7 bizarre college scholarships that really exist


There are plenty of scholarships for people with, shall we say, eclectic interests. Maybe you’re into marionettes. Maybe you’re a member of the United States Bowling Congress (a pretty official name for an organization whose committee members have names like Lyle Zikes and Rhino Page). Maybe you’re studying parapsychology, but your ESP wasn’t quite strong enough to have told you that the Parapsychology Foundation was going to run out of money and cancel most of their grants.

Whatever your proclivities, here are seven active scholarships that might make applying to college just a little more fun.

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7 awesome college scholarships

Zolp Scholarship

The Loyola University Chicago Zolp Scholarship has a single, simple requirement – applicants must have the last name Zolp. Is your last name not Zolp? Then move along, you feckless nobody. Is your last name Zolp? Then your time has come! Finally, all those years of being dead last in line for picture day have paid off. According to the school’s website, scholarship amounts vary depending on, “the number of eligible recipients.” I guess some years there are more Zolps than others, which happened to be my grandfather’s dying words

Stuck at Prom Scholarship


Duct Tape’s Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest, in which high school students compete to make the best prom attire out of duct tape for a grand prize of $10,000, has been going strong for fifteen years. Over that decade and a half there have been 7,733 submissions, only two-thirds of them from virgins, with 92,796 rolls of tape used over 386,650 hours of work. Of course if the kids had spent that many hours working on homework instead they might actually get into college in the first place, but then what would they wear? All kidding aside, the winning outfits put every creative project I’ve ever embarked upon to shame. Look at 2015’s:

7 crazy college scholarships

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Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship

In 250 words or less, describe how you would survive a zombie apocalypse, including where you would hide and what you would bring with you to stay alive. If your answer is the judges’ favorite, you could win a $2,000 college scholarship. For those keeping track, that’s $500 more than the I Have A Dream Scholarship. At least we have our national priorities straight. Past winners include poems and POV survivor stories, so they seem to be an open-minded bunch (is that a zombie pun?). But the rules also state that “pornographic responses will be disqualified.” I guess the world just isn’t ready for my erotic zombie fiction.

Beckley Scholarship


Every year Juniata College awards one or two of its students the Beckley Scholarship, a $1,000-$1,500 award for financial need, academic success, and left-handedness. Sick of centuries of persecution of the mildest variety, Juniata graduate Mary Francis Beckley established the scholarship in 1979 to finally give lefties a chance. And it seems to be working: three of the last four presidents have been left-handed, four out of five if you count ambidextrous Reagan. And no, to answer the question you’re all thinking, they do not test for left-handedness. Stupid, overly trusting lefties.

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JIF Most Creative Sandwich Contest

Every year JIF awards a $25,000 college fund to the maker of the most creative JIF-based sandwich. This year’s finalists included a Ladyfinger Sandwich, a Banana Split Quesadilla, a French Toast Roll-Up, and a S’mores Puff Sandwich. Seriously? It says, “Most Creative,” not “And Also Probably Delicious.” So why did none of my submissions get picked! Not Peanut Buttery Hubcaps with Extra Rice, not a Picture of a Philosopher Pondering the Nature of Peanut Butter Sandwiches, not even PB&Jail (basically a PB&J where convicts watch you eat). I cry foul. And speaking of foul, I tip my hat to you, 2009’s Po Boy Peanut Butter Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwich.

Make Me Laugh Scholarship


A scholarship that proves that even the class clowns deserve a shot at higher education, albeit a much smaller shot since this $1,500 award is about 1% the cost of a private, four-year college education. But hey, every bit counts. All you have to do is make the judges laugh. No SATs, no essay, just a test that any aspiring stand-up comedian will tell you is infinitely more stressful. So what type of competition are you up against? Well, let’s use this blog post as a barometer: do you think it’s funny? No, please, tell me I’m funny. Is there a Make Me Laugh At Your Low Self-Esteem Scholarship?

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The Voris Auten Scholarship

Bucknell University offers this endowed scholarship to a Mount Carmel resident who is not a habitual user of tobacco, liquor, or narcotics, and, wait for it, does not participate in any “strenuous athletic contests.” I really love this simple little award. It lures you into thinking it’s an ordinary scholarship for those healthy individuals who treat their bodies as a temple, and then veers left with a hard dismissal of student athletes. You know, smokers, drinkers, drug users, and volleyball players – all the people who give fitness a bad name.

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