Weird and Unusual Scholarships that Actually Exist
Many well-known scholarships are based on academic merit. Students who want these awards must simply prove that they have both good grades and high test scores, and administrators respond by handing out checks students can use for school. But there are some scholarships that don’t require academic excellence. In fact, there are some weird scholarships that students can obtain that have nothing to do with anything that happens in the classroom at all.
While odd scholarships can sometimes be amusing or even funny, it’s important to remember that these programs provide real money for students in need. They’re particularly appealing for students who simply can’t get traditional scholarships due to poor grades or test scores. With a little creativity, luck and timing, these students could walk away with significant rewards, and that could allow them to laugh all the way to the bank. These are 10 of the bizarre scholarships available to students right now, along with details about how students can tap into these sources of school funding. Interested students should start applying now!
Wholesale Halloween Costumes
Students who dress up for each and every holiday, including Easter, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and, of course, Halloween, could win one of the many scholarships provided by Wholesale Halloween Costumes. Each scholarship is worth $500, and there are many such contests held throughout the year.
Interested students create a video that incorporates a homemade costume. In the spring of 2014, for example, students were asked to make a video that “caught” either a Leprechaun, Easter bunny or related mythical creature out in the open. Prior contests required students to make costumes for Halloween out of specific materials. Creativity and originality are prized here, but students
can’t simply make something and hope that it wins. Instead, they need to find a way to capture the essence of the holiday on film, and that can also take some creativity and ingenuity.
Students who manage both of these tasks can’t hide away in the dark with their creations. Instead, they’re asked to share that video on social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter, and they are also asked to email a link to that video to scholarship officials. It’s a very public form of scholarship, but it’s also not selective. Any student enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year college in the United States is eligible, as long as the student is a legal resident of the United States (or holds a valid student visa).
Make It With Wool
While pulling together costumes might be fun for some students, those who enjoy a more serious form of clothing design might appreciate the Make It With Wool contest. Here, applicants can use almost any form of crafting, including sewing, knitting and crocheting, as long as their raw materials are made with wool. Contestants are required to make something a person might wear (not something like a blanket or a towel), and they must model the garments they make, or ask the person who intends to wear the garment to model the finished product.
Those who have worked with textiles for long periods of time tend to be more accomplished than those new to the crafty life, so administrators even the playing field by splitting contestants into four categories:
- Preteens: 12 and younger
- Juniors: 13 to 16 years
- Seniors: 17 to 24 years
- Adults: 25 and older
There is an entry fee to participate, but the prizes can range from $1,000 to $2,000, and they can be augmented by “special national awards,” which are sponsored by private businesses. Students begin by participating at the state level, and if they win, they’re promoted to the national level, and here’s where the big prizes are awarded.
Chuck and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest
This scholarship makes it into almost every single article about odd scholarships for one good reason: This scholarship is truly unique. Administrators of the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest ask participants to head to Stuttgart, Arkansas, and provide four different types of duck calls within 90 seconds. They can use manufactured duck-call equipment, but they must produce the sounds without assistance of live animals, helpful family members or enthusiastic friends. They must do it alone.
The competition is only open to high school seniors, but the prizes can be quite large. First-place winners take home $2,000, 2nd-place winners receive $1,000, 3rd-place winners receive $750 and 4th-place winners take home $500. While not everyone can reproduce the sounds of a duck accurately, even when the right tools are available, those students who have been hunting ducks for years might find it easy to replicate these noises, and when they do, they could bring home cash.
Create a Greeting Card
Students who prefer a little less nature in their hobbies might enjoy a scholarship opportunity from The Gallery Collection. Each year, the company asks students to submit original artwork that could be transformed into a greeting card for the commercial marketplace. Prior winners have turned in pencil sketches, computer-generated art and even photographs for consideration.
There are many applicants for each contest, but those who win take home a $10,000 prize, so it’s a competition fine art students should definitely consider. In addition, students who win this particular competition can boast about their ability to create art people are willing to pay for, and that might be helpful when they get ready to apply for jobs after graduation. Unfortunately, students must be amateurs when they apply. Those who have already achieved commercial success are disqualified.
Graphics arts students, along with musicians and filmmakers, might know a little bit about the laws that protect them from intellectual theft. If they do, they might be able to participate in the Copyright Awareness Scholarship from the Music Publishers Association.
The scholarship is open to all students between the ages of 13 and 25 who are currently enrolled in a college, university or trade school. The major field of study is immaterial. Students also can’t have immediate family members who work for the Music Publishers Association.
To apply, students must generate a short film that presents an original viewpoint about the importance of intellectual property and copyright law. Once that film is complete, applicants submit it to the Music Publishers Association online, and that group might then choose to share the video publically. Almost any film could win, but obviously, any videos that contain information that’s owned by someone else are disqualified. Only one winner is chosen for this particular scholarship, and the prize is $500.
Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation
If random details about copyright and intellectual property don’t come easily for students, they might know other weird facts about:
- Academic subjects
The Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation hopes to help students like this. Participants simply register and begin to take a series of short quizzes. The questions, according to previous winners, can be a little strange and unusual, but those students who know a little bit about everything could take home scholarships ranging from $250 to $2,500.
The competition is open to high school students, college students, graduate students and parents of students. The award money can be used in any post-secondary school located in the United States. There are a number of tests available too, so students might win in more than one category.
The American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship Program
Another entry in the random knowledge department comes from the American Fire Sprinkler Association, which offers a $2,000 scholarship to students who know just a little bit about how fire sprinklers work.
Applicants are given background information on how fire sprinklers work, and they’re asked to take a 10-question test about the material in that background document. They can refer to the document during the test. The test is administered online, and students can take the online test only once for the $2,000 prize. For each question the student answers correctly, that student’s name is placed into a drawing for the prize. There are 10 winners.
Those who don’t do well on the first go-around of the test can compete in a 2nd chance program, in which they read another document about fire sprinklers and take another online test. For each correct answer, the student’s name is placed in a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship. Again, there are 10 winners.
It’s important to note that this scholarship isn’t designed just for engineers or others who hope to create or use fire-sprinkler systems. Any high school student who plans to go to an accredited 2- or 4-year school is eligible to apply for this scholarship program.
The Vegetarian Resource Group
Older students with a culinary bent might appreciate the Vegetarian Resource Group scholarship program. Not surprisingly, this particular scholarship is made to appeal to students who have made a commitment to avoid products that contain meat products. Those who like to hunt or gnaw on bones aren’t likely to win this award. Additionally, those who consider their vegetarianism a private matter might not be eligible either, as administrators hope to find students who have been open and vocal about their eating habits.
To apply, applicants provide information about their school, along with the names and contact information for the people they know in the “vegetarian movement.” Students must also provide an essay about how they have promoted vegetarianism during their high school years.
The scholarship is made for graduating high school seniors only, and two $5,000 prizes are awarded each year.
Raising Funds for College
Many of these unique scholarship opportunities come with seemingly small cash awards, but it’s important to remember that administrators don’t block students from accepting more than one award. Students who can call the ducks, knit a sweater, and make a commitment to a vegan lifestyle can apply to all of the programs that appeal to them, and they might cobble together just enough money to pay for the schools they’ll need, without worrying about repayment plans down the line. Savvy students will do just that.