Step-by-step instructions for registering FIRST students online

In the past, many teams have had “fun” registering students electronically in the FIRST system (STIMS FIRST Team Management Information System) that they have gone to using paper forms rather than registering online. This year 1918 decided to try the online process as we were assured that improvements had been made. Improvements were made but we still found it not very straight-forward, especially when it came to the parent’s part. One of our mentors took the time to make instructions that can be printed out; one set is for the students and another for the parents. Hope it helps!!

Student Instructions.pdf (2.6 MB)

Parent Instructions.pdf (3.2 MB)

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This is super useful and I always make up something similar for my kids to get registration done. The parent side is the most helpful I think as most parents seem to delete the emails or don’t want to make an account for some reason or another…

It might be worthwhile to post a PDF rather than a word document as most schools are moving towards Chromebooks and kids all use cell phones for everything now. Converting to a Google Doc doesn’t go very smoothly with this document.

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Thank You, we had made some rough guides for our students but these are awesome.

Thanks for the PDF tip … Updated my original post :+1:

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Students and parents have different accounts or aren’t they supposed to be one per household?

I made a similar guide alongside another mentor on 125 in 2016 and the slideshow took us, combined, at least 4 hours+ to make. I don’t think many people will understand the undertaking this was.

Awesome resource for the community, Thank You!

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Thank you! We start rostering kids on STIMS in September.

Eventually figure it all out by December or January … usually…

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Heh. I did this exact thing last year.
Great minds think alike.

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After going “all paper” last year in a silent protest against the baffling registration system, I am ready to go back to digital. Too many students forgetting forms until the last minute, parents complaining they had to fill in a form for each event (three forms… the insanity!), and the fear of losing my folder without a back up have been persuasive.

Thank you for posting a guide.

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This. I made a few iterations of a guide and it takes a painfully long time. Haven’t updated in about a year so thanks for doing this.

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It would be helpful if the guide was not specific to any one team. We accidentally had a student apply to your team.

Also, it’s absurd that in the Dashboard, approving every student takes 4 mouse clicks, for every student, one at a time. Am I missing something here or is this just a horrible UI and workflow?

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yeah, wish there could be a checklist to approve a number of students at a time.

Don’t forget for most districts you need to register in a specific order so parents can sign the DISTRICT consent form as well.

The order I’ve found most helpful is:

  1. Coach invites all returning students from “manage contacts” in the coach’s dashboard.

  2. Veteran (returning) students log into their account and accept invitation.

  3. Parents log in and sign student consent forms.
    …Veterans are done…

  4. New students register and apply to the team.

  5. Coach accepts new students to the team.

  6. Patents register and sign student consent forms.

… new student complete…

If the new student applies and the parent signs the consent before the coach accepts them to the team, they will have only signed the main FIRST consent form and the consent forms from the district may not be there. Then the parents will have to log in again to sign that form.

I find it absurd that FIRST refuses to streamline this process. It is bad enough that they expect mentors that deal with this year after year to figure it out. Wonder if they ever think of what kind of impression they are making on the parents of new students trying to get through this mess.
Sorry if the guide is not perfect, but we were just making an effort to help anyone interested in getting through what FIRST refuses to fix. If only they had access to someone under the age of 25 that could fix this in a matter of minutes. Oh wait, they have thousands of high school students that could actually do it.

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Please do remember that this process has been streamlined immensely in recent years. I am by no means saying it is a perfect system. I’m not even saying that I think it is a good system. However, it is much better than what we’ve had in the past.

I am no foreigner to criticizing FIRST or this system. That being said, it is technologically complicated to manage a multi-step consent and registration process for thousands and thousands of students, parents, mentors, and volunteers across four programs.

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I have been thinking about this and I was wondering HOW would you streamline the process? (Besides accepting multiple students at a time for the coach. +1 to that suggestion)

The process currently involves basically 3 parties. The student, the coach, and the parent. In order for FIRST to recognize the involvement of the 3 separate parties they need 3 separate email addresses. Although this doesn’t guarantee they are actually separate, there is probably a legal deniability involved.

So because of this all 3 must register and submit data. Now, how much data that is being submitted could be disputed. I suppose having less data could make it quicker, but we all know how much companies like their data. And I’m sure FIRST sees it as a way to track progress and participation as well as keep in touch with alumni. Whatever the reason, less data would make the process faster, but not necessarily more streamlined.

It would be nice if the district consent for the team you apply for could be signed before the coach accepts you, (I think on some accounts it does and others it doesn’t. I don’t know why) but that’s not a HUGE improvement either.

So what do you think? What else could FIRST do to streamline the process? Or are you just talking about making it faster in general?

You are correct it is better than it use to be. But that is like telling a person that just lost their leg that it is better than loosing both of them. The instructions and my comments have nothing to do with the mechanics behind registration. It is about poor web design. All the instructions were set up to help students and parents navigate a web page that is poorly designed. When a parent can “complete” the process without even seeing a spot for consent and release without happening to click on the correct spot, that is a problem. In this case only a symptom of the problem that has been with us since FIRST introduced the current website design.

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I can’t edit the original post… was looking at replacing the original Student Instructions with a more “generic” version. Please see here for that version.
Student Instructions for FIRST Registration.pdf (2.6 MB)

I get your point, but this analogy is a bit harsh. Don’t you think? Even if you truly hate the system and think it the second worst thing in the world (after the original registration system), there ought to be a better, less offensive comparison to make.

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Sorry if I offended anyone. One of my best friends (a mentor on our team) lost one of his legs a few years back so that is something that is not far from my mind. As for hating the system. I understand that it is hard to manage something that takes information from three different people and getting it all tied together in the same spot. My frustration comes when I am convinced by someone at FIRST that the process is much improved (and it is) only to find out how hard it actually is for a parent to complete their part. My youngest kid graduated the program in 2013 so I never got the pleasure of using the current system to do the parent part. If anyone doubts the difficulty, I challenge you to register a student to your team (a fake one if you need to) and then go in and complete the parent part without any direction or instructions. Many have complained to FIRST for a few years now and it seems to fall on deaf ears.