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If you think that scholarships are just for outstanding athletes and brilliant students with a 4.0 GPA, you’re missing out on thousands of dollars for your college education. Weird scholarships may use knowledge of things from Star Trek to Duct™ Tape. If you are passionate about art, music or other talents, you can get scholarships to pay for your education, too.
These scholarships are unusual, weird, unique, or different in some way from the mainstream scholarships that some friends may have been awarded. You might feel as though they are not “real”, and be tempted to ignore them, but you’ll lose out on college money if you do. Weird scholarships pay out money just like traditional scholarships. They don’t have as many applicants, either, so they will be easier for you to win.
Check out these weird scholarships to help pay for your college education.
50 Weird Scholarships
1. Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc. Founders Fund Scholarship
Theodore Gordon Flyfishers fund was established by an angling organization that is strictly non-profit. They promote conservation and protection of the environment, and their members enjoy activities based on education and activism.
One $3,500 scholarship is awarded by the group every year. To be eligible, you must have decided to major in environmental studies, like zoology, natural resource management, biology or other fields that are equally relevant. The registration form takes about 55 minutes to complete.
The activities of TGF serve as a model for other organizations whose roots are based in conservation. They are active in conservation and they advocate for the protection of the environment. TGF provides national and local leadership on education, environmental and conservation issues with relation to coldwater fisheries. You can find more information about their weird scholarships and their mission on their website.
2. The Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarships
This group offers two of these weird scholarships annually, with $5,000 awarded in each. Applications are judged on your ability to actively demonstrate courage, compassion and a commitment to peace in the world, through your lifestyle as a vegetarian.
As a part of their weird scholarships program, VRG health activists, educators and professionals work together with individuals and businesses in order to inspire changes in schools, workplaces and communities.
Physicians and registered dietitians help in developing publications related to nutrition, and answer media and member questions. Learn about their goals and their scholarships on their website.
3. The Kor Memorial Scholarship
While many of our unique scholarships are for common causes, this is one of several truly weird scholarships. The Klingon Language Council (KLC) awards $500 scholarships to students who excel at implementing creative uses for the language of Klingon, from the fictional Star Trek Universe. There is lots of interesting information about the Klingon language on their website.
4. American Quarter Horse Association Scholarships
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) scholarships help students who are involved in the organization. They must demonstrate financial need and achieve specific academic goals. The amounts of these scholarships are determined each year. You can find more information at the AQHA website.
5. Michael Jackson Scholarship
This scholarship was begun by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). It honors the late musical performer and you can win up to $4,000 in tuition aid if you major in communication, performing arts or English.
Michael Jackson weird scholarships were designed to provide educational assistance to social science and communication arts students who attend a UNCF university or college.
In order to win, you must have a 3.0 or better GPA. This scholarship awards up to $5,000 annually, depending on students’ financial needs, which are verified by the college or university they attend. Learn more at the UNCF Scholarship site.
6. Oregon Space Scholarship Program
The Oregon Space program offers $4,000 scholarships for students who major in math, engineering, technology or science. Their intent is to advance the US space program, and reward excellence in academics.
The Oregon Space Consortium Program belongs to the National Space Fellowship and Grant program. It is an Oregon-wide network of science professionals, students, researchers, educators, museums and colleges promoting education through interdisciplinary, cooperative programs, while serving to recruit and train the next workforce of NASA. There is more interesting information about their weird scholarships and group mission on their website.
7. Chuck Allen Snowboard Scholarship Award
The Chuck Allen Snowboard Scholarship is offered by the USA Snowboard & Freeski Association. It is awarded for academic endeavors.
The mission of this group is facilitating fair and fun events for snowboarders and freeskiiers of all ages in the US. They work by attracting talent, promoting their development, providing education for their members and influencing the future of these sports. Read more about their mission and weird scholarships on their website.
8. Nordstrom Cares Scholarship
This scholarship fund chooses 80 students who reside in US states where there are Nordstrom stores. They are each awarded $10,000 scholarships. In order to be eligible, you must have served in extracurricular activities or volunteer service. You also need a 2.7 or better GPA. This scholarship is only awarded to students who truly do need financial assistance so that they can attend college. Check out their website for more information.
9. National Potato Council Scholarship
The National Potato Council Scholarship fund awards one scholarship each academic year worth $10,000 to one grad student who is conducting current research which will benefit the US potato industry.
The NPC is committed to giving voice to the potato industry in the United States through these weird scholarships, on issues like trade, the environment, regulations and legislation that affects the industry. There is additional information on the scholarship on their website.
10. Writers of the Future Scholarship
Sponsored by L. Ron Hubbard, this scholarship awards $1,000, $750, $500, and an annual grand prize of $5,000. It gives new science fiction writers a chance to gain exposure in this field. Four weird scholarships are available. More information is available on their website.
11. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship
This scholarship awards $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 to extraordinary people under the age of 18. You must have completed a piece of art that is significant. Categories include Philosophy, Music, Literature, Mathematics, Engineering, Technology and Science. Learn more from their website.
12. Darden Restaurants Point Scholarship
Darden Restaurants is the largest restaurant company with full service in the US. They serve 400 million tasty meals each year. The company is built on a heritage of caring, respect, diversity and serving others. These weird scholarships have varying amounts, and more information is available on their website.
13. Little People of America Scholarship
LPA offers this scholarship for organization members. The group provides support and information to people 4’10” or shorter in height, and to their families. Amounts vary. Learn more on their website.
14. Collegiate Inventors Scholarship
The Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages undergrad and grad students to pursue new processes, ideas and technological innovations.
The grand prize for these weird scholarships is $25,000. The Inventors Competition Graduate prize is $15,000 and the Undergraduate winner receives $10,000. More information is on their website.
15. Hood College’s Heritage Scholarship
This heritage scholarship from Hood College awards incoming freshmen the chance to pay only what their alumnus parent or grandparent paid. It offers $1,000 per year. You can learn more at the Hood College website.
16. The Illinois Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs Scholarship
This group of four $100 weird scholarships is founded by the Illinois organization that is named in the title. In addition, one $300 award is given to a student with financial needs. The student family must have a current IOMOTC member or the student must be an Illinois resident. More information is available on their website.
17. Burlington Industries Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded based on merit to incoming freshmen of parent(s) who are employees at ITG. Company officers’ children are not eligible. The award amounts vary. Learn more at their website.
18. Ronald McDonald House Scholarship
Ronald McDonald House wants to help students who are financially challenged. They offer weird scholarships to students who have financial needs, based on their community involvement, academic achievement and leadership. Award amount varies. Their website has more information.
19. Students for Organ Donation Youth Leadership Award
This scholarship is intended for undergraduate full-time students. The group offers one to two $500 and $1,000 awards. You must be committed to raising public awareness of organ transplantation and donation. Check out the national organ donor website for additional information.
20. The Icy Frost Bridge Scholarship
This award is intended for music students at DePauw University who are female, and who can play or sing the US national anthem. The brother of Icy Frost, Jack Frost Bridge, is a DePauw University alumnus. Amounts for these weird scholarships vary. Click on their website for additional information.
21. American Society for Enology and Viticulture Scholarship
Several weird scholarships are awarded each year for students who study winemaking or grapes. You must be in pursuit of a degree in viticulture or enology, or a science degree relevant to winemaking. Amounts vary. Learn more at their website.
22. John Kitt Memorial Scholarships
Founded by The American Association of Candy Technologists, these weird scholarships pay $5,000 to the winning recipients. Students must demonstrate their interest in the technology of confections. Their website has more information.
23. National Beef Ambassador Program Scholarship
This award is presented to the winner of a national public speaking contest. Winners receive cash prizes, as well as scholarships. Amounts vary. Learn more about this ambassador program at their website.
24. The Dannie Jasmine Scholarships
These weird scholarships are awarded by the Mule Deer Foundation, which was established in the hopes of conserving blacktail and mule deer. $500 is awarded to the winning student, who attends the University of Nevada at Reno. More information is available on the foundation website.
25. Jeanne Bray Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is administered by the National Rifle Association (NRA) for the children of NRA members who are also law enforcement officers. The amount varies. Learn more at the NRA website.
26. Illustrators of the Future Contest
This contest is available for all artists from any nation. Entries should consist of three (3) black and white illustrations of fantasy or science fiction. They must not have been published already. The foundation awards up to $4,000 in weird scholarships. Their website has additional information.
27. William Cullison Scholarship
TAPPI funds this scholarship, related to paper-making and pulp. It is intended for sophomores in college who would like to pursue careers in the paper, converting and pulp industries. It pays $4,000 for the final two years of each winner’s program in undergraduate studies. The awards are usable at 24 or more colleges that each have paper and pulp programs or Student Chapters of TAPPI. Learn more at the TAPPI website.
28. Mycological Society of America Scholarships
The Mycological Society awards several weird scholarships for students interested in fungus, spores and mold. Two $2,000 MSA Graduate Scholarships are awarded, along with one $500 Backus Award. The society website provides more information.
29. American Welding Society Scholarships
This foundation offers several annual scholarships for students who are enrolled in a training or educational program related to welding. The amount varies. Learn more at the foundation website.
30. LaFontaine Aquatic Entomology Awards
Sponsored by LaFontaine Aquatic Entomology Foundation, these weird scholarships are awarded to grad students who conduct research in aquatic entomology. The amount of the awards are $500 each. The foundation website has additional information.
31. Thomas Pratte Memorial Scholarship From the Surfrider Foundation
This scholarship was established by this surfing foundation. Students should be interested in the environmental science of coastal areas, studying in areas like natural resources, community planning, environmental sciences, marine affairs or oceanography.
The foundation protects and preserves the oceans of the world. $10,000 in total is awarded every year. $2,000 of this total is for weird scholarships for undergrad students; $3,000 is awarded to a master’s degree student and a $5,000 scholarship is awarded to a worthy PhD student. More information is available on the website for the Surfrider Foundation.
32. USBC Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow
This award is available to US or Canadian female students aged 22 or younger, who bowl an average of 175 or higher. It pays $1,500 per school year for the winning bowler. The USBC has more information on their website.
33. Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) Award
This award is intended for scholar athletes graduating from high school. You must show excellence in community service and leadership. Weird scholarships worth $7,500 are awarded to regional winners. There are 25 regions in the United States. Learn more at the national milk marketing website.
34. Patrick Kerr Scholarship for Skateboarders
This scholarship awards three (3) $1,000 scholarships and one (1) $5,000 scholarship to seniors in high school with a 2.5 GPA who are also skateboarders. Learn more at their website.
35. The Fountainhead Essay Contest
This essay competition is intended for juniors and seniors in high school. You can win a cash award for your short, unpublished, original essays about Ayn Rand’s themes in “The Fountainhead”.
First prize awarded is a whopping $10,000. Five second place winners in these weird scholarships get $2,000 each and 10 third place winners receive $1,000. 244 total awards are given. The Ayn Rand organization website has more detailed information.
36. J.D. Salinger Award
Ursius College supports and recognizes what they term creative writing genuises with this award. It was named for the writer of The Catcher in the Rye. He attended this college back in 1938. The winner receives a four-year paid scholarship at $30,000 per academic year. You can learn more at the college website.
37. Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Scholarship
This contest is run by the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Participating students are eligible for $1,000 in scholarship funding if they enroll in this school. These weird scholarships are renewable for up to four years. The college website has more information.
38. Rolex Diving Scholarship
This $25,000 scholarship is awarded to grad students between 21 and 26 years of age. You cannot have already earned a graduate degree, or chosen a career path that is clearly defined. It is also required for applicants to have 25 or more dives in the last two years, and be certified at as Rescue Diver. Learn more at the scholarship website.
39. Corrosion in Motion Student Competition
This contest awards $3,000 to the winner of a competition in which entrants strive to explain in four-minute videos how corrosion affects structures, including the composition and material of the structure, and where it is located with respect to the environment. The submissions for these weird scholarships may be serious or funny, but should also be creative, thoughtful and completely original. They provide a website with additional information.
40. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship
This $2,500 scholarship is awarded to a female who belongs to the Horror Writers Association. If you are interested, you will need to submit four horror writing samples and a short statement about why you feel you are deserving of the award. You should also have financial need. You can learn more at the scholarship website.
41. Holography Internship
This award is for students who are interested in holography. The internship allows the winner to work creating holograms in a laser lab. The student will also assist with art gallery work, display fabrication, the creation of computer-generated and sculptural art, cinematography work and art gallery businesses. The amount of the awards in these weird scholarships and internships varies. You may include a personal project in holography with your application. More information is found at their website.
42. National Dairy Shrine/Dairy Management, Inc. Milk Marketing Scholarship
This scholarship awards $1,500 to sophomores, juniors or seniors who plan to pursue careers in marketing of dairy products. You should have a 2.5 or higher Grade Point Average (GPA) in order to be eligible. The Dairy Shrine website has more information.
43. National Costumers Association Memorial Fund Scholarship
This weird scholarship is awarded to a student who is interested in costuming. In order to be eligible, you must be 17 years old or older and have a 2.75 or higher GPA. In addition, your course of study must be applicable to the costuming industry to be qualified for these weird scholarships. Learn more at the organization website.
44. American Board of Funeral Service Education Post-Graduate Scholarship
This scholarship is available for graduate students who are working as faculty members in programs of mortuary science or funeral service. The programs must be accredited by the national Board of Funeral Services Education.
If you wish to apply, you will need to send a letter of recommendation from someone in this field, along with a resume, proof of United States citizenship and proof of your enrollment in an accredited graduate program. Award amounts vary. The organization website provides additional information.
45. Willy the Plumber’s Weird Scholarship
These weird scholarships are intended to benefit children of inmates. If your parent(s) habitually are imprisoned, or are imprisoned for a long period of time, you qualify for this scholarship. The awards are $1,000 for a child attending college and $500 if you attend a technical school. Learn more at their website.
46. John Gatling Grant Program
This scholarship grant program at North Carolina State University is offered only to students whose last name is either Gatling or Gatlin. Grants range from $9,000 to $18,000. The NCSU financial aid website has additional information.
47. Kerope Zildjian Scholarship
This unusual scholarship will recognize outstanding student percussionists who are enrolled in a music program at the undergraduate level. The winner receives $5,000 in tuition awards and a trip to the Zildjian music factory in Massachusetts, to choose a free set of cymbals. To enter these weird scholarships, you must send along an audio recording of yourself, playing a four-mallet marimba or complex snare solo. Learn more at the Zildjian website.
48. Society of Vacuum Coaters Foundation Scholarship Fund
This award funds part of your college tuition if you are interested in becoming educated in vacuum coating technology. The course of study you choose must be related to this field. The money awarded varies, and you can obtain more information at the society website.
49. Alert Magazine Scholarships
These weird scholarships are funded by Alert Magazine. They award $500 to the student who best exemplifies determination not to turn to alcohol and drugs by writing essays about their personal encounters with alcohol and/or drug abuse. The award is $500. More information is found at the Alert Magazine website.
50. The Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship
This scholarship allows students with special vocal talents to equip themselves with the necessary resources to become successful, professional vocalists. It was established in 1988 as a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization, to award scholarships to young singers interested in American opera.
To be eligible for these weird scholarships, you must be between the age of 21 and 36 and actively be seeking a career in the opera. Through their educational program, they seek out the best singers in the United States through preliminary auditions. Their website has more information about the group and its scholarship opportunities.
Author: Jeff Gitlen