So many scholarships are awarded to students with high GPAs, an outstanding record of community service, or financial need. But what if you’re one of those students who just falls in the middle of the pack and doesn’t stand out enough from the rest to win traditional scholarships? No matter what you think, there is something that makes you unique, and these scholarships pick up on some of that uniqueness. From being a woman of above average height to playing specific card games to being a good enough artist that you can design a greeting card, there is a scholarship out there for you.
The American Board of Funeral Service Education offers scholarships to American citizens who are currently studying funeral service or mortuary science at an accredited institution. Students are required to fill out an online application; write a personal essay about their decision to go into mortuary science; and submit letters of recommendation, a résumé, and transcripts. The scholarship board meets twice a year; therefore, students can submit their applications by either March 1 or September 1. Students can win up to $2,500 and may reapply each year.
The American Radio Relay League, or the National Association for Amateur Radio, offers a number of scholarships for students who have an amateur radio license. Scholarships range from $500 to $5,000 and are available to students living throughout the United States and who attend accredited two-year, four-year, or graduate institutions. Certain scholarships may specify a state or residence, a major, or the type of institution, but with over 80 available, amateur radio operators should be able to find a match. Applications for 2019 are due by January 31.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), a service organization made up of women who have an ancestor who served during the Revolutionary War, offers a number of scholarships to students who are planning on attending an accredited institution. The Lillian and Arthur Dunn Scholarship, for example, is a $2,500 scholarship given to two students whose mothers are members of DAR and who have at least a 3.25 GPA. American Indian students who have at least a 3.25 GPA and can show financial need may be eligible for one of two other DAR scholarships. Application forms are available online and must be submitted by February 15. Award amounts vary.
The Gallery Collection offers the Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship for students who are at least 14 years old and enrolled in high school, homeschooled, or enrolled in college. Students may submit a photograph, a scanned or photographed image of original artwork, or a computer graphic as their greeting card. Cards for any occasion are acceptable, but the Gallery Collection generally sells to large corporations and students should keep that in mind when designing their cards. Students must submit their artwork by March 1 and will be notified by May 1 if they have won the $10,000 cash prize plus an additional $1,000 for school-related fees.
For students who play Magic: The Gathering, Gamers Helping Gamers offers scholarships to help students pay for college. Students must submit their FAFSA results, their transcripts, and their responses to a selection of essay prompts after creating an account online. Students can receive up to $5,000 per year for four years. Applications are due March 31.
The Doodle 4 Google contest is open to students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and students need only to submit a Doodle (in any medium) that fits within the theme—which changes each year. For 2019, the theme is “what you hope for in your future.” The national winner will be rewarded with a $30,000 scholarship as well as a $50,000 technology grant for their school, and their Doodle will be featured on the Google homepage. Smaller awards are available for national finalists and state winners. Submissions must be postmarked by March 18.
Students who are seriously interested in mystery writing may be eligible for one of two $500 scholarships offered by the Mystery Writers of America. Students must be citizens or permanent residents who will be attending a writing workshop or seminar or enrolling in a college-level writing program within the next academic year. The scholarship can be used to reduce the cost of only one workshop, seminar, or class. To apply, students must submit an application, a description of the program they wish to attend, an essay explaining why the student is interested in mystery writing, and a writing sample. Applications must be submitted by February 28.
Students who currently have cancer, have survived cancer, or lost a parent/guardian to cancer may be eligible for a $1,000 scholarship from the National Collegiate Cancer Foundation. Students must be between 18 and 35 years old unless they graduated from high school early and will begin college at age 17; they must be citizens or permanent residents and be attending or have plans to attend an accredited institution. Students will be required to submit essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and documents showing their financial need. The application opens in March.
Students with a creative streak who are interested in costume design may want to check out the Stuck at Prom scholarship, which rewards students who create a prom dress or tuxedo out of duct tape (particularly Duck Brand). Students must submit a photo of their creations, their contact information, and information about the construction of their outfits. Students may be asked to submit a video showing their dress or tuxedo as well. The contest runs from April 1 to June 3, and winners of the $10,000 grand prizes will be announced on July 9.
Incoming freshmen (who are younger than 21 years old) may be eligible for up to $1,000 from Tall Clubs International. Male students must be at least 6’2” and female students must be at least 5’10”. Students must request a scholarship application from their local Tall Clubs International club or, if there is no scholarship available locally, from the Tall Clubs International Foundation. Applications must be requested by February 1 and submitted by March 1.
Unigo.com offers a host of scholarships to students who submit short essays, are legal residents of the United States, and fit age criteria (being at least 13 years old and entering college by the fall of 2025). Perhaps most entertaining is the $2,000 Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship, for which students submit a 250-word essay on their zombie apocalypse plan and the five things they’d want to have with them (due October 31). Also entertaining are the $2,500 Superpower Scholarship, (due March 31), in which students write about which superhero they’d like to be; the $5,000 Education Matters Scholarship, (due November 30), in which students respond to someone who is anti-education; and the $1,500 Flavor of the Month Scholarship, (due July 31), in which students compare themselves to a flavor of ice cream.
The Vegetarian Resource Group offers scholarships to vegetarian or vegan high school students who advocate for such a lifestyle in their community. In addition to filling out an application with their general information, students are required to write an essay that addresses their vegetarianism, and submit their transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and proof of their active involvement in promoting the vegetarian lifestyle in their community. Three scholarships are given each year: two totaling $5,000 each and one totaling $10,000. Applications must be submitted by February 20.
Remember, applying for scholarships that only get you the big bucks decreases your chances of winning anything. Everybody wants to win the big bucks! But, smaller prizes add up, especially if you start applying early on in high school and keep applying through the end of college. A mere $250 could be enough to cover your books one semester or push you over the edge to being able to afford a study abroad trip. If you’re not having a ton of luck with private scholarships, there are many other sources of funding, too!