The Information Age has brought us many new technological advancements, allowing us to soar to new digital heights, changing the way we interact with our environments and each other with each passing day.
One revolutionary effect of these changes is the kinds of scholarships (and eventually job opportunities) that are available. In today’s world, video games have evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry, which has paved the way to competitive gaming similar to real-life physical sports, called ESports (short for “electronic sports”).
Of course, gaming began primarily as a form of entertainment, and you may have noticed your child taking an interest in gaming. Maybe they’re even hinting that they dream of being a competitive gamer someday.
This brings us to the big question: Can your child actually get a scholarship for playing video games?
The simple answer is: yes, it is possible for your child to obtain a video game scholarship. But before letting your child make that huge leap into the world of ESports and competitive gaming, they (and you) have to understand that the professional gaming path is far different from those casual gaming sessions they might have with friends or family.
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What’s the difference between online gaming for fun and competitive gaming?
Gaming is like any other kind of hobby or pastime. As with basketball or singing, if your child aspires to pursue gaming professionally, the kind of experience they will embark on will be far from casual. After all, gaming for fun and competitive gaming are two different worlds.
For starters, there will be rigorous training regimens. As with sports, there is a strict regimen to be followed to be in top shape for any game. While sports can be physically draining, ESports can be mentally draining due to the amount of thinking and reactivity competitive games demand. In fact, the average professional gamer practices 7-9 hours a day, which includes team building and strategizing on top of actually playing matches.
Competitive gaming also breaks teamwork and gameplay down to a science, giving anyone who pursues it a deeper understanding of what it takes to win.
At the end of the day, competitive gaming might not even be a fun experience. As with other professions, it takes a lot of perseverance and hard work to make it to the top.
If your child is ready to meet those experiences head on, then it’s time to proceed to the next step: looking for a college ESports scholarship for your child.
Do universities offer scholarships for ESports and gaming?
The quick answer to this is yes; however, slots are often very limited per university. Usually, universities only accept those who are extremely skilled with their chosen game or those who are already among the top-ranked players. Thankfully, a growing number of universities offer college scholarships for ESports, so checking out a wide variety of schools might make all the difference.
Do universities offer scholarships for all types of gaming?
There are many games out there that offer various depths of competition, with more being added as time progresses. Currently, most colleges and universities look for players for the following game titles (or similar):
- League of Legends
- Rocket League
- Madden NFL
- CounterStrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
- Super Smash Brothers
How can I find a school that offers ESports scholarships?
The number of universities offering varsity ESports scholarships has boomed over the past few years, so it should be easier to find one now than ever before.
However, you can kickstart your search by looking into and connecting with organizations that revolve around college-level ESports, such as the National Association of Collegiate ESports (NACE) and Tespa.
Universities can also approach high school teams that have great potential, so having your child engage in ESports activities and competitions from the get-go can give them the advantage of being seen.
How can ESports players attract the attention of collegiate ESports coaches?
Catching the attention of any ESports coach can be your child’s ticket to getting that university gaming scholarship of their dreams. To increase your child’s odds of getting noticed, have them consider pursuing the following courses of action.
Playing in local tournaments
ESports coaches tend to watch out for local game tournaments, specifically for recruiting purposes. If your child is one of those who wows the crowd in a few of these matches, they may catch the eye of any observing coach.
Participating in local tournaments also adds to your child’s experience in the ESports scene, which is also great for building up confidence and rapport for future tournaments.
Create an online profile with organizations like NACE
Creating a profile with organizations like NACE (https://nacEsports.org) that aim to bolster the collegiate ESports environment can boost your child’s chances of getting noticed by a coach, or at the very least, of networking with people who can get your child to where they want to go.
Reach out to varsity coaches at schools where your child might like to attend
If your child already has a particular school in mind, you can try to reach out to the school directly and sign up for a campus tour. When you set up the tour, ask if you can speak to the ESports coach while you are there for the tour.
You can also email the ESports coach directly. Be sure to include your stats and player ranking in the email.
Connect directly with student athletes
Platforms made specifically with gamers in mind, like Discord and Twitch, make it easier to connect to student athletes all across the country (and even the globe). Your child can identify players from the schools they are interested in and message them directly to ask for information about their school or their team.
Pursuing an ESports scholarship takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can be a great option to allow your child to pursue their love of gaming while getting an education. I hope the tips I’ve shared will help your child achieve their ESports dreams.
Do you have any Esports scholarship hunting tips and experiences you want to share? Or maybe you have a few questions for the other readers? Feel free to comment down below.