Scholarship awarding committees like to award scholarships to students who stand out from the crowd. For many scholarships, this means students with a high GPA or athletic prowess. It can also mean students who excel in a particular field like Math, Science, English, or Theatre. But if your talents don’t align with the mainstream, there is no need to be discouraged as there are many scholarships, hundreds of them actually, that are looking for students with a little something…extra. Instead of awarding scholarships to students with the strongest academic chops, some committees are offering their scholarships to students who are unique, or who have an unusual talent, skill, interest, or quirk.
Often times, these weird scholarships are offered by companies such as the Jiffy Peanut Butter people or Duck Brand (makers of Duck Tape) while others come from organizations like the American Fire Sprinkler Association. Still many other scholarships are contest based, rather than essay based like the Create-A-Greeting-Card contest sponsored by The Gallery Collection. Many of these weird scholarships are not well known but that doesn’t meant they aren’t worth applying for. Because in the long run, every scholarship dollar counts since it reduces the amount of money you will have to pay out of pocket for your college education (and the fewer student loans you take out, the better off you’ll be in the long run). Some of these scholarship awards are small but others offer significant amounts of money, and all of them can be classified as weird. But in the game of scholarships, weird will trump mainstream almost every time.
How Fast Can You Get a Scholarship?
Really, really fast in some instances. The time between scholarship application deadline and awarding the scholarship will vary with each scholarship. But this variation is a good thing because it means it is still possible to get scholarship money for the 2014 fall semester of college, you just have to look for scholarships whose deadlines are still open.
Applying for a scholarship can be a long or short process; again, it depends on the scholarship. Some scholarships have long application processes that require things like an essay, and teacher recommendations, your school transcripts, as well as other information that can take several hours to a few days to prepare. Yet other scholarships have a shorter application process, in some cases only requiring a few pieces of personal information. The scholarships that are project based (like creating a video or that involve at art project) will take however long it takes you to finish the project.
There are many scholarships, even on our list of weird and wonderful scholarships that have to be applied to a full year before starting college. Ideally, you will apply for these scholarships no later than the summer between your junior and senior year of high school. If you miss or have missed the deadline on a scholarship, don’t worry. There are many more scholarships to apply for and many have application deadlines in the spring or early summer and would still provide scholarship money for the 2014 fall semester.
What to Look For When Searching For Scholarships
Increase your chances of winning a scholarship award by cashing in on your unique interest and talents. Do you love comic books and super heroes? Then the Superpower Scholarship could be for you. Are you good at snooping? Then the CIA might just have a scholarship for you.
When searching for scholarships, it’s important to play up your uniqueness.
Everyone has a few quirks; a few things that make them unique. Take this element of yourself and leverage it into scholarship awards. A good place to start looking is the part of the country your family is from. There are many scholarships that were created for the benefit of certain families or for individuals who hail from certain parts of the country and every year, dozens of these scholarships go un-awarded simply because no one applies for them. And students don’t apply for them because they don’t know they are eligible. If you’ve heard through family stories that your great-great grandparents hailed from Nevada (or Rhode Island…) then take a few minutes to research your ancestry and see if one of your ancestors set up a college scholarship fund for future generations.
If you and your family are new to this country, then look for scholarships from organizations that have a connection to your culture (such as a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce). Look for organizations nationwide, not just in your local area.
Generally when searching for scholarships, students are encouraged to “start with the basics” and drill down from there. Such as: Girl, living in Midwest. But to find the unusual and underutilized scholarships, you should start your search by focusing on your interests and the things that make you unique. Such as: love ghost hunting (there really is a parapsychology scholarship, it will be listed below).
How to Get Scholarships Fast
The best way to get scholarship award money fast, is to start applying to scholarships early. Several of the scholarships we will mention in this article are open to students as young as 13. Waiting until the spring of your senior year will decrease the number of scholarships available to you (although there are still many open, so don’t lose heart). Even after you’ve enrolled in college, keep looking for scholarships because there are many that are just for students who are already enrolled.
It is also important to find every scholarship you are eligible for and apply for it. One of the biggest mistakes students make is not applying for all the scholarships that are open to them. Even if a scholarship is $500, apply for it. Apply for it because it is $500 less that you’ll have to take out in student loans. While it would be nice to get one or two large scholarships that cover the cost of college, it isn’t very realistic. It is much better to apply for scholarships in bulk as this will increase your chances of receiving scholarship money. Although it can be time consuming, it is much better to apply for twenty scholarships, than two.
Here are a few more tips to help you get scholarship money fast.
The first thing you want to do is clean up your online presence. Scholarship award committees will Google you and what they find out about you will influence their decision. You may think you don’t want to accept an award from an organization that won’t accept you for who you are, but look at it another way: You are more than your social media posts but since the award committee doesn’t know you, that is all they will know about you. So give everything a good scrubbing. If your email address is something sassy, funny, or inappropriate, create a new one. Your name@… Go through your social media, all the way back to when you started your account and remove anything remotely questionable. Not just pictures, but remove any posts where you were snarky or used inappropriate or immature language.
Sign up for all of the free scholarship search websites that you can (don’t use a fee-based one because most of those are scams). These websites will email you with scholarships that fit your profile. Also, regularly check Library databases. Make sure you answer all the questions posed by the websites (including the optional ones) to increase your number of scholarship hits. Periodically check in with a reference Librarian at the public Library. Reference Librarians are like search ninjas; they will be able to find many little know scholarships that you are eligible for.
Look around your area for notices of scholarships. Look on public bulletin boards at your school, the grocery store, the Library…Also, look at the local free papers and the Sunday paper. Many times they will list scholarship contest that you are eligible to enter. Also look at online news sources such as TV stations.
Apply for every single scholarship you are eligible for. Even if you don’t want to. Seek out less competitive scholarships (meaning scholarships not posted at your high school) to increase your chances of winning. Applying to so many scholarships can seem daunting but you will get better at it once you have a few under your belt. Many times, essays can be used for more than one scholarship, just make sure to tweak it, so the essay seems tailored to each scholarship. One trick to writing good essays is to record yourself while you are answering the scholarship questions or thinking about the essay question. Then go back and use your spoken words to craft the essay.
Brag about yourself. Applying for scholarships is not the time to be humble. Scholarship award committees are protective of their funds and they want to know their scholarship award money is going to the best student. Specifically mention the positive impact you’ve had on people and your community, and give lots and lots of examples. Write with zeal and passion and express your interests. Make your essay stand out.http://www.fastscholarships.net/fastweb-scholarship-search-review/
Read, reread, and reread again the scholarship guidelines. Then proof read, proof read, proofread your application and any materials you are including. Then make copies.
Organize the materials in the order the scholarship guidelines list them (this will make your application packet look more professional). If you are sending hard copies, arrange everything in a nice folder and send it priority mail or return receipt requested. If you are sending the application packet online, arrange your pdf so the items are in the order the scholarship guidelines listed them.
Finally, if you receive notification or find out someone else won the scholarship, send a thank you card or thank you email to the committee. This shows that you are gracious. And if you are still eligible for the scholarship next year, it will help you stick out. It is equally important to thank the committee members when you do win a scholarship. A brief three sentence email or card letting them know how much you appreciate it will go a long way.visit this website for more details.
100 Weird Scholarships
We’ve separated these scholarships into a few categories but it is important to note that many scholarships crossover into several categories. For instance, scholarships for high school juniors may be open to students as young as 13. If a scholarship looks interesting to you or if you think you might qualify for it, it is important to look at it, regardless of what category it is listed in.
Weird Scholarships for High School Seniors
1. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (http://emmyonline.org)
2. Frederick and Mary F Buckley Scholarship for Lefties (https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-type/unusual-scholarships/frederick-and-mary-f-beckley-left-handed-scholarship/)
Yep. Just be left-handed.
3. World Sport Chicago Scholars Program (http://www.worldsportchicago.org/programs/wsc-scholars-program/)
4. Tall Clubs International
Earn college money for being tall. Thank your parents.
5. Stuck at Prom
Duck Brand will give you college money for making prom clothes out of Duck Tape.
6. For Vacuum Fans
If you want to study vacuum coating. There’s a scholarship for you.
7. American Association of Candy Technologist
8. Michigan Llama Association Kathy Larson and Laurel Zechlinski
Be a member of the Michigan Llama association
9. Eileen J Garret Scholarship
Have an interest in parapsychology.
10. American Quarter Horse Association (https://www.aqha.com/)
11. Chick and Sophie Major Duck Calling Contest
Call ducks. Earn money for college.
12. Common Knowledge Scholarship
Have a lot of common knowledge? Take a quiz and earn a scholarship.
13. American Fire Sprinkler Association
Write an essay about fire sprinklers.
14. A Scholarship for Cymbalists
Are you a percussion fanatic? Here’s a scholarship.
15. Klingon Language Institute
It’s a real thing. But you don’t have to study Klingon. Just be interested in language studies.
16. James Beard Culinary Scholarship
17. Oregon-NASA Space Scholarship
18. Billy Barty Foundation
For those diagnosed with dwarfism.
19. John Gatling Grant
Go to North Carolina State University and have the last name Gatling or Grant.
20. Glen Miller Scholarship (http://www.glennmiller.org/scholarships.html)
If you are a singer, send an audio CD or tape to win between $1000 and $4000.
21. Lake Erie College Twin
Got a twin? Go to Lake Erie College.
22. Bret Ratner Film
This is for students interested in attending the New York Film Academy.
23. Davis Scholar Essay
Write an essay on sportsmanship
24. Wendy Jackson Hall Art Scholarship
Weird Scholarships for High School Juniors
Just a quick note: many of these scholarships are open to students as young as 13, they are listed under this section because you do not have to be a high school senior to apply.
25. Alma S Adams Tobacco Scholarship
26. The Fountainhead
Write an essay on Rand’s work. Also open to High School seniors.
27. Students Rising Above Scholarship
28. NRA Scholarship
It is called National Youth Education and it is for the Civic minded.
29. Make it with Wool
Get creative with wool and earn college money.
30. Jif Sandwich Competition
Just make a really awesome sandwich.
31. Zombie Apocalypse Essay
Write an essay on how to survive the zombie apocalypse.
32. Central Florida Jazz Society
33. Willy the Plumber
Not Weird. This one is for students who have parents that are or have frequently been incarcerated.
34. CollegeHumor Average Student
35. Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship
36. Nordstrom Scholarship
Does your state have a Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack? Then you can apply.
37. American Fence Association. http://www.americanfenceassociation.com/
38. United States Bowling Congress
This is actually a bunch of scholarships for students who like to bowl.
39. National Gay Pilots Association (http://www.ngpa.org/)
40. American Academy of Chefs
This one is actually open to high school and college students interested in a culinary career.
41. Forclosure.com Scholarship
Weird Scholarships for College Students
42. Minority Accounting Students http://www.ncacpa.org/scholarship-recipients/
43. National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
This one is for undergraduate students who show you can be healthy at any size.
44. Boyd N Lyon Sea Turtle Foundation (http://www.boydlyonseaturtlefund.org/)
45. Fly Fisher Scholarship
Open to students studying biology or a related field.
46. Frank J Ritcher
Railroad scholarship. Give preferences to students enrolled in transportation programs.
47. International Deli Dairy Bakery
Work at a deli, dairy, bakery? You could earn a scholarship.
48. American Water Ski Hall of Fame (http://www.waterskihalloffame.com/)
50. Boren Awards
For the daring adventurer who wants to study in an interesting, international location.
52. Marian A Smith Costume Design
Studying costume design? Submit a portfolio of your work!
53. The Alexia
Create a picture story that represents the foundations belief in world peace.
55. National Potato Council Scholarship (http://nationalpotatocouncil.org/)
56. American Society for Enology and Viticulture (http://www.asev.org/)
57. The Rome Prize
Study the arts in Rome.
58. Advice to our high school-self
Oh, what we wouldn’t tell ourselves! Open to students preparing to graduate with a two or four year degree.
59. National Poultry and Food Distributors Association (http://www.npfda.org/)
61. National Dairy Shrine
For students interested in studying dairy marketing.
62. Theodore Gordon Fly fishers Scholarship
For students majoring in an environmental studies area.
Weird Scholarships for Girls
Here are a few scholarships just for girls. Many scholarships for girls are designed to get them into historically male-dominated fields like Math and Science. Others are designed for girls who are interested in sports that traditionally did not see many female players.
63. Women Divers Hall of Fame Scholarship (http://www.wdhof.org/scholarships/scholarships.shtml)
64. Caitlin Brondolo Charitable Foundation Golf Scholarship
Tragically, Caitlin passed away at the age of 12. She had a passion for golf and strove for academic excellence.
65. Women in Marketing Scholarship
This scholarship is designed for girls in Wisconsin or Illinois who are pursuing a degree in marketing or advertising.
66. PEO International Peace Scholarship (http://www.peointernational.org/)
67. VIP Women in Technology Scholarship
This scholarship is for all the IT girls and girls attending a two or four year college are eligible.
68. Central California Asian Pacific Women Scholarship
This scholarship is for girls of Asian and Pacific Islander descent who live in central California.
69. USBC Alberta E Crowe Star of Tomorrow
Girl bowler? This one’s for you.
70. ESA Foundation Computer & Video Game Scholarship
This scholarship is open to girls and minorities who are pursuing degrees in Computer and Video Game Arts. It is open to High School seniors and college students.
71. ARFORA Undergraduate Scholarship for Women
This scholarship is for female members of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America
72. The Dinah Shore Scholarship
This is another one for the golfers but it is open to girl golfers who played in high school but will not play golf in college.
73. Girls Impact the World Film Festival Scholarship
Created by Harvard. Create a short video on how girls impact the world or a video proposing a solution to a current problem faced by girls in the world.
74. Corinne Jeannine Schillings
For girls who were Girl Scouts and want to study abroad.
75. Ladies of the Podium Scholarship
Offered by women band directors international, this scholarship is for high school and undergraduates who want to study band.
76. The Marilynn Smith Scholarship
77. Southern Automotive Womens Forum Scholarship
This one is for gearheads who are interested in studying automotive technology at a two year college.
78. WJA Womens Jewelry Scholarship
This scholarship is open to female students studying fine jewelry and watch design. You do not have to be a WJA member to apply for the scholarship.
79. Alice Mcarver Ratchford
Attend UNC at Greensboro, don’t have a car and live on campus.
Weird Scholarships for Boys
There are surprisingly few scholarships just for boys (a sign of the times?) that can be classified as weird. Here are a few that are merely very specific.
80. The Mervyn Sluizer Jr Scholarship
If you’re a Boy Scout and an alum of Philadelphia Troup 185
81. Mike Hylton and Ron Neiderman Scholarship
Not weird, so much as unique. This scholarship is for those suffering from blood disorders.
82. Association of Male Choruses
Love to sing? Here you go.
Other Notable and Unique Scholarships whose Criteria Varies
83. Shaw-Worth Scholarship
84. Gertrude J Deppen
Do not smoke. Do attend Mount Carmel High School.
85. George Block
For individuals diagnosed with dwarfism.
86. WGA Evans Scholars (http://www.wgaesf.org/site/c.dwJTKiO0JgI8G/b.6021361/k.8BED/WGAESF_Home.htm)
87. AMIA Scholarship
Study to be a Librarian or work in a museum
88. NCEA Esthetician
89. Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/foundation/prizes_fellowship)
90. Northern Tier Hardwood Association Community Forest
Live in Pennsylvania and study forestry.
91. North American International Auto Show Poster Contest
Create a really great auto poster.
Create a greeting card for The Gallery Collection.
93. Copyright Awareness
Create a video or essay expressing why copyright is so important. http://media.csusa.org/caw/caw_2006_home.htm
94. CBC Spouses Heineken Performing Arts
This one is for African-American students interested in performing arts.
95. Alaska Travel Industry
For students living in Alaskan communities who would like to study tourism.
96. Fashion Scholarship
Open to students interested in studying fashion and fashion design.
97. Michael Jackson Scholarship (http://www.michaeljackson.com/us/node/664104)
98. Washington State Potato Foundation
Open to students in Washington and Oregon. Preference is given to students studying agriculture.
99. Berrien Fragos Thorn Migrant Farmers Art Scholarship (http://www.migrant.net/migrant/scholarships/)
100. Billy Welu Bowling Scholarship (http://www.bowlingdigital.com/bowl/node/12388)