Unusual, weird and interesting scholarships
Many students believe that they won’t be eligible for scholarships unless they’re the valedictorian or a star athlete or got a perfect score on their SAT. What these students don’t realize is that today there are scholarships for almost any skill or unique quality you can think of. You no longer have to break the state track record or win a national science fair to get money for college. Now you can earn scholarship money simply for having an unusual hobby or distinctive trait, for anything from knitting to being left-handed and from duck-calling to being interested in space and science fiction! Take a look at these weird, interesting, and fun scholarships we found and remember that applying for scholarships, just like the whole college admissions process, isn’t about being the world’s most perfect student but about highlighting your personal strengths and abilities.
Scholarships just for being you:
Tall Clubs International (TCI) Scholarship
This scholarship is for those who have always been asked to get things down from the top shelf. Tall Clubs International (TCI) offers a $1,000 scholarship for tall people, the Kae Sumner Einfeldt Scholarship. Women who are at least 5’10” and men who are at least 6’2″ are eligible. Candidates must be under 21 years old and plan to attend college in the fall.
Little People of America Scholarship
By contrast, The Little People of America scholarship is an award given to future and current students who are 4?10? or less in height attending a college or vocational school. Prizes range from $250 to $1,000—sometimes more. Although one does not have to be a little person to apply, the greatest preference is given to LPA members who have been diagnosed with a form of dwarfism. Students with dwarf-diagnosed family members and those who demonstrate financial need are also given preference.
Scholarship for Left-Handed Students
For those in the company of greats like Albert Einstein, Picasso, and Jimmi Hendrix, Juniata College offers the Frederick and Mary F. Beckley Scholarship of up to $1,000 for left-handed students.
Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship
Do you delight in finding new ways to cook tofu? Do your parents roll their eyes at your “meat is murder” bumper sticker? If so, you might be eligible for the Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship. High school seniors who promote vegetarianism in their schools and communities are eligible to win one of the group’s two $5,000 scholarships.
National Beef Ambassador Program
For those fonder of big macs than veggie burgers, a few lucky award winners will get the chance to represent the beef industry, and will receive a college scholarship. The National Beef Ambassador Program (NBAP) is a speech and interview competition for students between the ages of 16 to 19. Winners can earn between $250 and $2,500.
Twins Who Don’t Mind Seeing Each other for 4 More Years
Several schools offer scholarships for twins: Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, waives tuition for one twin when both enroll, Lake Erie College in Painsville, Ohio, offers half-off tuition for each twin, Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, has 45% discounts available on tuition for female twins only, Carl Albert State College in Oklahoma offers the Paula Nieto Twin Scholarship, George Washington University in Washington, DC gives a 50% discount for the second sibling, Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, VA gives a 15% discount, Sterling College in Kansas offers a 50% discount for each twin, and West Chester University of Pennsylvania offers the Bonnie Evans Feinberg Scholarship for twins.
Last Name Scholarships
A number of schools offer scholarships for students with particular last names. The Zolp Scholarship is restricted to students at Loyola University in Chicago who are Catholic and whose last name is Zolp. The good news is, the scholarship provides full tuition for four years; the bad news is, have you ever heard of anyone named Zolp? Texas A&M University pays full cost of attendance at for anyone whose last name is Scarpinato by birth or marriage. The John Gatling Grant provides scholarships for students who were born with a surname of Gatling or Gatlin to attend NC State University. The scholarship provides up to $9,000 for in-state students and $18,000 for out-of-state students. The Van Valkenburg Memorial Scholarship awards $1,000 to students with the Van Valkenburg name or a similar variation . Even Harvard University has several scholarships based on the student’s last name, including Baxendale, Hudson, Thayer, Downer, Bright.
Money for that unique hobby you never thought would pay off:
Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest
Students who can quack their hearts out for 90 seconds using four calls: hail, feed, comeback and mating and can win big ducks, I mean, bucks for higher education (we couldn’t resist a least one bad pun). Seriously though, The Duck Calling Contest awards $1,500 to the best duck-calling high school student. The first runner-up receives $500, the second $300 and the third $200 in scholarship money.
Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship
Now how to land a kickflip? Could you do Ollies in your sleep? The Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship awards one $5,000 and three $1,000 scholarships to skateboarders who are high school seniors with a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale and submit an essay on how skateboarding has had a positive impact on their lives. Recipients must enroll as a full-time undergraduate at an accredited college or university the fall after high school graduation.
Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest
In our first scholarship for sci-fi enthusiasts, student authors and artists can submit science fiction stories and/or illustrations to be considered for this award of up to $4,000. An entry consists of three black and white works illustrating a science fiction or fantasy story with no recurring theme. Entries may not have been previously published. Should the artist win the Illustrators Contest with their first entry, he is then sent a story from the companion L. Ron Hubbard Writers of The Future Contest for which to render an illustration. This illustration then becomes his or her entry in the yearly Grand Prize competition. Three winners are selected each quarter and are awarded $500 each; the yearly Grand Prize winner is awarded $4000.
American Welding Society Scholarships
Student welders familiar with trade skills such as allied joining, brazing, soldering and thermal spraying are eligible for this scholarship. The American Welding Society Foundation offers numerous scholarships to students interested in welding-related education or training programs. Award sizes depend on the scholarship.
The Society of Performers, Artists, Athletes and Celebrities for Space Exploration, Inc. (SPAACSE) offers two $1,000 scholarships: The SPAACSE Galaxy Music Scholarship for graduating high school seniors who are pursuing an interest in space music as a means of expressing the beauty and inspiration of the universe and The SPAACSE Liliane Webb Art Scholarship for graduating high school seniors who have an interest in space art.. The music submission must be recorded on either a cassette or CD and should be 4-6 minutes in length.
Candidates for the art scholarship must provide an original two-dimensional space artwork to be considered for this award. Candidates must also include a 1-2 page description of prior artistic and other school activities and awards.
If you know the different between a knit stitch and a purl stitch and your friends make fun of you for having a grandma-hobby, you may be able to get scholarships. The American Sheep Industry Association sponsors four scholarships for applicants who submit a sample of an article of clothing they created completely with wool. Philadelphia University also offers the Bernard Steur Scholarship for textile engineering students with an interest in knitting. Also, The National Make It Yourself with Wool (NMIYWW) competition awards $2,000 and $1,000 scholarships for knitting wool garments. Winners are selected based on the appropriateness to the contestant’s lifestyle, coordination of fabric/yarn with garment style and design, contestant’s presentation, and creativity.
David Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship
Because David Letterman was a C student at Ball State University, he established a scholarship at his alma mater that is awarded to telecommunications majors based strictly on the creativity of a submitted project, rather than a student’s GPA. The awards are intended for average students who nevertheless have a creative mind. Projects may involve a variety of media, including written work, research, audio, video, graphics and film. The winner receives a $10,000 scholarship. The first runner-up receives $5,000. The second runner-up receives $3,333.
Aspiring Children’s Television Stars
Similarly, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awards three $10,000 scholarships annually in the name of the late Fred Rogers (yes, Mr. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” Rogers) to college students pursuing a career in children’s media.
At last those lasso skills can rope you some money. Institutional awards, like Colorado State University’s rodeo scholarships, are usually reserved for students on the school’s rodeo team. Private awards, like the San Angelo Rodeo Scholarship, give students more flexibility in their college choice, but often have other requirements, like county of residence.
The Connecticut Guild of Puppetry offers the Margo Rose Scholarship for students involved in puppetry who wish to attend the National Puppetry Conference. The American chapter of the theatre organization Union Internationale de la Marionette, offers scholarships for students with experience in puppetry to study at the Institut Internationale de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France. Since puppetry degree programs are rare, most scholarships in this field are for private programs or for puppetry studies within a theatre arts department. Pinocchio would be proud.
Chess stars could turn their winning moves into money for college. Several colleges, including Texas Tech University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and the University of Texas at Dallas, offer promising chess players up to four-year, full-tuition scholarships. The United States Chess Federation provides information on chess tournaments and available chess scholarships, both college and privately-sponsored. Casual chess players, be warned, these scholarship programs are often very competitive.
Rugby may not be an official sport at most U.S. universities, but it can still help pay your college costs. Rugby scholarships are offered at New Mexico University, Texas A&M University, Saint Bonaventure University and many other colleges. Playing rugby can also send you abroad. The Center for International Studies offers a rugby study abroad program for students to study for one or two semesters in Wellington, New Zealand and play in a local rugby club. A $500 scholarship is available to make this program more affordable. Check with USA Rugby for more rugby scholarships.
United States Bowling Congress (USBA) Scholarships
Yes, bowling congress. And each season, bowling associations, councils, tournaments and proprietors offer over $6 million in scholarship money. Some of these programs include the Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow Award for $1,500 per year for three years, the Annual Zeb Scholarship for $2,500, the Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow for $1,500 per year for three years, the Youth Ambassador Award for $1,500, and the Gift for Life Award for $1,000.
Bagpipe Majors at Carnegie Mellon
One of the least competitive scholarships in the U.S.—it’s not unusual for there to be zero applicants—is the Carnegie Mellon University Bagpipe Scholarship. It offers $7,000 per year to a student who intends to major in bagpiping. You even get a kilt subsidy.
Just plain unusual scholarships:
Duck® brand duct tape Stuck at Prom® Contest
The Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck on Prom Contest is open to students ages 14 years or older who are attending a high school prom in the spring. Entrants must enter as a couple and attend a high school prom wearing complete attire or accessories made from duct tape. The submission must include a color photograph of the couple together in prom attire. The winning couple gets $3,000 each towards college and some cash for their school to boot. Other prizes include $1,000 for second place, $500 for third, and Duck Tape sportswear for honorable mentions. The winning couple will be selected based on a variety of criteria, including originality, workmanship, quantity of Duck Tape used, use of colors, and creative use of accessories.
Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) Award
If you demonstrate excellence in academics, athletic performance, leadership and community service, and like to sport a milk mustache, this is the scholarship for you. Candidates must also be a resident of one of the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia. Each of 25 winners receives $7,500 in scholarship money, a designated place in the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex and a role in a USA Today Milk Mustache special.
Students for Organ Donation Youth Leadership Award
Candidates of this awardmust have made a commitment to raising awareness of organ donation and transplantation. Selection is based on effectiveness, leadership, creativity and sustainability of efforts. Applications may be based either on a report of previous events that have successfully raised organ donation awareness, or a detailed and realistic plan to raise donor awareness. One or two $500 to $1,000 scholarships will be awarded.
Evans Scholars Foundation Scholarship
Where would golfers be without their caddies? Not very far. For all of their help, caddies are finally being rewarded by the Evans Scholars Foundation. Each year, the Western Golf Association awards scholarships to more than 200 student caddies. Scholarship winners are required to reside in the scholarship house at each participation college. They must also demonstrate academic merit, financial need, exceptional character and, of course, a great caddie record.
Klingon Language Institute Award
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a Klingon-loving Trekky to apply. The Klingon Language Institute (KLI) awards this $500 scholarship award to one graduate or undergraduate student each year. The scholarship was created to encourage the study of and achievement in the area of language. Applicants must be nominated by a school department and must demonstrate academic merit. Submissions should include the nomination letter, two recommendation letters, a resume and a statement of future intent.
The National Candy Technologists Scholarship
The American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT) awards a $5,000 scholarship to sophomore, junior and senior students who demonstrate an interest in confectionary technology. The award is paid in two $2,500 installments to winners who attend an accredited four-year college or university. Applicants must earn a 3.0 GPA and be majoring in food science, chemical science, biological science or a related field, and, of course, be a bit of a chocoholic.
National Marbles Tournament Scholarship
This isn’t your friendly game of marbles—this game is for keeps for the eight to fourteen-year-old players who compete. The King and Queen of Marbles (yes, that’s what they call the winners) will each receive $2,000, and, to calm things down a bit, a sportsmanship award of $1,000 will also be granted. The eight pages of rules, albeit in large child-like print, will show you just how serious these competitors are.
The Spirit of the Hiram College Hal Reichle Scholarship
Here is some chicken soup for the college student soul. This scholarship is administered by the Secret Society of Serendipitous Service to Hal, otherwise known as SSSSH. Hal Reichle had a history of secretly surprising people with sweet gifts. He was a modern-day Santa Clause and SSSSH is convinced that Hiram College has more of them. It’s about time being nice got you some cash!