When most people think about the different kinds of college scholarships, they think about awards that are based on test scores, GPAs or athletic accomplishments. However, there are a number of unusual scholarships that look for more unique factors. Read below to learn more about unusual scholarships, where to find them and how they work.
What is an unusual scholarship?
While most scholarships are given to students based on some kind of academic criteria, such as merit scholarships or other traditional scholarship based on musical, artistic, etc., unusual scholarships have requirements that are outside the norm.
For example, the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest rewards students who create fashionable prom outfits from duct tape. You don't need to have good grades or a stellar essay in order to win this scholarship - just an eye for fashion.
Some scholarships will give out awards to students based on personal characteristics they can't control. For example, the Tall Clubs International Student Scholarship is given to a student who is eligible for membership in Tall Clubs International. The minimum height requirement for men is 6’2”, and the minimum height for women is 5'10”.
Because unusual scholarships are different from regular scholarships, it's even more imperative to read through the requirements so you understand how to qualify and what to submit. Make sure to also read the frequently asked questions and contact the scholarship administrator if you're confused about any details.
How to apply for an unusual scholarship
Students interested in unusual scholarships should start searching for them early on in their high school careers. Many of these scholarships are not limited to just high school seniors or juniors.
Many weird or unusual scholarships reward students who can be creative and unique. These scholarships are not necessarily easier to win than regular awards, and they may require more ingenuity.
Finding unusual scholarships is harder, simply because there are fewer of them available. You can start with a scholarship search at Scholarships.com, which will automatically match you to unusual scholarships as well as any others you qualify for. We also have an entire section of our Scholarship directory dedicated to scholarships by special attributes to help students find less traditional awards easily.
It's impossible to predict if you'll win a scholarship, and that doesn't change if you're applying for unique or weird scholarships. The best thing you can do is double-check all the requirements, make sure the application is submitted before the deadline and try to stand out as much as possible.
Frequently asked questions about unusual scholarships
Are unusual scholarships easier to win?
While there are many unusual scholarships with fewer criteria, others still have strict requirements. For example, the Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship is given to a student who can demonstrate how they helped a rescue animal or promoted animal welfare. Crafting a well-written essay and having a compelling story will be key to winning this scholarship.
What are some of the best unusual scholarships?
The best unusual scholarships are the ones that you can get just by basically submitting something you are required to do for a class. No essay or other requirements that can take up a lot of your time. The National Candy Technologists Scholarship is awarded to a college sophomore, junior or senior with a demonstrated interest in confectionery technology. This can include many activities including but not limited to research projects, work experience, and formal study.
What are some of the easiest unusual scholarships?
One type of unusual scholarship with a simple application is a sweepstake, which is essentially like a lottery system. Scholarship contests and sweepstakes don't base winners on factors like grades, test scores or extracurriculars. Instead, you simply fill out a very brief application and submit it by the deadline. A winner will be chosen randomly.
Scholarship sweepstakes are impossible to predict, so students shouldn't count on them. If they’re easy to apply for, go ahead and fill out the application. But if there are a lot of hoops to jump through, then focus on scholarships where you have a better chance of winning.
Each year the Twins Days Festival Committee honors a set of twins, who are graduating seniors, who exhibit exceptional efforts in both school and community service, and share their experience being a twin”, and what effect, if any, it will have on your career choice. The Twins Days Festival makes available a scholarship ($1,000 per twin) to help a set of qualified twins with upcoming college [...] More
We’re giving away $20,000 in cash scholarships to high school students who make the best prom attire out of Duck® Brand Duct Tape! New this year? We want to make sure everyone has a chance to enter and win no matter what prom looks like for you. So, we have removed the requirement to wear your one-of-a-kind creation to prom -- you just need to be enrolled in high school or a home school [...] More
The annual Ocean Awareness Contest is a platform for young people to learn about environmental issues through art-making and creative communication, and become advocates for positive change. Students are invited to create Visual Art (any medium), Creative Writing, Film, Interactive & Multimedia, Performing Arts: Music & Dance, and Poetry & Spoken Word that explores their connection to water and [...] More
To be eligible for the John Kitt Memorial AACT Scholarship Fund, applicants must: be an incoming college sophomore, junior or senior during the upcoming academic year; have a demonstrated interest in confectionery technology; attend an accredited, four-year college or university within North America; be majoring in a food science, chemical science, biological science or related area; and have [...] More
Each year, the Potato Leadership, Education and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF) awards one $10,000 academic scholarship to a graduate student with strong interest in research that can directly benefit the potato industry. Research focus may include basic research or applied research that improves potato production efficiency, addresses pest management and disease issues, increases consumer [...] More
At Tenshon, we have the interesting and challenging task of merging form and function, creativity with practicality…and we employ valued individuals who glorify these tasks on a daily basis. Whether we are working on large commercial projects, such as stadiums and corporate offices, or taking on more intimate residential spaces, our designers must learn to adapt quickly, perform creatively and [...] More
Students are able to apply for our $2,000 scholarship which can be used towards tuition for their next semester at college. All drawings will be done early August each year after submission deadlines have passed. All interested students will be required to write a short essay about their opinion on how Minecraft can be a positive influence within their education and career development. Minecraft [...] More
The Beauty & Wellness Professionals Scholarship is a $2,500 scholarship for students and professionals changing others’ lives through wellness and beauty. If you’re ready to begin a fulfilling and rewarding career in the beauty and wellness industry, or if you are continuing your education to pursue your next career goal, submit the application form below for the chance to win a $2,500 [...] More
The National Scholarship Program of the American Board of Funeral Service Education was established to provide financial awards to students enrolled in funeral service or mortuary science programs to assist them in obtaining their professional education. Established during the 1960’s the program has awarded scholarships to hundreds of students. Scholarships are generally from $1,500 - $2,500 for [...] More
L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new writers of science fiction and fantasy to have their work judged by some of the masters in the field and discovered by a wide audience. No entry fee is required and entrants retain all publication rights. Entries in the Writers of the Future Contest are adjudicated only by professional writers. Prizes of $1000, $750 and $500 [...] More
The Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc. Founders Fund Scholarship is offered annually to a single recipient who has demonstrated excellence and outstanding dedication in a field of study that falls within an environmental field of a school or department. It was the hope of the founders that the recipient will use this scholarship to assist his or her studies, and after graduation seek employment in [...] More
The Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship Award is an award to support the education and research program of promising graduate students in crystallography-related fields. The applicant should be a graduate student enrolled in a graduate degree program with major interest in crystallography (e.g. crystal structure analysis), crystal morphology, modulated structures, correlation of atomic [...] More
The Beef Industry Scholarship was introduced in 1989 through Live Cattle Futures Contract of the CME Group. The National Cattlemen’s Foundation and CME Group are committed to the future of the cattle industry and continue to recognize and support outstanding youth in the beef community. The tradition remains strong today, each year a total of ten $1,500.00 scholarships are awarded to students [...] More
All high school seniors may compete for college scholarships totaling $4,250 at the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest. A copy of the contestants high school transcript must be provided at registration along with a proper ID. The first-place winner will receive $2,000. Second place will receive $1,000, 3rd place will receive $750, and 4th place will receive $500.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's educational programs are a significant part of the Show's goals of benefiting youth, supporting education, and facilitating better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. All recipients of Show scholarships must demonstrate academic potential, citizenship/leadership and financial need, and they must attend a Texas college or [...] More
Martin’s® is offering scholarship prizes of up to $3,000 to eligible students who create a video advertisement to promote Martin’s® new Sweet Dinner and/or Sweet Party Potato Rolls. Students may create a video ad for either YouTube or Instagram Reels. The student with the best advertisement for each category will be awarded $3,000. Two runners-up will also be chosen for each category and will be [...] More
Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, The Vegetarian Resource Group each year will award $20,000 in college scholarship money to graduating U.S. high school students who have promoted vegetarianism in their schools and/or communities. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or fowl. Vegans are vegetarians who do not use other animal products such as dairy or eggs. Three awards will be given. [...] More
Tall Clubs International Foundation awards annual scholarships to deserving High School Seniors in North America (United States and Canada only). TCI Foundation receives scholarship nominations from Tall Club International’s local member clubs and members-at-large across North America. From this pool of nominations, the recipients are selected to receive a $1000 scholarship award from Tall Clubs [...] More
The Wm. Zolp Scholarship is an endowed scholarship available to pay toward tuition to any Catholic student by the last name of Zolp who attends Loyola University Chicago. A copy of a birth certificate and a baptismal or confirmation certificate confirming the last name of Zolp and that the applicant is Catholic must be filed with the Financial Aid Office. Prospective candidates must be admitted [...] More
Use your imagination to create a Google Doodle based on what you’re grateful for. Students can work with any materials they choose, but all Doodles must be entered using the entry form. Parents and teachers can mail the completed entry form or submit it online as a .png or .jpg. The National Winner's artwork will be displayed on Google.com for one day. The winner will also receive a $30,000 [...] More
To be eligible for a Dolphin Scholarship Foundation award, applicants must: be a dependent of a current member or former member of the U.S. Navy Submarine Force; be a high school senior or be currently enrolled as a student in a college or an accredited vocational or technical institute; be unmarried and under the age of 24 at the time of the application deadline; and intend to or be enrolled as [...] More
The Asparagus Club awards a maximum of ten scholarships per year. Each scholarship is $2,000 per semester not to exceed four consecutive semesters. Recipients must retain full-time student status and earn at least a 2.5 GPA to earn a scholarship each semester/quarter. Scholarships are available to rising college freshman through postgraduate studies (must be enrolled at the time of disbursement [...] More
The Bird Dog Foundation, Inc. has established a Scholarship Fund to promote interest in hunting, wildlife conservation, the rich outdoor heritage of the United States, and other related subjects. An annual College Scholarship Essay Contest has been held for several years now. The contest was created in the hopes that it would promote interest in and education about the aforementioned subjects and [...] More
The Collegiate Inventors Competition, a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Invent Now is a national competition that recognizes and rewards innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their faculty advisers. Students frequently come from science, engineering, mathematics, and technology studies, but the creative invention can emerge from any [...] More