My mom used to tell me that I would never go to University if I spent all day playing video games.
Well guess what? She was right!
But only because this was the late 1990’s. These days, some of the top universities in the world encourage students to play competitive eSports, particularly team-based games like League of Legends or Overwatch. In the US, the College Stars League sees the top universities compete against each other with all the passion we see in college football. Other universities now offer eSports courses, while some even will give scholarships to the most promising players.
If you want to use your video gaming skills to get into higher education, then these are the top 5 Universities to aim for:
Robert Morris University, Illinois
Founded in 1913, Robert Morris University’s campus is in the heart of downtown Chicago and was the first to recognize eSports as a Varsity Sport. In fact, RMU now offers a full scholarship for members of their eSports department. The team participates in collegiate tournaments, including League of Legends, CS:GO, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and DOTA2. Thanks to their sponsors such as ASUS, Cooler Master and iBuyPower, the RMU facilities and hardware is world class, allowing them to quickly become a powerhouse in the college eSports circuit.
This most prestigious of Ivy League varsities counts many famous tech faces among its alumni, from Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates. These days, the university is a leading force in the college eSports competitions. Students can choose from all the most popular video games, but there is a particular emphasis on team sports such as League of Legends. Although Harvard aren’t yet offering scholarships for promising players, as the eSports college circuit becomes more high-profile, it’s surely just a matter of time before we see a scholarship-based Team Crimson.
Staffordshire University, UK
Since September 2018, this forward-thinking English university has been offering an eSports undergraduate degree. Although you are encouraged to play games such as League of Legends, this bachelor’s degree focuses on the business side of eSports. Given that eSports is now a multi-billion-dollar industry, this might not be a bad thing to learn. Students learn how to set up an event, develop and fund professional teams and promote their eSports business. With this niche set to continue growing in popularity in the coming years – particularly if it can grab a place at the Olympics in 2024 – then this is one degree which combines fun with potential future riches.
The University of California in Los Angeles receives more applications than any other higher education institution in the US, showing how much in demand this elite university is. Since 2017, the UCLA has been running its own eSports team, which already competes in League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Dota 2, and Heroes of the Storm, against other teams, and even participates in worldwide competitions. Video Gaming is even more popular in Southern California than the rest of North America, with the eSports Arena in Orange County being one of the most prestigious locations for tournaments, and several professional teams based in the region. If you impress while at UCLA, maybe you can become the next eSports superstar.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
This is one of the biggest sports universities in the world, and now offers partial scholarships for video gamers. The team competes against professional teams and other universities from across North America, in 4 different disciplines, including the soccer-car mash-up game Rocket League, as well as League of Legends. Utah’s team is sponsored by the university’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering video game development program. The EAE is consistently ranked the No. 1 video game design program US by the Princeton Review, making Utah one of the top colleges for eSports and the video game industry in general.