So in light of the latest announcement from Ohio University regarding its scholarship program for the top Fortnite players, I was somewhat weirded out. Maybe it was something new that I heard of or maybe it was just because education and video games do not really match well or collate.
I dug a little deeper, and to my surprise, there are a total of 50 Colleges/Universities offering scholarships to eSports players as back as of 2014.
eSports College Scholarships
Speaking of which, the ‘Collegiate Varsity eSports Program’ was started back in 2014 first by Robert Morris University in Illinois. This target for League of Legends pros was quite popular at that time. Since then, many colleges have introduced their own scholarship programs for eSports players bringing the total number to 50 colleges in America.
This has been made possible with the help of National Association Collegiate of eSports and you can check out the list by heading over to the link.
The Ashland University in Ohio’s scholarship for top Fortnite players guarantees an aid of about $4,000 to the total annual tuition fee. Of course, the university previously had started plans for League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Overwatch, and Rocket League players as well and the scholarships are still active. However, does it really matter?
Of course, looking at it from a practical standpoint, this could be quite a blessing for gamers. When you spend more of your time on video games, going after your passion, you have the other stuff sidetracked. This is always the case. Almost with everything in life. You can choose to juggle two things at once, but not without prioritizing them. Even if you have accomplished a remarkable feat and did successfully, keep them on the same page that will not last for long. One always overshadows other; such is the way of life.
Therefore, coming back to the point to be discussed; gamers will usually have more of their time being spent on video games than anything else that is for gamers who take their stuff seriously in order to reach the competitive scene. This will have an effect on their study time, eventually resulting in bad school reports and underperforming in exams unless you are really very smart. Majority of the time that is the case.
This will lead to many teens being deprived of studying at a good place, or one of their choosing. Not being able to apply for Merit Scholarships or anything related to academic excellence, the options really narrow down. With such grounded and limited opportunities, the potential students may have to compromise their wish and resort to a less restrictive college that may value something a little over or at least on par with academics.
This was not possible before 2014, but since then, gamers good at their job having the opportunity to apply for eSports-oriented scholarships as discussed above. Well, it all works, and it is great. It is really a blessing for teens who want to continue their studies if they are not entirely sure about their passion for video games.
Yes, that brings us to the real thing, the ‘What really should Matter’ idea. Back when I was first searching for which college to apply to, I would have a friend, a classmate who was also in Pakistan’s team for International Math’s Olympiad. He would have met a lot of math geniuses over the years and so safe to say was able to give me a rather authentic answer when I asked him:
I see unis like HKUST and KAIST, and even in Canada, Waterloo, all good unis. A little curious to say, they all have a different approach to their admissions. Of course, most universities will ask for a certificate of 12 years of education, high school, Cambridge A-Level, whatever. However, this one will admit students into their program, even with handsome scholarships, on the basis of medals in the IMO. So why does not a person, an academic Olympian go for that opportunity instead than his normal school courses?
He simply answered because they do not take part in the Olympiad for that. They do it because they like it. They do it because Math is their passion; it is the only thing they can think of themselves doing.
Moreover, I cannot think of that being so reminiscent of the question now at hand. Do eSports pros really care about eSports scholarships? If games were what they know and what they would like to pursue, then I would say:
Be confident and go right ahead. Be brave to not look back. Be firm in their choice to keep to their passion. Be what you already are nothing else, because if you have found a goal in your life, you give it all you got and you do not let anything take that from you.
Sure scholarships are awesome to have; sure, they are good if I was even thinking a little of what that meant to me, what its value is for me. If I know games, and I am good at them, then I will make that my ultimate goal. I will live, breathe, earn and survive by using that particular talent of mine. I will rather do what I am happy with. It gives me real solace to have that notion.
Take part in competitions, win, give lessons, educate people, and stream your gameplay. This is what these eSports players do and they would never tell you they are the least bit sad doing it. They will not tell you that they feel something is missing in their lives. They would tell you they are happy, that they have not given in to what society expected of them, but to rather follow their own vision. This does not make them selfish, it shows they have guts and it shows they will stay true to what they believe in.