By Jason Kirby
Many people think of esports as something that only professional gamers do, but that’s not the case. Students engaged in esports across the country are gaining STEM-relevant experience by working on and with technology. They learn how to produce live broadcasts and streams, how to manage their school’s social media accounts, and how to optimize their gaming computers to maximize the performance of the games. Students can now put those skills to use, earning college scholarships for esports, and the number of colleges offering esports degrees continues to grow.
At the High School Esports League, we view esports as a viable educational tool, and we’re seeing more and more K–12 leaders buying in as they see their students gain valuable college- and career-readiness skills. Here’s how esports are helping students play their way to college and beyond.
Boosting Motivation and Engagement
Given that students must meet certain academic requirements to participate in the High School Esports League, many schools have seen increased school attendance, some as much as 10%. Esports act as an incentive for students to maintain their eligibility by participating more in the classroom. Everyone wins!
Data has proven time and time again that the more involved kids are with school activities, the better they perform in school. Esports are particularly important for students who struggle with grades and attendance. Students who find purpose in video games have often felt neglected, but now that schools are adopting esports, these students are finding a new outlet that engages them in and out of the classroom. This leads to higher grades and better attendance.
Developing Social-Emotional Connections
These same kids are the ones who would otherwise not participate in any extracurricular activities. Finding their niche among their peers doing something they love helps them develop relationships with their peers and teachers
In addition, since most coaches and educators are not yet familiar with esports and the variety of games students play, students have opportunities to step into leadership roles. There are usually a few that understand the game dynamics like the back of their hands. They help their fellow students by becoming mentors and team captains. It’s refreshing to watch students’ passions evoke action. Taking on these leadership roles helps them develop a growth mindset.
To further help teach students growth mindset and the social skills that support it, we’ve partnered with UWorld to bring students together during these challenging times for a contest. Since gamers around the world are stuck inside, we decided to offer them something fun to do—and the chance to win prizes.
Students can enter, share, collect points, and win! One winner will get a MainGear Gaming PC Package. One hundred winners will get a 60-day UWorld SAT®/ACT® Test Prep Combo Package to help them score big on their college admissions exams. Everyone who enters will get 20% off SAT and ACT preparation tools from UWorld. The contest runs now until May 6 at 11:59 p.m. Click here to enter.
We’re also working with UWorld to help bring awareness of online ACT and SAT prep to our community of high school students. We’re excited to see so many participants motivated to win prizes and, as with esports, the ultimate reward is being prepared for success in college and a career.
Jason Kirby is the president and COO of High School Esports League and Generation Esports, a platform that allows communities to offer esports competitions and engage their members.