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8 unusual scholarships to help pay for college
That weird talent might be more useful than you think.
8 unusual scholarships to help pay for college
|Scholarship||What it is||Award||Eligibility requirements||Deadline|
|Stuck at Prom||Duct tape prom dress contest||$500 to $10,000||
|Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship||Essay contest on the zombie apocalypse||$2,000||
|Tall Scholarship Program||Scholarship for being tall||$250||
|Make Me Laugh Scholarship||Funny story essay contest||$1,500||
|Billy Welu Scholarship||Competitive bowling scholarship||$1,000||
|Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship||Scholarship for vegetarian activists||$5,00o to $10,000||
|Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Scholarship Contest||Duck-calling contest||$500 to $2,000||
|Unigo Flavor of the Month Scholarship||Essay contest on the ice cream flavor you identity with||$1,500||
1. Stuck at Prom
Sponsored by Duck Brand Duct Tape, this scholarship contest awards prizes for the best prom dresses and tuxes made entirely out of duct tape. After you make your outfit, take a picture and upload it to the Stuck at Prom website.
A panel of judges chooses a group of 10 finalists for the dress and tux categories. After that, the public votes for the winners through the Stuck at Prom website. Two first-place winners earn $10,000 each, while eight runners-up get $500 in cash and a Duck Brand prize pack worth $100.
2. Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship
Obsessed with zombies? You could win up to $2,000 by writing a short essay on the top five things you’d bring to stay alive if your school was taken over by zombies.
In this contest sponsored by Unigo, judges select the winner based on writing, creativity, originality and overall excellence. The contest opens and closes on Halloween — because of course it does.
3. Tall Scholarship Program
That’s right — you can get a scholarship just for being tall. The Tall Club International offers a total $1,000 in scholarships each year to tall students entering college.
To qualify, you must be eligible to join a Tall Club that’s participating in the scholarship (not all participate every year). Contact your local branch for more details, but only if you meet the minimum height requirement.
4. Make Me Laugh Scholarship
Turn that funny story you pull out at parties into a $1,500 scholarship. Write a brief story of up to 250 words about an incident that made you laugh to enter this Unigo-sponsored essay contest. It doesn’t have to be real, as long as it’s original. Unigo uses similar criteria as the Zombie Apocalypse contest to judge these essays.
5. Billy Welu Bowling Scholarship
Think you’re a good bowler? You might get $1,000 by filling out a quick application and writing an essay of up to 500 words on how the scholarship will affect your bowling, academic and personal goals. A perk of this scholarship is that it may be open to international students, because qualification isn’t limited to US citizens or permanent residents.
6. Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship
This sizable scholarship is for high school activists trying to promote plant-based diets. One senior will win a grand prize of $10,000, while two others will receive $5,000 each. Judges consider an essay on vegetarianism and your high school activism career, as well as your grades, recommendations and media presence when choosing winners.
7. Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Scholarship Contest
Duck calling might be useful for hunting — but it can also help you win money for college. The city of Stuttgart, Arkansas, holds a duck-calling contest each year, awarding prizes between $500 and $2,000 to four high school seniors.
A main drawback is that you must travel to Stuttgart to compete, and your travel expenses could be more than the award if you don’t live in the area.
8. Unigo Flavor of the Month Scholarship
This Unigo-sponsored essay contest asks the question: “If you were an ice cream flavor, which would you be and why?” You’ll need to keep your answer creative and short — 250 words or less. Essays are judged on the same criteria as other Unigo contests.
How else can I pay for school?
If you’re having a hard time covering your full cost of attendance with scholarships, consider other options:
- Grants. This is free student aid often based on need and can be useful for students from low-income households.
- Work-study programs. The federal government and some schools allow students to work in exchange for covering part of their tuition.
- Interest-free loans. Some organizations offer student loans without interest or fees, though amounts are lower than other types of loans.
- Federal loans. If you need to borrow, start with federal student loans — they tend to come with lower rates and more flexible repayment plans than private loans.
- Private loans. Best saved for last, student loans from private lenders are meant to cover college expenses that federal loans can’t.
Compare private student loans
While these fun scholarship contests might offer low amounts, they can add up. And it’s a lot less of a chore to apply for a scholarship when it involves something you’re passionate about — or at least enjoy.
Learn more about how funding your education works in our guide to student loans.
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