Scholarship money, tell us what you got!

In a week, STEMRobotics will announce the winner of the 2014 Alec Metzger Robotics Award, it’s for $500.

We’ve all heard that there are millions and millions of dollars awarded to roboters from sponsors, colleges and universities. Tell us what you got! If you don’t want to tell the dollar amount, tell us that you got something. I always try to do a pitch on “What is in it for Mom and Dad” and I always tell them about the scholarship money.

I got 3 nice emails from Vex saying that I didn’t win theirs.

I was a “finalist” for the WPI VEX scholarship, but I didn’t get anything from it.

Millions and millions? I had not heard that until now. That’s news to me.

I once got some really great Chipotle coupons from team 5588. Does that count? :slight_smile:

Seriously, though, I don’t think the greatest “selling point” for Vex is scholarship money. To me, it’s providing the kids with an educational opportunity to learn things that are otherwise hard to motivate kids to learn. Without something competitive like Vex, kids are all-too likely to become video game junkies, Fbox flunkies, or Minecraft zombies. If nothing else, the kids can learn some computer programming and engineering that might get them some summer jobs that are perhaps at least a little better than flippin burgers or delivering pizzas. Automation, sensor technology, and embedded control technologies are all likely to become some of the greatest economic driving forces of the next few decades. Kids who grow up learning how to be “makers” and creators rather than mere “consumers” will probably have not only better economic prospects but also more satisfaction with what they do in the future, whether they be engineers, scientists, artists, musicians, or surfer dudes. :slight_smile:

I was a finalist for the WPI VEX scholarship and received 2,500 a year for each of my four years there, for a grand total of 10,000! Not a bad deal at all. VEX is great and I think the scholarship money is the icing on the cake. I’ve learned so much while competing and that in itself makes the program worth it. :slight_smile:

RECF: There are 82 scholarships available worth a combined total of $1,728,000!

FIRST list from 2013

Millions in two programs. And I agree, there is more to robotics than scholarships, but remember I’m talking to Mom and Dad who are staring at college costs. Jake40 posted he got $10,000, that would make any of the parents I talk to smile.

Remember Roboteers, some of these grants you have to apply for. If you are a Senior it may be too late (never hurts to ask) but you Juniors should be on the lookout now!

I got the full $21,000 each year from Florida Tech’s Merit Scholarship. Though I do not know what ratio they used since the Merit Scholarship is Composed of GPA, Test scores, FIRST robotics, and Vex Robotics, The Vex Robotics Scholarship sponsored through them is $14,000 minimum each year. Talking to one of their spokespeople, there’s a high chance that my vex scholarship alone could have been as high as $19,000.

I was wait listed from WPI and admitted 2 days before the deadline for decisions but my admissions process meant I wasn’t admitted when they decided the VEX scholorship or I think I would have had a good shot at least runner up. Got 10k a year merit from WPI.

Got general merit scholarships of about 15k a year from

Missouri ST
Embry Riddle
Florida Tech (didnt realize they had vex or it probably would have been more :frowning: )
South Dakota School of Mines
Wentworth IT

I believe a lot of the scholarships were because of my National Merit status but being involved in Robotics definitely was a great selling point as well as great essay topics.

PS I got some hilarious offer from a local state college call UNLV that offered full ride, room, board and being paid like 7k profit per year.

While any scholarship money is helpful, “prize-type” scholarships (with many, say 1000, applicants, but few, say 1-10 awards given) are not my favorite paradigm for scholarship money (though they are great for bragging rights). My favorite paradigms (from a parent’s point of view):

  1. Large population/large amount merit-based scholarships. An example of this is Case Western Reserve University, which offers 3 tiers of scholarships: $28,000, $22500, and $17,000. The year my son applied, ~1000 freshmen committed to attend and:

~150 received $28,000 (about 15%)
~150 received $22,000 (about 15%)
~ 200 received $17,000 (about 20%), with a total of 50% receiving >= $17 K

With such substantial numbers of students receiving scholarships, you don’t have to worry about being born in an “unlucky year” where the “one genius competitor of the decade” squeezed you out. Warning: those who live by merit can die by merit, and if your GPA drops below a certain amount, you could lose your scholarship the following year.

A variation on this model is the offer of a guaranteed amount of aid for certain GPA’s/SAT scores. Again, you don’t have to worry about “getting ahead” of al the other students, but reaching an absolute standard. Utah State is an example of this.

  1. Generous need-based scholarships for middle-class families. Most people think of “needy” families as those with very low incomes (<$40 K), but at elite schools, “needy” families can range up to $180,000/year, depending on a number of factors (including family size and number of students in college). For example, a family friend who attended MIT had a family income ~ $70,000. The total bill (loans and out-of pocket costs, was under $20K, with need-based aid of ~ 35,000.

Because all colleges/universities are required to put a Net Price Calculator on their websites, you can get an estimate of your out-of-pocket costs even before applying or filling out a financial aid application.

Congrats on being National Merit finalist!

Funny story on scholarships. I had a friend back in the day who applied for every imaginable scholarships and ended up getting more than the cost of school. What happens then? You then have to pay taxes on the rest! The school offered a free ride so the extras kicked her over the top after the applications to tons of scholarships.

Well if I am being honest I was only semifinalist. I was the 1/16 that didn’t make it to the next level. Moral of the story. Try hard in school guys and get diagnosed with ADHD earlier than like junior year. (My GPA was like 3.0)

As much as I hate to reveal a “dark side” of robotics, I have not yet recieved a dime in scholarships due to my robotics experience. This is not because I was a bad student (I had a final GPA above a 4.0, accumulated nearly 50 college credits by taking classes at a community college, and was a Nat’l Merit “Commended Student”), or because I was a bad roboticist (my teams had won ~17 awards in ~6 years, we qualified for the World Championship 3 out of 3 years I competed, placed in the top quartile in division, etc). Rather, I just found a severe lack of scholarships for robotics merit.

Granted, this is due in part to a limited number of merit-based scholarships for which I was elligible. Even though I could have gone to college immediately following high school, I decided to take 1 year of community college classes an transfer to a four-year school. (This takes advantage of credit hours that are about 1/3 the cost of a four-year school.) Unfortunately, this meant that I wasn’t elligible for most of the scholarships for high school seniors/juniors because I wasn’t immediately going to college. Also, because I was a “transfer” student from the four-year school’s perspective, I wasn’t elligible for any freshman scholarships.

So, some of it is “my fault”–if I had gone in a “typical” route, I might have been able to receive a couple of scholarships. Yet:

I would like to see merit-based scholarships that would accept people who may 1) graduate high school, 2) spend a year (or two) at community college for cost reasons, then 3) transfer to a four-year school to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

Even from a “typical” route’s perspective, I did not see any scholarships offered by Virginia Tech or University of Virginia (the two schools I was considering) specifically for robotics participants. Rather, robotics would have just been an “interesting point” in a standard scholarship application.

In short, I do not see “scholarship opportunities” as being a good reason to do robotics. (That was never actualized for me.) Rather, preparation for introductory engineering, physics, and programming classes, and growth of project-management skill are the only concrete educational benefits I have seen from robotics thus far.

I do not say this in a bitter or upset attitude; I write this only as a warning that robotics isn’t a sure-fire way of getting scholarships.