Vex after high school

Hey everyone, I’m currently a junior in high school and I’ve been thinking about how I want to stay involved in vex after I graduate later on. What are some ways you guys have kept yourself doing this. I think I’ve heard about a college competition? (Sorry if this isn’t the right spot for this post… wasn’t sure where to put it :slight_smile: )

My plans were to join a college vex team, or start one of my own. In addition to that, I’m planning to contact local High Schools and see which would be a good match for a mentorship. I know you can also volunteer at competitions by signing up as well.

After worlds last year, my first thought was “what now?”

I decided to start a team in college. It’s just my freshman year, and it is a lot of work to start a team from scratch, but I think it’s doable if you have enough of a desire to.

I’m guessing the VexU competition will be growing rapidly in the coming years, primarily because of all the graduating high school students who have an interest in Vex.

I would suggest moving away from vex. Find out about your colleges probityics programs.

This can be a very intimidating thought at first, I remember wondering what I was going to do after worlds last year. Personally, I didn’t really have the money to start a vex team, and while I could have looked around for sponsors, it wasn’t really worth it for me. I will be volunteering at local competitions for sure, however realize vex isn’t the only competition. This year I’ve become involved with a Trinity-College-Firefighting robotics team and also started a micromouse team. Sure it’s not quite the same, but I’ve learned ALOT more about robotics from just participating in these different styles of competitions for a couple months. (And they’re still really fun like vex!)

If you really want to continue vex, you can really do exactly what you did in high school, where you either get funding from your school or find sponsors. Just realize you have to manage your time a lot more in college then in high school.

I got a Vex U team started at my university after I finished high school. To be honest, it was a LOT of work (though I did have a lot of free time with first year being pretty easy for me). I can’t speak for other schools, but UBC has a lot of support for engineering student teams of all disciplines (concrete toboggan, steel bridge, RoboCup soccer, etc). My experience consisted of contacting everybody I could think of for advice on what to do, who to talk to, and how to get officially set up. It’s been 1 year (and 2 months), and we’re only now really preparing to go to competition.

The reason I kept going with it is that I believe a Vex team has a lot of merit, even at the university level. There are definitely other competitions/events that I could do, all of which tend to take a much more “professional” approach - things are designed, reviewed, manufactured, assembled, and that’s it. But Vex doesn’t have to have that process be so aggravatingly thorough. Our entire design-prototype-build-test-compete cycle is 6-10 months for most teams in college. Another benefit is that it’s easy to jump into, even for first year students (because even high school students can do it). Just be prepared to realize why college teams really only have one competition per year: they just don’t have the same amount of time to spend building and tweaking.

I hope this helps you whether you’re going start to a Vex U team or not. I stuck to it, and I’m pretty sure it will be worth it. Look for #PYRS at Worlds!

Starting and running a VEXU team is hard and very time consuming. I would highly recommend getting the logistics done the summer before, then putting it on the back burner until you are sure you can handle the workload with classes.

Volunteering at events is a good option too.

-Nick

Over skype mentoring can ease you into mentoring a team and allows a fun community to talk to.

OYES robotics mentors several vex teams in and outside of New Zealand this way. Thanks OYES :smiley:

Mentor teams, volunteer to referee/judge at tournaments, etc.

I’ve found that my projects in college are (to my surprise) funner than VEX was! I agree with frydaddy07 that you shouldn’t stay too attached to VEX after high school, as it may be a great program for high school students, but that’s exactly what it is. VEXU is tempting, but that’s just because you’re familiar with the system. You probably won’t have time in college to do VEXU anyways (depending on where you go).

Personally, I’ve been the head referee at the tournament that my team hosts, I mentor when I can, but for the most part I graduated and that was that.

what year are you? 254D?
What said projects are you doing?

Volunteering really is the “best of both worlds” in college. As a “generic” judge or ref, you’ll spend a few hours prepping for the event (more for refs who need to read/learn the rules), then the day of the event itself.

At college, you want to be “in-step” with the small communities around you (study/project groups for your classes, social sub-units in your dorm if live in one, etc.). It’s a great time to try things you’ve never done before – you don’t want to miss out on that discovery process, and you’ll be surrounded by smart/cool people who can show you the best parts. And you’ll be one of those cool people who can expose others to amazing things like robotics:)

To do Vex properly really takes a lot of time – 10 hrs/week barely scratches the surface. If you have a VexU community where you and several others can share the load, it’s more manageable, but if you’re on your own, that kind of time commitment can potentially take away from other important things (like passing your classes).

We pass through stages in life, and each one has something to offer. College is a unique time unlike any other, and you don’t want to miss its advantages. That doesn’t mean saying good-bye to Vex forever, but perhaps coming back at various times to appreciate it in different ways.

I’m a sophomore at Olin College outside of Boston.

I’ve worked on a robotic “slithering” snake, robotic marshmallow-launching turret, Rubik’s cube importer and solver, and other similarly fun and exciting things. When these are your classes, you find yourself to be very engaged and your time tends to evaporate.

Let me give my story about college and VEX…

When I finished my senior year of HS Robotics in both FIRST and VEX… in college I was planning on moving on from the competitive robotics to focusing on Carnegie Mellon and majoring in Computer Science and maybe looking at Robotics from a research perspective.

As I took a break from school for financial reasons and came back home, I was contacted by my old teammate and his mom about joining the team at our local community college. And thus I’m back into VEX and competing. Fun indeed, and VEX U offers a good challenge.

That said, VEX U teams are HARD to manage, if you manage to even get one running. There are a lot more factors than what you think go into a VEX U team. That said is it an enriching thing, and I may try to continue VEX U when I return to Pittsburgh.

That said… colleges offer so much. I advise not being so wrapped up in joining a VEX U team or starting one. Allow yourself to discover what else college has to offer you. Volunteer and mentor (taking care to focus on your studies first) in the local robotics community around you or through skype mentoring.

In short, there’s a whole lot to come post-HS VEX.

What is the difference between running a High School Vex team and College Vex team?

More school work.

Creating a club can be extremely complicated and fundraising to start a team is very time consuming. Finding members to help fundraise before you can buy parts is a lot harder than finding members to join a team.

Really its a lot of little things combined with crazy course loads.

I thought the same thing after worlds my senior year. I knew that I was going to stay somewhat local for school so I mentored my old team. I got a job mentoring FTC and VEX teams. The guys I work with wanted to start competing. We thought of VEX-U but we decided to go with the AUVSI foundation and compete in their RoboSub competition since it was local to us. There’s a lot you can do, it’s just up to you which direction you want to go.

In New Zealand we encouage our High School leavers to give back to the VEX community when they live school by activly mentoring a High School team and volunteering at events. That way they can make sure that something they enjoyed while at High School continues for others. VEX runs on the goodwill and efforts of an army of volunteers, for which we are ever grateful!

So stay in VEX on way or another and help it grow!

Slightly unrelated to the way this thread is currently going, but still pertinent…

Does anybody have any pointers for merit scholarships for VEX? Practically every school I’m interested in offers FIRST merit scholarships simply for participating. While I suppose this kind of makes sense why to offer to FIRST but no VEX, I’ve been sorely disappointed by colleges when discovering that those colleges supposedly offer VEX-specific scholarships have no clue when asked off hand about them.

For this reason alone, I’m considering joining a FIRST team next year as a senior - our school doesn’t have a FIRST program, so I’d be going to an entirely different school system… I know I’m beating my drum at the wrong crowd, but am curious to see anybody else’s thoughts.

Hi Eliot,

I am responsible for the RECF Scholarship program. I will be happy to look into your problem. Just so you know, each school listed on the webpage has submitted written contact information to the REC Foundation along with information about the scholarships they offer. Would you be kind enough as to send me an email at scholarships@roboticseducation.org so that I may contact the specific school(s) in question. Please include the school and who you spoke with so that I can be sure that we are sure you are placed in contact with the correct person.

Regards,
Tarek

Do it if you…

A. Have the time to spare
B. Want to

Don’t expect the college to pay for it. -Cody