Everyone is normal until you get to know them. Then, “the weird” comes out. By fully embracing your weird factor, you could land yourself some serious scholarship money to help pay your college tuition. From paranormal activity to the Klingon dialect, we’re spreading the weird with our top 15 weird scholarships.
Writers of the Future Contest
L. Ron Hubbard wasn’t just the founder of Scientology, he was a brilliant science fiction author. His scholarship, the Writers of the Future Contest, aims to provide budding science fiction authors the opportunity to get some exposure in the field. Every three months, an award of $1,000, $750 or $500 is distributed to a winner, and each year, one recipient receives a grand prize scholarship worth $5,000.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Writers of the Future Contest
American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship
Want to light a fire under your college tuition bill? Check out the American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship. This scholarship, for $2,000, is awarded to five high school graduates. After reading about fire sprinklers, applicants are required to answer a ten-question, open-book quiz on their benefits.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship
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Michigan Llama Association Scholarship
A llama could be your ticket to paying for textbooks—how weird is that? The Michigan Llama Association Scholarship aims to offset some of the college costs by awarding one member, or the child of a member, a $500 scholarship. The award can be renewed up to three times during the recipient’s higher education career.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Michigan Llama Association Scholarship
AACT’s John Kitt Memorial Scholarship
Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, we found the most scrumptious scholarship for you. Sponsored by the American Association of Candy Technologists, the John Kitt Memorial Scholarship is available to college sophomores, juniors and seniors who have demonstrated an interest in confectionery technology.
Applicants must also attend an accredited college or university, be majoring in food science or a related field and have at least a 3.0 GPA.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: AACT’s John Kitt Memorial Scholarship
National Marbles Tournament Scholarship
This scholarship sets out to test your marble skills—and no, we’re not talking about tests to your sanity. The National Marbles Tournament Scholarship requires those with mad marble skills to compete against other “mibsters” (marble shooters) in a four-day tournament in Wildwood, New Jersey. There are many winners, picking up scholarships that range anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: National Marbles Tournament Scholarship
Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest
Your friends may tease that you’re a modern-day Snow White, but you can’t help that you can talk to animals! Now, your practiced quirk will finally pay off in the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest. Four prizes are given away each year at the contest that takes place around Thanksgiving. The winning duck whisperer brings home a scholarship worth $2,000.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest
Star Trek Double Whammy: The Kor Memorial Scholarship and Starfleet Academy Scholarship
At the foundation of the Kor Memorial Scholarship is the encouragement of foreign language study. While knowledge of the Klingon language is not required, it definitely wins you bonus points with the scholarship selection committee. The recipient of the $500 scholarship is announced each year at the KLI conference, or qep’a’ in Klingon.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Kor Memorial Scholarship
The Starfleet Academy Scholarship is open to all members of the Starfleet Academy enrolled in an accredited college, university or technical program. Scholarships of $500 are awarded to many applicants. All applicants must be in “good standing” at the academy and are required to be a member for at least a year before applying.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Starfleet Academy Scholarship
Tall Clubs International Scholarship
Despite a general public misconception, not every tall person can play basketball. If chances of an athletic scholarship are slim to none, try the Tall Clubs International Scholarship. Female applicants must be at least 5’10” while male applicants should be at least 6’2”. The tallest winner is Dave R., who stretches 7’3”. And no, he does not play basketball.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Tall Clubs International Scholarship
Excellence in Predicting the Future Award
The Excellence in Predicting the Future Award is for those students that excel in stock market predictions. Applicants compete in the Prediction Market, and the student with the greatest value by the marked deadline takes home $400. A scholarship is awarded every two months.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Excellence in Predicting the Future Award
“Stuck at Prom” Scholarship
Sure, you may get quizzical looks when you walk into prom dressed in duct tape—but it’s worth it for the $3,000 scholarship. Each individual in the couple will win a scholarship for the best duct tape apparel creation, and outfits are judged on workmanship, originality, use of color, accessories and amount of duct tape used.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: “Stuck at Prom” Scholarship
Society of Vacuum Coaters Foundation Scholarship
Ok, we don’t even know what vacuum coating is—so it definitely ranks up there in “weird niches.” But if it’s your niche, rock on—you could win a scholarship worth over $2,500. And the odds are pretty good! Last year, there were only 20 applicants. To qualify, students must be enrolled in a vacuum coating accredited program, and past winners are encouraged to apply again.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Society of Vacuum Coaters Foundation Scholarship
Collegiate Inventors Competition
Since you were a kid, you’ve been tinkering and taking innovation to the next level. The Collegiate Inventors Competition seeks to recognize those students who are thinking outside of the box. Each year, 12 graduate and undergraduate finalists receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. to reveal their invention to a panel of judges. The top graduate winner receives a scholarship worth $15,000 while the top undergraduate inventor receives $10,000.
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Collegiate Inventors Competition
Common Knowledge Scholarship
If you know that February 1865 was the only month in history to not have a full moon, this is the scholarship for you. The Common Knowledge Scholarship tests students’ knowledge of all facts random and seemingly useless. No essay or GPA required—you just have to answer questions! New quizzes are available each month so you can actually win more than once—up to $5,000!
For full details, visit the scholarship website: Common Knowledge Scholarship.
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Oh no, you spelled that word wrong! It happens all the time but mistakes like these and others can cost you free money aka scholarships. You wouldn’t want to miss out on $2,500 because you typed an “L” instead of a “Z” right? Well here are some common mistakes and tips on how to avoid them.
Fulfill the Criteria
Make sure you read the scholarship application description and follow the guidelines. If the scholarship asks you to write about a time where you overcame a struggle, don’t write about how your aunt’s cat is the most adorable cat. Be careful with copying and pasting other scholarship essays that you wrote - this could be a huge blunder if you replace it with the wrong topic. If the scholarship application says there is a maximum of 500 words, keep it to 500 words. Unfortunately, you won’t get any extra credit here for going over the word count.
We mentioned it briefly in the introduction but this is a very easy way to mess up your scholarship essay. One or multiple misspelled words show the scholarship reviewers that you didn’t take the time to proofread. If you’re competing against others for scholarship money, taking the time to proofread shows that you actually care about getting the scholarship. We suggest getting a second pair of eyes on your scholarship essays to check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, run-on sentences, and more.
Although scholarship essays ask you to talk about yourself, they are no place to brag and boast. In acknowledging your accomplishments you should always carry a strong sense of humility. Scholarship reviewers are here to help support you and it helps if you have stories that reflect on how others in your community have helped you to achieve your goals. We’re all in this together and it’s hard to want to stamp ‘won’ on essays where people think they’ve got it all figured out themselves.
If you’ve experienced hardship in your life and your scholarship essays ask you to write about that, make sure that you write in stride. Try to tell your story in a frame that doesn’t sound like you’re complaining about your situation. How people write about their experiences can be very telling about how they deal with those experiences and reviewers of scholarships want to ensure that the individuals they’re supporting will use their resources to continue growing to advance themselves out of their situation.