Unorthodox Scholarships

When I hear the word ‘scholarship,’ do you know what I think?

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When I hear the word ‘scholarship,’ do you know what I think?


Everyone loves free money. It’s out there. And someone is going to get it.  

I think there is a certain stigma associated with scholarships, though. Students often think they are hard to find and even harder to get. The applications are daunting and only the valedictorians and star athletes really get their school paid for through scholarships.

I’m here to tell you that is not the case. Well, not the case most of the time. Academic and athletic scholarships are big and typically the ones at the top of the pile. But it is a HUGE pile! And there is something in there for you, too.

Here is the trick to it: as my grandfather might say “put lots of lines in the water.” Decode that to mean: put out lots of applications. The more you send out, the greater the chance of catching a fish. I mean money.

I remember when my friends and I were scholarships hunting, I found one for tall people! (I’m 5’11” and somehow that qualified me for some college cash) while my friend (at 4’10”) found one for short people.  There is an abundance of scholarships for people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and future careers.

Each year, the Kentucky Broadcaster’s Association awards a scholarship to a future broadcaster.  I have also seen local congregations give scholarships to students who are member of a certain faith.

Not unorthodox enough for you? How about Jif’s Most Creative Sandwich Contest? Or the United States Bowling Congress Scholarship for excellence in bowling? Or the National Dairy Shrine award for Milk Marketing?

Talk to your guidance counselor. Talk to Google.  Look under every stone on the internet and submit, submit, submit!

Oh and listen up. This is an important one. Once you make a decision on where you want to go to school, really dig in to their scholarship opportunities. Reach out to the scholarship office, and if you’re eligible, submit an application. These “in house” scholarships won’t be quite as competitive and they typically offer quite a few.

Don’t leave cash on the table! The largest number of scholarships are available to freshmen, so don’t let the opportunity pass! 


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