15 Weird and Unusual Scholarships That You Should Probably Apply For … Maybe

Jon O'Donnell Updated on June 24, 2019

True or false: You need to be an athlete or a brainiac to get a scholarship to college.

Did you answer “true?”

You know that annoying buzzer sound that happens when people answer incorrectly on TV game shows? Imagine us making that sound at you right now, because you are W-R-O-N-G.


But hey, that’s good news in this case. Why? Because it means that there are tons of scholarships out there for all kinds of people who have all kinds of interesting interests or characteristics.

Don’t believe us? (Why are you so skeptical all the time?)

Allow us to submit the following weird and unusual scholarships for your consideration.

Do you love puppets?

Ohmygosh, so do we!

But this isn’t about us. It’s about you. And if you think puppets are just the coolest (like we do!), and you like to travel (we like that, too!), then you should check out UNIMA-USA’s scholarships for people who want to study puppetry outside the U.S.

Don’t worry … there are 40 scholarships in all so there should be at least a few left by the time we (and all our friends) apply.

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Livin' for the laughs

While we’re on the subject of entertainment, some of you might be interested to know that Clowns of America, Inc. has a scholarship for people who want to be doctors … er, clowns.

Yes, definitely clowns and NOT doctors.

Applications will be judged by Jim “Soapy” Dixon. How fun is that? (Super fun. Obvi.)

On a more somber note

Let’s talk about death for a moment, shall we?

You’re going to die someday and so are we, and someone is going to need to bury all of us.

If you’d like to be that person, you should really rethink your plan because it’s impossible to bury yourself.

But if you’d like to bury other people (preferably deceased ones), the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) would like to help make sure you get the proper training.

Last year, ABFSE paid out $9,000 to people planning to enter the funeral biz.

Trying to rid the world of pesky tattoos?

What? Seriously?


New Look Laser Tattoo Removal offers two $1,000 scholarships per year for people going into nursing, medicine, natural or applied sciences, or engineering.

And how do you land those thousand smackers? By writing an essay on your opinion of the societal impact of laser tattoo removal.

Bet you were just waiting for someone to ask you about that, weren’t you?

Eat your greens to make some green

Attention, vegetarians! The Vegetarian Resource Group has a total of $20,000 in scholarship funds for vegetarians who promote the meat-free/fish-free lifestyle in their schools or communities.

Bonus: You can let your passion for passionfruit shine through, because these scholarships are awarded based on the amount of heart and dedication the applicants show.

Or ... Eat red meat instead

On the flipside, the CME Group & the National Cattlemen's Foundation has $15,000 in scholarship money for students who plan to work in the beef industry.

Possibly even more exciting than nabbing some of that sweet scholarship money? The overall winner gets a trip to Nashville to be honored at the Best of Beef Awards Breakfast. Wonder what’s on the menu?

When you just want to save lives ... Nothing more, nothing less

So here’s the thing: fires can kill people.

And here’s another thing: automatic fire sprinklers can save people.

The American Fire Sprinkler Association wants more people to know this.

Every year, they give out $25,000 to students like you. How do you apply? Super-dee-dooper easy: just spend a few minutes reading over their fire safety info and then take a quick quiz.

That’s it. Winners are randomly selected.

What have you got to lose, other than that gaping void in your brain that is just aching to be filled with fire safety facts?

When fashion sticks

Believe it or not, you could win $10,000 just for doing one eensy weensy teeny tiny thing … wearing an outfit made of Duck Tape to your prom.

Duck Brand has a Stuck at Prom Scholarship contest for people who are creative and daring enough to create their prom ensembles out of Duck Tape.

For some people this might be a big ask. For others, it might just be a great way to save money on prom attire while also potentially making money for college.

Check out the scholarship page to see pix of last year’s winners. (Editor’s note:  WOW.)

When you are a towering example

‘Scuze our lame tall joke … if you’re tall, you’ve probably heard them all by now.

But here’s something you maybe haven’t heard: Tall Clubs International wants to help tall people pay for college.

Let us sum up the main criteria for this scholarship: be tall.

Contact your local Tall Club International chapter to apply.

When you're basically unremarkable

The Festivus Scholarship is a scholarship for the “rest of us.” (Look up Festivus and Seinfeld for an explanation of the name. Classic TV moment.)

Anyway, this scholarship is for people who are ... fine. Ordinary. Playin’ it straight down the middle.

Sound like you? Go to the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation, take some quizzes on common knowledge topics, and see if you nab yourself some cash for college.

If it walks like a duck

Actually, scratch that. It doesn’t matter how you walk. It just matters how you quack.

The Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest is an annual contest put on the by the Stuttgart, AR, Chamber of Commerce. The town, which calls itself the “Rice and Duck Capital of the World,” runs this little shindig to honor the memories of legendary champion duck callers and duck call makers, Chick and Sophie Major.

Note: If you want to win the grand prize of $2,000 (or any prize, for that matter), you’re going to need to show up in person for the Duck Calling Contest, which usually takes place in November. We hear it’s a quackin’ good time.

Diving for dollars

The Our World Underwater Scholarship Society has a super cool opportunity for students hoping to work underwater.

“Work underwater.” That probably needs some more explanation, yes?

This scholarship is geared toward multiple disciplines that require below-surface water work, including field studies, underwater research, scientific expeditions, equipment testing and design, and photography.

Recipients of this scholarship don’t get cash-in-hand, but rather, get the chance to work with other underwater professionals around the world to explore different professional opportunities.

But wait! There's even more underwater fun!

The Morgan/O’Neill Underwater Photography Grant is just for women who are pursuing a career related to diving, such as conservation, marine biology, underwater archaeology, education (marine or freshwater), dive instructor education, and dive medicine.

Like video games? Score!

Scholarships for people who want to go into the video game industry are multiplying like a bunch of creepers after you put a creeper egg into a spawner. (Can we get some points for the Minecraft reference, please? Or is Minecraft not cool anymore? Never mind.)

In any case, if you happen to be female or a minority, there are some gamer scholarship opportunities just for you.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation awards 30 women and minority students $90,000 in scholarships to pursue video game-related degrees.

Invent your future

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is looking to spark innovation by rewarding those crazy ideas that just might be crazy enough to work … or even change the world.

This scholarship competition not only offers money for college, it gives talented young inventors the opportunity to network and brainstorm with some of the top inventors in the country.

Your last name is working against you

Finally, we’d like to share with you the most interestingly specific scholarship we have found.

The Zolp Scholarship is for any Catholic student whose last name is Zolp, who also happens to attend Loyola University Chicago.

Don’t go getting any bright ideas about changing your identity, either. To claim this scholarship, you’ll need to pony up a copy of your birth certificate AND a baptismal or confirmation certificate confirming your last name and your status as a Catholic.

The good news: there are no academic or athletic requirements for this one.

Hey … remember what we told you at the start of this article?

You really don’t need to be a mathalete or a jock to get college money. We hate to say we told you so … but we totally did.

Published in: Scholarships

About the Author
Jon O'Donnell

Jon is a writer and marketer for Nitro who is passionate about bringing transparency to the student loan process along with providing families with the information needed to make smart financial decisions. He also just recently refinanced his student loans allowing him to pay them off 5 years faster all while saving an additional $152/month. As he continues to pay them off himself, he strives to help others do the same. Jon also has a long history of connecting people with educational opportunities to help them improve their careers and their overall personal finances. In his free time you can find him reading travel blogs and researching destinations around the world in search of his next adventure. Read more by Jon O'Donnell

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