Applying for scholarships is a standard part of the process when exploring financial aid options. But there's nothing standard about the scholarships we describe on this page, which might just be some of the most unusual funding opportunities available to students. Continue reading for strange ways to pay for college.
Fans of zombie fiction know the zombie apocalypse is coming — it's just a matter of time. In order to ensure that students have a survival plan, so they can enhance their brains in school instead of having them eaten by a cabal of the undead, Unigo is offering the Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship. To apply, students should write a 250 word essay detailing the top five things they will do to stay alive when zombies take over the world. But the plan can't just be something recycled from "Night of the Living Dead": Essays are judged based on their creativity and originality, as well as writing ability and overall excellence.
Getting money for college is a delicious deal, but Unigo sweetens the scholarship pot by offering its Flavor of the Month Scholarship. In celebration of National Ice Cream Month in July, Unigo asks applicants to describe what ice cream flavor they would be in 250 words or less. From vanilla bean to Wavy Gravy and everything in between, students are encouraged to express the unique flavors of their personality to win this appetizing scholarship.
While most scholarships are based on the achievements of applicants, there's no need for the female students at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro to sell themselves to earn the Alice McArver Ratchford Scholarship for What You Don't Do scholarship. As the name suggests, this scholarship is awarded for what students have not done: namely, get married, buy a car or receive any other scholarships. In fact, students don't even have to fill out a separate application to be considered for this award; recipients are chosen based on the information included on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Students with an artistic eye can win this scholarship by submitting an original greeting card design made with photographs, illustrations or computer graphics. Submissions can be designed to celebrate any occasion that is consistent with the company's card line — including get well, Christmas, anniversary, and birthday cards. Winners are chosen based on the entry's originality, aesthetic appeal, creativity, execution and appropriateness. In addition to a scholarship, the winner earns the honor of having their design made into a real card by the Gallery Collection.
Budding mystery writers can use this scholarship to sharpen their skills by taking college courses or writing workshops or seminars. Applicants are required to submit a sample of their mystery writing, which can be three novel chapters, three short stories or one screenplay. In addition, applicants must include a 300- to 500-word essay outlining why they're interested in this genre and an official description of the writing course they want to attend.
In memory of Cecelia Connelly — a Gold Star YMCA diving instructor who trained over 500 students — the Women Divers Hall of Fame offers this scholarship to support divers who wish to follow in Connelly's hardworking footsteps. Female students who are fascinated by the idea of understanding underwater facilities and sunken ships — and let's be honest, who wouldn't be? — can earn this scholarship to help fund an academic learning experience in the field, such as an internship or a research opportunity.
Twice a year, the online coffee retailer CoffeeForLess.com awards scholarships that students can use to pay for books and other educational materials. Applicants should submit a 500-word essay describing how the scholarship will help them meet their goals, while creatively incorporating their love of coffee into their narrative. Winners will also be featured on CoffeeForLess.com's blog.
For some students, mushrooms are just something to enjoy in recipes. But for those who are interested in mycology, mushrooms — as well as other types of fungi — are a fascinating subject of study. Mycology students who are members of the Mycological Society of America can receive funding for their research through several awards offered by the association. In order to be considered, students should submit an application that details the research they want to conduct.
Considering that death is the only thing as certain as taxes, why are careers in the field so often spoken of in hushed voices? Students who are interested in the funeral service and mortuary science field can receive this scholarship by demonstrating their leadership skills, commitment to education, personal character and financial need. To apply, students must submit a personal essay explaining why they want to pursue this unfairly maligned career, as well as information on their extracurricular activities, letters of reference and college transcripts.
When it comes to getting scholarships, a little bit of effort can go a long way. And Debt.com rewards students who put in the effort to win scholarships by offering its Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants, which is designed for students who have applied for as many other awards as they possibly can. To be considered, students should provide proof of all the other scholarships they have applied for (you do not have to have won!) as well as a short letter introducing themselves.