How much does the length of my essay for Dean's List matter?

Hi everyone.

I was nominated by my mentors for DL this year. While doing some preparation and talking to other people, I was told that my essay was very short. One of the people who I talked to (DL winner), said that I would have to cover a lot of ground during my interview. Another person from my team, (DL finalist), told me he thought I had very low chances of advancing.

Although this did really stress me, I realized that it has only given me one more reason to try harder. I don’t expect results, but I really want to give this my best shot. The essay has (obviously), been submitted and nothing can be changed about that. So I am trying my best to do everything I can moving forward. I am looking for advice/tips/help in how I can cover “more ground” (and depth) in my interview, and what you think (and if/how much you think the length of my essay will affect me). Basically, what all I could do to compensate for the shortness of the essay if you think that matters.

But above all, I want to, and I am, doing the best I can because the fact that my mentors and team believe in me so much, means the world to me. I don’t want to let one small thing–the length of my essay–pull me down mentally because that shouldn’t matter ideally. Its about what I have to bring to the table and about the unique story–my story-- I have to tell, right? The fact that they believe in me this much itself is the best award, honor, and happiness I could ever get. And that is because of my passion for FRC and even greater, the love I have for my team. I don’t want to let them down. I am doing this for my team, mentors, and myself.

If you have any thoughts, resources, advice, or anything, please let me know and I really appreciate your help!!

Thank you so much.

Don’t stress about whether you advance. You were nominated by your team’s mentors. That means they see the effort you’ve put in for your team and they’re proud of you. That’s a much bigger accomplishment than what any judge who meets you for ten minutes thinks.


Hi! Congratulations for getting nominated, and to agree with @AriMB dont stress about the length of the essay. If you would DM me I can help you out if you are worried about the interview or the essay. Basics though is that the judges will only be able to see what you tell them, so you want to pack in as many details that may not be mentioned in the essay into your interview.

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I’ll build off of what chibale mentioned.

unless the essay is half the length it should be, it really doesn’t matter. what matters more is the content of it. The essay is, as you probably know, a way for your mentor to tell the judges about you and your contributions to your team. However, it is not the only way for the judges to learn about you. This makes your interview a lot more important, so you not only need to add anything that you feel is necessary, but also make sure you cover what the essay mentions from your point of view. Also,

This. 100% this. This is the exact mentality you should have, and its great to see that you already have it. like Ari said, being recognized by those who know you best is much more important than being recognized by someone who has known you for 10 minutes. Don’t sweat this. Feel free to DM me also if you have any questions or want help (Chibale and I had the privilege of winning last year) .


Echoing the congrats.

I just wrote a Dean’s List essay last week, and helped edit another. I think you get a copy of it sent to your email, so you should know not just length but content. Keep in mind that a high percentage of mentors - and judges - are engineers. Creative writing does not come naturally to most of them. A well organized, short essay would be just fine.

Good luck!

Tim Wolter

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Congrats on your nomination! Others have already commented on the remaining parts of what you said, but the first thing I noticed was this:

If you can keep this mindset going forward, you’ll be able to quickly recover from any obstacles you encounter in life. Do poorly on an exam? Do better on the next one. Do poorly at a job interview? Do better on the next one. You seem to already have this down, but as soon as you don’t have control over a situation, if you can move on from it quickly mentally, you’ll be able to recover and do well with whatever you do next.

Good luck going forward!


Team nominate ___ . ___ good student. ___ help lots. ___ good person :joy:

regardless of the joke, you bring up an interesting point: the person who wrote my dl essay was a non-technical mentor (teacher).

I completely agree with everything that was said above! It is more about the content of the essays rather than the length. Unless the essay is extremely short where you basically don’t have any content in it, it will be okay. The interview is where you need to make sure that you stand out though. You obviously have a love and passion for FIRST and your team so that will help. I would suggest talking about the things that you HAVE done rather than things that you plan on doing or have in mind. This will set you apart because not only are you a dreamer when you do this but you are an executor which is even more impressive. And don’t let your teammates tell you that you don’t have a shot. That is a bad attitude to have and can be extremely detrimental to your self confidence in the interview process. Make sure you are prepared, can present yourself well (I brought in a resume as well as a scrapbook that showcased all of the things that I had achieved to show proof-- the judges loved this), and BE YOURSELF! I wish you the best of luck in the competition and if I can help at all please let me know!

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Going to echo Ari here. I view Dean’s List as a way of recognizing a student, any student, for being a good role model for other students. I do not submit a student for the sole purpose of hoping they win, I do it because that student is pretty darn awesome and I want them to know that, and I want the rest of the team to know that.

Don’t stress.

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