STIMS Registration Guide

Having trouble with STIMS? Frustrated that you can’t even get mad at students and parents for not filling it out because the process is so complicated? Here’s a step by step guide, complete with screenshots from Jane Doe’s registration process, for getting your entire FRC team in the system.

Thank you for putting this out! Now I don’t have to work on one for my team :).


It’s seriously become that complex now? I would’ve thought their new website would have made this process easier, not harder.


Unfortunately it’'s not nearly as intuitive as it should be. Things like having to select “Forgot Password” to actually create a password make the website extremely hard to understand and very challenging.

We had to call FIRST HQ to get some of our questions answered. The system is not fun.


Hey Frank, if you read this then let us know that you’re working on making STIMS better in the blog.

My favorite part is how STIMS ping pongs between the new and old versions.

My favorite part is that the “I want to…” button on the dashboard isn’t intuitively a button. It does an amazing job of hiding the actual content that would be useful on a dashboard.

Yea it’s pretty rough. Registering Jane Doe took me about 5 hours, including the frustrating hour and a half figuring out the “forgot password” section…but hopefully this will help save kids and their families some of that time.

Thank you for the guide. It was invaluable.

George P. Burdell was able to register in minutes and was approved by his father Edgar Smith.

With your guide, we should be able to get this done at a student/parent meeting paper party.

Congratulations! This has got to be the **Post of the Week[/p].

Heck - a mod want to sticky this thing?

So glad you put this together!**

Seriously! It shouldn’t take a 41 page guide to register one person. I think I will have the head captain register so we can submit awards and have the rest do the paper form.

Also, what happens if the student is over 18?

They are able to skip some of this process and register themselves through STIMS.

I just checked the paper registration stuff.

It’s intrusive to have a free/reduced lunch question on this form. This isn’t something I need to know and it isn’t something that FIRST needs to know.

They have always had the race/ethnicity questions at the team level, where I as the Lead Mentor could simply put in the counts or not. Same for gender.

What value does this provide? We take any and all students that want to be part of a team that does cool stuff centered around robots. I don’t care about their race, gender, lunch status and neither should FIRST. The only thing FIRST truly needs is the second page that absolves them of liability.

I expect that the Free/Reduced lunch demographic data is required for reporting purposes for various states that track it on a per team level.

They should care about it so they can track the demographics of the students they’re affecting and work to make up for the “holes” in their program. FIRST would be a really crappy program if it only served the needs of middle-to-upper class white boys, but if they don’t know that they’re only serving the needs of those people then they don’t know they need to fix it. Additionally, that information is useful when applying for grants or “selling” the program to new sponsors and partnerships. I don’t understand why this makes you uncomfortable. Gender, race, and economic status affect your students’ life experiences and how they perceive things… you probably should care.

Thank you for making this guide! I’ll be passing it along to my team to hopefully speed up the process of getting our students registered!

Well this is new and I’m going to guess how it came about…

FIRST has been asking teams for this kind of demographic data for some time and most teams have not filled it out in TIMS. I know this because NC teams have been filling out this data while many other states have had trouble collecting it (Shout out to Marie for asking NC teams to collect it and then sharing it back with us).

Now they are shifting the burden to students/parents, which is really where it should have been all along because that is how they can best collect accurate data. The problem is their new online registration system is atrocious and no one wants to use it or can figure it out.

This likely started off as a plan to collect this data via the web form (but now that is a disaster) and then a paper form as secondary.

I suspect this is coming from two or three different groups within FIRST that are all trying to get this data for different reasons (grants, providing to existing sponsors, using it to get new sponsors onboard, giving back to the community, etc). You’ll notice that the forms are actually two separate forms with different footers and no page count.

So questions I have for Frank…

  1. Are both of these forms actually required?
  2. What happens to my team if I don’t turn these in?
  3. What am I to do with Parents who don’t speak English natively?
  4. What guarantee do I (the responsible mentor “I”) have that the volunteers handling these forms have been through data privacy training?
  5. How is this data handled and transmitted to FIRST from the local events?
  6. Why are mentors being asked to collect this data? (Why not turn it into you on the bottom of the form? Don’t give it to me.)

Keep in mind you’re asking for racial information, financial information, date of birth, location information, and gender information FOR MINORS on these forms. Yeah, this is not OK as it stands.

All that being said, this is good data to have and it should be collected but NOT LIKE THIS.

I mean they do have “I prefer not to answer” as an option for most of the intrusive questions, and it is being filled out by the minors parent or guardian.

That does not by any means that I think STIMS is done well, hence the creation of a guide that took 4 hours to make. Hopefully the guide helps some other families and students save some of that time though.

That’s in the online version. The paper version has no mention of that option. Hence my frothing at the mouth post above.