Applications are on their journey back home from college admissions offices around the world and seniors are quickly figuring out the next step in their educational journey.
One aspect of applying to college students can forget about in the frenzy of being accepted into the college of their dreams is applying for scholarships afterwards.
“College these days is so expensive,” senior Ivy Liu said. “I don’t want to be in debt later on, and it is going to be hard finding a job while managing my studies, so scholarships are much needed.”
College can be a tremendous expense, so taking advantage of scholarships can be beneficial for lessening any financial burden.
Of course, the usual local and academic scholarships are always available to everybody, but students would be surprised at the amount of non-academic and non-sports related scholarships available to seniors and older students.
“There’s a lot of unique ones out there,” College and Careers counselor Cindi Underwood said.
Some of them can get extremely specific and, according to many students, really random.
The SAMMY scholarship, short for Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year, awards $7,500 of scholarship money, a free trip to Disney World and a spot in the Milk Mustache advertisement. It is nationally awarded to 25 student-athlete seniors with at least a 3.20 GPA who participate in either school or club sports.
Physical characteristics can also be a major contribution to attaining scholarships as well.
Tall Clubs International and Central Arizona Tall Society (C.A.T.S.) are two organizations that provide scholarships for students who are taller than the average person.
Little People of America (LPA) is another organization that provides scholarships for shorter individuals.
Hair color is another physical contribution to scholarships. ScholarshipRed awards scholarships for women specifically with red hair.
Another familiar scholarship opportunity is one related to family lineage.
“If they have a particular situation, whether it’s a student who has a parent that’s a cancer survivor, they can actually go directly to Google,” Underwood said. “They’d be surprised at the scholarships that come up.”
Not all of these scholarships have limitations however. Many of them award creativity.
Take the Jif Most Creative Sandwich Contest for example.
If seniors can come up with a creative recipe using Jif Peanut Butter, they might be on their way to winning $25,000 towards college expenses, as well as a $50 Jif Peanut Butter basket.
How about the “Wear Duck Tape to Prom” scholarship?
Duck Brand duct tape holds an annual scholarship where students are encouraged to show their creativity through the creation of a prom outfit entirely out of duct tape. The reward is $5,000 towards their college fund.
Even though these opportunities are out there, a large amount of students have not considered applying for them because they simply didn’t know about them.
“I have not applied to any of these weird scholarships just because I haven’t heard much about them,” senior Ivy Liu said. “However, I might think about applying to some because it will be fun writing an essay on something besides myself or my education.”
On the other hand, there are students who prefer not to apply for such scholarships because they feel they are being rewarded for something they did not put in work for.
“I don’t think I would consider applying for those scholarships,” junior Diana Garcia said. “I would have put no effort into receiving the award so it wouldn’t feel right.”
Regardless, no matter where a student comes from or the extent of their strengths and weakness, there is a scholarship out there for them.
So, here’s the moral of the story: Take advantage of your opportunities.
In today’s day and age, as mentioned before, college is expensive, but there will always be a way to get the necessary higher education.