12 Weird Scholarships You Just Might Qualify For in 2017

So many scholarships are awarded to students with high GPAs, an outstanding record of community service, or financial need. 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 knowing a lot of biology trivia to being a good enough artist that you can design a greeting card, there is a scholarship out there for you.

A girl uses controls to broadcast a radio show; there are unique scholarships for students who have an amateur radio license.

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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 may 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 2017 are due by January 31.

CenturyLink offers $1,000 scholarships to students who create an infographic answering a prompt. Currently, the prompt is as follows: “Create an original infographic explaining how the advancement of technology usage is leading to new career paths and leading more students away from traditional careers. Use factual, unique information and cite your sources. Be sure to make your infographic as creative and engaging as you can.” Students just need to upload their infographic (less than 2MB) and fill out a short form with their name, email, school, major, and a brief description of their infographic. Submissions are due by June 14.

The Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation (CKSF) is a little different from other scholarships. Instead of applying, students take quizzes and prove their knowledge on certain subjects. Local winners compete in a state championship, which is followed up by a national championship. High school students can compete in biology or money and investment for $250 scholarships. Current college students with a knowledge of medical terminology can also compete for a $250 scholarship. Anyone who is out of school can compete for the $250 Festivus Scholarship, which involves general knowledge trivia. In order to take the scholarship quizzes, students must register with CKSF.

A girl contemplates the subject of her sketch, a requirement for one of the weird scholarships to which she is applying.

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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 DAR scholarships. Application forms are available online and must be submitted by February 10. Students who are applying for an American Indian scholarship must submit their applications 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 or college, or homeschooled. 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 2 and will be notified by May 1 if they have won the $10,000 cash prize plus an extra $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 Human Education Network and the Animal Welfare Institute offer scholarships to winners of the “A Voice for Animals” contest. Students of all nationalities are encouraged to apply and are not required to hold citizenship with a particular country. Students must be between 14 and 18 years old and currently attending either middle school or high school, or being homeschooled. There are a variety of prompts for the contest, including essays and videos that cover climate change and how it affects particular animal populations, essays about the mistreatment of a particular animal species, and projects that are working toward preventing the extinction of a particular species. All essays, videos, and projects must be submitted by April 10. Prizes range from $150 to $650.

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, and documents showing their financial need. The application opens March 1.

One of many weird scholarships asks students how they would react in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

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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 2023). 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, 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!

About Megan Clendenon

Megan C. is obsessed with Cincinnati-style chili, Louisville basketball, and Scandinavian crime fiction. She has lived in six different states and held 12 different jobs since beginning her undergraduate degree at Carleton College in 2008. The wanderlust abated somewhat in recent years, as Megan settled in Texas from 2013 to 2016 to finish a master’s degree in geosciences, write a thesis on the future horrors that stem from climate change, and get married. During her free time, you will find Megan sitting on the couch, cheering for her Louisville Cardinals, planning future adventures abroad, and snuggling with her dog, Tiger. She currently lives outside of Washington D.C.

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