If you always assumed that scholarships were only for star athletes or super nerds, think again. There are thousands of scholarships awarded every year and only a fraction goes to quarterbacks or National Merit finalists.
In fact, there are a growing number of scholarships that are designed for regular kids just like you … and a few dozen more that can only be described as weird, odd and unique scholarships. Some of these are looking to reward students for their unusual characteristics that have nothing to do with talent, and everything to do with genetics. Others are more interested in your interests and still others are singularly focused on your unusual heritage or history.
Here’s a look at seven of the more popular weird scholarships. Maybe one of these seven will be your lucky number!
1. Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun
Not all twins think attending the same college is especially pleasurable, but if you and your better half fancy spending four more years together, you could be entitled to some serious fun money.
(Triplets also qualify, but all three of you have to be willing to stick together.) George Washington University in Washington, D.C. offers a 50% discount for twin #2. Even better, at Sterling College in Kansas, you and your twin each get a 50% discount — it’s like buying one, getting one for free! Other BOGO deals are offered by Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, where you and your twin can alternate free ride years, and by Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, where one twin attends for free when you both enroll. If you and your twin are both girls, Wilson College in Chambersurg, Pennsylvania offers a 45% discount on tuition, but only for female twins enrolled together.
2. The Un-Athletic Scholarship
If sports are so not your thing, then listen up. The Gertrude J. Deppen Scholarship Fund at Bucknell University is perfect for you! Established in 1990, this fund gives two scholarships a year to Bucknell U students who do not participate in strenuous athletic competitions. (I’m guessing non-strenuous competitions would still be okay?) You also have to hail from Mount Carmel, California (hmm, Californians who don’t like to sweat) and disavow the habitual use of tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs. Told you it was weird!
3. Short People Got No…
We have told you before about the special scholarship for tall folks, so it only seems fair that shorties should get special treatment, too. The Little People of America (LPA) Association has stepped in to fill these small shoes. LPA is a non-profit organization that provides medical, financial and other forms of support to people of short stature. Members must be 4’10” or shorter. Medical dwarfism isn’t required to win the $250 – $1000 scholarship, just being the child or sibling of someone with short stature counts. The scholarship deadline is April 1st.
4. Knitters u-Knite
Do you spend your spare time spinning wool into cozy winter sweaters? Then how would you like to win a cool two grand for college? The Make It With Wool (MIWW) competition is an initiative of the American Sheep Industry Association, which annually gives $1000 and $2000 scholarships to the knitters of the best wool garments. Entries are judged on coordination garment style, design, presentation and creativity.
5. Take it all off
No, this is not a scholarship for strippers.
Well, not exactly. The American Nudist Research Library scholarship annually gives out a $1,000 scholarship to a high school senior or recent grad with at least three years of membership in a nudist organization. Winners are judged on their brief essay.
6. Fire Sprinklers Save Lives … and Tuition Dollar, apparently
The American Fire Sprinkler Association is so passionate about the life-saving work of fire sprinklers that they are giving away several $2,000 scholarships to help raise awareness. All you have to do is answer a 10-question, online quiz about fire safety to be entered into a drawing to win the money. But wait, it gets better. The answers to the quiz can be found in an essay that you can download from the AFSA website. And better yet, you get to use the essay while answering the questions. That’s right, it’s an open book quiz! The more answers you get right (and really, you should be getting them all right!), the more chances you have to win.
7. Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) Award
Body by Milk annually awards twenty-five $7,500 SAMMY Awards to outstanding athletes, students and all-around nice people (as demonstrated by active involvement in leadership and community service). Wait a minute? You thought this was an article about weird and unusual scholarships — jock/scholar/do-gooders sounds like pretty typical fodder for scholarships, doesn’t it? But there’s a catch: To win, you have to send in a picture of yourself with a milk mustache. And write an original essay about how drinking milk has done your body good. So, see? The SAMMY is a little weird after all.
How about that list of odd scholarships? Keep an eye on our weekly blog posts for many more unusual scholarships. We’re continually tracking down all kinds of scholarship programs, and posting them on FinancialAidFinder.