Open Letter to Prospective Players

Mark Deppe By on August 15, 2017

Author’s Note: There is excitement around college Esports, and we get a lot of questions regarding it from an eclectic variety of individuals and groups.  Over the next few weeks, I am going to release an open letter to some of the key groups interested in college Esports.  I plan to share some advice from my perspective and answer some questions that we frequently receive.


The first letter is addressed to young people interested in earning a scholarship to compete for UCI Esports.  Stay tuned for more!


Dear Prospective Player,


As you begin to consider applying for a collegiate Esports scholarship, there are several things you should know. Here, at UCI Esports, we look from a holistic perspective when we recruit players.


First, you must have a strong academic record to be accepted through our admission process. While we do factor in video game skills, you are still required to have competitive test scores and a high academic standing. That means you need to take high school seriously by showing us your capability to balance your love for games through your success in the classroom.  An important note is to know that the application for incoming freshmen are due at the end of November.  Please check out our Admissions website for more information.


If you didn’t do well in high school, but are attending a college where you’ve already taken some courses, the best option is to delay your application and transfer to UCI at a later date. This won’t cause you to be behind the competition, but instead it’s an option that will most likely save you lots of money.  UCI offers a Transfer Admission Guarantee for people who meet the criteria. Even if your high school grades were awful, this an alternative option for you.


Once you have your academics in good standing, here are some things that we look for from League of Legends players.  Many of these can apply to other games as well.


  1. Don’t be good, be great. Stand out on the online competitive ladder.  We want to see people that are among the best players in North America.  All our League players have been Challenger before, and that’s the caliber of player we’re looking for.
  2. Choose a role to specialize in. Specialize in one position so you can be the best possible player in that role. We don’t want someone that’s average in every role; we want someone who excels and can always win their lane or positional match-ups.
  3. Practice to get better, not necessarily to win each game. You should look at each game as an opportunity to improve.  Set a goal for each solo queue match and try to achieve it.  As you begin to fix your mistakes, your ranking will naturally improve.
  4. Play on a competitive team so you understand more about vision control, team communication, rotations, map objectives, and macro strategies.  Playing a team game is much different from being a solo queue star.  In addition to learning the team strategies, you also need to be able to give and receive criticism.
  5. Have great champion diversity. We want to see that you can play many of the best champions in your role.  Games continually get patched and champions go up and down in power level.  You need to be comfortable on the best champions in the meta and have some pocket picks to surprise your opponent.
  6. Be a positive person both in game and out. We want folks that will add to the team and community morale, not take away from it. We want to see good citizens in game, on social media, and as great ambassadors for our program.


If you can do all these things while maintaining strong, competitive grades, you might be a great player for us.  Fill out our online interest form so we can connect!


Finally, I want to speak to the professional and semi-professional players out there who might want to earn a college degree.  Whether you want to play Esports at the collegiate level or just get a degree to set up the rest of your career, getting into a major university takes some time and effort.  It is important that you begin to take steps toward that goal.  Here are some recommendations for you:


  1. Talk to your coach, manager, and/or team owner to let them know that higher education is a priority.  Ask for some flexibility to take some classes, especially during the off seasons.
  2. Do some research into college programs and learn about the admission requirements and deadlines. Find a few schools that excite you and pick a couple schools that you’re confident you can get into.  Every university will have tons of info on their admissions website.  Consider majors, minors, study abroad programs, student life, housing options, and financial aid.
  3. Formulate a plan and stick to it.  Please know that we would welcome you at UCI, but would also be happy to see you succeed somewhere else.


We wish you the best of luck in your college careers and hope to see some of you in Irvine.  If you have any questions or want more information about UCI Esports, check out our website at or email us at




Mark Deppe

Acting Director, UCI Esports