As the benefits of esports have increasingly recognized by universities, scholarships have begun to emerge, but folks may still have trouble searching for such opportunities. This article will introduce the requirements and the resources to find esports scholarships and which universities offer them.
Colleges with Esports Scholarships
As the benefits of esports participation were recognized, colleges also began to invest in esports and gaming scholarships that encourage the pursuit of such a career. However, because esports scholarships have only been a new addition to a repertoire of financial support, most people aren’t familiar with it, and many might not even know that they exist. Still, college tuition can be extremely expensive, so any amount of financial subsidy is helpful. In this article, we’ll familiarize you with the concept of esports scholarships, the colleges that provide such scholarships, and how you can prepare yourself to be eligible and apply for them.
What are Esports Scholarships?
Esports scholarships emerged for the same reasons that traditional sports scholarships emerged. Coaches and college representatives recognized that participating in competitive esports fosters social communicative skills, social emotional learning and responsible decision making. College representatives found that players who played on a high level have mastery over these skills as well as a mastery over their game. Knowing how beneficial the career path of an esports player could be, they created esports scholarships to encourage gamers to continue improving these skills in a formal, coached environment.
If you are looking for a place to start searching for these scholarships, the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) includes a directory that searches for colleges that have esports collegiate teams by area and games played, though not necessarily offering scholarships.
Two websites that show a list of esports scholarships are scholarships360 and scholarships.com, which both show a directory of esports scholarships for high school, college and graduate students.
How to Be Eligible For Esports Scholarships
Scholarships can make enrolling in expensive colleges financially viable, so it’s no wonder that many people are searching for scholarships they’re eligible for. When it comes to esports scholarships, the criteria for them are considerably different from academic scholarships. Here are the general themes for what most scholarships require.
Playing at a High Skill Level
Just like athletic scholarships, financial support is given to those who show high performance in the games colleges have teams for. These games are always PvP games, and most of them are also team games as well, such as League of Legends and Rocket League. Playing at a high skill level means you either have to be ranked high on solo/duo ranked queues, being part of a team that has performed well in competitions, or both.
When you’re writing your application, on top of stating the rank you reside in, it may also be useful to create a highlight reel of your best plays. It can really add extra oomph to your portfolio, and can make you stand out from other applicants as well.
Having and Maintaining Good Grades
Even if you’re submitting an application to play competitive video games, you’re still enrolling into a college or university that prioritizes academic growth. Thus, you need to give the university/college the reassurance that you’ve had good grades in high school, and can continue your academic work ethic to maintain those grades throughout university. Assuming that your scholarship involves a yearly renewal, you will need to maintain satisfactory grades throughout the course of your program.
Having Good Communication Skills to Play in a Team
With the majority of universities and colleges playing team games, it’s no wonder that you’ll have to have the skills to communicate and work harmoniously with a team. On top of playing at a high skill level on your own in solo/duo ranked games, you’ll need to show that you can play at a similar level with other team members. Additionally, you’ll also need to show that you’re willing to improve by receiving and internalizing feedback from teammates and coaches as well.
At Vanta, we offer players the opportunity to learn and grow in all three requirements for esports scholarships. Our vetted coaches are professionally trained to provide both team and private coaching to help players improve their game-specific skills. Coaches also build an environment that fosters teamwork, social responsibility and open communication, all of which are imperative to working well in a team. Lastly, coaches provide the means for players to create a replicable process for continual learning and improvement, a skill that can be utilized for academic success. If you’re interested to learn about more, check out our Leagues and games we offer for our upcoming season.
The influence of esports has been rapidly expanding, to the point of creating paid scholarship opportunities. In due time, perhaps there may even be university degrees completely dedicated to such a career.