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Extraordinary Scholarships for Ordinary Kids

Does your child show a particular knack for chess? Maybe your daughter has come up with some clever ways to keep your neighborhood eco-friendly? Or your son has shown a knack for rallying his classmates around important causes? These are the kinds of acts and interests for which colleges and universities will award scholarships.

Yep, not every child has to boast a 4.0+ GPA, be a sports stud, or fulfill special interest quotas to secure some free cash for college (though all of these certainly help). There are a wide variety of extraordinary scholarships for ordinary kids with unusual interests, talents, and proclivities, including:

Chess – The U.S. Chess Federation keeps a list of scholarship opportunities available to kids who show a talent for the game, including universities or colleges in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, Missouri and Tennessee. Click here to learn more.

Environmentalism – Kids who think green, environment-wise, can end up securing some of the other kind for their college years. Fast Company recently posted a slew of eco-scholarship paths for Earth Day, and many universities are looking for kids with precisely these mindsets.

Climbing – A number of colleges offer scholarships to kids who enjoy climbing. According to RaiseMe, schools like Indian Tech, the New England Institute of Technology “and 265 other colleges offer up to $6,000 in scholarships for every year of climbing club.” They add that kids in climbing leadership roles can secure an extra $3,375 per year.

Arts – Though it may seem that only kids with strong STEM backgrounds are securing scholarships these days, it turns out there is a ton of aid being offered young thespians, painters, filmmakers, sculptors, and other artistic types. Although this list from PrepScholar is a few years old, it gives you a nice sampling of what’s out there.

Marching Band – We did a quick survey of a half-dozen universities and colleges and discovered that most offer some form of help for kids who are adept at and interested in marching band (and or other musical ensembles). This is a typical discussion from Auburn University that you also can find at websites for the University of Virginia, Clemson, and so on.

Weird Ones – Yeah, there are a lot of ‘interesting’ scholarships to be had as well, including up to $20k from Duck brand duct tape. To win? Have your son or daughter fashion their prom outfit out of – you guessed it – Duck tape. And $5k is available to the child who comes up with the best approach for recycling/reusing bathroom care products. And if your child has a LMAO-worthy story, he/she could win $1500. In fact, there are a lot of corporate-sponsored scholarships to be had.

The bottom line: there is A LOT of money available out there for kids who aren’t necessarily setting the world on fire academically or aren’t sports prodigies. And parents, there are lots of resources for discovering these dollars. You just need to look. This is a great place to start. 




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