10 Unusual Scholarships for College Students

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What do tall people, vegetarians, and obsessive zombie apocalypse planners have in common? Although it might be surprising, there’s actually a scholarship for each of these specific demographics — and a whole slew of other unusual scholarships as well.

We’ve also found scholarships for little people, scholarships for twins, scholarships for bowlers and many more. Here is our list of 10 of the most unusual and most “niche” scholarships out there.

10 unusual, weird or unconventional scholarships

Tall Clubs International Scholarships

  • Award: Up to $1,000 offered to multiple students
  • Deadline: To be determined (this year’s was March 1, 2020)

Always find yourself being asked to pull things off the highest shelf — or searching the racks for the longest available inseam?

Tall Clubs International offers a community for men over 6’2 and women over 5’10 — and its spin-off organization, Tall Clubs International Foundation, focuses on funding scholarships for students under the age of 21 who fit that description.

In order to apply for this scholarship for being tall, you can check with the chapter nearest you or contact the TCI foundation directly at [email protected]​. Include the word “scholarship” in the subject line of your email to ensure it gets opened.

Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarships

  • Award: One $10,000 prize and two $5,000 prizes
  • Deadline: February 20, 2021

If you’re committed to promoting a peaceful world by living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you may be eligible for scholarships from the Vegetarian Resource Group, which offer one $10,000 award and two $5,000 awards for a total of $20,000 in granted scholarship money annually. To apply, you’ll need to provide a variety of demographic information, transcripts and recommendations to the organization, as well as a written essay.

The essay will likely be a main determining factor of the winner, and will be judged according to the compassion, commitment and courage shown by the applicant.

If you’re interested in a vegetarian scholarship, you may also be interested in scholarships for community volunteers.

Little People of America Scholarships

  • Award: $250 to $1,000, and sometimes more
  • Deadline: May 3, 2020

Little People of America offers scholarships for students with dwarfism — specifically those whose adult stature is no more than 4’10”. Members of LPA with medically diagnosed forms of dwarfism are given preference, but the scholarship is also open to people with dwarfism who are not members of the organization.

Each year, scholarships are given to up to two students pursuing undergraduate studies and one taking on graduate-level coursework. LPA specifically asks scholarship recipients to craft a thank-you letter — which is arguably not an unreasonable request for grant money.

Duck Tape’s Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest

  • Award: Two $10,000 prizes and eight $500 prizes
  • Deadline: June 8, 2020

Rather famous among unique and unusual scholarships, Duck Tape Brand’s Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest asks participants to create the weirdest, wackiest, most outrageous duct tape promwear out of their product. Entries are judged on the following criteria:

  • Workmanship (20%)
  • Originality (20%)
  • Use of colors (20%)
  • Accessories (20%)
  • Use of Duck® Brand duct tape (20%)

There are two $10,000 grand prizes: One for a dress and one for a tux. Four runners-up in either category will also receive a $500 first-prize cash scholarship as well as a Duck Brand Prize Pack worth $100.

Wilson College’s Twins and Triplets Scholarship

  • Award: 45% of tuition for each student
  • Deadline: February 15 of the year you’re requesting enrollment

Avoiding student loan debt is especially hard when families have more than one kid to send to college — doubly (or triply) so when those kids are twins or triplets attending school at the same time.

Wilson College offers specialty scholarships for twins and triplets on an annual basis: 45% of tuition is awarded to each student, provided they’re enrolled at Wilson full-time each semester. The scholarship can be renewed each year for up to four years, though it can’t be combined with other merit or affiliation scholarships awarded by the college (except the Encompass and Disert awards).

Dexter High School’s All-American Team Bowling Scholarship

  • Award: $1,000 to each of 10 student-athletes (five male, five female) selected for the team, and an additional $500 for the student named Bud Clappsaddle Team Captain
  • Deadline: April 30, 2020

Football and basketball scholarships are pretty common. Bowling? Not so much.

But just because awards for bowlers might count as unusual scholarships doesn’t mean they’re impossible to find. In fact, the United States Bowling Congress offers more than $6 million in scholarship money to young bowlers each season, considering academic achievement as well as performance on-lane.

At the time of writing, the only scholarship still available for the coming school year is the Dexter High School All-American Team Bowling Scholarship, which awards $1,000 to each of 10 students selected for the team and an additional $500 for the student named Bud Clappsaddle Team Captain. Applicants will need to have a GPA of at least 3.0 and supply a 500-word essay, along with a resume and two letters of recommendation.

Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship

  • Award: $2,000
  • Deadline: October 31, 2020

Unigo, a media company thousands of students turn to for information on attending and paying for college, offers one $2,000 award per year to the student with the most fleshed-out zombie apocalypse contingency plan. (Pun definitely intended.)

The award is available to legal residents of any of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia who are aged 13 or older and are, or will be, enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution no later than the fall of 2026 — which makes this a great scholarship for current college students.

Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest

  • Award: $4,250 in total prizes, with a first-place award of $2,000
  • Deadline: Last year’s competition took place on November 29, 2019; keep an eye out for this year’s contest date

Have a world-class duck call? Then you’ll definitely want to apply for one of the most unique scholarships we’ve come across: the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest.

Open to all high school seniors, the competition is held each fall and carries a first-place prize of $2,000. The second-place runner up will receive $1,000, third place $750 and fourth $500.

Participants must travel to Stuttgart, Arkansas to participate in the duck calling contest.

The Gallery Collection Create-a-Greeting-Card Contest

  • Award: $10,000 in scholarship funds — and $1,000 to the winner’s school
  • Deadline: Contest submissions ended on March 2, 2020, so keep an eye out for next year’s.

If you consider yourself creative, The Gallery Collection has a generous award that might be right for you: the Create-a-Greeting-Card Contest is held annually and carries a $10,000 award.

Applicants must be aged 14 or over and enrolled in high school, college or university, and must be a legal resident of one of the 50 United States or its territories. International students with valid visas are also eligible to enter the contest, and entries will be judged by a panel of greeting card design experts.

Debt.com’s Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants

  • Award: $500
  • Deadline: The application period resets every two months, so be sure to check the link below for when the next award is available

Last but not least, a meta scholarship: Debt.com offers a $500 award to students who are working hard to find as many sources of college funds as possible.

So add some of the unusual scholarships listed above to your to-do list, and then forward Debt.com all the confirmation emails you receive, even if you don’t get the scholarships themselves. Include a short letter, and then sit back and wait. One lucky winner will be selected.

5 tips to land an unusual scholarship

  • Tip No. 1: Apply for as many scholarships as possible. It’s a simple probability problem: the more times you apply, the higher your chances being selected for at least one of the prizes. Plus, applying for lots of scholarships might give you a leg up in the last one on this list.
  • Tip No. 2: Watch out for scams. Although many unconventional scholarships are legit, there are also scammers out there. Be sure to thoroughly vet the website before you apply, and never pay to apply for a scholarship — the whole point is to put money into your pocket, not take it out.
  • Tip No. 3: Be creative — but pay attention to the rules. Many of these unusual scholarships rely on out-of-the-box judgment methods. For best results, bring all your imagination to the project, but don’t throw the stated criteria out of the window.
  • Tip No. 4: Keep up with your other commitments, too. Most scholarship committees consider academic achievement, community service and other factors when assessing an applicant, so continue to make strides in other parts of your life.
  • Tip No. 5: Proofread! Many scholarship judges consider spelling and grammar when assessing your application, and it’s good practice for future classes anyway.

Kat Tretina contributed to this report.

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1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

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College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
 
This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 4/22/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.


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3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.  If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.


4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
     
  2. Explanation of Rates “With Autopay” (APD)
    Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

    Available Terms
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    Primary Only – 10, 12, 15 years

    In school deferred payment is not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).


5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

sofiDisclosures

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.26% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.22% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.37% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.12% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.52% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.29% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 10.76% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.22% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 4/1/2021. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)..


6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.76% – 7.14% (2.76% – 7.14% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 3.01% – 7.50% (3.01% – 7.50% APR).

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Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 4.45% – 9.60% (4.45% – 9.53% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.38% – 12.81% APR).

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Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable Rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of March 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.11%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. 

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Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.


7 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  2. Get a cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan when you earn at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) in any academic period covered by the loan. Limitations Apply. Visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for terms and conditions.
  3. Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate, graduate, health professions, law and MBA Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.250% as of April 1, 2021. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Your APR will be determined after you apply. Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Rates.
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Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.