Strange Scholarships: Supplemental Funds for College Tuition

For parents across America, making sure your child gets their undergraduate degree is an important and valuable goal. However, the rising cost of an education is staggering for young adults and families alike. Even with 18 or more years to save for tuition, few families can afford to cover the cost of college out of pocket. There are few alternatives to loans, grant applications, and paying out of pocket.

However, many parents should encourage, and help, their child find and apply for scholarships. Impressing the importance of financial health upon your child may seem stressful, but getting them actively involved in the financial responsibilities that come with college (and adulthood) will better prepare them for the future. CNBC recently rounded up some non-traditional scholarships, just scratching the surface on funds available out there.
Students may not think they can get a scholarship because they do not have traditional skills or interests, but that is far from the truth. Students, with enough digging through the Internet, can find options that fit their specific personalities and skills. One example is the “stuck at prom” scholarship contest. The scholarship is a “promotional contest from Duck Tape” that “offers high schoolers 14 and older a chance at a $10,000 prize for making an entire prom outfit out of duct tape. Participants must enter in pairs to be considered for the grand prize and have to attend a school-sanctioned program.” The contest has run for the last 15 years and while the grand prize is $10,000 for each member in the couple, there are prizes for second and third place too. Second-place winners each receive $5,000 and third place gets $3,000 each. Duck Tape estimates that since its inception, more than “92,796 rolls of duct tape have been used to create 7,733 entries in the contest.”

Is your son or daughter on the zombie-apocalypse bandwagon? If so, get them to apply to UniGo’s Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship. No, this is not a joke. The online college guide is giving $2,000 to the student 13 or older who submits the best 250-word or less response to the question “What is your zombie plan?” The best, creative response gets a serious pay day—each word of that essay would be worth at least $8.

Are you trying to encourage your child to take up a musical instrument? Well if you can, encourage them to try the tuba. Tuba players are eligible for serious music scholarships. For example, the University of Florida offers the William R. Booth Tuba Scholarship which, “awards a brass playing student $100,000 who participants in the school’s Gator marching band.” Meanwhile the University of Arizona offers tuba scholarships ranging from a few hundred dollars to full tuition.

Do you know what milk builds besides strong bones? Apparently, milk is good for scholarship fundraising too. The Dairy Council of Arizona offers a $12,000 scholarship to the student who sends them the best milk mustache picture. The second- and third- place winners get $8,000.

Finally, another scholarship rewards the early bird. Creative children between the ages of 6 and 12 who love peanut butter can start saving for college. The Jif “Most Creative Sandwich Contest” gives future scholars $25,000 towards tuitions, plus a $50 peanut butter prize. Young kitchen creative need to submit a unique peanut-butter recipe with a parent or guardian to enter.

There are many scholarship opportunities to help parents offset the cost of tuition. The non-traditional options are encouraging and enticing—especially if your child seems disinterested or pessimistic about their scholarship chances. In fact, most of these scholarship contests seem as entertaining as they are potentially profitable. While you leave the tuba-playing, zombie-planning, or sandwich-making to your son or daughter, you can still talk traditional finance options with an expert to make sure your child and family are ready for the financial college commitment. Call an advisor at Apex Financial Advisors today to start saving today!