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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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Timothy Peck
4 Scholarships

Do Left-Handed Scholarships Exist? How to Find Unusual Scholarships

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If you’re applying to scholarships, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a scholarship for almost everything. Some are targeted towards students from a specific ethnicity, geographic region, or sex. Others are based on interests, talents, or career paths. Seeing that there is a scholarship for students from almost every background, you would assume that there are scholarships for left-handed people. But are there? Read on to learn about left-handed scholarships and whether or not they exist.


Do Left-Handed Scholarships Exist?


Surprisingly, there are no left-handed scholarships. That said, there used to be one. The Frederick and Mary F. Beckley Scholarship formerly was awarded to students attending Juniata College, a small, private college in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. The $2,000-$5,000 scholarship was granted to lefties who had a strong academic record and financial need. This scholarship appears to no longer exist, as the link for the official scholarship webpage is broken on the Juniata College website.


Why Are There No Left-Hand Scholarships?


There are likely numerous reasons for why there isn’t a lefty-specific scholarship available. For one, lefties are generally well-accepted in society today, and aren’t considered an underrepresented group. In fact, modern lefties aren’t just surviving, they’re thriving. Over the past 100 years, there have been seven left-handed U.S. Presidents (Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama). 


Before 1933, there was only one known lefty U.S. President—James Garfield. There may have been more, but in earlier times, many individuals who would have grown up left-handed were forced into becoming righties. President Garfield himself wasn’t even a true lefty—he was ambidextrous. (Fun tidbit: legend has it that President Garfield was able to write with both hands at the same time and in different languages—the left hand in Greek and the right in Latin).


That isn’t to say that left-handed people haven’t faced challenges, though. These challenges go all the way back to centuries ago: according to Time Magazine, “In the Middle Ages…the left-hander lived in danger of being accused of practicing witchcraft.” Today, these challenges are a little more mundane. Almost every lefty will complain about right-hand desks and right-hand scissors, along with the discomfort presented by spiral notebooks and smearing pens and pencils. There is also scholarly research showing lefties are disadvantaged compared to their righty counterparts; in the U.S., there is a 6% wage gap separating righties and lefties.


That said, there is a consensus that these “hardships” fail to equate to the difficulties encountered by many underrepresented, minority, and low-income students—which is why there are scholarships for these groups, but not for left-handed students.

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Where Can You Find Unusual/Targeted Scholarships, Then?


While the Beckley Scholarship (and left-handed) scholarships no longer exist, below are some ways to find unusual and targeted scholarships.


Surf the Web: There’s no shortage of unusual and targeted scholarships available to college-bound students. CollegeVine’s blog post 10 Weird College Scholarships You Should Consider documents a few favorites, including the Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship and the Optimist International Scholarships. A quick Google search will turn up dozens more strange scholarships that might lead to an award. 


Ask Your Counselor: Speak with your school counselor to see what’s available for local and regional scholarships. There are numerous scholarships that are available only to local residents, which is great for narrowing the competition and increasing your odds of an award. For example, here are 10 scholarships only available to residents of Florida (and 10 others for Texas residents!). There are even awards specifically for students at a certain school, such as the Judge Sidney M. Aronovitz Memorial Scholarship, which is only available to students attending Miami Dade County Public School. 


Check out College-Specific Opportunities: There are numerous scholarships open to students attending a particular college (or group of colleges). For example, the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology (DFBSST) is only available to students intending to enroll in one of 20 predominantly Black colleges (check out our post on College Scholarships for Black Women for other opportunities). Even the lefty-loving Frederick and Mary F. Beckley Scholarship was only offered to students enrolling at Juniata College.    


Turn to Your Employer: Another place worth exploring for unique scholarship opportunities is with your, or your parents’, employers. For example, the Walmart Scholarship is open to dependents of Walmart employees, the Chick-fil-A Scholarship is open to employees, and the Burger King College Scholarship is open to Burger King employees, their spouse or domestic partner, or their children. You or your parents don’t have to work for a big corporation to find employer scholarships, either. Small businesses, government offices, non-profits, and other companies are also likely to offer scholarships.


Look for Background-specific Scholarships: The qualities that distinguish you from other scholarship-seeking students is another great way to search for scholarships. Gender, race, sexual orientation, and religious views are criteria scholarships use to determine eligibility. Good examples of these awards include the Harriet Fitzgerald College Scholarship for women attending women’s colleges, or the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which offers awards to applicants who are at least 25% Hispanic or Latino and able to trace their heritage to a Latino country. You can also combine different identifying factors like race and sex to find even more niche scholarships. For example, there are a number of scholarships available to groups such as Black women and Hispanic women


See if your Club or Group Offers Opportunities: Membership groups are another excellent place to search for scholarships. The Elks, a fraternal order, hands out a multitude of regional scholarships, including their well-known national award. Local Rotary clubs also hand out awards.


Highlight Your Talents and Interests: There are many scholarships for students with a particular passion. For example, there’s the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award for outstanding musicians, and the Davis-Putter Scholarship for students who are active in the social justice movement. Figure out what’s most important to you, and seek out scholarships targeted towards students with this attribute.


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Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.