If you’ve been doing lots of searching for a scholarship, it’s probably no surprise to you that weird prizes exist. You can win money for college by duck calling, being a Star Trek fan, and even just for having the right last name. Read on, and we’ll take a look at 30 obscure scholarships you might not even believe exist.
If you can do amazing things with duct tape, or even predict the future, you just might win money for school with these scholarships.
- Stuck at Prom: It’s been said that you can do just about anything with duct tape. For some creative high school students, “anything” includes a prom dress. For 11 years now, Duck brand duct tape has offered a Stuck at Prom scholarship contest, which awards $5,000 scholarships to the couple with the most creative use of duct tape in their prom outfits. A bonus? Their school also gets $5,000.
- The Kor Memorial Scholarship: Can you speak Klingon? Knowledge of the Star Trek language is encouraged, but not required, for this scholarship that awards $500 to a student in language study each year.
- Make It With Wool: For budding clothing designers and wool lovers, the American Sheep Industry’s Make It With Wool competition offers several different scholarship winnings to students who make the most interesting and creative wool pieces, with some prizes as high as $1,500.
- Ursinus College Creative Writing Award: JD Salinger once attended Ursinus College, and it seems the school is looking for their next great writer in residence with this scholarship. Applicants must share a portfolio of creative work in fiction and/or poetry in the spirit of Catcher in the Rye‘s unusual perspective, brilliance, and voice. The winner will receive not only a whopping $30,000, but also the honor of living in JD Salinger’s former dorm room.
- Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest: A total of $4,250 in scholarship money is up for grabs at this duck calling contest, open to any current high school senior. The first place winner receives $2,000 to use for school. In 36 years, the contest has awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships.
- Icy Frost Bridge Scholarship: Are you a female music student who can sing or play the national anthem with sincerity? Do you want to go to DePauw university? You just might qualify for this award, which offers money to attend the university to female students who take the national anthem seriously.
- Excellence in Predicting the Future Award: You don’t have to be a psychic to win this award, but we think it might help. The Excellence in Predicting the Future award offers a maximum of $400 on a continual basis to the winners of a Prediction Market competition.
Love candy, bagpipes, or amateur radio? These scholarships award cash to those who have obscure interests.
- American Association of Candy Technologists John Kitt Memorial Scholarship: Students who love candy, and we mean really love candy, can qualify for this $5,000 scholarship from the American Association of Candy Technologists. College sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have a demonstrated interest in confectionery technology, and are majoring in food science, chemical science, biological science, or fields of related study, can qualify to win this sweet award for school.
- Carnegie Mellon University’s Bagpipe Scholarship: Students who love to play the bagpipes, or even those who would like to, can take advantage of the bagpipe scholarship at Carnegie Mellon, which allows for the study of a bagpipe major. This difficult subject is often not financially rewarding, but those that love to play the ancient instrument can find great value in it, including this scholarship.
- The National Association for Amateur Radio Foundation Scholarships: Students who love to practice on the amateur radio can qualify for these scholarships, especially if they’re pursuing studies in electronic engineering or related technical fields. The organization offers many different awards, some as high as $10,000 or more.
- American Society for Enology and Viticulture Scholarship Program: If you plan to work in the wine and grape industry, this scholarship is for you. It’s awarded to students pursuing degrees in enology, viticulture, and other curriculum that studies the science of wine. Scholarship amounts vary from year to year.
- Alice Mcarver Ratchford Scholarship: If you’re a female student at UNC Greensboro and like to keep things simple, the Alice Mcarver Ratchford Scholarship might be for you. This award is given to female undergraduate students who live on campus, do not possess a car, are single, and don’t have any other scholarships.
- National Potato Council Scholarship Program: A love of potatoes can add up to a whole lot of money if you’re the lucky winner of this scholarship. Each year, a graduate student pursuing advanced studies in agribusiness for the enhancement of the potato industry will win $5,000 to put toward his or her education.
If you’re a member of a distinctive society, or someone in your family is, it’s worth checking out the possibility of getting a scholarship from that group, and we’ve detailed some of them here.
- NRA YES Program: Every year, the NRA hosts the Youth Education Summit, where students participate in an educational opportunity that revolves around becoming knowledgeable about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the federal government, and civic involvement. At the summit, scholarships totaling $10,000 are awarded through competitive debates, and a second round of $20,000 is available for participants who go through a secondary application.
- National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance: For some people, fat is just a fact of life, and this organization awards scholarships to students who specialize in fashion design and health for fat people. The scholarship program offers $1,000 to a budding fashion designer specializing in plus-size fashions, and $1,000 to students who utilize Health At Every Size tenets in their studies and research.
- Starfleet Scholarships: Star Trek fans who are also members of the Starfleet Star Trek Fan Association are eligible for scholarships from the organization. To qualify, you must be a member for at least one year before applying. Scholarships are available for medicine, engineering, performing arts, foreign language, business management, veterinary medicine, education, writing, law enforcement, and more.
- Little People of America Scholarships: Anyone who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance can qualify for scholarships through the Little People of America program, but preference is given to LPA members with a diagnosed form of dwarfism, their family members, people outside of LPA with dwarfism, and disabled students in general.
- Tall Clubs International Student Scholarships: On the other end of the scale, extremely tall people can qualify for scholarships as well. Women who are at least 5’10″ and men who are at least 6’2″ can qualify to receive $1,000 to put toward school funds.
- The Vegetarian Resource Group: If you don’t eat meat, you just might get money for college. The Vegetarian Resource Group awards $10,000 in college scholarships each year to students who promote vegetarianism in their schools and communities. This $10,000 is split into two awards of $5,000, so being vegetarian and sharing your lifestyle in the community can really pay off.
If you belong to a family of rich people, chances are you’re going to be okay in the college finance department. But even long lost relatives, or anyone who shares your name can help.
- Zolp: At Loyola University Chicago, some families just have all the luck. If you’re a Catholic student with the last name of Zolp, you could get a full scholarship to Loyola, no strings attached, but paperwork is definitely required.
- Scarpinato Scholarship: Just like Loyola, the Scarpinato family has it easy at Texas A&M, with a full-ride scholarship available to anyone born with the last name, or those who have married into the family. According to the New York Times, the university sends out letters to every Scarpinato they can find.
- Gatling Grant: Students born with the surname Gatlin or Gatling can qualify for the John Gatling Grant program at North Carolina State University, which offers $9,000 for NC residents and $18,000 for out-of-state residents. Unlike other family awards, this grant does have exceptional demand, and qualified students will have aid distributed according to priority, including qualifications such as residential status and financial need.
- Harvard Ancestry Scholarships: Harvard has several scholarships available for select ancestors and those bearing chosen family names or ancestry, including Downer, Dudley, Ellis, Bright, Amory, Pennoyer, Hudson, Baxendale, Slater, Appel, Goodbar, Thayer, as well as funds for descendants of the Harvard College Classes of 1889 and 1902.
- Van Valkenburg Memorial Scholarship Competition: Any member of the Van Valkenburg family attending college can qualify to receive $1,000, as long as they’ve completed an application that verifies they are a descendant of Lambert and Annetje Van Valkenburg, as well as an essay on Van Valkenburg heritage.
- Sons of Confederate Veterans Scholarship: Ancestors of Confederate veterans (not just sons) can win this award of $1,000 for school, provided they are a member in good standing of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Children of the Confederacy, or United Daughters of the Confederacy, organizations which require members to be ancestors of Confederate veterans.
Most students might expect to see scholarships for football, basketball, and baseball, but big team sports aren’t the only ones getting scholarship money. Check out these fun and unusual sports scholarships to see if you qualify.
- Barry Lefkowitz Scholarship Billiards Tournament: University of Akron alumnus and former university billiards champion Barry Lefkowitz started this scholarship program to keep billiards alive at the university, and through tournaments in the spring and fall, three talented players can claim up to $1,000 to use for school and books at the University of Akron.
- American Water Ski Educational Foundation: Water skiing can be much more than just a fun sport: it can earn you money for college, too. Young water skiing athletes can qualify for these awards as members of USA Water Ski, with good academic achievement, community activities, and a 500-word essay.
- Body By Milk Sammy Scholarship: America’s Milk Processors, the people behind the “Got Milk?” campaign, have created the Sammy Scholarship, an award that shares $7,500 scholarships with 25 student athletes each year. Applicants are judged by their academic performance, athletic excellence, leadership, community service, and milk experience essay, and if they win, will be invited to take part in their own Got Milk? mustache ad.
- Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship: Most people think of golfers as the only athletes in the sport, but the fact is that caddies have a vitally important role to play in golfing as well. The Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship honors the role of caddies, providing funds for outstanding caddy students to attend select universities with an Evans Scholarship House.
- Robert J. Marriott Scholarship Grant for Fly Fishing: Fly fishing is a fun pastime, hobby, and even career for some, but without fish, there’s nothing to wade in and fly for. That’s why this scholarship grant offers $500 to a deserving student who is specializing in fish studies, including fishery management.