Going into debt before you even get started in a career is a scary prospect. Luckily there are many scholarships available to help you out. What you may not know is that in addition to the best sources for scholarships, there are some scholarships that are pretty sneaky and tend to hide under the radar. These scholarships rely on your personal traits, unusual hobbies and other weird features. So whether you happen to be a woman, a minority or going into a specific field, or just have a bizarre talent, there may be a way for you to help cut some of the costs of your college education.
Scholarships for Jocks
Just because you weren't at the top of your high school game doesn't mean that you can't qualify for an athletic scholarship. In addition to the well-known scholarships offered by NCAA Division I and Division II schools, you can also find scholarships at other schools according to their athletic leagues.
And even if you aren't in to, or good at, traditional sports, you may still be able to find an athletic scholarship. Alternative sports, like skateboarding, have scholarship opportunities, like The Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship. Even if your sport is more of a hobby, you may be able to find a scholarship for it, like marbles. The annual National Marbles Tournament offers a $5,000 scholarship.
Scholarships for Women and Minorities
Women may outnumber men in the college classroom, but many still don't take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them. Single moms, older women and high school age students can take advantage of scholarships that can help eliminate the possibility of graduating with debt. Just a few of these scholarships are The Student Award for the Health and Dignity of Women, The Emerge Scholarships Inc, The SWE Scholarship Program and The Jeannette Rankin Foundation. There are also scholarships that encourage women going into fields like math, science and technology as well as scholarships for single moms and scholarships for young women.
Minorities and students that wish to study in the United States can also find scholarships suited to their needs. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is open to African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic American students. There are also scholarships available for Hispanic students, LGBT students and others that may be classified as minorities.
Some scholarships are based not on merit, financial need or background but on seemingly random criteria. From last names to curious hobbies, scholarships are available.
Some colleges around the college actually have scholarships for certain last names, like the Scarpinato Scholarship at Texas A&M University. If you're following in family tradition, you may find yourself eligible for an alumni scholarship. Hood College actually has a program that allows you to pay the same tuition as a grandparent, with the college's "Grandma Scholarship," and similar programs can be found at other schools as well.
If you're creative, then you may be able to find a scholarship that celebrates your ability to think outside the box, like The Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck on Prom Contest. Other scholarships rely on essays, like the contests offered by the Ayn Rand institute.
You can find scholarships for everything from being left-handed to be a vegetarian. Using scholarship websites allows you to personalize your search so that you can find as many scholarships as you need to fit the uniqueness of your needs.