How Smith Talent Acquisition helps students get recruited for esports scholarships

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Smith Talent Acquisition

In the United States, earning a sports scholarship for a college is major proof of one’s sporting prowess and potential. In a wide range of schools across the US, collegiate athletics are some of the most popular sporting events, and esports is slowly, but steadily, making its mark here as well.

But earning an esports-centric college scholarship is not easy. Sam Smith, the founder of Smith Talent Acquisition, realised this — and built a business on the back of it.

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In essence, Smith Talent Acquisition helps students find a college where they can compete on a varsity team. During his work as a recruiter, Smith has worked with more than 150 players and helped over 80 get into collegiate programmes. 

Upon meeting a student, Smith and his team determine his or her rank in their game of choice and develop a relationship during which Smith’s agency helps the student make connections, apply for colleges and hopefully enrol in a college that has an esports programme. There are over 80 colleges that Smith and his team have worked with, so there is plenty of possibility for students. 

“When it comes to recruiting, most students need help making connections and knowing how to present themselves professionally,” Smith explained. “So I specifically highlight their major achievements and mentor how they should be marketing themselves to colleges.”

Smith added that the majority of players look for collegiate scholarships for esports, but sometimes it is just a matter of helping the students understand where they may qualify to earn scholarships. He added that he sees himself as the link between an educational institution and the player, helping them out with mentorship, connections and advice.

Finding a fit

What sets apart Smith Talent Acquisition from other services, he explained, is that the students’ experience is personalised towards their goals, and they get coached on gaining unique skills that will help them stand out amongst other players. Smith explains that the major pain point for families is they don’t understand what they should be doing.

“The recruitment process for esports can be quite confusing, that’s why I work hard to simplify every step of the way,” Smith says. “I work directly with tons of College coaches to find the right fit for you, and I know exactly what you need to compete on a Varsity roster.”

The main piece of advice Smith gives to potential students is to just try and find out where the opportunities lie. For some games, like Hearthstone or Smash Bros, there is not much of a collegiate scene and therefore little room to get scholarships for them. Right now, most of the opportunities are in League of Legends, Rocket League, VALORANT and Overwatch. 

Smith said students should contact his agency to see how their expectations and skills align with available collegiate opportunities, and schedule a free consultation. Parents are welcome to join the talks, he said and advised eager candidates to join the community that Smith has created, in which there are dozens of recruits going through the same process. By bridging the gap between players and educational institutions, Smith looks to not only help students find scholarships but also contribute to the growth and success of collegiate esports.

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.

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