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5 Robotics Competitions for High Schoolers

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There are many ways to make yourself stand out in a competitive college applicant pool, and good grades and strong test scores are just the beginning. If you want to truly shine, you’ll need to excel outside of the classroom, too. For students interested in the STEM fields and engineering, a robotics competition might be just the ticket to setting yourself apart from the rest of the field.


Why Should You Enter a Robotics Competition?


Robotics competitions are typically exciting, fast-paced competitions that feel more like a sporting event than a science contest. Not only are they a lot of fun for competitors; they are also prestigious and highly regarded by many colleges and universities. In addition, prizes and scholarships can be substantial enough to help with the costs of a college education.


In this post, we’ll outline five top robotics competitions open to high schoolers. Simply participating in these events will highlight your dedication and interest in the field, but a win in one of these prestigious contests could be just what you need to truly stand out above the rest in this competitive field. Keep reading to learn more.


5 Robotics Competitions for High Schoolers


1. B.E.S.T Robotics Design Contest


Description: In this exciting contest, students are given a box of materials and six weeks to design a machine that can complete specific tasks within a given timeframe. The contest aims to excite students about engineering, science, and technology, and inspire them to pursue careers in these fields. During competitions, team robots compete against one another to complete the tasks.


Level: Local, regional, and national competitions available


Grades Eligible: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Registration website available here.



2. Botball Educational Robotics Program


Description: Over a period of about seven weeks, students learn to code and develop complex strategies to use artificial intelligence. This allows them to create an autonomous robot that competes in an annual game challenge against other teams in competitions at various levels across the country.


Level: Regional and national competitions available


Grades Eligible: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Registration available here.

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3. FIRST: Robotics Competition


Description: Teams work together with professional mentors to design, assemble, and test an industrial-sized robot. The robot then competes in a head to head field game against other teams. Teams also market their brands and do community outreach, including fundraising.


Level: Local, regional, and national competitions available


Grades Eligible: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Registration available here.



4. FIRST: Tech Challenge


Description: Teams of up to 15 students are challenged to “design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.” Teams use a robot kit that is reusable from year to year and work under the guidance of adult coaches and mentors. Teams advance from local qualifying tournaments to state championships and the World Championship Tournament.


Level: Local, regional, and national competitions available


Grades Eligible: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Registration available here.



5. National Robotics Challenge


Description: Students build robots and compete in challenges such as “Robot maze”, “Sumo Robot”, and “Robot Rescue”. Costs are minimized because there is no required materials or kit to purchase, and the contest continues through college and graduate school levels, so competitors can stay involved past high school.


Level: National competition only.


Grades Eligible: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Registration available here.


How to Find the Best Robotics Competitions for You


If you’re not sure which competition is the best fit for you and your interests, it’s a good idea to discuss these options with your counselor, or with a teacher or mentor with expertise in the STEM fields. These people might be able to provide some insight into how each competition aligns with your unique strengths and goals.


For more guidance about extracurriculars, college applications, and how to choose activities that best suit you, download our free guide for 9th graders and our free guide for 10th graders. Our guides go in-depth about subjects ranging from academicschoosing coursesstandardized testsextracurricular activitiesand much more!


To learn more about activities and contests in the STEM fields, check out these posts:


Prestigious STEM Competitions for High School Students

A Guide to STEM Scholarships

Your Guide to the Google Science Fair

A Day in the Life of a STEM Major

8 STEM Competitions for High Schoolers


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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.