Recruitment Strategies

I am president of my robotics program, and we are having trouble reaching out the rest of the school. Please post your teams way of recruiting other students and getting them interested in your program in this short period of time we have in the build process. Any ideas would be very helpful…

If you have a robot that you can show off during lunch, or sometime when large groups of people could see it, that would at least let people know robotics exists. Even if you don’t have a past FRC bot you could show off something you’ve done outside FIRST.
You could also make a robotics commercial and put it on your school’s announcements, especially if you have video announcements. Also having teachers tell their students about it during class is helpful. Our comp sci/technology teacher tells all his classes about robotics meetings and that helps a lot.

The two things i could suggest is show off the robot and have the promise of free food

our team never recruits in build season.

what we do is during our rush week (second or third week of school) our school lets any club that wants to have presentations in the cafeteria during lunch periods. then we usually have a video or two playing in loop so that the people can see what we are bout and what we do. this usually attracts a lot of freshman (we had 50 join but about 20-30 that still come)

another thing we do is during eigth grade orientation. it is the same exact thing as rush week but we get interested eigth graders to join the next year.

One thing that works well is bolting a chair to a robot and giving people rides at lunch.

  1. Demonstrating the robot at various functions around school

  2. Demonstrating the robot/talking about the team at 8th grade orientation night (for people about to start high school)

  3. FLL teams at the middle school

  4. Fundraisers around town with robot demos, and letting people try it out- everyone wants to come drive the robot!

  5. Display case at the front of the school with video footage, robot parts, etc.

  6. Postering around the school

  7. Announcements at school

  8. Wearing shirts (and medals if you have them) to school- tell people why everyone is wearing those awesome shirts

  9. Team members talking to their friends/peers/classmates

Basically, be active- don’t be shy about sharing your infectious team spirit and passion for FIRST. Do the “I” step- inspire others.

Not recommended with rover wheels and a cafeteria floor! :yikes:

Remember that there are multiple demographics you can attract, and each of them care about something else. The college-bound want to pad their resumes and network, the social people want to meet more people and have fun, mechanically inclined people want a manufacturing challenge, business people want to interact with businesses, nerds want to design, strategize, program, and do math. If you emphasize the wrong thing to the wrong demographic, you’ll fall flat. You could potentially prepare multiple posters, each targeted to a different subgroup, and post them in areas of the school most frequented by those targets.

Programming recruitment: by computer labs
Manufacturing: By manufacturing wing
Smart kids: Library? Guidance office?

For example, in high school my mechanically-inclined brother was the one who recruited me, and I thought the whole thing was a building competition, which was completely unattractive to me, because I was more interested in computers and whatnot. If it had been cast as a programming challenge that would help me build skills to get good summer jobs, I would have more readily joined.

I’m a big fan of this.

Failing that, your should consider why it is that students join FIRST.

  1. FIRST is one of the best things you can put on a college application or resume. Add to that the scholarships available, and you should be able to attract some of the better and more aspiring students at your school based just on that.

  2. Some kids just love science and technology. Demos or displays that show off what you get to do in FRC will surely draw the more technical of your students.

  3. FIRST teams are families. On our team, word of mouth and personal friends are the top recruiters. Take care of your own, and their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, and peers will see what they have and come running.

  4. You can do more than just engineering as part of a FIRST team. Business, math, web design, animation - and with this year’s rulebook, law - are all represented as part of a complete team. Make sure you get that word out!

  5. FUN! If there is a competition nearby your school, try and get a busload of interested students to spend a couple hours in the stands. At our school, we got many teachers to give extra credit for attending. FIRST is nearly impossible to describe in only words - immerse students in the environment of a competition, and recruitment will follow.

Some great ideas here, but i wanted to stress something that was already said one: Recruiting during the build season is too late. A team needs to be ready to go on day 1, or you’re going to quickly fall behind. There’s a tremendous learning curve when first starting out - robotics on this level isn’t something you can pick up overnight.

Another strategy that I use (along with many already mentioned) is that we look for potential members and bring them to the regional competition. Teachers in the building can definitely recommend what students might be candidates (tech teachers, science teachers, etc.) It does not help much this build season but is a good way to plan for the next. It is very rare that a student that goes to see a competition and is not excited about joining the team

we got a lot of new kids when we built our car smashing robot for our football rally.