Esports College Scholarships: How Do I Get One?

The realm of esports has been growing rapidly over the past decade. However, college acceptance of such sports has progressed rather slower. The good news is that over the past few years, many universities have not only accepted esports players but even welcomed them with open arms. As with any college sport, one of the driving factors for students looking to play during their time at university is the opportunity for esports college scholarships. You may be wondering how to get esports scholarships. What colleges and esports varsity programs even offer such opportunities? Am I good enough to make a college esports team? That last one’s kind of up to you, but hopefully we can help answer some of the most pressing questions surrounding the world of collegiate esports.

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Top 5 College eSports teams and scholarships

1. Harrisburg University (Harrisburg, PA) 

This college won ESPN’s Inaugural Collegiate Esports Championship on May 2019. Harrisburg was the first college to offer it’s entire 16 person roster full-ride esports college scholarships to the university.

2. Miami University of Ohio (Oxford, OH)

This university was the first top tier US school to launch a varsity esports program. The team took 1stplace in the 2017 NACE Overwatch Tournament. 

3. Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, GA)

The school puts a high priority on the esports team with their goal being to empower, equip, and challenge their gamers.

4. University of California (Irvine, California)

The esports college team focuses on League of Legends and Overwatch. The school’s strategy is to endorse not only competition but also focus on academic research and entertainment as well. This means research projects based on your favorite games and special training to become a top streamer.

5. Robert Morris University (Chicago, Illinois)

A major esports presence rests in the student body with the whole school rallying behind the team. A wide variety of games are played including League of Legends, Fortnite, Counter-Strike, Smash Bros, and more. 

For more information on how to get esports college scholarships, check out this article featuring even more top tier schools with amazing esports college teams!

Esports College Scholarships: How much money are we talking? 

Good question! According to the NCSA, most college esports scholarships range from $500 USD to $8,000 USD per year. Depending on the program, some colleges offer several games to choose from. Common college esports include:

  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or (MOBA): DOTA 2, League of Legends
  • First Person Shooters: Overwatch, Fortnite, Counter-Strike,
  • Fighter games: Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Smash Bros
  • Sports: FIFA, Madden
  • Other: Hearthstone

Many colleges may also feature titles not listed here! Be sure to check with specific universities for games that interest you. 

How do I start? 

Well, first you need to get noticed by college esports recruiters. There are a few ways to do that:

  • Have a prominent social media following: Twitch, Mixer, Facebook, or YouTube wherever you stream, make sure you showcase your following! 
  • Send out your highlight reel: keep it under two minutes and make sure to include only your best plays! 
  • Get recommendations from your high school esports coach/trainer.
  • Win any tournaments or titles? Make sure to include those too! 

What do colleges look for? 

College esports teams traditionally look for the following things:

  • In-game scores (how many dubs do you have?)
  • Games of interest (what games are you good at?)
  • Hours logged
  • Name recognition
  • Academic standing (because esports are not currently recognized by the NCAA, a minimum of a 2.5 GPA is required by most college esports teams.)

What are college esports tryouts like? 

Once invited to campus, you might be slotted into the varsity lineup of a team to run scrimmages. While it varies based on the program, coaches will usually evaluate the following:

  • In-game communication – Proper callouts, good communication. 
  • Teamplay – Sharing the battlefield, playing your proper position. 
  • Attitude – Sportsmanship, leadership skills, overall positivity. 

Now that you’ve seen our tips, do you think you have what it takes? Will you be the next face of college esports? Can you bring home the dub and score your way to an esports college scholarship? Good luck!

Still wondering how to get esports college scholarships? Check out this article for 9 more top esports schools!

Last Update on 08/06/19: Added new elements including scholarships details by Quentin Rosso

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