The US state of Virginia has recently grown successful esports scholarship programs at many of its colleges and high schools. The programs see students compete across gaming titles and take part in events like League of Legends tournaments. Overall, the future of varsity esports projects brightly across the US.
Schools interest in esports – Virginia
The Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, Virginia implemented its esports program two years ago. It’s proven hugely popular among students. The program was part of the Virginia High School League’s pilot esports program, aiming to capitalize on the students’ enthusiasm for video gaming in a safe and controlled manner.
As many as 23 schools across the state have shown interest in the esports program. The esports platform PlayVS hosts these tourneys, in addition to high school gaming competitions in 11 states across the nation.
To take part, all those schools need to do is to appoint a coach, build a team, and compete either on campus or against other schools in the state. At the moment, the games included in the PlayVS program include Smite and League of Legends, as well as the vehicular soccer title Rocket League.
The National Association of Collegiate Esports has also found plenty of success in establishing special gaming scholarships. There are currently over 150 schools in the initiative. By gaining an esports scholarship, students could receive an average of $4,800 toward tuition fees.
The success of esports programs
In this case, success is largely dependent upon how high schools and colleges view the competitive gaming phenomenon. Washington-Liberty High School has taken the step of categorizing esports as a student activity alongside the likes of the debate club, rather than featuring it as an athletic sport.
This move plays on the perception that esports are largely non-physical activities. While competitive gaming may not directly improve student fitness, they do boast other positive effects. By familiarizing students with a video game’s use of algorithms and coding, students may find themselves better equipped for handling traditional school subjects, such as mathematics, science, and technology.
Esports scholarships could also lead to valuable vocational opportunities. As the video gaming industry generated $135 billion in revenues last year, any student with an interest in gaming should take pre-professional notice.