Scholarships are a great way to pay for college education. The problem is that scholarships are typically merit-based, which means they are usually reserved for students with 4.0 GPAs or star athletes.

Thankfully, there are scholarships that rely on other kinds of distinction. Some of these scholarships might be called “non-traditional”; others are downright strange. Here’s a list of ten of the more unusual ones out there.

skateboarding scholarship

1. The Patrick Kerr Skateboarding Scholarship

You remember when your mother told you that skateboarding was a waste of time? Well, not anymore. Any high school senior-skateboarder with a 2.5 GPA and serious plans on attending college can apply for one of four scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 dollars each.

2. Carnegie Mellon University Bagpipe Scholarship

This scholarship is truly one-of-a-kind — literally. Carnegie Mellon University awards exactly one applicant every year a $7,000 scholarship to study bagpipe. William Wallace would be proud.

3. Chick & Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Scholarship

This scholarship needs no explanation. If you know how to call ducks, get yourself down to Stuttgart, Arkansas, to compete for a $1,500 prize for college.

klingon language scholarship

4. The Klingon Language Institute’s Kor Memorial Scholarship

Yes, this is a real scholarship based on the popular alien race from Star Trek. The good news is that you don’t have to be a Star Trek devotee to be eligible. In fact, you don’t even have to speak Klingon. You just need to be an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a language or linguistics program at an accredited university.

Incidentally, there are also several Starfleet Academy Scholarships, also of Star-Trek origins, also $500 each. The Starfleet Scholarships are named for popular actors/characters in the television series and include the Dr. Leonard McCoy Medical Scholarship, the Montgomery Scott Engineering Scholarship, the LeVar Burton Educational Scholarship, and the Patrick Stewart Scholarship for the Performing Arts.

5 & 6. Billy Barty Foundation Scholarship for Dwarfism and the Tall Clubs International Scholarship

Whether you’re big — over 6’2″ for men, 5’10” for women — or small — 4’10” to be exact, with a medical form of dwarfism — you could be eligible for a $1,000 scholarship. They even have a scholarship for left-handed students at Juanita College. In fact, there’s a scholarship for nearly every physical condition — well, almost. I’m still waiting for a scholarship for people who are “big-boned,” if you know what I mean …

7. Duct Tape “Stuck at Prom” Scholarship Contest

This scholarship is open to all students who are attending a high school prom. Applicants enter as a couple and attend high school prom wearing complete attire or accessories made from duct tape. The first place prize consists of a $3,000 scholarship for each member of the winning couple and a $3,000 cash prize to the school that hosted the prom.

llama scholarship8. Michigan Llama Association Scholarship

If you’re studying veterinary medicine at Michigan State University College, and if you’re interested in learning about and working with llamas, you could be eligible for a $500 scholarship sponsored by The Michigan Llama Association.

9. Excellence in Predicting the Future Award

This is not exactly what it sounds like. Any would-be Nostradamus need not apply. Any would-be Alan Greenspan, on the other hand, should. The “Excellence in Predicting the Future Award” is actually a contest for students interested in economics. Participants “buy and sell” future predictions in the manner of buying stocks. A $400 cash gift is awarded every two months by Troy Studios to encourage students to pursue economics or simply to learn more about the world they live in. And finally …

10. Society of Vacuum Coaters Foundation Scholarship

Before you make any snarky remarks about “sucking up” to the scholarship committee, be advised that it awards $5,000 annually to one lucky student pursuing vacuum coating technology at an accredited university. I don’t know about you, but suddenly vacuums seem much more interesting than Klingons or llamas.

The moral of the story? Basically, it’s that there are innumerable scholarships out there for potential college students. So whether you are a Trekkie, an aspiring Tony Hawk, a bagpiper, or even if you like ducks or duct tape, there’s a scholarship for you. In short, if you can’t find a little extra money for college, then, frankly, you’re just not trying.

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6 comments on “Scholarships: The Top 10 Strangest Ways to Pay for College

  • Regarding the “big-boned” comment above, I feel obligated to mention that shortly after posting the blog above I ran across a $1,000 scholarship from the NAAFA — the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. According to their mission statement, the NAAFA is dedicated to “improving the quality of life for fat people.” As such, they are awarding a scholarship to college applicants who are members of the association in good standing and who compete in an essay contest on topics such as “fat activism” and “the importance of fat acceptance in the year 2007.” So there you go — a scholarship for every shape and size. Ah, but what about redheads …

  • How do I find the schlarships listed above? Do you have the email address for the one on dwarfism and others on illnesses like, diabetes, charcot-marie-tooth disease-arthritis, etc.? I have several problems and could use the help if you can point me in the direction on how to locate these donators.?

    Thanks!

  • But, i just want to clarify one this is that, there are many financial aid institutions of schemes from the government for the common man or student to learn wherever he wants. But majority of the needy students are not getting the benefits and have to compromise on the part of their studies.v

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