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20 Plus Weird Scholarships for College


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There are scholarships for everything! Most people think of academic or athletic ability when it come to earning funds for college. But, did you know there are some pretty weird scholarships with other qualifiers that could earn you serious bucks?

We’ve compiled a list of the wackiest ones we could find. Buying some rolls of duct tape might land you a $10,000 scholarship – all you have to do is turn it into a dress or tux, then wear it to prom. That’s just one of the scholarships available right now for college students with unusual hobbies, career goals, and personal traits. You should also check outthe Debt.com scholarship.

Here are some weird scholarships available right now…

Weird scholarships you never heard of

Lovers of the number five scholarship

A website called ScholarshipExperts.com hosts the Fifth Month Scholarship but doesn’t explain why it chose this odd topic – which is a clever PR move, because now everyone talks about it.

The rules are simple: The writer of the best 250-word essay on why the number 5 is so important wins. Sound weird? Check out the previous winners before attempting this yourself.

  • Age: 14 years of age or older
  • What it’s worth: $1,500
  • How to apply: Go here for more rules and application link
  • Deadline: May 31 every year

Starfleet members

Since 1990, the SFI Scholarship has been available for members of a fan club called Starfleet International.

This is actually a series of smaller scholarships covering specific fields of study. For example, there’s the Montgomery Scott Engineering & Technology Scholarship. And the Sir Patrick Stewart Scholarship for Aspiring Writers & Artists. And the … well, you get the idea.

  • What it’s worth: $1,000
  • How to apply: Go here for more rules and application link
  • Deadline: Jan. 1 to June 15 every year

Zombie fans

If you can survive a zombie apocalypse, you can make college cheaper.

All you have to do is map out your plan in no more than 250 words. Think about what you’d bring, how you’ll avoid the zombies and where you’ll hide.

And you can’t steal ideas from The Walking Dead, since this zombie apocalypse is specific to your high school or college.

  • Age: 14 years of age or older
  • What it’s worth: $2,000
  • How to apply: Go here for more rules and application link
  • Deadline: Oct. 31 every year

Objectivists

With this essay contest, you can get paid for reading.

By answering prompts on Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” posed by the Ayn Rand Institute, you be one of 59 prize money winners for that book. You can choose from one of three essay topics. For example…

“When Howard Roark refuses the Manhattan Bank Building contract he says that this is “the most selfish thing you’ve ever seen a man do.” And in his courtroom speech, he argues for selfishness and egoism and against the conventional morality of altruism. Do you think he is correct to praise selfishness and denounce altruism? Why or why not? Explain.”

If you win, don’t donate any of the money to charity. If you know your Ayn Rand, you’ll understand why that’s funny.

  • Age: 8th -12th grade depending on the essay
  • What it’s worth: up to $10,000
  • How to apply: Go here for more rules and application link
  • Deadline: Between April and November depending on the essay (see site for more details)

Single ladies on campus

The Alice McArver Ratchford Scholarship is awarded to one lucky girl at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. She must live on-campus and not have any of the following: a car, a husband, or another scholarship.

  • What it’s worth: Based on need up to $4,000
  • How to apply: Just fill out FAFSA check out the scholarship page
  • Deadline: March 1 each year

Vacuum mechanics

“Vacuum coating processes use vacuum technology to create a sub-atmospheric pressure environment and an atomic or molecular condensable vapor source to deposit thin films and coatings.” If you know whatever that means, you could earn $5,000.

The Society of Vacuum Coaters is looking for three engineering and physics students to give away money to. If you win, you can either use it for tuition, books and fees, or vacuum-related conferences.

There are three levels of scholarship: college, industry, and student travel. Each has their own qualifications and deadlines.

  • What it’s worth: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline:   (it’s an annual scholarship, so keep an eye out for next year)
  • How to apply: Go here for more rules and application link

Tall people

The Tall Club International Scholarship requires women to be at least 5-foot-10 and men to exceed 6-foot-2. You don’t have to be a TCI member, but it’ll help your odds to get sponsored by one. Apparently, all you have to do is ask, possibly by looking them right in the eye.

  • Age: Be under the age of 21
  • What it’s worth: $1,000
  • How to apply: Go here for more rules and application link
  • Deadline: March 1 every year

Survivors of car accidents

A law firm in Georgia awards money to anyone who’s personally or had a close relationship with someone that has suffered emotional or physical damages as a result of an accident. Just write 500 words on how you grew after the accident – and it might grow your financial aid.  Pick an essay topic to share your experience in 500 to 1,000 words.

  • Age: Enrolled in an accredited graduate school, college or university, or you are an incoming freshman
  • What it’s worth: $1,000
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link
  • Deadline: June 15, 2022, (check regularly for future scholarships)

Funny people

Most scholarships involve you bragging about your grades or reliving childhood trauma. The Make Me Laugh Scholarship asks you to take a break from that.

If you can make the reader laugh with a funny or embarrassing story, you’ll earn $1,500. And if your life is so boring you can’t think of one, you’re allowed to make it up.

  • Age: 14 years of age or older
  • What it’s worth: $1,500
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link
  • Deadline: Aug. 31 every year

Second Amendment advocates

Perhaps the most controversial scholarship on this list. The National Rifle Association offers an annual Youth Essay Contest – for not only high-schoolers but also middle-schoolers and elementary students who answer the question, “What Does The Second Amendment Mean to You?” According to NRA rules, kindergartners are eligible.

  • Age: Senior (grades 9-12) and Junior (grades 8 and below)
  • What it’s worth: up to $1,000
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link
  • Deadline:  Dec. 31 every year

Anybody named Zolp

In 1977, a Catholic reverend named William A. Zolp died in Colorado. His will endowed the Zolp Scholarship, which offers free tuition to any Catholic student attending Loyola University in Chicago and who was born with the last name of Zolp.

Weirdly, Loyola officials said they “don’t know why the scholarship was established” – Zolp never attended Loyola.

On the off chance multiple Zolps apply during a single year, “scholarship amounts will vary.” But the Tribune says only three have ever won it.

  • What it’s worth: Depends
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link
  • Deadline: March 1 every year

Musical theater nerds

The Broadway hit Hamilton started with one song – and this $25,000 musical theatre scholarship might motivate you to start your first song.

Disney and another theatrical production company are teaming up for a Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. Its goal? To give you $25,000 and the chance to professionally record your song in New York City. On top of that, you’ll have your song broadcast on national radio and have it published in a songbook by Samuel French.

Just make sure your song doesn’t go over five minutes.

  • Age: grades 9-12
  • What it’s worth: $25,000
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link
  • Deadline: TBA

Duck tape wearers

The Duck Tape Stuck At Prom contest awards an insane amount of cash for the most insane prom outfits made entirely out of Duck Tape – a particular brand of duct tape that’s sold in an array of colors and patterns. That offers lots of room for creativity, if not for allowing your skin to breathe. Check out the past winners for both inspiration and perspiration.

Entries are judged on “workmanship, originality, use of colors, accessories, and use of Duck Brand Duct Tape.” You also need photographic proof that you indeed wore your tape outfit to your prom. No shame, no game.

  • What it’s worth: $10,000
  • Deadline: TBA
  • How to apply: Go here for more details

Bowlers

This scholarship will grant you $500 for bowling consistently and really wanting to meet somebody. Eileen’s Bowling Buddy Scholarship was named after Florida bowling coach Rex Byron, who led a company that handmade training tools for bowling.

According to the Bowl4Life Scholarship Foundation site, “He wished for coaches to have the tools they required to coach properly.” Now, high schoolers can have some of the tools they need to afford college. Submit an essay following the prompt.

  • What it’s worth: $500
  • Deadline: March 10, 2023
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link

 J.D. Salinger fans

Ursinus College is a small liberal arts college outside Philadelphia. Its claim to fame is that Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger took classes there. If you win the Ursinus College Creative Writing Award, not only do you win five figures, but you “have the honor of living in the dorm room once occupied by J.D. Salinger.”

You can submit fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction or “some combination of genres.” Unlike other scholarships that focus on high grades, you can have a B average and win. By the way, Salinger never graduated from Ursinus, but the school says, “we like to think that if his genius had been recognized with an award like this, he might have.

  • What it’s worth: $40,000
  • Deadline: Jan. 1, 2020
  • How to apply: Go here for application details and application link

Vegetarians

Vegetarians’ first priority might be saving animals, but saving money is probably a close second. They can do both with a scholarship from the Vegetarian Resource Group.

If you’ve promoted vegetarianism enough in high school, and plan to keep doing so in college, you can earn $10,000 or $5,000.

  • What it’s worth: $10,000
  • Deadline: Feb. 20 every year
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link

Ice carvers

This won’t help you pay for college, but it might get your ice carving career off the ground.

An Ohio-based ice carving tools company has been giving away $1,000 worth of equipment since 2011. Mail some photos of the works you’ve done to Ohio, and you might get a quality toolkit back. This opportunity is only available to college students.

  • Age: enrolled in a post-secondary school, college, or university
  • What it’s worth: $1,000 paid directly to the student in the form of Ice carving tools
  • Deadline: March 1 every year
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link

Fire sprinkler fans

The founders of the American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship believe this: “Automatic fire sprinklers save lives and property. We cannot say it enough.” They believe it so strongly, their scholarship is simple:

Take a 10-question multiple-choice test. This is an open-book test, and you may print the essay beforehand for reference during testing. For each question answered incorrectly, you will be given one more chance at the end of the exam to answer those questions correctly.

If you ace the test – and really, you’re just lazy if you can’t – then you’re entered into a drawing with multiple winners. They have two categories, High School Seniors College Scholarship Contest and the Second Chance College Scholarship Contest for those who have graduated high school or equivalency and want to pursue a college degree or trade school.

  • What it’s worth: $1,000
  • Deadline: September 1st every year (High School Seniors) and February 1st every year (Second Chance)
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link

Scholarship addicts

The Debt.com Scholarship For Aggressive Scholarship Applicants rewards hard work over lazy talent. Why? Because as Debt.com learned from interviewing college financial aid directors, students rarely apply for all the scholarships they could get. Seems to be a combination of laziness and fear of rejection. If you want to live a debt-free life, you can’t ever pass up free cash. Hence, this scholarship.

  • What it’s worth: $500
  • How to apply: Go here for more rules and application link
  • Deadline: January 15, 2023 (Check for the next round, multiple scholarships are awarded every year)

Anyone

This is the perfect scholarship for anyone who hates applying for scholarships. The “No Essay” College Scholarship is sponsored by a review site called College Prowler, and much like the first scholarship on this twisted list, we assume it’s done for maximum publicity.

In this case, College Prowler boasts, “Scholarships don’t get any easier than this.” It’s actually more like a lottery – simply sign up and hopefully win a monthly drawing. If you don’t win, apply again next month.

  • Age: all high school and college students
  • What it’s worth: $2,000
  • How to apply: Go here for more details and application link
  • Deadline: February 28, 2023

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 Last word, final advice

Our list is far from definitive. We simply chose the weirdest scholarships with the broadest appeal. Don’t believe us?

There’s a $7,000 scholarship for bagpipe students who attend Carnegie Mellon, while 20 students whose relatives work for the National Dairy Herd Information Association get $750 each.

If you’re searching for scholarships and feel intimidated by the competition, try applying for specific ones in your field of study. Trust us, no profession is too esoteric.

We’ve discovered scholarships for those who want to be cattle workers ($1,000) and potato researchers ($10,000).

These are large cash awards that likely have little competition. Search around and apply.

Then there’s one scholarship you can’t apply for. We couldn’t uncover much information about it, either.

Each year, Hiram College in Ohio awards two scholarships of an unknown amount for a combination of good deeds, good grades, and community involvement. It honors Hal Reichle, a helicopter pilot killed during the Gulf War who was known best for his charity. He would randomly mow people’s lawns, paint their homes, or pay for their groceries.

To win “tuition support,” you must be nominated by the Secret Society of Serendipitous Service to Hal – or SSSSH for short.

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