Going back a few years, eSports was not considered to be a major sporting competition. However now, it’s safe to say that it’s on its way to becoming as popular as more traditional sports. Millions of viewers log in online to watch their favorite players play. eSports is a form of sport competition using video games, often taking the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions. The industry is growing exponentially with amateur, high school, collegiate, and professional teams now competing across the globe.
You might be interested in knowing that eSports teams are now being offered as a collegiate sport. Yes, they are giving out scholarships. So here, we are going to be talking about how you can get your kids started in esports and possibly get them a scholarship.
In June of 2019, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) partnered with the United States eSports Federation (USeF) – The National Governing Body of eSports in the U.S., to develop the AAU eSports program. The USeF is dedicated to maintaining a calendar of eSports events to promote eSports activities across the USA. With the support of AAU eSports teams will begin showing up in your local area. If there are no teams to in your area there are online resources to help you start one.
At this time there aren’t any state sponsored High School Esports programs. So, any program you find for your children will be in the form of clubs formed outside of school. Starting an esports club for your child’s high school is a great way to get a team going. If you go this route, you can get help from these organizations:
- PlayVS – PlayVS operates state leagues in partnership with 23 state associations and regional leagues nationwide. All PlayVS leagues operate on the same schedule: two seasons (Fall and Spring) of league play followed by playoffs to crown a champion.
- High School Esports League (HSEL) – Making esports available to every student as a legitimate varsity level sport in high schools across the nation.
- North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) – NASEF is on a mission to provide opportunities for all students to use esports as a platform to develop STEAM-based skills and social emotional attributes such as communication, collaboration, and problem-solving abilities needed to thrive in work and in life.
- Contender eSports Gaming Centers – Contender eSports provides a venue, equipment and the training needed to get your teams ready to compete in eSports tournaments.
Getting a club going in your school with the help of companies like PlayVS and Contender eSports can be easier than you might imagine. Start by finding a supportive teacher or other faculty member and spreading the word throughout your school. Build comradery and develop your competitive edge through regular meetings and training. Finally get your kids team entered into one of the eSports leagues by contacting the resources talked about above.
The Benefits of Playing Video Games
It turns out that playing video games is a great way to get your kids interested in reading. There have been a number of studies poking into this topic, and darn near every single one of them also points out the mental and social benefits of video games. The icing on the cake is a study conducted by the National Literacy Trust, focused on how 4626 young people aged 11 to 16 playing video games impacted their reading and learning habits. Findings show:
- 4% of young people who play video games also read materials relating to video games, at least once a month.
- 5% of young people who play video games also write something relating to video games, at least once a month.
- 0% of young people playing video games said that it helps them imagine being someone else
Ultimately the study determined that video games were directly related to an increased amount of reading, writing, and empathy in their lives. The most interesting statistic from the study was about how gaming encouraged non-readers to engage in a story driven medium. 73.1% of participants who don’t enjoy reading books said that playing video games helps them feel more part of a story than traditional reading.
eSports gamers gain confidence, grow friendships, and develop skills that will help them through high school and beyond.
Getting Into College with eSports
eSports scholarships grew an astonishing 480% last year, and the trend is expected to continue. Scholarships.com reports that over 30 U.S. colleges and universities are offering scholarships to fill out their schools eSports teams. Varsity scholarships for eSports have been around since 2014 when Robert Morris University (RMU) in Chicago, Illinois became the first university to offer large scholarships for members of the schools inaugural Varsity eSports League of Legends team. Gamers earned scholarships of up to 50% tuition and 50% room and board totals up to $19,000 a year (or up to $76,000 over four years).
Since then, nearly 100 colleges across the U.S. and Canada have begun offering official eSports programs. The number of schools offering the program is expected to reach (or possibly exceed) 120 by the end of this year, and we’re willing to bet that many of these schools will be eager to attract talent, meaning scholarship awards will likely be part of the package.
For now, Scholarships.com reports that more than 30 U.S. colleges and universities offer considerable scholarships for gamers. Leading the way are schools such as the University of Utah—one of the largest schools to offer scholarships for gamers, University of California-Irvine—the first public college to build a gaming arena, and Stephens College—the first women’s college to sponsor a varsity team and offer video game scholarships for women.
What’s waiting for your child after college and turning pro is the Dota 2 The International Tournament. In 2019 Dota had a prize pool of over $34 million. Today games like Dota 2, League of Legends, Fortnite, and Call of Duty have redefined the way tournaments were viewed by offering some of the biggest prize pools that the world has ever seen. So get your kids started in eSports and all that money you’ve spent on PlayStation 5 may just payoff.
Colleges That Offer eSports and Scholarships
Alma College, Alma, Michigan
Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio
Barton College, Wilson, North Carolina
Bay State College, Boston, Massachusetts
Becker College, Worcester, Massachusetts
Bellevue University, Bellevue, Nebraska
Benedictine University, Mesa, Arizona
Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota
Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, New Jersey
Brescia University, Owensboro, Kentucky
Boise State University, Boise, Idaho
Cazenovia College, Cazenovia, New York
Coker College, Hartsville, South Carolina
Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri
Concordia University-St. Paul, St. Paul, Minnesota
Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa
Daemen College, Amherst, New York
Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania
Full Sail, Winter Park, Florida
Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia
Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, Hawaii
Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina, Kansas
Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
King University, Bristol, Tennessee
Lees McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina
Lourdes University, Sylvania, Ohio
Maryville University, St. Louis, Missouri
Miami (Ohio) University, Oxford, Ohio
Midland University, Fremont, Nebraska
Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Misericordia University, Dallas, Pennsylvania
Missouri Valley College, Marshall, Missouri
Newberry College, New Berry, South Carolina
New England College, Henniker, New Hampshire
NYU Tisch School of the Arts, New York, New York
Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Robert Morris University, Chicago, Illinois
Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas
Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire
Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Missouri
Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas
Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri
St. Thomas University, Miami Gardens, Florida
Thomas College, Waterville, Maine
Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio
Trine University, Angola, Indiana
University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
University of California – Irvine, Irvine, California
University of Jamestown, Jamestown, North Dakota
University of Mount Union, Alliance, Ohio
University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
University of North Texas, Denton Texas
University of Pikeville, Pikeville, Kentucky
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
University of Providence, Great Falls, Montana
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana
Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky
West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia
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