October 23rd, 2013 by schoolbound
Don’t be discouraged if you look at scholarships for your school and you feel you do not qualify for any of the ones they promote. All students are definitely not created equal. Even if you are not a Valedictorian, or your GPA is not a 4.0, no worries, you can still find and qualify for scholarships that are not just given out on the basis of your grade point average or financial need. There are all kinds of criteria and organizations out there just itching to give you money to get to school! You just need to do a little research and have a bit of imagination (they certainly do!). Luckily, we have the internet, and it can help you launch a personalized scholarship search, based on your unique and quirky strong suits. You just have to figure out what those are! And there are lots of things to choose from lemme tell ya!
There are plenty of sponsoring organizations that want to recognize “special” students like you, who may have so-so grades, but who also demonstrate offbeat qualities, talents, and hobbies. For all those years you were called weird or wacky, here is your revenge! For example, you can earn a scholarship based on your ability to knit, being a twin, having red hair, knowing a lot about pop culture and trivia, and more. In the world of “unusual” or “weird” scholarships, anything goes. Although some of the criteria to win one of these scholarships can seem pretty “out there,” unusual scholarships can be grouped into some basic categories. You really need to be somewhat creative in your Google searching to dig into available scholarships, but you will be surprised at what you can find. I was!
Awarded based on physical characteristics – If you are left handed and attend Juniata College in Pennsylvania you can receive a scholarship! Who knew? Are you a twin or triplet? You may be eligible for scholarships from various colleges, such as Carl Albert State College in Oklahoma or Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. Got braces? While scholarships offered by your doctor or dentist aren’t exactly common, since 2005, Gill Orthodontics in Evansville, Indiana has been offering two, $1,000 scholarships to qualifying patients who complete an application and essays. Dr. James Gill, DDS offers the annual scholarships as a way of giving back to his patients and the community. His office even sends scholarship reminder letters to guidance counselors at patients’ high schools in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky.
Awarded based on jobs, hobbies, or interests – The Evans Scholars Foundation gives out about 200 scholarships each year to students who have worked as golf caddies for at least two years. Students with an interest in paranormal activity, ghosts and aliens may be eligible for a scholarship from the Parapsychology Foundation. If you are a vegetarian and a veggie advocate, you could win a scholarship from the Vegetarian Resource Group.
How about your love of Ping-Pong aka “table tennis”? You don’t have to be a prodigy to land a ping-pong scholarship from the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA). Instead, you need to have a true interest in the sport, and be enrolled or accepted at an NCTTA member school. Schools in the organization span 28 divisions across the United States and Canada. So if you know what a penhold is and the difference between that and a shakehand, check into this scholarship opportunity.
Love to Knit? Jimmy Beans Wool offers knitters and crocheters its “Beans for Brains” scholarship awards. The $1,000 scholarship can be applied to any accredited school or college. Winners are chosen from those who were beginner knitters and crocheters, to those who have knitted and crocheted since the beginning of time. According to their website the program received nearly 3,000 applications last year.
Live to tweet? Love to blog? Last year Apogee Search asked its scholarship applicants to create social media campaigns for fictitious products (at the time of publishing this blog they are no longer accepting applications for scholarships but keep checking). In 2011, YourLocalSecurity.com offered $1,000 in scholarship funds to “America’s Best Blogger” and this year you can submit ideas on how to reduce crime. And the University of Iowa recently offered a full-ride scholarship to the MBA applicant with the best Twitter essay – necessarily consisting of 140 characters or less.
Tree-hugger? If you are a nature lover, love granola, a little offbeat, maybe a bit liberal and you’re interested in a media career – journalism, photojournalism, video, audio, etc. – you may have a shot at the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholarship. Besides the $1,000 monetary award, recipients get the experience of a journalism conference, hosted each summer in Washington D.C. Winners are chosen from every U.S. state, and are selected on the basis of their journalism samples and “free spirit” essays, in addition to other requirements.
Know a lot about pop culture? Kick butt at Trivial Pursuit? If you’re not a fan of essays, you may prefer a scholarship application that selects winners based on quizzes. The Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation (CKSF) is doing exactly that, with monthly quizzes offered to just about any student who registers – including adults, high school students, current college students, and transfer students. Scholarship prizes range from $250 to $2,500. This is very popular with High Schoolers and college participants alike. CKSF’s quiz topics are wide ranging with examples like World Religions, to topics such as the environment and Global Warming, to professional sports to pop culture like Harry Potter. You can check the organization’s calendar to see which quizzes are on the horizon, and even check for tips on how to prepare
Awarded based on a specific set of criteria – Some scholarship sponsors have very specific criteria designed to find a certain type of student to win an award. For example, a female student planning to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro who will live on campus, has no car, has never been married, and has financial need can qualify for a scholarship. Always be sure to look at your potential school’s website and do your research!
Mom and Pop Scholarships
There are also niche scholarships where the awarding organizations truly want to support local folks and their families. When it comes to hometown clubs and civic groups, having a parent or grandparent as a member is often enough to earn you scholarship eligibility – even if you don’t quite know what the club is all about. So if one of your parents participates in a lodge or a league, if your granddad is an Elk or a Moose, or if your grandma attends weekly meetings for quilting or square dancers, you may have a scholarship opportunity already waiting for you.
If you possess the ability to call ducks, you can compete in the annual duck calling contest in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and possibly win a scholarship. Students who are willing to go to prom dressed in an outfit made of duct tape (and have the ability to convince their date to do the same) could win a scholarship and win their school some money, too. Are you a fan of the undead? Believe it or not, students who can flesh out a plan to survive a Zombie Apocalypse can win free money for college. Do you love ice cream? If you can write about the ice cream flavor that best describes your personality, there is a scholarship for you!
It really is endless! The point is, don’t give up on a scholarship just because you don’t have the highest GPA or a lot of financial need – there are plenty of scholarships out there for a student just like you!
For more weird and wacky scholarships check here: http://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-type/unusual-scholarships/
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