Weird Unknown Scholarships

Mary Gormandy White
Weird and wacky scholarships offer college funds, too.

College scholarships may be available from multitude of sources; you just have to know where to look for them. While academic, sports and music scholarships are the most well-known opportunities to win free money for school, they are not the only options. Here are some of the lesser-known scholarship programs that provide funds to help deserving students pay for college. Each program described here has its own requirements - they're just a little different from those of more traditional scholarship programs.

Seven Lesser-Known Scholarship Programs

1. Bagpipe Scholarship

Do you enjoy playing bagpipes? Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University offers four-year bagpipe scholarships. Students agree to study bagpipes with the college's renowned instructor, and they receive $7,000 per year towards their tuition and expenses as well as a discount on kilts.

2. Duck-Calling Scholarship

The Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest is held annually and awards four winners with college-scholarship money totaling $2,500. Participants compete according to rules that govern the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest, and each student uses four duck calls in a 90-second window of time.

3. Duct Tape Prom Scholarship

Go to your prom, completely dressed in duct tape and you could win a $3,000 scholarship for you and your date and your school. You have to enter as a couple, and you can be as creative as you want to be, but you have to be dressed completely in duct tape. The Stuck at the Prom duct tape scholarship awards several prizes each year.

4. Starfleet Academy Scholarships

Multiple $500 scholarships are offered by Starfleet Academy, an international fan organization that promotes the ideals and concepts inherent to the Federation and the fictitious Starfleet Academy, of Star Trek fame, for which it is named. Scholarships offered by the institute include:

  • DeForest Kelley/Dr. Leonard McCoy Medical Scholarship: Available to students studying in healthcare related fields
  • James Doohan/Montgomery Scott Engineering Scholarship: Available to students in engineering majors
  • Patrick Stewart Scholarship for the Performing Arts: Available to students in performing arts majors
  • George Takei International Studies Scholarship: Created on behalf of Star Trek character Mr. Takei to foster understanding and diversity. The scholarship is for studying foreign languages or for students attending school abroad.
  • Additional awards

5. National Candy Technologists Scholarship

The American Association of Candy Technologists awards an annual $5,000 scholarship to a college student with a documented or demonstrated interest in the field of confectionery technology. The student must major in food science, chemical science, biological science, or a related area and have past work or personal experience that exhibits involvement in confectionery technology.

6. Van Valkenburg Scholarship

The Lambert and Annetje Van Valkenburg Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded by the descendants of a man named Lambert Van Valckenburgh. The Fund is designed to further awareness of the National Association of the Van Valkenburg Family and its legacy and to award scholarships to students in the family. The first scholarship was awarded in 2006, and the award is scheduled to be granted every two years.

7. Zolp Scholarship

The Zolp scholarship has a few very specific requirements; it's awarded only to a Catholic student whose surname is Zolp and who has been admitted to Loyola University in Chicago. These criteria narrow down the prospective-applicant field considerably, but if you do fit the requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting this scholarship.

Unusual Scholarship Opportunities

Off-the-beaten path scholarships are available in many areas. You just need to know where to look. Never discount a private interest or fan group - instead, be diligent in your efforts to identify scholarship programs that you might be eligible to win. The lesser-know a program is, the fewer people who will apply - and the better your chances are for winning. You just have to be diligent in your efforts to identify all types of potential scholarship sources.

Weird Unknown Scholarships