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
- Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarships
- Little People of America Scholarships
- Duck Tape’s Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest
- Wilson College’s Twins and Triplets Scholarship
- Dexter High School’s All-American Team Bowling Scholarship
- Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship
- Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest
- The Gallery Collection Create-a-Greeting-Card Contest
- com’s Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants
- Plus: 5 tips to land an unusual scholarship
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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