Paying for College? Don’t Overlook Local and Special-Interest Scholarships

Barry Lenson

Paying for College? Don’t Overlook Local and Special-Interest Scholarships

“Eleven Bizarre but Excellent Scholarships” on The Huffington Post is a must-read post if you are wondering whether you can get a scholarship for studying something unusual – or downright weird.  Here’s a quick summary of some of the unusual scholarships that are profiled . . .

The Klingon Language Institute is offering a $500 scholarship for Trekkies who want to master the Klingon language.

The American Association of Candy Technologists is offering a $5,000 scholarship to students of candy science.

The Michigan Llama Association is making $500 scholarships available to its members and their children.

Tall Clubs International is offering special scholarships to tall women (5’10” +) and men (6’2” +). 

But seriously folks . . . 

Sure, that list is funny. But it also serves as a reminder that there are some unusual scholarships waiting for you if you go looking for them. Many of these scholarships are small, on the order of $500 or $1,000. But every cent counts when you’re paying for college, right? 

Here’s a bit of advice on finding local and special-interest scholarships  . . . 

  • Start with your parents. Scholarships could be available to you through their employers, veterans associations, civic organizations like Rotary or Kiwanis – and even their country clubs, if they belong to any. So sit down with your parents and brainstorm about everything they do to be sure you’re not overlooking any possible sources of funding.
  • Tap into your community. Churches, civic organizations, local companies, hospitals and even the police could be offering scholarships to worthy students from your home town. One of the best ways to find them is to enlist the help of a local elected official, like your state representative, a town council member, or even your mayor.  Those folks like to help their constituents go to college. It helps them get reelected. 
  • Look into specialized groups. If you or a parent is a member of a particular group of any kind, investigate scholarships that may be available to you. Dig around! There are scholarships for cancer survivors, scholarships for Arab-American students – and lots of other sources of targeted funding you could be overlooking. Search online using terms like, “Scholarships for People with Lupus.” You’ll be surprised by the results you are going to get.

And here’s another piece of advice. If you can put together a package of two or three of these scholarships, that could make a dent in your college costs. If your dad is a Klingon who is in the Kiwanis, for example, you could be rolling in dough.  

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