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.