What is FIRST Robotics Competition?

Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, FIRST Robotics Competition is an exciting robotics-based competition that teams engineering professionals and high-school students to solve real-world engineering problems in fun, rewarding, and inspiring ways.

We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “a life changing experience.” FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week time frame using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules.Teams explore possible career paths as they work together to design, build, and program robots in competitions designed by engineering professionals.

It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get!

Learn More

What skills are required to participate?

The really cool thing about FIRST Robotics Competition is…all skill levels are welcomed and needed, technical or non-technical. Teams need all kinds of skills to succeed, so what are you good at? We have a job for you. And we’ll probably teach you a few new ones while you’re with us.

Like our Mentors say, “This is the only sport where if you show up, you can play.”

What is the time commitment to participate?

You, your family, and your available free time can decide together how much time you can devote to the program. Like any sport or other after-school activity, the more time you invest, the better you will become.

Typically, you will be meeting with your team several times per week during the build and competition season (January – April). During the season, the pressure is on, so be prepared to also spend some nights and weekends helping your team.

When does the season begin?

FIRST Robotics Competition operates during the school year. Teams form and register in the fall. However, the “official season” begins early in January when the season’s Challenge is announced at a Kickoff ceremony. From that point, teams are given six weeks to create their robot. Regional competition events start in late February and continue through April. Winning teams from regional competitions are invited to compete at a FIRST Championship at the end of April.

Who are the current FIRST Robotics Competition teams?

We pride ourselves in making FIRST accessible to all students in the region. There are nearly 40 FIRST Robotics Competition teams in urban, suburban and rural areas of St. Louis. These teams come in all shapes and sizes.

Many teams in the area are school based representing both public and private high schools. However, there are also a number of independent teams not associated with a school that participate in the competition including local community based organizations and home-school groups.

How do I join a team?

While we do not place students on teams, we can connect you to teams in your area that may be looking for new students. If there is not a team at your current school, don’t worry there are many school-based teams that will accept students from outside of their school.

Use the Contact Us page or the Contact Form below to request information about teams in your area.

Start a Team

What is the team registration process?

To register as a FIRST Robotics Competition Team, the team’s lead coach or coordinator will need to create an individual coach profile and a team profile on the FIRST Headquarters website. Click here to setup your team account.

Registering your team’s information makes you a part of the huge FIRST Robotics Competition community. You’ll begin receiving communications from FIRST, along with a temporary team number in preparation for event registration in early October.


What do I need to start a team?

Each team needs at least one adult Mentor with technical expertise willing and motivated to “coach” the team through the build and competition season (and beyond). Also highly recommended are two or more other adults to help with administration, fundraising, community outreach, and other tasks.

Each new team will also want to recruit at least 10 students who want to be part of a robotics team (one of the easiest parts of starting a team!). Be sure to emphasize that no technical skills are required, just enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

What are the costs to participate?

There are costs involved with forming a FIRST Robotics Competition team and they can vary from team to team. The annual fees for team registration, event registration and the robot kit of parts, and event participation are $5,000 – $6,000. Additional costs for travel, food, team shirts and other optional items will vary by team. However, there are never any “per student” registration fees to participate only the annual team registration fee.

What grants and team resources are available for starting a team?

FIRST believes that no team that wants to participate should have to bow out due to lack of resources. We will do everything possible to make resources available to all teams who need extra help.

FIRST offers many fundraising opportunities and teams are encouraged to create their own. Grants are also available, as well as sponsorships provided locally, regionally and nationally by many corporations. Click here to find out more about grants available to teams for the upcoming season.


Who do I contact for additional support in starting a team?

We are excited that you are interested in starting a team!

To contact us directly for additional support about starting a team, send us a message using the “I want to form a team” form on this page or click here to send us a message directly from the contact page.


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