Colleges Esports and Scholarship Opportunities

This Article was contributed by Matthew Carrico, Editorial Intern.

The esports scene has impacted college students and campuses in many ways and still continues to bring new opportunities. With competitive esports, colleges are able to nurture various skills in their students such as critical thinking, team building, leadership, and even experience that can be applied to STEM learning. Arguably one of the most important benefits of collegiate esports is students’ opportunity to earn scholarships.

Collegiate esports scholarships are built in a similar fashion to that of regular sports but are often more relaxed when compared to the latter. That being said the former offers just as much variety if not more so than traditional sports.

There are a variety of genres that grace the esports field such as First Person Shooters (FPS) like Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA) like Smite and League of Legends. Fighting games like Super Smash Brothers and Street Fighter and much more. There is a lot of variety when it comes to the choice of games for players interested in taking to the esports scene and a lot of opportunities for scholarships.

 Thanks to major esports organizations such as the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), over 150 schools across the country allow their students to play competitive esports at the prospect of earning scholarships for their tuitions.

They also set forth guidelines for colleges to follow when it comes to the requirements for gaining scholarships. The guidelines can differ depending on the college but do follow some similar requirements. This includes students maintaining a GPA of 2.5 or higher, writing a personal essay, application letter, or cover letter in order to be admitted to the program. Since esports scholarships are intertwined with academic scholarships, it helps to have good grades in writing assignments and tests to help stand out.

Similar to many sports teams, many colleges and universities will have tryouts for esports in which a coach will test your ability. Gaming scholarships are one of the ways in which talented players are attracted to these tryouts and can come from across the globe. It is important to note that similar to real sports competitions, the scholarships are awarded to only the best players.

When it comes to playing competitive esports, it is important to note that you will always be competing with a team which is a different experience than playing solo. To that end, there are a couple of criteria that coaches relate to when judging your quality as a gamer and competitive player. One is being a team player meaning that you do not make decisions for yourself but rather those that will benefit and support the rest of the team.

Another is communication, understanding the needs of your teammates, and the proper callouts and vocabulary for specific scenarios in the tournament. Finally, the proper attitude will also set you apart. What coaches are looking for when it comes to attitude is someone who offers advice and support for the whole team along with a desire to grow from the experience and own up to their mistakes.

When the proper criteria are met, you will be able to enter the world of esports in the hopes of getting a scholarship along with your teammates. Typically, the payout for esports scholarships falls between $500 and $8,000. Of course, this can fluctuate depending on different factors such as the regulations of the tournament, who the host is, whether or not the competition is local or regional, and a bunch of other factors.

When it comes to gaining your scholarships, there are several steps you can take to increase your chances. This includes being professional, competing in live tournaments, creating hours of VODs, doing research on the esports programs, guiding your competition, and being communicative. 

We are at a point where there are many opportunities for players to earn scholarships via esports. That will continue to grow with new tournaments being organized, growing support from investors and sponsors, new organizations forming and ballooning prize pools in competitions.

It is important to note that you may not get what you are seeking immediately but the skills and connections you make from this experience can be just as valuable. If you are interested in looking up more information on college esports scholarships, check out NCSA’s website as it offers a lot of information and considerations when it comes to going into this competitive field.


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