creative college scholarships

Think you have to be a straight-A student or have income below the poverty line to qualify for a college scholarship? Think again! Thousands of scholarships are awarded annually with requirements based not upon academics or family finances, but upon talents, interests, activities, fields of study, commitments to causes, physical characteristics, medical conditions, or simple creativity.

In today’s episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, in addition to discussing Ivy League admissions and incorporating financial considerations into your college list, we will discuss some of the quirkiest scholarships being awarded. Tune in live at 4:00pm ET on the VoiceAmerica Variety channel or anytime on iTunes, and check out the scholarship details below.

Private Scholarships Valid at Any College

Flavor of the Month Scholarship:  UNIGO wants to know, “if you were an ice cream flavor, what flavor would you be?” One $1,500 scholarship will be awarded. Deadline to apply is July 31st.

John Kitt Memorial Scholarship for Candy Technologists:  The American Academy for Candy Technologists awards one $5,000 annual scholarship to a continuing college student with a demonstrated interest in confectionary technology. Application deadline is April 1st.

A Voice for Animals Essay Contest:  The Humane Education Network, in partnership with the Animal Welfare Institute and the Palo Alto Humane Society, awards $6,500 in total prizes for essays promoting the humane treatment of animals. Apply February 1st through March 31st.

National Beef Ambassador Program:  The American National Cattlewomen Foundation awards eight $1,000 scholarships to winning youth who educate their community about the beef industry. Contact the program for participation requirements.

National Gay Pilot’s Scholarship:  The National Gay Pilot’s Association, in partnership with American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines, awards six $5,000 scholarships to certified pilots active in the LGBT community and pursuing advanced aviation education. Application deadline is August 1st.

Valeant Dermatology Scholarship:  Students being treated for acne can apply for one of nine scholarships up to $10,000 each awarded by Valeant Dermatology. Applications accepted February 1st through April 30th.

Tall Clubs International Foundation Scholarship:  If you’re young woman over 5’10” or a young man over 6’2”, you may be eligible for one of many scholarships up to $1,000 awarded by the Tall Clubs International Foundation. Information can be requested from the Foundation through February 1st.

Little People of America Scholarship:  The Little People of America awards two undergraduate and one graduate scholarship to students under 4’10” tall who have been diagnosed with a form of dwarfism (or have a family member diagnosed with dwarfism). Deadline to apply is April 30th.

Delete Cyberbullying Scholarship:  Delete Cyberbullying awards one $1,000 scholarship to a high school or college student committed to the cause of ending online bullying. Application deadline is June 30th.

Stuck at Prom Scholarship:  A total of $51,000 annually (top prize of $10,000) is awarded to creative high school students who design, create, and wear a complete prom wardrobe made with Duck Brand Duct Tape. Deadline to apply is May 31st.

College-Awarded Scholarships Available at Particular Universities

UCLA Big Bang Theory Scholarship:  The creator, cast, and crew of CBS sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory,” have endowed a scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles for low-income students studying—like the show’s main characters—science,  technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Ball State University Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship:  The Telecommunications Scholarship endowed by talk show legend, David Letterman, to his alma mater, Ball State, is awarded to a telecommunications major or minor on the basis of a creative endeavor, and gives no consideration to academic achievement (as mandated by Letterman, an admittedly mediocre student). Applications are due by April 4th.

Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity:  Wesleyan recently announced the establishment of the Hamilton Prize, a four-year full tuition scholarship, founded in honor of Lin Manuel-Miranda, writer and star of the Tony award winning musical, Hamilton, and Thomas Kail, Hamilton’s director, both Wesleyan alumni. Scholarship details are currently being finalized.

Ursinus College Creative Writing Award:  The Creative Writing Award honors the legacy of author J.D. Salinger, who attended Ursinus (but did not graduate).  The award recognizes an extraordinary literary voice with a $33,000 per year scholarship. In addition to scholarship funding, the winner also earns the privilege of living in Salinger’s former dorm room. Candidates must apply to Ursinus through one of their Early Action or Early Decision processes, and must submit the scholarship application by January 1st.

As always, contact the awarding college or agency for complete scholarship information and application requirements. And look beyond the above scholarships for your child by exploring the characteristics, interests, and talents that make him or her truly unique.

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Written by Shannon Vasconcelos
Shannon Vasconcelos is a college finance expert at College Coach. Before joining College Coach, she was a Senior Financial Aid Officer at Tufts University and Boston University.