Thinking Outside the Box: Weird Scholarships You Didn’t Know Existed

When it comes to something as important as a college education, families will do just about anything to come up with the needed financing.  In this economic climate it is hard to find any extra money in a family budget, not less $40,000+ a year to send one student to college.  While we’re all aware that billions of dollars exist in college scholarships, many people just don’t search hard enough to find all available scholarships.

While many students take advantage of traditional scholarships to help with expenses, others find they do not qualify for many so called “regular” merit scholarships for whatever reason. Often these scholarships have been stripped of funds before many students have a chance to apply; creating the need for more unique or weird scholarships.

We wondered if there were any unconventional scholarships available that would provide additional opportunities for these families to get funding.  Here’s what we found:

Scholarships for Moms of all Ages

In communities across the nation, teen girls with children are finding it hard to complete, or even begin, their college education. Several organizations have addressed this ever increasing issue by offering unique scholarships for teen moms seeking a college education.

The Georgia Teen Mother Scholarship is committed to provide extra support by offering scholarships for moms who are preparing to graduate high school. The application period runs between March and May of the mother’s senior year. The scholarship organizers’ mission is to give help to girls who need viable options in order to make better lives for their children. Application packages and other information are available at The Georgia Teen Mother Scholarship website at http://gateenmotherscholarship.org/ .

The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Scholarship also offers scholarships for moms in their teens. Recipients receive a $2,000 scholarship, which is named after one of the U.S. House of Representative’s first women of color. Information about this scholarship can be found at http://patsyminkfoundation.org.

The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund offers scholarships for moms, or any women, 35 years of age or older. Scholarships are awarded to low income women who are pursuing higher education. What makes them qualify as unique scholarships is that women can apply to any Accrediting Counsel for IndependentCollegesand Schools (ACICS) institution. Additionally, awards are granted to low income women pursuing an associate’s degree, their first bachelor’s degree, and even technical or vocational certification; making scholarships available to a wider range of mothers returning to school. Information and applications are available at http://www.rankinfoundation.org/students.

Several Unusual Scholarships for Girls

Getting money for college through athletic talent is so common that we didn’t consider it for inclusion in our list of weird scholarships. But what about a scholarship that offers education funds to girls who are inactive? The Gertrude J. Deppen Scholarship Fund offered at Bucknell University offers local high school graduates college money based upon their non-participation in athletics! While this appears to be one of the most non-healthy crazy scholarships out there, criteria for the award does include a list of healthy habits that candidates must adhere to in order to qualify. Details for this scholarship can be found on the BucknellUniversitywebsite at http://www.bucknell.edu/.

Some funding sources may be labeled funny scholarships simply because of the name. One example is the Whirly Girls scholarships that are awarded each year by the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund. Despite the unusual name, the scholarship has been awarding funds since 1974 to girl helicopter pilot hopefuls. Currently, scholarships in excess of $45,000 are awarded annually; putting a serious dent in educational expenses for many girls. Complete information can be found at http://www.whirlygirls.org/wg-scholarships.

Other uncommon scholarships for girls include the annual stipends awarded by MorrisBrownCollegein AtlantaGeorgia. The college awards $1500.00 to the annual winner of the Miss Morris Brown College pageant for no other reason than she is crowned the winner of the pageant.   See http://www.morrisbrown.edu/01_03_admission_c.htm for more information.

Twin Scholarships Two Ways

All across the country, multiples are being awarded money for college in the form of two-for one tuition, housing discounts and academic rewards. Some of the less common twin scholarships we found included the Twinsburg Ohio Twins Day Festival scholarship grant offered to twins and other multiples. What made this one of the somewhat unique scholarships offered to twins is that among other qualifications, recipients receive the $1,000 financial grant only if they have attended at least three of the last five Twin Days annual festivals. Both twin recipients must also both have excellent grades. Specific criteria can be found at http://www.twinsdays.org/faq.html#scholarship .

The Illinois Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, Inc. puts a twist on twin scholarships by offering money for continuing education to the parents of multiples. The twin scholarships are awarded to parents of twins who provide proof of course completion from the previous semester with a “C” or higher grade. Only members of the organization are eligible for the need based scholarship. A smaller grant is offered at random to members who apply. Full details can be found at http://www.iomotc.org/scholarship.

Generous Scholarships for Short People

In our search we found several scholarships for short people across the nation. One well known scholarship is provided by the Billy Barty Foundation which offers $1,000 cash to offset the cost of education for students diagnosed with dwarfism. Scholarship details are listed on the Adventures in Education website at http://www.aie.org/scholarships/detail.cfm?id=18834.

Several aspects of Little People of America’s funding made us include it on our list of unusual scholarships for short people. Like most other programs, the scholarships are offered to members of Little People of America with medically diagnosed dwarfism and to their immediate family members. But what makes these count as unusual scholarships is that they are also offered to non members with dwarfism, students with other disabilities and non-disabled students with proven financial need.   Get more information at http://www.lpaonline.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=84654&orgId=lpa under the “College and Vocational Scholarships section.

Unique Scholarships for Tall People

We found a variety of scholarships for tall people with different application criteria. Most of these unusual scholarships are offered to students within a certain height range as well as academic level. The Tall Clubs International website has all the information about their application criteria; some of which is unique to their organization. For instance, unlike other scholarships, this program is not open to the general public; potential candidates must be sponsored in order to apply. Visit TCI’s website at http://www.tall.org/scholarships.cfm?CFID=27569&CFTOKEN=76121824 for specific application requirements.

The Chris Duhon Stand Tall Foundation believes that students can be tall regardless of their physical height. This foundation offers a unique scholarship that rewards leadership, academics and community commitment. The foundation offers the scholarships to encourage young people to become involved in community service. While there is no physical height requirement, candidates must prove that they have strong personal character and are ambitious in their goals. Scholarship information can be found on the Christ Duhon Stand Tall Foundation website at http://www.chrisduhonstandtall.org/what-we-do/education/current-scholarship.html.

Do Redhead Scholarships Really Exist?

Not surprisingly, there are rumors of all kinds of wacky scholarships circulating on the Internet and campuses nationwide. When we first heard about college money awarded for hair color we thought it had to be a joke or some type of scam.  Since our friend’s high school sophomore daughter is a natural redhead, we began to search in earnest for any redhead scholarships to which she could apply. We asked other friends and relatives if they had any information about such crazy scholarships and could find no one that had heard of them.

Our next step was the World Wide Web where we initially found dozens of websites with parents and students asking the same questions whether such scholarships existed. After much research, we found a website that contains information about redhead scholarships. The website asks for pictures of the applicant to be uploaded rather than the usual application. The web address, http://scholarshipred.webs.com/thescholarship.htm appears to be a do-it-yourself freebie site. We are still not convinced whether legitimate redhead scholarships exist, and we are not comfortable with referring our neighbor’s daughter to submit her picture and information until it can be confirmed as a real scholarship offer.

Left Handed Scholarships for Southpaws

There is very little information about available left handed scholarships. One scholarship, the Beckley Scholarship began providing scholarships back in 1979 to left handed sophomores, juniors and seniors attending the JuniataCollege. All across the internet, this program is usually included among any list of odd scholarships.

A search of the JuniataCollegewebsite archived pages does show several of these scholarships awarded over the years. However, grants were awarded to JuniataCollegestudents only and cannot be applied to other schools. To find current information about the left handed scholarships offered by Juniata College visit their website at http://www.juniata.edu.

International Ayn Rand Scholarships

Ayn Rand scholarships are sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute, named after the 20th century writer and philosopher. The author’s best selling novels have inspired new ideas and philosophies for decades. The Institute offers more than 690 prizes worth over $99,000 every year. Money is awarded to students based on essays they write about her famous novels including Anthem, We the Living and The Fountainhead. Each contest is geared to specific ages and education levels from 8th grade through graduate school level. There are different rules for each essay contest.

While by no means considered weird scholarships, Ayn Rand grants are unique in that they are offered to home schooled students as well as foreign students. The Ayn Rand Institute website http://aynrandnovels.com/essay-contests.html is chocked full of scholarship information as well as in depth historical information. In order to help contest participants as well as the general public to understand the writer, the website provides information about her philosophies, ethics and politics. It also cites quotes from famous people over many decades regarding the controversial novelist and philosopher.

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