27 Sep





 min read

How to Secure a Collegiate Esports Scholarship

Applying for scholarships is a meaningful way to reduce expensive college tuitions. In this article, we’ll cover the steps to take to secure a collegiate esports scholarship.

How to Get An Esports Scholarship

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With college tuition quickly increasing over time, it becomes so much more important to be aware of ways you can afford higher education without relying on student loans. For many, applying for scholarships is a feasible way to reduce costs, and esports scholarships are no different. However, since esports has been a relatively new phenomenon, it’s understandable if you’re unsure of where to start. In this article, we’ll go over the steps you can take to secure an esports scholarship, especially if you’re planning to pursue esports as a career.

Step 1: Choose a Game That You’re Both Good at and Passionate About

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Just like any athletic varsity team, you’ll need to be proficient at the game you play. Since these are always PvP games, they will usually have a competitive mode that gives you a rank that represents how your skill level compares to others. This will be one of the key metrics that coaches will look at to decide whether you’re skilled enough to play for the varsity team.

Each university will have different standards for what they consider an eligible rank for an esports scholarship application. As a rule of thumb, junior varsity teams need to be above 50% of the general player base, while senior varsity teams need to be in the top 7% of players. Ideally, you want to aim higher than this as it will be one integral way to distinguish yourself from other applicants.

It goes without saying, but if you’re considering spending a large portion of your time in a varsity team practicing a game, you must also be passionate about the game. It’s important to find enjoyment in the game regardless of whether you’re going on a winning or losing streak, as both outcomes will happen in a varsity team.

Step 2: Make Yourself the Ideal Candidate

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Because video games are relatively accessible, esports applications can potentially be oversaturated. In other words, you’ll likely be competing with many other candidates. To make your profile stand out from the rest, here are two things you can do:

Create a Highlight Reel Of Your Best Plays

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PvP games will inevitably lead to flashy plays. As you complete your play sessions, look out for magnificent plays you make, and try to create clips of them which you can combine to make a montage.

While the in-game replay system can work, they usually only allow you to create clips after the game is over, meaning you’ll have to memorize the approximate points where those plays happen, which can be quite tedious. 

To remedy this, apps like Medal or Insights.gg will automatically record all gameplay footage through your perspective and will automatically mark significant moments such as kills and assists. Additionally, you can program a hotkey, which when pressed will automatically create a 30 second clip from 30 seconds ago. Once the game is over, you’ll be able to see all the clips you made and edit them within the app itself. You can then choose to upload them to social media, or download them to create a larger montage for yourself.

After creating the montage, try to add it to your application wherever it’s appropriate, or create a social media profile which houses all of your best moments.

Have a Steady Reliable Process For Improvement

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It can be tempting just to mindlessly spam games for an entire day, which isn’t the most efficient way to improve. Instead, make sure that you are mentally ready and warmed up, stick to small blocks of 2-3 games, and create learning objectives for yourself by identifying your weaknesses in your play through watching VODS.

Better yet, write down the process you go through and stick to it. Even if you don’t get to explicitly say the steps you take to potential coaches, they’ll be able to pick up on your confidence and discipline just from the way you’re improving at the game.

If you’re looking to create a replicable process for improvement and you’re not sure where to start, Vanta can provide you with the coaching needed to elevate your gameplay. We provide private coaches who can provide you with the tools to design a personalized set of steps you can follow every day to improve at the game. For more information, check out our catalog of coaches and what each of them can offer for you.

Step 3: Create a List of Colleges That Pique Your Interest

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Unless you plan to devote your entire life and energy solely towards esports as a lifelong career, you’ll likely want to find colleges that offer:


  1. esports scholarships,
  2. a team that plays the game you’re passionate about,
  3. and an educational program that interests you.

Even if esports is at the forefront of your mind, programs like education and psychology will provide you with valuable information on the invaluable process of learning new skills and working with a team. When looking at their esports program, it may also be useful to see whether they have people there to support your esports endeavors in a health standpoint. Although there will almost always be coaches and managers, lesser known (but just as important) staff members can be nutritionists and sport psychologists to ensure that you’re at peak physical and mental health.

An example…

Say you live in California and have a passion for League of Legends. You’re quite good at the game and have peaked in Grandmaster last season. You’ve played a few clash games with friends, and you’re confident that you have the knowledge and the skills to excel in a collegiate esports team. You’re also in your senior year of high school and have started to research colleges to attend. Even though you’re interested in esports, you also hold a massive interest in criminology and you want to explore it through formal education. 

Upon looking at universities near you, you encounter the University of California at Irvine. Referencing the checklist above, you find that UCI does indeed house a varsity League of Legends team, and they also offer scholarships up to $6000. When you research their criminology programs, you also find out that they not only offer it as a program, but their program is also ranked top 10% in the country. Now you can add this to the list!

Repeat these steps a few more times until you have a robust list of colleges that have all of the basic requirements plus any of your own personal needs. Make sure you note down all the features and benefits of going to each university, and rank the universities based on which one appeals to you the most. Once you’ve ranked them all, you’ll have a better idea of the universities that appeal to you the most, and you’ll know which offers you want to accept first based on their placement on your list.

Step 4: Network with Representatives of Colleges

Once you’ve created your list of colleges, the next thing to do is to contact representatives of those esports teams with an expression of your interest in their program and scholarship, as well as any queries you might have. This will give you an edge over other scholarship candidates by showing your dedication and curiosity towards the program, and will give them the impression that you’ll be just as dedicated if you’re accepted into the team. Here are a few high quality questions you can ask:

  1. What are your teams’ goals for this upcoming season?
  2. What is the team’s culture that drives the values and attitudes between players and coaches?
  3. How do you ensure that players are supported academically during hectic seasons of practice?
  4. After a loss, what steps do you typically take to ensure that the team’s motivation and spirit remains high?
  5. What is your favorite thing about your team?

This is not an exhaustive list, and if you have any personal questions about the team or game-specific queries, don’t hesitate to ask those questions too!

Step 5: Follow Their Application Process to Apply

Now that you have all the necessary building blocks to be a great applicant, it’s time to apply! Choose however many schools that you feel passionate about, and follow their application process to apply. Best of luck!

With the steps mentioned, you’ll be on the right track to becoming an ideal candidate for an esports scholarship.

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