Very few people are aware that there are a lot of odd and crazy scholarships available for aspiring college students. A college education can be very expensive, with tuition, book expenses, lab fees and housing adding up to shockingly enormous amounts. The availability of these strange scholarships might just be ideal for some people who might not qualify for more conventional scholarships and student grants. Students can qualify for these scholarships for the weirdest of reasons based on their traits, interests, talents and even just owning a specific last name. Here is a sampling of what is available:
Scholarships Based on Unusual Traits
The Frederick and Mary F. Beckley foundation awards a left-handed grant to lefties going to Juanita College. The cash amounts range from $1,000 to $1,500 based on aptitude and need. The Tall Clubs International on the other hand awards up to $1,000 to men above 6’2” and women above 5’10” who are incoming college freshmen.
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance scholarship does not require applicants to be fat themselves, just to enlist in their program. Bucking traditional grants given out for academic aptitude and achievement, the David Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship awards $10,000 to three academically mediocre students attending his alma mater, Ball State University.
Students can also become eligible to receive scholarships based on their last names. For instance, Loyola University awards grants to Catholic students whose last name is Zolp, while A&M University at Texas has scholarships for students with Scarpinato as a surname. Aside from these, there are grants for short people, people with natural red hair, twins and triplets.
Interest-Based Crazy Scholarships
Two of the coolest scholarships available are those given out by the Surfider Foundation to surfing enthusiasts – $2,000 for undergraduate students, $3,000 for those pursuing a Master’s or $3,000 for Ph.D. students, regardless of academic achievement – and the Patrick Kerr Skateboard grant for avid skateboarders. Candy-addicts dreaming of candy creations may apply for a $5,000 scholarship from the American Association of Candy Technologists. The Culinary Institute of America on the other hand awards $25,000 in scholarship money to the winner of the All-American Apple Pie Recipe Baking Contest.
Other interest-based crazy scholarships include a $10,000 grant to qualified vegetarian from the Vegetarian Resource Group, six million dollars worth of grants from the US Bowling Congress for bowling tournament winners and a shooting enthusiast scholarship from the National Rifle Association. Topping the list for weird grants are the $500 Klingon Language Institute grant for linguistic majors and various scholarships given out by the International Star Trek Fan Association for Starfleet members under several categories.
Ranging from the mildly unusual to the truly oddball, these crazy scholarships are nothing to sneeze at. Unlike student loans, they do not need to be repaid and while some of the amounts are relatively small, qualifying for a lot of them might just add up to the cost of one semester’s tuition or book expenses. Best of all, they are so unknown that competition for getting them is very low.
Crazy Scholarships Based on Major
If you are willing to adjust your major to put yourself in the best position to get funding for school, or you already have interests that are ‘outside the box,’ then these crazy scholarships are for you.
If you play the bagpipes, you have an excellent chance of winning the Carnegie Mellon Bagpipe Scholarship. The scholarship to this Pittsburgh university is offered every year in honor of the school’s strong Scottish heritage, but few ever take it.
If your inner artist is dying to come out, then let them out through the Dr. Seuss Scholarship. Applicants can win $10,000 by designing a piece of work relating to the book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” Another art scholarship is for the space artist. This crazy scholarship awards $1000 to the person who can design the best two-dimensional space art.
Scholarships based on Unconventional Religions
Pagans and witches have been called crazy for hundreds of years. Now they have a crazy scholarship for those pagans who follow neo-witchcraft traditions. The Coven of the Sacred Waters sponsors these scholarships ranging from $200 to $500.
Latter-day Saint, or LDS, is a popular religion in certain states, but in others mostly unheard of. This branch of Christianity offers scholarships to its schools, Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University Idaho, Brigham Young University Hawaii, and LDS Business College. These schools do accept students from other religions, but the scholarships are usually only available to their LDS applicants.
Crazy Scholarships that make you Hungry
American National Cattlewomen, an advocacy group for female cow…people who support beef, sponsors an annual scholarship. The National Beef Ambassador Scholarships are awards of $500-$1000 given to individuals who show promise as future spokespeople for the beef industry. You must prove you are a part of the beef industry somehow. Do McDonald’s receipts count for this crazy scholarship?
As if it is not weird enough that there is a potato scholarship, it is even weirder that there are multiple scholarships for the love of potatoes. FarmAssist, Syngenta, The National Potato Council, and The Washington State Potato Foundation all offer pretty hefty scholarships to those students interested in the potato-growing industry. We referenced McDonald’s in the above post, but I think it’s safe to say that they do not have to worry about going out of business with how hard people are working to ensure that people stay in beef and potatoes.
While some of these crazy scholarships require you to have a certain interest or major, others allow you to try your hand at creativity, and some are based solely on luck. Looking at college tuition can be daunting, and many people do not apply for scholarships because they do not feel they will win. There is nothing to lose by applying for these crazy scholarships, and you have everything to gain when all of your friends are paying back thousands of dollars in student loans and you chipped away at your tuition expenses by applying for many scholarships.