It’s been said before on this site: scholarships are not just for the academically or athletically gifted. Many scholarships are out there that will reward you for community service, volunteerism or even just for writing a great essay. In fact, many of the academic achievement scholarships require a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (some are even lower).
On the other hand, other scholarships have slightly, um, “different” criteria that they use in deciding who is worthy of their dollars for college. Some are as arbitrary as residence in a town or county. Others are awarded to the children of the employees of companies. Finally, there are several scholarships out there that awarded based on some rather strange selection criteria.
Okay, so what would McGuyver do if he needed a tux for prom and had nothing but a roll of duct tape? If you can visualize the outcome, Duck Brand Duct Tape may award you $3,000 in scholarship funding. Yep, in the “Stuck on Prom” contest sponsored by the duct tape manufacturer, students who create the most innovative prom dresses or outfits that utilize Duck Brand Duct tape win money to help them pay for college. The tricky part, of course, will be getting out of your attire when you get home.
Let’s stay with the water fowl theme for a moment. If fashion from tape is not your thing, but the cute little namesake of the brand is (or more likely, the hunting of such namesake), perhaps you have some talent in producing duck calls. If so, you could win up to $2,000 toward college in the Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest. Hopefully, you’ve established some rapport with your aquatic counterparts and they’ll cooperate when you need them to.
If you often find yourself having to duck (there it is again) under door frames or tree branches that few other people seem to notice, you may be eligible for $1,000 in scholarship money. Men who are at least 6’2” and women 5’10” taller can apply for the Tall Clubs International Scholarship with an application and essay on what personal meaning being tall has for you.
On the other hand, if you don’t experience such problems with doorways, you may qualify for a Billy Barty Foundation Scholarship. Named for the prolific actor, the award is given to students who are 4’9”, or shorter, and have evidence of dwarfism in their backgrounds.
Among the scholarships available to more forward-thinking students are those awarded to the winners of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest. Students who enjoy drawing or painting science fiction-themed works or who write in the genre can enter their material in the contest. Selected winners are offered monetary prizes to be used for college.
For the more specifically Star Trek-oriented science fiction fans, the Kor Memorial Scholarship is offered by (yes, really) the Klingon Language Institute as part of its KLI Academic Award program. The $500 prize is given to students interested in the study of languages or linguistics, and is not specifically limited to Klingon (or Romulan or Vulcan, for that matter); Terrestrial languages are acceptable.
If leadership, rather than language, is more your thing, then a Starfleet Academy Scholarship (yes, still really) may be up your alley. To qualify, you must be an active Starfleet member — I’m guessing you know who you are – and attending a post-secondary institution of higher learning. Pilot school, maybe. The scholarship itself is $500.
A number of scholarships center around the growing, processing, manufacturing and tasting of food. Some can be pretty big if you have a real interest in a specific field or industry. Potatoes, for example. If you are pursuing an advanced degree in agriculture or agribusiness that directly enhances the potato industry, you may be eligible for the National Potato Council’s annual Potato Industry Scholarship. One $5,000 award is given each year to a graduate student in the field (pun semi-intended).
Candy-loving college students (beyond their freshman year) who are majoring in food science or food technology are also eligible for a $5,000 scholarship awarded by the American Association of Candy Technologists. You do have to maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to qualify, but the payoff for the hard work could be pretty sweet (there, I did it again).
Mushroom lovers are also eligible for scholarships in amounts up to $2,000. Of course, you have to love mushrooms so much that you decide to major in mycology (the study of fungi). The awards are given by the Mycological Society of America and are open to students, researchers and even teachers who are studying in the area.
Grape and wine (if you’re over 21, of course) lovers who decide to make a career out of their passion may qualify for a scholarship from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture. Granted, you must attend a school that offers a major in either such field, but if are a full time graduate or undergrad student in an enology or viticulture degree program, you are eligible for the scholarship.