There are literally thousands of programs available across the United States to assist talented and needy students with achieving their college dreams and helping with tuition costs. Keeping that in mind, it's inevitable that there are some who stand out a bit more than others.
Just about anybody on the internet has read about duct tape prom outfits, but there is a wealth of strange scholarships out there, and they're only a mouse click away, as are private school bargains and public school bargains. This list highlights some of the best and wackiest, from scholarships awarded to Star Trek fans to those who encourage organ donation.
14. The Carnegie Mellon Bagpipe Scholarship
Lucky pipers planning on majoring in the bagpipes at Carnegie Mellon have it easy compared to other music majors, as there is usually only one applicant at a time for this scholarship. Some years, there haven't been any at all.
Do you happen to be Catholic or plan on attending a Catholic university? And is your name Zolp? If you can provide a birth certificate and a baptismal certificate proving it, congratulations, you're in. The amount varies depending on the number of Zolps attending, but it's probably a safe bet that there won't be too many.
12. The American Nudist Research Library Scholarship
The American Nudist Research Library was established back in 1979 to preserve the history of the nudist movement. And if you're a nudist, don't mind hanging out in Florida a while, and can offer the Library assistance upon graduating, they're more than willing to fork over some cash for your studies. To quote their website, "The Library is a clothing optional facility, however, to maintain the integrity of our aging documentation, it is air conditioned to a temperature in the lower 70s F."
It's only $500, but that's no amount to sniff at. As long as you've been a Starfleet member in good standing for one year, you can apply for one of the Starfleet Academy Scholarships, all of which are named after characters and performers who have been featured on Star Trek. The celebrities in question actually sponsor their named scholarships as well. Neat!
Apparently one Trek scholarship wasn't enough. Those wishing to study language can apply for this award of $500 is awarded by the Klingon Language Institute. Fortunately, applicants need not be fluent in Klingon to apply--though I imagine it's a plus.
Everyone loved marbles as a kid, and if you're between the ages of seven and fifteen, you can actually win a decent chunk of change playing the game. As long as you can beat out the other 1200 competitors, there's a purse of around $4000 to be won. Of course, if you're between the ages of seven and fifteen, you're probably not reading this article.
If you want to attend North Carolina State University and your last name is Gatlin or Gatling, congratulations, you're in. The grant amount varies from $9,000 to $18,000, but before you run off to the courthouse to change your name, you should probably know that only those born with the surnames in question are eligible.
7. The OP Loftbed Scholarship
This scholarship isn't unique in who it's awarded to--anyone can win it--but rather the way it's won. In order to win the OP Loftbed Scholarship, you have to answer questions about your own life, such as "tell us about the coolest object you've ever found" and "tell us a story about your favorite pet."
It's not like there's a national shortage of fat people attending universities, so rather than just setting up a scholarship that any fat person could apply for, the NAAFA came up with something more creative. This award goes to student fashion designers who express an interest in designing clothes for the plus-size figure and provide drawings of their ideas. Which I am all for because the band in these sweatpants is starting to cut off my circulation.
Just when you thought nothing on the internet could surprise you: welcome to the highly competitive world of junior golf caddies. Applicants for this $1,500 to $7,500 scholarship must have worked for at least two years as a golf caddy, and provide letters of recommendation from at least three golf club employees.
4. Student Donor Youth Leadership Awards
Though there's no link for this one, if you contact your local organ donor service, you'll find that there are a variety of Student Youth Leadership Scholarships available to students who promote organ donation and are donors themselves. Don't worry, you don't have to have completed the donation process to win.
Whoever said skateboarders never got up to anything worthwhile? If you ollie, nollie, and three-sixty, you can apply for this scholarship. The award was named for Patrick Kerr, a skateboarding activist and youth organizer who operated in the Philadelphia area.
The name may be a little snarky, but this scholarship isn't intended to go to future Miss Cleos. Rather, it's awarded to students who intend to study economics, to encourage them to focus on market prediction. The scholarship is run as a contest where applicants participate in a simulation prediction market, and whoever makes the most money by the deadline gets $400 in real-world money.
If you believe the truth is out there and intend to prove it, this $3000 scholarship may be for you. Applicants must provide proof that they have written about parapsychology in the past--that is, the study of ghosts, telepathy, and the unexplained.
Won a bizarre scholarship yourself? Heard of one that we didn't mention! We'd love to hear in the comments below!