13 Weird & Cool College Scholarships to Apply for in 2019

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prom dress and shoes made of duck tape

Scholarships aren’t just for A-students anymore!

If you’re on the hunt for college funds, there are thousands of college scholarships available based on the state you live in, academics, athletics, college major, and other general criteria. BUT, did you know that there are also a bunch of weird and unusual scholarships out there?

We’ve rounded up some of the weirdest (and coolest) 2019 college scholarships that make applying for money a LOT more fun (listed in order by application deadline). Plus, many of them require minimal or NO writing!

blank piece of paper and pen

1. “No Essay” College Scholarship

  • Deadline: You can apply once each month (a new winner selected monthly)
  • Award: $2,000 (one winner per month)
  • Who Can Apply? All high school and college students, as well as anyone looking to attend college or graduate school in the next year
  • Details & How to Apply: No Essay Scholarship

Don’t like to write? The $2,000 “No Essay” Scholarship is an easy scholarship as there is NO essay required! The scholarship can be used to cover tuition, housing, books, or any education-related expenses. The monthly winner will be determined by random drawing and then contacted directly.

teen girl holding up duct tape to her prom date

2. Duck Tape “Stuck at Prom” Scholarship

  • Deadline: See below for full contest details:
    • Contest Begins – 12 PM EDT on April 1st, 2019
    • Contest Ends – 11:59 PM EDT on July 9th, 2019
    • Entry Period – 12 PM EDT on April 1st, 2019 – 11:59 PM EDT on June 3rd, 2019
    • Judging Period – June 4th, 2019 – June 18th, 2019
    • Community Voting – 12 PM EDT on June 18th, 2019 – 11:59 PM EDT on June 28th, 2019
    • Winners Announced – On or about July 9th, 2019
  • Awards: $10,000 for Best Dress (one winner) + $10,000 for Best Tux (one winner), plus 8 Tux and Dress runner up prizes that include $500 cash scholarships and Duck Brand prize packs ($100 value each).
  • Who Can Apply? Students 14 years of age or older who attend a high school, home school association, or another school-sanctioned prom during the 2019 calendar year.
  • Details & How to Apply: Duck Tape “Stuck at Prom” Scholarship

To be eligible for this scholarship, students are challenged to create their own prom outfits made entirely from Duck Tape, and then wear those outfits to the prom! Creations will be judged on workmanship, originality, use of colors, accessories, and use of Duck Brand Duck tape.

casket with flowers

3. American Board of Funeral Service Education Scholarship

  • Deadline: March 1st or September 1st (annually)
  • Award: $500-$2,500 each (5+ winners every period – will vary on the number of applicants)
  • Who Can Apply? Undergraduate and Post Graduate students
  • Details & How to Apply: High School Senior College Scholarship

Dying to get into the funeral business? In hopes of garnering applicants into the field of funeral and mortuary sciences, the American Board of Funeral Service Education has put together a scholarship program for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Applicants must have completed at least one full semester of coursework focusing in funeral and mortuary sciences to be eligible.

water gushing from sprinkler

4. AFSA High School Senior College Scholarship

  • Deadline: April 1st, 2019
  • Award: $2,000 each (10 winners)
  • Who Can Apply? High School Seniors who are citizens or aliens legally residing in the USA
  • Details & How to Apply: AFSA High School Senior College Scholarship

Know a thing or two about fire sprinklers? To enter this scholarship from the American Fire Sprinkler Association, simply read an essay on fire sprinklers and then answer a short, eight-question multiple-choice quiz about it (you can even reference the essay as you answer). Winner selection is NOT based on financial need, GPA, or demographic criteria, and scholarship winners are randomly selected by a computer-generated drawing from among valid entries received at the conclusion of the contest period.

Not a High School Senior? No problem! Enter the Second Chance Contest for college students where five winners will be awarded $1,000 scholarships.

think outside the box on chair

5. Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contests

  • Deadline: April 18th, 2019, April 25th, 2019, and September 19th, 2019
  • Award: Over 230 prizes, totaling more than $70,000
  • Who Can Apply? 8th-12th Grade Students and College Undergraduate & Graduate Students
  • Details & How to Apply: Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contests

Like reading thought-provoking books? Or just like to argue for and justify your point of view? There are several Ayn Rand Institute essay contests available that would be write for you! ✏️

There are two Anthem writing contests – one for 8th, 9th, and 10th-grade students (deadline April 25th) and the other for 11th and 12th graders only (deadline April 18th). For each contest, the first place winner will get $2,000 (one winner), 2nd place winners will get $250 (three winners), 3rd place winners will get $100 (five winners), and the remaining finalists will each get $25 (50 winners).

11th and 12th Graders can enter The Fountainhead writing contest (deadline April 25th). The first place winner will get $10,000 (one winner), 2nd place winners will each get $2,500 (three winners), the 3rd place winners will get $500 (five winners), and the remaining finalists will each get $50 (50 winners).

12th Graders, College Undergraduates, and Graduate Students are eligible to enter the Atlas Shrugged writing contest (deadline September 19th). The first place winner will be awarded $10,000 (one winner), 2nd place winners will each get $2,500 (three winners), the 3rd place winners will get $500 (five winners), and the remaining finalists will each get $50 (50 winners).

bundle of green asparagus

6. Asparagus Club Scholarship

  • Deadline: Mid-April
  • Award: $2,000 (Up to five scholarships awarded annually, up to four semesters)
  • Who Can Apply? Full-time enrolled rising sophomores through postgraduate studies with 2.5 GPA or higher, with intent to pursue a career in the independent grocery industry
  • Details & How to Apply: Asparagus Club Scholarship

Want to pursue an education in the grocery industry? Founded in 1909, the name Asparagus Club was selected for the group to symbolize the concept that one single tip of asparagus standing alone would fall, but when tied together in a bunch could stand upright.

Asparagus Club scholarships are awarded for up to four semesters, provided that the recipient continues to meet eligibility requirements. Scholarship winners will be notified in August.

man behind video camera

7. IP Video Contest Scholarship

  • Deadline: April 30th, 2019 (opens March 1st, 2019)
  • Award: $5,000 plus a trip to IPO Foundation Awards Dinner in Washington, DC on December 12th, 2019 (two winners)
  • Who Can Apply? Open to students 13 and older (prizes awarded to those 16+ years old)
  • Details & How to Apply: IP Video Contest Scholarship

The IP Video Contest Scholarship gives students the chance to discuss the importance of intellectual properties, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. The contest is broken into age groups, ranging from 13-15, 16-18, and 19+. Applicants will need to submit a 30-60 second video demonstrating the importance of intellectual property and the positive effects it has had on the world.

There will be two winners from the 16+ year-old category who will each receive a $5,000 cash prize or scholarship and a trip to IPO Foundation Awards Dinner in Washington, DC on December 12th, 2019.

Plus, one winner from the Enter for Charity category will receive a $5,000 donation to the charity of his/her choice. All finalists from the Most Facebook Likes category qualify for a $1,500 cash prize for the most likes on Facebook! Winners will be announced the first week of June 2019.

yellow potatoes on ground

8. National Potato Council Scholarship

  • Deadline: Mid-June (opens April 2019)
  • Award: $10,000 (one winner)
  • Who Can Apply? Graduate students conducting research for the benefit of the potato industry
  • Details & How to Apply: National Potato Council Scholarship

Interested in conducting research on potatoes? The National Potato Council provides annual funding to graduate research students who exhibit both leadership qualities and overall academic prowess.

The winner is selected based on a number of criteria, including academic achievement, leadership abilities, potato-related areas of graduate study, benefit to the U.S. potato industry, commercial value, extracurricular activities, and grades. Awards are typically dispersed in August of each year and are applicable to both fall and spring semesters. For questions, email Hillary Hutchins.

real duck by pond

9. Chick & Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest

Skilled at calling ducks? For over 40 years, the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest has awarded high school students who are able to call ducks. Funding is applicable to any field of learning available at 32 different colleges and universities in 13 different states.

The scholarship is open to high school seniors and the competition will be on Friday, November 23rd, 2019 at 11 AM. The contest is associated with the World’s Champion Duck Calling Contest and will take place on the Main Street Stage beside the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce. Note that a copy of the contestant’s high school transcript must be provided at registration along with a proper ID.

Applicants must be able to exhibit skill in hail, feed, comeback, and mating calls. The 1st place winner will receive $2,000, 2nd place will get $1,000, 3rd place will get $750, and 4th place will receive $500.

basket of vegetables

10. Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship

  • Deadline: CLOSED. Sorry, gang! Try again next February 20th, 2020
  • Award: One award of $10,000 and two awards of $5,000
  • Who Can Apply? Graduating U.S. high school students who have promoted vegetarianism in their schools and/or communities
  • Details & How to Apply: Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship

The Vegetarian Resource Group awards $20,000 annually to high school students who are practicing vegetarians or vegans. Applicants will be judged on having shown compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle.

young woman happy with ipad

11. Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants

Love applying for scholarships? Debt.com wants to award students who have shown persistence and courage in applying for ALL the free college money that is out there. All you have to do is apply for TONS of scholarships (don’t worry, you don’t have to win them!) and send them copies of the submission receipts, along with a letter saying a bit about yourself, your plans in life, and how you felt submitting all those applications. New winners are selected every two months.

Debt.com is purposefully vague with their rules to give students who seek the most scholarships the best chance of winning, but if you have questions, you can contact them and ask away.

blank greeting card with flowers in background

12. Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship

  • Deadline: CLOSED. Sorry, gang! Try again next March 1st, 2020
  • Award: $10,000 plus a $1,000 prize for your school (one winner)
  • Who Can Apply? Must be 14 years or older at time of entry and be enrolled in High School, College, University, or home school
  • Details & How to Apply: Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship

Have a knack for drawing? The Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship is designed to give high school and collegiate-level students the opportunity to flex their creativity and design an original greeting card. All artwork must be original and can include photography and graphic design. Non-winning greeting cards may still be selected for publishing, in which case the artist will be compensated.

Work Hard Play Hard Scholarships

13. Work Hard, Play Hard Scholarships

  • Deadline: October 30th, 2019
  • Award: $2,500 (one winner for each scholarship)
  • Who Can Apply? Undergraduate, graduate, or professional student.
  • Details & How to Apply: Work Hard Scholarship; Play Hard Scholarship

Is your idea of fun checking to see if your test scores have been posted – despite the fact that you already know you aced it? Do you do all the work in group projects because your work is just better? Did you ace the ACT/SAT test but that’s the least impressive thing about your academic career? If so, this Work Hard scholarship is for you!

Are you actively leaving a legacy of social excellence? Are you a force of social change and leadership on and off campus by being actively involved and engaged in countless activities, groups, or clubs. If so, the Play Hard Scholarship is for you!

Other helpful college information:

Unigo is a great place to search for other college scholarships besides the one listed above as they have a huge database with millions of different scholarships available (it’s free to sign up!). Plus, they provide helpful college reviews, have a student loan finder, publish informative articles, and offer other awesome resources that allow students to make the best decisions about college.

More from Hip2Save:
Join The Discussion

Comments 21

  1. Lana

    Four out of five our kids went to college on full tuition scholarships. The way to get them is work, work, work and do community service and prep for that SAT! Apply to private universities because they are the ones that have scholarships to give away but do it by early Dec in your junior year. By February all the scholarship money has been awarded and it often for the full four years.

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Great tips! Thanks Lana!

    • A

      Smart kids who worked hard. Congratulations!!
      Can you please guide a little bit more what kind of community service & which universities?
      Trying to collect info before my kiddo gets there.

      • Lana

        Private colleges, especially smaller ones are easiest. Any service that gets you teen out in the community and serving others is good. Our youngest three were in Civil Air Patrol all through high school.

        • A


  2. Kristi S.

    Check to see if your library or local university subscribe to the Foundation Center. https://gtionline.foundationcenter.org/ (there is a “locations” link at the bottom) They have a search engine for individual grants and scholarships. Some you might never have known existed!

  3. Mara

    The most amazing scholarship out there is
    The Evans scholarship. Full tuition and quarterly stipend.

  4. Su

    Average kids with 3.0’s, play sports, do community service, and are part of leadership clubs, parents earn 80,000 a year…. get screwed all the way around.

    Plan ahead, especially if you have an average well balanced kid.

    Full ride scholarships are very hard to come by.

    • Cindy

      Totally agree!

    • Anne

      I agree with you on this 100%! I have three in college, all had straight A’s, one was valedictorian, one ranked 3rd in class the other ranked 5th. All played sports and were involved in FFA, 4-H, did community service, etc. They had the most luck with local scholarships, which were great, so appreciative to have received them, but hardly a drop in the bucket compared to the total cost.

      As someone mentioned before, check out private colleges. Don’t let the sticker price scare you! One of my kids attends a private college and has received several scholarships, awards, grants directly from that college that has made his tuition cheaper than his siblings who are in public college! Plus, the professors go above and beyond to make sure he not only succeeds but excels! (This has not been OUR experience with the public colleges.) One of my kids was offered a sports scholarship (NOT a full ride) at a private college but it wasn’t a good fit for him. (I loved it, but I’m not the one going!) My impression while visiting the campus and talking with professors was the same as I have with the private college my other son attends, they care about your child’s success!

      So, with the experience I have had with this college roller coaster ride! My advice is:
      1. Plan ahead! (Don’t assume because your child is a stellar student colleges will throw money at them to attend!) Save, save, save!
      2. Apply for as many scholarships as possible and apply early! Don’t procrastinate!
      3. Check out private colleges! They have funds that will usually make the cost cheaper than a public school.

      Obviously, there are people with better advice and different experiences. This has just been my experience so far, I’m sure there is more to come!

  5. Heather

    This is an amazing resource! Thank you HIP2SAVE!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re very welcome, Heather!

  6. sara

    I was very fortunate in undergrad at USC. I received academic and need based scholarships. Being a 1st generation college student also gave me the diversity edge for admission and scholarships. Grad school, on the other hand, is when I became all too familiar with the plight of student loans.

  7. Luv🌺

    Thank you Hip2Save for the information, I’ve passed it on to my niece in college.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Oh good! You’re SO welcome!

  8. Nat C

    Thanks for posting. I am a non traditional student. I am trying to return to school to finish my BA after being gone for 10 years… eek. I am at that point where I need it in order to move up at work.

  9. Linda

    Some people don’t realize that the pre-SAT test that everyone takes is also a scholarship opportunity (called National Merit). You get a little stipend for being a semi finalist and a bigger stipend for being a finalist. Also, some major private colleges will pick from the finalist pool students to give extra money to (you have to be applying to that school, obviously). My neighbors kids were both finalists. One ended up with a full ride to Vanderbilt. The other ended up with a half tuition scholarship to Villanova. I believe they each applied for a got several other scholarships. Early prep helped my neighbor’s kids get a college degree without going into debt!
    I say this because I took the PSAT 20 years ago without any prep and didn’t realize there was any money attached to it. I ended up being a semi finalist and got a stipend for $500 x 4 years ($2000 total). I don’t know if the numbers changed over the last 2 decades, but that certainly paid for all my books and lab fees for the year. I remember distinctly regretting that I didn’t study or prepare for the PSAT. I shared this with my neighbor as her kids were starting high school

    • Mary

      Thank you I did not know this! My son just took the PSAT for the first time with no prep and I was really confused about why there would be prep classes for it! He has several more years to keep taking it, but now I know I should enroll him in the prep!

  10. Gina

    If you have a learning disability or a physical disability, check with your state’s rehabilitation department for scholarship money. I know several people who have gotten 4 year full tuition and books paid this way.

  11. Anne

    These are awesome! Also, if you have student loan debt, check out the Givling trivia app. Here’s a link to a CNBC article about them. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/14/ways-to-reduce-your-student-debt-without-using-your-paycheck.html?fbclid=IwAR1xTxWkJXKwmfl6YtrZ8tWlmvCRU1qE0D3gt5U0yb6RrEeYf6cNJKrembw

    They crowd fund, but you can play and be eligible without spending a penny. They have weekly trivia with nice cash prize, they have two random $10000 drawings, while also crowdfunding $50,000 for a student loan or mortgage (if you don’t have either, you can put the money into an approved investment fund). If you sign up, I’d love it if you use my invite code, RB798402.

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