PROS is an alternative kernel for the Cortex (read: replaces RobotC) that allows you to compile C and C++ directly and run it on your competition robot. Follow the link above for the installer, as well as tutorials, documentation, etc. There's a bunch of advantages to using PROS, including being cross-platform, ability to use established C/C++ libraries, increased customizability, and slight performance considerations.
I would warn you, however, that the debugging tools for PROS out of the box are far inferior to that of RobotC, which is why I haven't switched. If you're using it for a competitive robot, some things that RobotC does automatically, PROS won't do, so you'll need to watch for those pitfalls. But if you're using it in an educational context, I couldn't recommend it more, as knowledge of C/C++ can be very, very useful to students, and RobotC's syntax can often be lacking.
That's my two cents, anyway