Wacky & Unusual Scholarships
There’s a Weird One in Every Crowd
Finding the money to pay for college is a serious business, but even the search for scholarships has a lighter side. While the vast majority of scholarship programs are dedicated to academics, there are quite a few programs that take a decidedly unique approach to financial aid. These weird and wacky scholarships may appear frivolous at first glance, but they provide very real financial opportunities for college-bound students looking to fund their education.
Unusual Scholarship Opportunities
Weird or unusual scholarships are typically sponsored by businesses, civic organizations, fan clubs and eccentric patrons. These scholarships often share a dual purpose, to provide money for eligible college-bound students and to promote the organization on either a regional or national level.
While the criteria for these scholarships may be slightly left of center, the financial rewards are very real indeed. These unique scholarship opportunities are proof positive that students searching for college funding should leave no stone unturned.
The following is a selection of the some of the more unusual, and downright wacky, scholarships available to college-bound students in the United States.
- The Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship provides up to $3000 to students pursuing the academic study of parapsychology. Applicants must demonstrate an ongoing interest in parapsychology and related fields, and must submit a sample of their writing on the subject. Three letters of recommendation are also required.
- Tall Clubs International sponsors an annual $1000 scholarship for men and women who are above average height. Applicants must be 21 years of age or older, and must be attending their first year of college. To be eligible, students must be sponsored by a Tall Club member, and must meet the minimum height requirements as set by TCI – 5’10” for women and 6’2” for men.
- The Kor Memorial Scholarship is sponsored by the Klingon Language Institute. While the institute, and the scholarship, draw their names from the world of Star Trek, the organization is actually comprised of amateurs and professionals in the field of linguistics. The program awards one $500 scholarship each year to an eligible student enrolled in the study of language or linguistics. Applicants must be enrolled full time at an accredited college or university. Knowledge of the Klingon language is not required.
- College Humor, the online comedy website, offers a unique take on college scholarships. The Average Student Scholarship Contest awards two $5000 scholarships each year to a pair of painfully average college students. Applicants must be normal achievers who can demonstrate no significant special achievements.
- The National Marbles Tournament was first held in 1922. Participants, also called mibsters, compete for national honors and college scholarships. As a competition based scholarship, participants must rise through the ranks, winning a series of regional competitions until they reach national tournament levels. Awards are based on the player’s skill at shooting marbles, as well as their sportsmanship qualities.
- The Stuck at the Prom Scholarship Contest is sponsored by Duck brand duct tape. Participants compete for a $5000 scholarship by designing, and wearing, a prom dress or tuxedo made entirely of duct tape. Winners are chosen on the basis of originality of design and quality of execution.
- The American Association of Candy Technologists offers the John Kitt Memorial Scholarship for students with an interest in confectionery technology. Applicants must be a college sophomore, junior, or senior majoring in food science, chemical science or biological science. The maximum award is $5000, to be paid out in two installments over the course of an academic year.
- The Zolp Scholarship is administered by Loyola University. This is a privately endowed scholarship that provides tuition assistance to Catholic students with the last name of Zolp. Applicants must present their birth or baptismal certificate as proof of their surname.
- The Vegetarian Resource Group offers two annual scholarships for high school seniors who have worked to promote vegetarianism in their schools and communities. Applicants will be judged on their commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet and lifestyle.
Scholarships play an integral part in helping students pay for their college education. Students looking for financial aid for college should leave no stone unturned in their search for funding, and that often means thinking outside of the box. While academic and athletic scholarships get the lion’s share of attention, the world of weird and wacky scholarships offers valuable financial assistance for students struggling to meet the rising costs of college tuition.