No matter where you look, there's a scholarship that could be yours: at your bank, at your job or at your parent's employment. And, if you're not a whiz kid in school, relax. Some of the easiest scholarships to get are available for just being you. Here we list some of our favorite specific scholarships, but it's hardly an all-inclusive list; if you don't find something that suits you here, keep looking. There are millions of post-secondary scholarships available. If you can find one that's tailor-made for you, you're much more likely to receive the award.
Here are just a few of the categories of offbeat scholarships that could help you achieve your education goals.
- How You Look
There are several scholarships out there based on physical characteristics. For example, Tall Clubs International (TCI) offers $1,000 scholarships for women above 5' 10" and men above 6' 2". Their are also scholarships for little people, left-handed people and people who are twins or triplets.
Your Career AspirationsScholarships based on students' interest or potential field of study are common, particularly when that field of study is one that is less often pursued. Do you think traditional college is for the birds? Then commune with the bees. The Collin County Hobby Beekeeper's Association of North Texas offers a beekeeping seminar and textbook along with all your hiven' gear in annual scholarships. Similarly, the International Spa Association offers $2,500 scholarships for students who have completed a year of college and would like to pursue a career in spa management. And if you've ever dreamed of traveling with the circus, apply for the Ringling Brothers' Clown College scholarship, and you could get a chance to tour with the group for a year. Other examples of study-specific scholarships include students who are interested in studying mycology (spores, mold and fungus), etymology, welding and even parapsychology. Of course, most universities also have scholarships at various levels available to students who are pursuing specific degrees. Your Hobbies Many organizations provide college scholarships to students based on their hobbies. With the Dearborn Classics scholarship, you won't get money for college, but you will arrive with the coolest ride in town. Dearborn offers an undisclosed number of scholarships each year to help young people under the age of 25 pursue a classic car hobby by providing car parts scholarships, allowing them to finish rebuilding a classic car. More conventional cash scholarships are also offered by the National Rifle Association for participating in shooting or hunting clinics and by the U.S. Bowling Congress for bowlers. There are even scholarships out there for skateboarders, billiards players, surfers, golf caddies and duck callers. What You Eat There are a number of scholarships offered by the food industry or other organizations with an interest in diet. If you eschew meat, get rewarded for your vegetarianism. The Vegetarian Resource Group offers two $5,000 scholarships each year for graduating high school students who are committed to promoting vegetarianism in their community. If, however, you like a good steak now and then and are a good public speaker, you could apply for a scholarship from the National Beef Ambassador Program. And if you have a sweet tooth and are into making your own candy and confections, you might be eligible to apply for a scholarship from the American Association of Candy Technologists. Your Last Name Believe it or not, there are several scholarships out there based on your last name, particularly from individual universities. The best of these must be the Zolp scholarship at Loyola University. If this is your last name and you're also Catholic, you've hit the jackpot: this scholarship covers four years of college tuition. Your Creative Genius If you're the artistic type, there are many scholarships and contests that offer big money for what you can produce. Making a prom costume out of the duct tape could earn you $3,000, there's up to $2,000 up for grabs for a knitted creation in wool, and if you can produce a patentable invention, the National Inventors Hall of Fame might give you $25,000. There are also many scholarships for writers and musicians at the state national and school level; if you can write an original essay on "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand, you could be eligible for $10,000.
Capitalize on Your Assets
When it comes to paying for college, doing your research and thinking outside the box can really pay off. Even if you don't qualify for more typical scholarships that award students for being at the top of their class or excelling as athletes, there might just be a scholarship tailor-made for you. If you have a unique hobby or belong to a club, that's a great place to start, but there are many other organizations and groups out there that pay out scholarships based on all kinds of interests and abilities. If you think you might qualify, it can't hurt to apply. With the rising costs of education these days, paying for college can be a struggle, and it pays to capitalize on whatever assets (however unusual!) you might have.
(You don't have to apply for one of these scholarships to pay for college. Checkout these articles for other ways to pay for your education: Pay For College Without Selling A Kidney, Paying For College In An Economic Downturn, Five Ways To Fund Your College Education and College Cost Reduction Act Helps Students Meet Payments.)