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.