Many people plug away at their computers in search of scholarships in the hopes they can partially fund their higher education. While this is admirable and necessary, it is also sometimes futile. Many people probably are not going to win any of the scholarships that Google listed for the “scholarships” search term. They need to get creative.
The key is to focus on the less competitive scholarships. What kind of scholarships though? That is easy: “weird scholarships.” These are target niche scholarships that are only for a specific subset of people, or they are just completely random awards (they might make you say, “why the heck is there a scholarship for this?”). In order to maximize their chances of winning free money, people need to look for these opportunities. Do you have glasses? Do you have red hair? Do you have a twin? These may not apply to some, but the point has been made.
Though many of these scholarships don’t offer huge payouts like the most popular ones, the chances of winning them are considerably higher. Some people can win five of these before winning one that Google lists on their first page.
Overall, it is a new approach to the scholarship game that offers better chances to achieving financial aid. Weird scholarships do not accumulate interest, and they do not need to be paid back. They are the perfect alternative to student loans.
Tips for Finding Weird Scholarships
Before you start applying, consider setting up an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet to keep track of your efforts. All of these are completely free and will allow you to go back to see what work you have done. Some things to include: the name of the scholarship, the deadline, whether the application is submitted, contact information, when the results are announced, and the end result. Throughout the process, it will get easier to optimize the spreadsheet into a more readable and maintainable document.
Find Your Niches
To come up with potential weird scholarship targets, one thing is required: self-reflection. What kind of talents do you have? What makes you unique? What degree are you pursuing? What is something you’ve done that not many others can say? The list goes on and on, but it is extremely important to cover as many aspects of yourself as possible. These niches do not even have to apply to one person’s characteristics or past experiences. They can just be unusual. These scholarships just need to be random and unknown which applies to a huge range of things.
Download Copies of Your Application
It was mentioned before that the same, or almost the same, application can be used for many different scholarships. At the end of an application, some type of confirmation page with all of your info appears. Download this if the option is available, and if not, just take a screenshot! This could save tons of time, and it can only make applications easier next time.
Apply Throughout Your College Career
Many students will apply for some scholarships while in high school or during the summer before starting college, but almost everyone stops there. Many scholarships only require that you’re entering college or are still enrolled. There are even scholarships that are specifically for upperclassmen! Keep applying throughout college; in fact, make it a weekly task. This can only help.
Do not Give Up
Straight up, applying for scholarships is not fun. It is extremely easy to lose interest. Play some music or sit down in front of the TV. Try anything to make the process more enjoyable. Remember, scholarship applications are not timed, so there is no need to rush through them as long as the deadline is hit.
Student loan debt sucks! The stories of people working to pay them off well past into their later years are everywhere. It is a common trend. Avoid taking out these loans at all costs. Weird scholarships offer a way to save trouble with loans before they are even disbursed.
Some of the opportunities listed below are perfect examples of a weird scholarship. There are specific opportunities to look into, but there are also some more general niches to help the reader think about some weird ideas.
The creator of this scholarship, being a natural-born redhead, figured her rare hair color must have an award of its own. After scouring the web, she was disappointed to find that there wasn’t one specifically for her tone of hair. That is when she decided to create Scholarship Red. Scholarship Red is a $500 award and it is one of the only scholarships in the world specifically for natural redheads. In order to be eligible for this scholarship, first and foremost, you must be a natural redhead; no hair dye or coloring is allowed. You also must be a high school senior that is a United States citizen and is attending school in the United States. You have to have a grade point average of 2.5 or above and already be enrolled in an accredited two-year or four-year college or university. Along with your application, you need to provide proof of your grades by submitting your high school transcripts. You also need to provide evidence that you are truly a redhead by sending two color photographs, one from when you were a child and one from the present-day. The final part of the process involves you explaining what it means to be a redhead to you. You can do this in any form you like, video, drawing, essay, etc., but the more creative you can be with it, the more likely your submission will stand out among the crowd.
Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship
For all of you golf lovers out there, our first unusual scholarship is just the right fit for you! If you are currently a caddie at a country club or golf course, then the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship should be your go-to sports scholarship. This is a full-tuition award, as well as covering the costs of housing, for a total of four years. You don’t have to be the start in Caddyshack to be eligible for this scholarship, however, you must fit a few criteria. You need to be sponsored by the golf or country club where you work and you must have a strong caddie record, exceptional grades, and financial need. If you are interested in applying, obtain the application password from your club and turn in all necessary materials by June 15th. For the application, as well as to find out more information about the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship, head over to their online website.
Tall Clubs International Foundation/Billy Barty Foundation
The next unique scholarships on our list are both tall and short scholarships. You heard that right! Simply for your height, you can win awards to help you with your college tuition. Tall Clubs International is an organization that was created for tall people and each year they sponsor a competition in which they grant $1,000 in scholarships to winning students, who meet the minimum height requirement of course. You can find more information on the competition and award at TCI’s website. On the other end of the height spectrum, there are also organizations that will grant scholarships for being short. The Billy Barty Foundation was founded by the late dwarf actor. It distributes $1,000 scholarships to two different students each year that have been diagnosed with dwarfism. This application and scholarship can be found online at various different sites, but potential applicants need to contact the Vice President of the foundation.
Collegiate Inventors Competition
If you love to invent and create new and exciting products, then the third unusual scholarship is right up your alley. The Collegiate Inventors Competition is an annual scholarship contest that provides a $10,000 first-place prize for undergraduates and a $15,000 first-place prize for graduates who create the most brilliant and beneficial innovations out there. This isn’t your duct-tape-in-the-dorm type of contest, however; one of the previous winners had mastered how to implant human liver cells into mice as a means to drug test. If you think your genius creation has what it takes, apply by June 24th and start brainstorming! For more information about the Collegiate Inventors Competition, make your way over to their website.
Star Fleet Academy Scholarship
If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “Man, I sure wish there was a Star Trek scholarship,” then we’ve got you covered. This unusual scholarship is for dedicated Star Trek fans that are members of the Starfleet Academy, the International Star Trek Fan Club Association. As long as you have been a member of this club for at least one year, you are eligible for the Starfleet Academy Scholarship, which is granted to undergraduate and graduate students and is given in the amount of at least $500. There are a large variety of different scholarships that the fan club sponsors, all of which can be found on their website. Have your application turned in by June 30th in order to be considered. You can find all of the paperwork and information online.
Answers.com Scholarship Fund
Another unusual scholarships is the Answers.com Scholarship Fund. Answers.com is a website that is known for helping students get their questions answered by other students and people in general. This scholarship wants to reward those who answered 50 or more questions on the website between the time period of January 1st and March 28th. If you are one of those helpful people, you could win one of 10 scholarships of $1,000, one of two scholarships valued at $2,500, or even the grand prize of one $5,000 scholarship for tuition and costs of college. You can find the application for the Answers.com Scholarship Fund at their website.