Do You Qualify for These Unusual Scholarships?
Anyone who’s thinking about college is bound to have taken a look at many of those large, nationally competitive scholarships that receive thousands of outstanding applications. The applicants often possess excellent GPAs, impressive extracurricular activities and great personalities to boot.
In the process of going for the big bucks, you might neglect those more unusual scholarships that have a far smaller pool of applicants, which increases your chance of winning. You may just have the quirk that a scholarship committee is looking for!
Though these unusual scholarships may not be able to fund an entire college education, they certainly can help cover those smaller, often unseen costs, such as a laptop, textbooks or even dorm furnishings.
In addition, winning smaller, more unusual scholarships can be the stepping stone to larger scholarships.
Scholarship boards like to see a track record of success, and the fact that other scholarship committees have deemed you fit for an award is often a great way of winning their confidence. Winners of prestigious, national scholarships often have a history of winning smaller unusual scholarships and contests.
You can even strike closer to home by checking your parents’ workplaces for scholarships for children of employees.
The more unusual scholarships are, the harder they are to find. You’ve got to be willing to put in the effort to spend some time researching scholarships and investigating possible opportunities. That means more time at your high school guidance counselor’s office, calling up organizations and fine-tuning your scholarship search.
But any scholarship winner can tell you that time spent researching scholarships is definitely a worthy investment—especially when you get that letter in the mail that’s going to save you some money. Start your scholarship search now, you left-handed golfer-gardener-Klingon speaker-budding marine biologist! There’s got to be something for you!
What’s your last name?
Loyola University offers the Zolp Scholarship (luc.edu/finaid/scholarships.shtml) that goes to any Catholic student who has the last name Zolp on their birth and confirmation certificates. The grant awards full tuition for four years to the successful applicant. Who would have thought a name could fund four years of a college education?
How tall are you?
Sometimes even a natural attribute has the potential to win you some money for the expensive years ahead. Tall Clubs International (www.tall.org) offers a $1,000 scholarship for women who are at least 5’10” and men who are at least 6‘2”. If you thought being the tallest kid in eighth grade was a pain, you may rethink your position!
Like to read and write?
The Society for the Preservation of Language & Literature offers the Stephen J. Manhard Scholarship Essay Contest. Applicants are required to submit an essay that relates to language and highlights the Society’s objectives (www.spellorg.com).
Students who love reading can make their love work for them in the bid to win cash for college. The Jane Austen Society of North America has an annual essay writing competition, with a specific category for high school students (www.jasna.org/essaycontest).
The Shakespeare Fellowship also awards prizes for the best-written essays related to the topics decided upon by the society (www.shakespearefellowship.org).
Don’t let an excellent history research paper hide in your locker. Spend some time reworking the paper, and consider submitting it to The Concord Review. Published research papers have a shot at The Emerson Prize, which is awarded to some of the best history essays published in the journal (www.tcr.org).
Can you draw?
Animation-savvy types can attempt the Excellence in 3-D Animation Award, where students download free software and compete in creating 3-D images for a $1,000 prize (www.troystudios.com/award.jsp). Since your creativity is the only thing in question, you don’t have to lose sleep over that less-than-stellar GPA.
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