriously: We do ‘club day’ at the high school (no, we don’t club them) but most of our students already know about the team from FLL in the middle schools and can’t wait for the first meeting.

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they just kinda show up… pretty much piping outta no where. All seriousness though, we do events like Smithtown day (which is where theres a mile of booths selling cheap items) and club days. Also Demos.

We had host an extracurricular fair at our school (K-12) for the middle and highschool kids. We introduce our middle schools kids to BEST and FTC while upcoming 9th-12th are pushed to join FRC.

We had an overwhelming amount of students sign up (32 new students on top of 18 we already have.) We were wondering how do you train them? (I will create a new thread. :)]