Five Tips for Scoring an Esports Scholarship

Though many parents may be skeptical about their teen’s passion for video gaming (and the seemingly extensive number of hours they play them), they might be surprised—and even impressed—by the economic opportunities brought about by gaming, especially in competitive esports. And perhaps the most eye-poppingly impressive statistic parents and their college-bound kids should be aware of is the tremendous amount of esports scholarships available for college: $16 million according to the most recent data!

Below, we provide several tips for gamers who want to take their hobby to the next level and help them pay for their college education through esports.

When combined with their own skills and many hours of playing on DFN’s advanced fiber network—the fastest, most reliable internet a gamer can utilize—these tips may help students outperform the competition and get a well-merited scholarship for their future.

Tip 1: Join a Gaming Club and/or Compete for a Spot on a High School Esports Team

If possible, join a gaming club and/or compete for a spot on a high school esports team. 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, which are probably your friends and other family members. Those players already know your abilities and weaknesses—and you know theirs.

Thus, to truly get ahead, you need to start playing against different people, and in a more competitive arena. Joining a gaming club can start you on the road to more competitive play, improved tactics and skills, and to college-level esports.

Similarly high school gaming teams provide an environment comparable to competitive esports at the collegiate and professional levels. They also 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, in short, that collegiate teams are looking for and that improve your chances of achieving an esports scholarship.

Tip 2: Record Your Gaming Sessions

As you continue to hone your gaming skills and gain more experience playing competitively, we recommend you record your gameplay. It’s simple to do and there are many apps available to create recordings of your games, so check out their features and make a few practice recordings.

Recording your gaming sessions lets you see your progress—and learn from your own mistakes. It also gives you the opportunity to “show off” your skills and achievements to others and gain feedback from them, too. Even more importantly, esports recruiters, especially coaches, will want to see examples of your esports play (see Tips 3 and 4, below).

Tip 3: Create an Esports “Highlight Reel”

Having tested your mettle in a gaming club or on a team, and recorded and reviewed your sessions to improve your gameplay, consider creating a highlight reel of your best gaming experiences. This is similar to what other 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.

But don’t just 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.

Tip 4: Reach Out to College Esports Coaches

Dedicated esports players should attempt to contact esports coaches as early as they can during their college search and application process—preferably even before the application and scholarship process begins, if possible. 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, either. Striking the right balance between self-confidence and humility is also key, so be mindful of your approach.

Tip 5: Think Beyond the Game

Finally, remember that most colleges aren’t just looking to train professional gamers. Indeed, many colleges award esports scholarships to gamers with tangential interests like video production, coding and programming, graphics design, and marketing.

Resourceful applicants should highlight these gaming-related interests, and any experience they may have in them in their college and scholarship applications and essays. These additional interests and experiences help candidates stand out—and may just be the decisive factor.

By joining up with other gamers you don’t usually play against, competing on high school teams, improving your gameplay, and showing off your talents online and to coaches, you’re well on your way to winning an esports scholarship. Above all, stay positive, keep challenging yourself, and keep playing!

With DFN’s fast fiber network, you’ve got the speeds and the bandwidth to handle just about any game. And with any luck—and some hard work—all that distortion-free gameplay may pay off in the form of a generous esports scholarship, too! 

Follow DFN’s social pages to keep up with esports and to learn more about online gaming. And feel free to reach out to our friendly experts if you’re interested in an upgrade to make your gaming experience even better!

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