Poll

Should he list it on his application?

Yes
6 (13.3%)
No
36 (80%)
I like mustaches
3 (6.7%)

Total Members Voted: 45

Author Topic: Should he list this on his college application?  (Read 2472 times)

secondcor521

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Should he list this on his college application?
« on: September 20, 2018, 09:48:20 PM »
Hi all,

My son is a senior in high school and is filling out college applications.

He is regularly ranked in the top 100 in Overwatch, an online video game played by over 30 million people.

Should he list this on his college application?

Happy to provide more details but wanted to ask the question with a fairly blank slate.

Thanks.

We be free if we try

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2018, 10:08:48 PM »
My only expertise is having attended a highly selective college, and having a senior currently applying - no video game knowledge. I'd say no, unless your kid has earned significant money playing it, or won a "world championship tournament" - something that implies more than him sitting in his bedroom playing computer games all the time. My senior daughter has binge-watched every season of West Wing about 20 times, and it's neither healthy, nor going into her application.

maizefolk

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2018, 10:45:11 PM »
Unless the school he is applying to has a school sponsored Overwatch team (the kind of eSports team which offers scholarships, not the social hanging out in the rec center playing games type), I'd say no.

MDM

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2018, 10:54:26 PM »
...something that implies more than him sitting in his bedroom playing computer games all the time.
That was my kneejerk concern also when reading the OP.

If one considers this from the perspective of a college admissions person, is there enough more behind this to overcome that kind of first impression?


AMandM

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2018, 06:48:26 AM »
It's not totally fair, but I agree with maizeman and We be free.

It's not totally fair, because if your son was a top-100 Tiddlywinks or Rock-paper-scissors player, that would be interesting and unusual and a plus on an application, even though tiddlywinks and rock-paper-scissors are no more valuable as skills than Overwatch.  But excellence in video games, unlike excellence in other pursuits, is associated in most people's minds with self-indulgence and passivity, whereas other kinds of excellence are associated with commitment and self-discipline.


Better Change

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2018, 06:49:58 AM »
Probably not "list" it, but can he write a good application essay about it?

CindyBS

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2018, 07:50:21 AM »
Does it tie in with anything else in the application, such as attending coding classes/camps, an essay about a desire to become a video game designer, coursework taken in HS about computer design/coding/video production, etc.?  If so, I would say yes - but only AFTER all those type of things are mentioned.  To me, that shows a person a dedication to a desired field of study.  Without those other tie-ins, it just comes off as someone who goofs off a lot. 

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2018, 08:12:34 AM »
I'd list it if you can also figure out an "elevator statement" blurb about why that makes him a good candidate for the college. Does he earn money from this? Does he travel and compete in big name events?  What skill does he have that is transferable from this to the program he is applying?

GreenEggs

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2018, 08:56:51 AM »
I'm probably wrong, but I'd consider it as impressive as him being the "World's Greatest Air Guitarist".


I think it would be considered a "problem" more than an achievement.

Tig_

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2018, 09:11:17 AM »
As someone who works in a college union with a nationally ranked egaming group, we are considering investing big dollars in a renovation to provide a venue for students to gather and do this, host tournaments regularly, etc - we want to know that this isn't a fad.  To your question, I don't think admissions is as holistic a review of materials as you might think... but that depends on institution (mine is very large).  This is certainly something that would set him apart from others with similar academic profiles who are nothin' special outside the classroom.  To me, rather than showing that he sits in his room and plays on the computer all day, it shows commitment, determination, and strategy - all skills that we believe lead students to succeed.  I don't think you'd need to add a statement about what he's learned from it that will make him a good student, but definitely explain what it is, see if there's a count online of how many active users to give scope to the achievement, etc.  If his grades are high and he has that achievement - it also shows he has good time management and can balance his commitments.

secondcor521

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2018, 09:26:34 AM »
Thanks everyone, keep them coming!

Unless the school he is applying to has a school sponsored Overwatch team (the kind of eSports team which offers scholarships, not the social hanging out in the rec center playing games type), I'd say no.

I don't think his schools have sponsored teams, just club.  Although Colorado School of Mines has a team entered in the collegiate league nationals that's currently in progress.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2018/05/12/esports-the-new-football-scholarship-gaming-scholarships-grew-480-last-year/#1288d78d22a1 

Depends on what school he's applying to, and major.

He's applying to Rose Hulman, University of Tulsa, and Colorado School of Mines.  His major is mechanical engineering.

Probably not "list" it, but can he write a good application essay about it?

He could, but I think that would highlight it too much.  I think he's already got a different topic for his essay anyway.

Does it tie in with anything else in the application, such as attending coding classes/camps, an essay about a desire to become a video game designer, coursework taken in HS about computer design/coding/video production, etc.?  If so, I would say yes - but only AFTER all those type of things are mentioned.  To me, that shows a person a dedication to a desired field of study.  Without those other tie-ins, it just comes off as someone who goofs off a lot. 

There are some other aspects about what he does that he has listed.  He does video production (YouTube and Twitch).  He attended an engineering summer camp at Rose Hulman.  He coaches other players and teams (for free, even though he's really good - other top Overwatch players make $50 per hour coaching).  He has organized tournaments.

I'd list it if you can also figure out an "elevator statement" blurb about why that makes him a good candidate for the college. Does he earn money from this? Does he travel and compete in big name events?  What skill does he have that is transferable from this to the program he is applying?

He has earned money - several hundred to maybe a few thousand (he's cagey about his finances).  He used to charge for coaching.  He also charged for boosting, which is where people would pay him to play on their accounts and raise their account skill to a certain level or get certain in-game trinkets - but we wouldn't probably mention that because it's against Overwatch TOS.  He hasn't traveled, but he was on a professional team for a while and I think they were in a tournament.

Transferable skills?  Off the top of my head:  coaching, mentoring, strategy, teamwork, quick decision making, sustained effort, training to reach a goal, leadership, adapting to a changing environment, clear communication, listening, video production, marketing, time management, multitasking, negotiating, building one's own computer.  Probably a few others if I thought about it.

As someone who works in a college union with a nationally ranked egaming group, we are considering investing big dollars in a renovation to provide a venue for students to gather and do this, host tournaments regularly, etc - we want to know that this isn't a fad.  To your question, I don't think admissions is as holistic a review of materials as you might think... but that depends on institution (mine is very large).  This is certainly something that would set him apart from others with similar academic profiles who are nothin' special outside the classroom.  To me, rather than showing that he sits in his room and plays on the computer all day, it shows commitment, determination, and strategy - all skills that we believe lead students to succeed.  I don't think you'd need to add a statement about what he's learned from it that will make him a good student, but definitely explain what it is, see if there's a count online of how many active users to give scope to the achievement, etc.  If his grades are high and he has that achievement - it also shows he has good time management and can balance his commitments.

The schools he is applying to are small (<5K students each).  He's getting an IB diploma from the best private high school in the state.  His GPA is about a 3.4, SAT 700/700, ACT 32.

tyrannostache

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2018, 09:36:46 AM »
I'm not quite clear--has he listed items like the Overwatch coaching and tourney organizing separately from his ranking? If so, then I'd lean toward the ranking somewhere close by. I think it will be clear that he's not just sitting alone in the basement playing games but participating in a community and building skills.

secondcor521

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2018, 11:58:45 AM »
I'm not quite clear--has he listed items like the Overwatch coaching and tourney organizing separately from his ranking? If so, then I'd lean toward the ranking somewhere close by. I think it will be clear that he's not just sitting alone in the basement playing games but participating in a community and building skills.

Yes.  He's using the Common App and they let you list up to 10 or 12 "activities", whether those be leadership, or sports, or service, or whatever.  Each one you put down a title, how many hours per week, and if you received any recognition.  I don't know if they're ordered in any particular way when the school receives the application.  I think he's got maybe 7 or 8 currently and there are a few other ones he might add.

(He's also applying to CSM on their application as they don't take the Common App, but it seems to be roughly similar in the activities list area of the application.)

former player

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2018, 01:17:47 PM »
"Professional team member and coach for online video game Overwatch, ranked top 100 player in 30 million"

SillyPutty

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2018, 01:18:05 PM »
I say he lists it, though I don't think it'll make any difference as to whether he gets accepted. Sounds like a super bright kid; with his GPA and SAT scores, I think he'll get into his colleges without much trouble.

maizefolk

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2018, 01:26:36 PM »
Unless the school he is applying to has a school sponsored Overwatch team (the kind of eSports team which offers scholarships, not the social hanging out in the rec center playing games type), I'd say no.

I don't think his schools have sponsored teams, just club.  Although Colorado School of Mines has a team entered in the collegiate league nationals that's currently in progress.

I'd say that's a school taking it seriously enough that it makes sense for him to mention his ranking.

Common app wasn't nearly as common back when I was applying to schools. Can he mention it only in his application to the Colorado School of Mines or is it all or none?

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2018, 02:02:54 PM »
"Professional team member and coach for online video game Overwatch, ranked top 100 player in 30 million"

Agree

secondcor521

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2018, 09:04:17 AM »
Unless the school he is applying to has a school sponsored Overwatch team (the kind of eSports team which offers scholarships, not the social hanging out in the rec center playing games type), I'd say no.

I don't think his schools have sponsored teams, just club.  Although Colorado School of Mines has a team entered in the collegiate league nationals that's currently in progress.

I'd say that's a school taking it seriously enough that it makes sense for him to mention his ranking.

Common app wasn't nearly as common back when I was applying to schools. Can he mention it only in his application to the Colorado School of Mines or is it all or none?

Turns out he could.  He's doing the Common App for Rose Hulman and Tulsa, and CSM's own application because the latter doesn't accept the Common App.

frugalone

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2018, 10:11:32 AM »
I would say NO.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2018, 12:35:19 PM »
List it If he can explain why its an achievement, what he learned about himself or the world/people? The admissions process wants to here how he has been learning and growing and becoming an interesting intellectual  person, by the unwritten rules of our top tier college society. 

OMG if he is coaching disadvantaged youth into a video gaming career that could be a get into Princeton amazing essay. 

From what you've listed in other responses, there is a whole family of related activities that are part of his story. If he is monetizing it while having fun, then regardless of what others have said negatively, he's doing that right.
 

carolina822

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2018, 08:58:14 AM »
Quote
Transferable skills?  Off the top of my head:  coaching, mentoring, strategy, teamwork, quick decision making, sustained effort, training to reach a goal, leadership, adapting to a changing environment, clear communication, listening, video production, marketing, time management, multitasking, negotiating, building one's own computer. 

I went to Mines. They looooooooooove interdisciplinary stuff like this where you can tie technical skills to softer skills like strategic planning, communication, marketing, etc. Also, the fact that he was actually able to monetize it is a huge plus. I can't remember if we had to write essays back then (and I'm sure whatever it was has changed) but if he can work it into the application phrased like this, rather than as a standalone activity, I think it would be a big plus.

Even though I think video games are about as interesting as watching paint dry, I've always found the vehemence toward people making some money from playing them fascinating. Watching someone else play a video game better than you can isn't fundamentally different than watching someone throw or kick a ball better than you can, but there's a ton of scholarship money available for the latter. It's kind of cool to see that some schools are seeing egaming as a legit thing.

affordablehousing

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Re: Should he list this on his college application?
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2018, 11:44:14 AM »
I would list it and think that it could be worth writing an essay on and take the time to detail how it relates to his level of commitment to his interests and to community. Especially with the engineering programs he's interested in, they probably would assume he's a gamer, at least mention it so they know he's a successful video gamer!