When you think about scholarships, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a merit-based scholarship or something that requires an essay. There are plenty of common opportunities like this online, but you probably do not think about all of the off-the-wall scholarships. By off-the-wall, we mean that these scholarships are weird; in fact, there are scholarships out there that are awarded to students simply because they write with their left hand (not making this up).
These scholarships are actually some of the best opportunities out there because they are much less competitive than the big name scholarships. If you do not want to follow the masses by applying for the same standard scholarships, then you should consider looking for weird scholarships. They are less well known, so you have better chances at qualifying for more aid.
If you are worried about student loan debt, then niche scholarships become even more valuable. It is common knowledge that college tuition is spinning out of control, so finding creative ways to fund your education becomes essential. If it seems hopeless, then you haven’t heard about all of the success out there. Hundreds of people have covered their tuition simply by taking advantage of low-competition scholarships. Long story short, kooky scholarships are some of the best ways to save money in college because they can pay for college. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want “free money?”
What You Should Think About When Applying
Step one, you should think about yourself and what makes you different from the pack. When you find that characteristic or history about yourself that is unique, the next step is to search for scholarships paired with that characteristic. There is a great chance that some foundation offers a scholarship with specific criteria that you fit perfectly. A good tip would be to find as many unique characteristics about yourself as possible. This will open the door to multiple scholarships which is ideal. Every applicants goal should be to land multiple scholarships.
When you apply for a niche scholarship, you do not want to take a traditional approach to the application. In fact, most scholarship foundations are looking for students who do not stick to the norm, even big name scholarship foundations. The same can be said about a smaller scholarship foundation. You should always market yourself as a unique individual who is apart from the pack (in this case, apart from a unique pack).
How to Find Scholarships and Where to Look
Smaller scholarships are not as heavily marketed as some of the larger scholarships, and many of these awards have never even been heard of by most students. This means that you have to do some solid research. Luckily, this is the modern era with the internet which happens to be the primary resource for scholarships. You can find just about any opportunity so long as you know what the scholarship name is. If you don’t know the name, then you still have a chance. There are resources found online that specialize in specific niches, so you really can’t make an excuse for not finding them! Lastly, you can talk to your financial aid counselor and see if they know of any weird and different scholarships that you can apply to.
Why Outside-the-box Scholarships Are a Good Choice
While smaller scholarships may be harder to find, they are worth the time and energy. The main reason why smaller scholarships are a good choice is because they are less competitive than other popular scholarships. The field of applicants is much smaller than a nationally recognized scholarship, so your chances of success are much greater. Don’t be afraid to apply for low dollar awards, like this one from Cappex.
Scholarships can be very powerful. Since you are not limited on the number of scholarships that you can qualify for, you have the opportunity to win multiple scholarships. The combination of low competition fields and unlimited opportunity makes low competition scholarships one of the best methods of paying for higher education. As mentioned earlier, there are many students who paid for college solely with multiple smaller scholarship awards. To put it in perspective, the power of weird scholarships can be equated to four years of student loan debt and interest.
Final Thoughts on How to Apply for Weird Scholarships
Weird scholarships offer you a number of choices that are out-of-the-box and not of the norm. Taking the small award approach can be a fun way to tackle scholarships, but it can also be quite challenging trying to find opportunities that are relevant to yourself. Putting in the time is the number one piece of advice in the scholarship search, and the same rule applies when looking for weird scholarships. If you invest your time, then you are nearly guaranteed to experience some success! With that in mind, you can tap into the niche scholarship industry with ease.
Pyper Barnes is a recent graduate from the University of Alabama. Pyper is the owner of WeirdScholarships. WeirdScholarships.net is a website dedicated to helping students find unique and interesting scholarship opportunities.