While many parents may be skeptical about their teen’s passion for video gaming, they might be surprised to learn about the economic opportunities brought about by gaming, especially in competitive esports. The most eye-poppingly statistic parents and their college-bound kids should be aware of is the number of esports scholarships available for college: $16 million according to the most recent data!
But how do you take their hobby to the next level and help them pay for their college education through esports?
Joining a gaming club or playing on a high school esports team puts you in direct contact with players you’re not used to playing against. Playing with friends and family is great, but they already know your abilities and weaknesses the same way you know theirs.
To truly get ahead, you need to play against different people in a more competitive arena. Joining a gaming club can start you on the road to more competitive play and improved tactics and skills.
High school gaming teams provide a competitive environment comparable to the collegiate and professional levels. They teach additional gaming skills and techniques you might not be well versed in, introduce you to other games you haven’t yet mastered and give you actual tournament experience—all the factors collegiate teams are looking for.
As you continue to hone your gaming skills, we recommend you record your gameplay. It’s simple to do. There are many apps available to create recordings of your games. Check out their features and make a few practice recordings.
This lets you see your progress and learn from your mistakes. It also gives you the opportunity to “show off” your skills and achievements to others and gain feedback from them. Even more importantly, esports recruiters, especially coaches, will want to see examples of your esports play.
This is similar to what high school athletes in other sports like football and basketball do. It takes some time to learn to edit and splice a highlight reel, but it’s a useful skill for self-marketing—and for other areas of life, too.
Don’t think of a highlight reel as a braggadocious ego trip. An esports highlight reel can be used to pique the attention of esports recruiters and coaches, who are always scoping out rising talent and who need a quick pitch that stands out from the rest of the pack.
Dedicated esports players should attempt to contact esports coaches as early as they can during their college search and application process, even before the application and scholarship process begins. While esports coaches and recruiters follow Twitch and similar esports platforms to find and assess players, would-be esports scholarship winners should take the initiative and reach out directly to coaches.
Putting yourself on an esports coach’s radar early—and continuing to share progress, achievements and wins with them through your highlight reels—can have an enormous impact on scholarship success. Be confident and assertive in your communications with coaches, but don’t overdo it. Striking the right balance between self-confidence and humility is also key, so be mindful of your approach.
Finally, remember that most colleges aren’t just looking to train professional gamers. Many colleges award esports scholarships to gamers with tangential interests like video production, coding and programming, graphics design and marketing.
Highlight your gaming-related interests, and any experience in them in your college and scholarship applications and essays. These additional interests and experiences help candidates stand out—and may be the decisive factor.
The world of esports is growing, and colleges are taking note. Scholarships are available, but you may need a boost over the competition to come out on top. Joining up with other gamers you don’t usually play against. Record your game sessions and show off your talents online and to coaches. But above all, stay positive, keep challenging yourself and keep playing!