Unique Scholarships – What Qualifies As Unique

The scholarships that are most prevalent always seem to be directed towards students with major athletic abilities or academic accomplishments. Students that do not shine in these specific areas can feel overlooked when it comes time to search for  financial support for school, but a little time spent looking at a person’s distinct qualities, hobbies, and skills followed by internet research can prove that there are many options for scholarships.

There are many scholarships aimed at students that are gifted in other areas; creative scholarships, last name scholarships, scholarships for students in specific areas of study, and scholarships for those who commit time to doing good works. Some of these may seem straight forward, while others may not, but there are more options out there than one may expect. Creative scholarships vary widely. Who can really pin down creativity?

These scholarships are earned by proving creative abilities by creating something, not by writing an essay about a need for money. There are specific scholarships for knitting, like the National Make it yourself with Wool Competition. Contestants are challenged to knit a garment out of wool and are judged based on specific, predetermined categories. These students can win up to $2,000 for proving their knitting talents and creativity.

There are also scholarships for young inventors; one example is the Collegiate Inventors Competition by The National Inventors Hall of Fame. This competition is intended to encourage our youth to be creative by making something that is new, will be useful to our society, and is, of course, inventive! The winner of this scholarship will receive $25,000. Possibly the most interesting creative scholarship yet, is the J.D. Salinger Award/Ursinus College Creative Writing Award. This award is offered at Ursinus College. It is inspired by the author of the Catcher in the Rye, who had attended Ursinus College in his youth.

The college describes the student that they are seeking in their scholarship description, “we are looking for an unusual perspective, for quirky brilliance, for a voice, not necessarily the kind that can be measured by conventional standards” (Ursinus.edu). This scholarship would offer a substantial amount of financial support to attend Ursinus College and offers the opportunity to live in the former dorm room of the renowned author. My personal experience with creative based scholarships was in my senior year of high school. I received a music scholarship based on my accomplishments playing the flute. It was not a substantial amount of money, as some of the above are, but it did help with the cost of college. These creative scholarships recognize students that have very real abilities and talents that are, unfortunately, sometimes overlooked in academia.

Last name scholarships are awarded based on last name by birth and/or by marriage. The details of the last name scholarships vary from scholarship to scholarship and school to school, but they all come down to the same thing, a person’s last name.

Usually these scholarships come out of an endowment created by a former student or donor to the university with that last name. The scholarship requirements have been set by that individual and by the school. It seems that for many of these scholarships, those who come forward to claim them are few. The required last names are sometimes rare, and the extra requirements that are involved may make someone with the correct last name still ineligible. Examples of these scholarships include; the Scarpinato Scholarship at Texas A&M, The Zolp Scholarship at Loyola University in Chicago, The John Gatling Grant Program at North Carolina State University, and there are several offered at Harvard.