13 Unusual Scholarships That Should Be on Your Radar Screen
By Nicole Burdakin
Are you a high school or college student looking for scholarships to pay your tuition? Many scholarship administrators are desperately seeking applicants because of unusual restrictions that can make it hard to find students who fit the criteria. Cast your net wide, and apply for some of these out-of-the-ordinary scholarships.
Is your height unusual? Women taller than 5 foot 10 inches and men above 6 foot 2 inches can apply for a $1,000 Tall Clubs International Scholarship for their first fall semester. Men and women shorter than four foot 10 inches can be awarded $250 - $1,000 from Short People Scholarships, offered by the Little People of America.
Interested in culinary school? Whether you’re a future Food Network personality or you just really love peanut butter, you can enter the JIF Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest. Children ages 6-12 create their own unique peanut butter recipes to compete for $25,000 in JIF-sponsored scholarships. If you have a recipe for an apple pie that can’t be beat, the Culinary Institute of America’s (CIA) All-American Apple Pie Recipe Contest awards one lucky winner $25,000 in scholarship money.
Are you interested in crisis management? The Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship lets you show off your flair for emergency preparedness and disaster response with a 250-word essay explaining how you would evade zombies should they overrun your school. Your response must also include a list of five things you would bring with you to stay alive and could be worth $2,000.
None of the more than 60 scholarship programs the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Office of Loans and Scholarships is quite as quirky, but some do have unique criteria established by a donor who set up the fund in their will.
Allyson Collinsworth, executive director of the Office of Loans and Scholarships, said examples of these narrowly designed scholarships include funds for an orphan who lived in an orphan home during high school in the state of Texas, or for a member of a small rural church that has no students who are active members.
“Identifying qualified applicants can be a challenge at times,” Collinsworth said. “Our application is programmed to screen for these specific criteria. We make every effort to find qualified applicants for all our scholarships each year. If we don’t have a qualified applicant for something, we will go to churches, annual conferences, or colleges and universities for help in locating a recipient.”
Collinsworth advises students to start looking for scholarships early and to complete applications in a timely fashion.
And don’t rule out the oddball applications – something might be perfect for you. For example, are you a linguaphile or a Trekkie? The Klingon Language Institute’s (KLI) Kor Memorial Scholarship offers $500 scholarships each year to students pursuing a degree in a foreign language. Knowledge of the Klingon language is not required (but it may win you bonus points with the selection committee).
If fashion design is your call, consider the Duck Brand® Duck Tape Stuck on Prom Contest. It’s simple: make your and your prom date’s prom outfits entirely with Duck Brand® duct tape and send in your pictures to be judges. You will be the most talked about couple at prom, and you might win a $5,000 college scholarship for your efforts.
Or, are you a carnivore or an herbivore? Either way, you’re in luck. The National Beef Ambassador Program provides scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $250, or if you are a vegetarian high school student who promotes vegetarianism in your school or community, you could win a $5,000 Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship.
There really is money available for every talent, lifestyle, and quirk.
Maybe you have a peculiar hobby, such as duck calling, grape growing, bagpipe playing, or an enthusiasm for water bugs. Take a look at the Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest, American Society for Enology and Viticulture Scholarships, Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University Bagpipe Scholarship, and/or the LaFontaine Aquatic Entomology Scholarship.
These are only a few of the many unusual, quirky scholarships out there that have large sums of money available for students, so long as applicants can meet their strict criteria.
To learn more about GBHEM loans and scholarships, visit www.gbhem.org/loans-scholarships. Find resources for UM Student Day Special Sunday Offering here.