Timothy Peck 6 min read Scholarships

10 Weird College Scholarships You Don’t Want to Miss

When most high schoolers think of scholarships, their thoughts turn to high-minded essays, great grade point averages, and awesome athletic achievements. While a majority of scholarships do favor a strong GPA and excellent extracurriculars, there are scholarships for all sorts of activities and contests—some unexpected, others unusual, and even a few which are truly bizarre. If you’re interested in winning a strange scholarship, check out these 10 weird college scholarships.

 

1. Duck Brand Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest

Amount: $10,000  

Deadline: July 21, 2020

Eligibility: 14 years of age or older and attending a high school, home school, or another school-sanctioned prom during the contest’s calendar year

Application Requirements: 

  • Essay or video documenting the construction of your outfit
  • Up to five high-resolution images of your outfit 
  • Parental permission for applicants under the age of 18

 

Contestants in the Duck Brand Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest are tasked with putting their design, creativity, and Duck Brand duct tape to work for the chance to win one of two $10,000 scholarships—one in the “dress” category and the other in the “tux” category. In addition to submitting an awesome outfit made from Duck Brand’s wide variety of tapes, applicants are also asked to submit an essay or video documenting the construction of their outfit along with photos. If your photos are professionally taken, don’t forget to get a release form signed from the photographer! 

 

2. Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: February 20, 2021

Eligibility: Graduating U.S. high school students

Application Requirements:

  • Applicant has promoted vegetarianism in their school and/or community
  • Transcript 
  • Essay

 

The Vegetarian Resource Group offers not only a $10,000 scholarship, but two additional $5,000 awards to high school students who have promoted vegetarianism—defined as not eating meat, fish, or fowl—in their schools and communities. Winners are chosen based on the compassion, courage, and commitment they’ve demonstrated in promoting peace through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle. 

 

3. Create-A-Greeting-Card Contest

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: 2021 date TBD

Eligibility: Students 14 years of age and older who are enrolled in high school, college, or university

 

Show off your artistic talent and use your creativity to design a holiday, get well, anniversary, birthday, or any other type of card consistent with the current card lines of the Gallery Collection—the scholarship provider—for a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship in the Create-A-Greeting-Card contest. Submissions are judged on seven factors: overall aesthetic appeal, quality of execution, creativity and originality, successful incorporation of design elements, appropriateness for use as a greeting card, attractiveness to the Gallery Collection’s customers, and suitability as a design in the Prudent’s Gallery Collection greeting card line.

 

4. Gamers Helping Gamers 

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: March 31, 2020  

Eligibility: U.S. student with a focus on matriculating high school seniors

Application Requirements:

  • Transcript 
  • FAFSA 
  • Personal statement 
  • Three essays
    • What is your favorite Magic card or mechanic and why?
    • What is your least favorite Magic card or mechanic and why?
    • What lessons can we learn from Magic to help us solve real-world problems?

 

What’s more improbable: that there’s a scholarship for Magic players or that the scholarship has actually been featured in the New York Times? Believe it or not, both are true. Focused on matriculating high school seniors, the Gamers Helping Gamers scholarship is a four-year award given to enthusiasts of the card game Magic. The award is need-based, and applicants are asked to describe their background in Magic as well as the role the game has played in their life, answer some Magic-specific essay questions, and explain their future academic and career goals.

 

5. Foreclosure.com Scholarship Program

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: December 15, 2020   

Eligibility: 

  • Legal resident of the U.S.
  • 13 years of age or older
  • Enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution of higher learning in the U.S.

Application Requirements:

  • 800- to 2,000-word essay 

 

Since Forcelosure.com introduced its scholarship program in 2009, it has awarded $72,000 in scholarship money to 40 college students. Winners of the award are determined through an essay contest. Essay topics vary by year, but generally ask applicants to provide creative solutions and ideas that address the nation’s most critical issues, with a particular focus on real estate. 2020’s essay topic is: As a college student or recent graduate that may not qualify for a conventional home purchase, how would you leverage the “Rent to Own” (lease option) opportunity to achieve home ownership? Submissions are judged equally on four characteristics: writing ability, creativity, originality, and overall excellence. 

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6. Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: 2021 date TBD  

Eligibility: Graduating high school seniors

Application Requirements:

  • Transcript

 

Honoring the memories of the legendary Stuttgart, Arkansas, champion duck callers and duck calls makers, Chick and Sophie Major, the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest has been held since 1974—awarding $73,000 in scholarships to students attending 32 different colleges and universities in 13 different states. The contest is held in conjunction with the World’s Champion Duck Calling Contest; to win, simply bust out the best duck call for your chance at one of four awards—1st place: $2,000, 2nd place: $1,000, 3rd place: $750, 4th place: $500. While early award winners were primarily from Arkansas, recent winners have come from states such as Wisconsin, North Carolina, Delaware, and Iowa.

 

7. The Debt.com Scholarship For Aggressive Scholarship Applicants

Amount: $500

Deadline: 2021 date TBD

Eligibility: Applying for scholarships 

Application Requirements:

  • Confirmation emails from the scholarships you’ve applied for
  • Short letter about yourself 

 

The Debt.com Scholarship For Aggressive Scholarship Applicants rewards college-bound students aggressively pursuing college scholarships with a $500 award. The rules are simple for winning this award: apply for as many scholarships as possible, and send a short letter detailing your life plans, how you felt while applying for all those scholarships, what you learned from the process, and if you won anything. 

 

8. DutchCrafters Amish Furniture Heritage Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: May 20, 2020   

Eligibility: 

  • U.S. citizen or maintaining legal residency in the U.S.
  • Unweighted 3.0 high school GPA
  • Applied for federal financial aid  

Application Requirements:

  • FAFSA
  • 250-word statement of financial need 
  • 750-word essay answering this prompt: How will you draw upon your cultural heritage to shape your vocational aspirations, offer creative value to your future employer, and serve your community?

 

The DutchCrafters Amish Furniture Heritage Scholarship is awarded annually to two students who draw on their cultural heritage to shape their actions. Inspired by the acts of scholarship funder Jim Miller, the scholarship rewards students pursuing various careers in numerous fields—from nursing to engineering—with the common thread being a student’s use of knowledge passed on from prior generations to shape their aspirations, creativity, and how they serve the community.

 

9. Andrew Flusche Scholarship Contest 

Amount: $500

Deadline: June 20, 2020   

Eligibility: 

  • High school seniors who have been accepted into a college, university, or trade school; students enrolled in a college, university, or trade school; and students accepted into graduate school
  • Citizen or lawful resident of the U.S.

Application Requirements:

  • Three-minute video that serves as a public service announcement (PSA) about a topic that changes annually 

 

Sponsored by attorney Andrew Flusche, the Andrew Flusche Scholarship Contest tasks students with creating a three-minute public service video addressing the year’s designated topic and uploading it to YouTube. Past contest prompts include how to interact with the police, the dangers of distracted driving, and the dangers of underage drinking and driving—the topic of 2020’s contest is how to drive courteously

 

10. DoSomething’s Easy Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Varies 

Eligibility: Under 25 years old 

Application Requirements: Varies

 

Living up to its name, DoSomething’s Easy Scholarships offer students a quick and easy way to earn money for college. Simply rewarding community service, there’s no essay, GPA requirement, or letters of recommendation required. Applicants must simply take part in any of DoSomething’s revolving opportunities such as sharing a link to help your friends register to vote or sharing your tips on how to manage stress. Over the past six years, DoSomething has awarded more than $1.2 million in scholarships to over 300 students. 

 

5 Tips for Winning Scholarships

 

Start Applying Early

 

While many of the aforementioned scholarships have rather specific requirements, numerous scholarships are open to high school students of all ages. Just because college prep ramps up during a high schooler’s junior and senior years, that doesn’t mean that a student has to wait until then to begin applying for scholarships—there is even a scholarship (The Debt.com Scholarship For Aggressive Scholarship Applicants) that rewards students who doggedly pursue awards!

 

Apply For Lots of Scholarships

 

You can’t win awards if you don’t apply for them. One of the best steps you can take to increase your odds of winning a scholarship is to apply for lots of them. And don’t just limit yourself to big national awards, as there are lots of local grant and scholarship programs with smaller applicant pools. As listed above, there are even some wacky ones worth applying for—how good is your duck call? 

 

Show Your Stuff

 

Many scholarship applications have a video or essay component—including a fair amount of the aforementioned awards—this is your place to shine. Take this opportunity to show off your creativity, highlight what sets you apart from other candidates, and spotlight why you are worthy of the award. 

 

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

 

Punctuation errors, grammatical mistakes, and misspelled words show a lack of concentration and caring. Before submitting any materials, carefully proofread them and fix any mistakes. Once you’ve reviewed your materials on your own, have a teacher, parent, or proofreading pal go over your work as well. A second pair of eyes never hurts!

 

Avoid Silly Mistakes

 

There’s no quicker way to ruin your odds of winning an award than by making silly mistakes—even the weirdest awards expect a standard of competence. Make sure you read the application directions carefully, submit all the required material, provide any necessary information, and meet deadlines. 

 

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
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.