Esports & College Recruiting
High schools, middle schools and even elementary schools are jumping into esports. Largely this is due to the revolutionary action taken by Robert Morris University in Chicago to begin offering esports scholarships. Being close to Chicago, in late 2014 we in Rockford Public Schools 205 took notice and allocated funds and equipment specifically towards a varsity level esports experience in the hopes this trend would continue. It has!
In 2018, there were approximately $15 million in esports scholarships available. By 2023, those available scholarship funds are expected to skyrocket to $100 million. With increasing scholarship dollars will come increasing numbers of schools entering the arena to help their scholar gamers access these funds. How will one stand out amongst the crowd to potentially earn up to $20,000, or even a full ride, to college through esports?
In a series of interviews with college esports coaches, it was determined there were four things looked for in potential recruits to their programs. The scenario posed was “Imagine you only had five to ten minutes to decide if you were going to recruit a prospective student? What would you want to see in that short time?” These were their summarized responses.
- No highlight video! Instead of a highlight video send a three to five minute clip of competition gameplay with teammates, including in-game communication would be much more valuable. Bonus points are given for a voice over by the prospective student who could then describe what was happening, what they could improve in their team’s gameplay, and what they would do the following week to make that improvement. And for those worried about their ability to create such a video, there does not need to be a high quality production.
- Tend your digital footprint! Go through your social media and clean up inappropriate and questionable posts. Make sure to address posts in which you have been tagged. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Bonus points are given if you create a LinkedIn account and start to connect with those in industry while in high school.
- Reach out! Rather than the college coach coming to you, reach out to the esports coach at the college. It is a bold first step but it shows your interest in their school and your sense of initiative. Bonus points are given if you use the LinkedIn account you created in the point above.
- The focus of college is to get a degree! Show why you want to go to their college or university. Be prepared to talk about your education and professional goals. If you want to be a pro gamer, that is fine, but realize the purpose of going to a college or university is to achieve a degree. And a degree paid for through a collegiate esports scholarship is something no one can take away from you. Bonus points are given if you ask about the school’s graduation rate and the turn over of their participants in their esports program. You want to make sure your choice of college has success retaining and growing their scholar gamers.
If you need further details about college recruiting of a scholar gamer, watch this video with further insights and ideas on the topic.