By Martha Karn
When people hear about college sports scholarships, they typically think of football, baseball, tennis, and any number of other sports you play with a team outside. Not too many people know that colleges also offer scholarships for competitive, organized video game sports called Esports. Here are six tips for obtaining an esport scholarship.
Research– You need to do your research to find institutions offering esports scholarships. University of California-Berkeley, Ashland University, Columbia College, Averett University, University of Utah offer these scholarships. The full list can be found here and here. You may end up going to a school you had not previously considered because of its scholarship offerings. The sizes of the scholarships vary both by institutions and within institutions depending upon certain variables. You want to be sure you are getting the scholarship that will fit your needs.
2. Clubs – If you can, either form or become active in a high school esports club. This will give you an idea of what will be expected from you when you get your scholarship and will prepare you for balancing esports and your academics. All scholarships are based on merit, academics, and athletics. You will have to keep your grades up in order to be considered for and keep your scholarship. Your investment in a club will also show recruiters that you are experienced and invested in esports.
3. Tournaments – Along with becoming active in an esports club, you should participate in tournaments to attract recruiters from colleges offering scholarships. You can also create leagues within your high school and invite other high schools to participate. Colleges will not be bothered to set up tournaments, but they may send recruiters out to meet potential scholarship recipients.
4. Network – If you are involved with a high school esports club, you will be likely be competing in tournaments and related activities. When you are at these events, make sure to introduce yourself to other gamers, officials, recruiters and others. You may just find yourself talking to a recruiter from a university you are interested in. The more people who know you, the better chance of obtaining a scholarship.
5. Join YEA or HSEL – If you do not know how to set up tournaments or are too busy, you can join YEA. They have tournaments across the country at many different levels. HSELis backed by the National Association of Collegiate Esports and has tournaments across the nation as well. Either group will get you into tournaments without your having to host them. This way you are just competing and do not have to worry about the logistics of actually hosting a tournament.
6. Create content – Once you have started competing, you will need to create content to show recruiters. Start out with a brief introduction that includes your name, gamer tag, rankings, GPA, and graduation year. Follow that with four of your best plays to lead up to the highlight. Do not make your video longer than two minutes. When you have your video complete, highlight it on social media. The more that is out there, the more chances a recruiter will become interested.
7. Tryouts – When you make it to the tryout level remember three things: Highlight your attitude, communication, and team play. Show potential recruiters that you have what it takes to be a team player with a winning attitude and competence. Show your coaches that you can maintain your position and effectively communicate to your teammates. Become a leader, but do not showboat. If you run off on your own, you will not impress the coaches and you will not receive a scholarship.
8. Academics – Remember that gaming is only one aspect of the scholarship. You must keep up your grades in high school and maintain them through college to receive and renew your esports scholarship. The better your grades, the more likely you are to receive a scholarship.
Martha Karn develops online educational courses and writes for students.