5 Unusual Ways to Earn a College Scholarship


College is expensive. Scholarships can help to relieve some of that financial burden, and we’re here to clue you in to a few that are available to students who aren’t star athletes or in the upper reaches of their class’ grade point percentile.

1. Stop People From Texting While Driving

Texting while driving is bad. If you help to spread the word about the dangers of texting behind the wheel, you could be entered in a drawing for a $10,000 scholarship to the school of your choice. The deadline has passed for 2012, but there's already information available on how to get involved in the contest for 2013. (Hint: it involves wearing tiny socks on your thumbs, taking a picture, and getting five like-minded friends to do the same.)

2. Channel Your Inner Dr. Seuss

Two years ago Random House hosted a contest celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ classic Oh, The Places You’ll Go! book in which the prize was a $10,000 scholarship. Thanks to the enthusiastic response, they quickly made it an annual event, with a different twist each year. In 2010 it was an essay contest, in 2011 contestants had to submit original artwork. The criteria for the 2012 competition (prize to be awarded in 2013) have not yet been announced, but you can send an email to info@drseussart.com and request the details. Or “like” their Facebook page and be automatically kept abreast of the particulars.

3. Make a Sandwich (as a Preteen)

This scholarship is for kids who are planning way ahead when it comes to higher education – it is restricted to children aged six to 12. Of course, this means that a parent or guardian must fill out the application to enter their budding chef in Jif Peanut Butter’s annual Most Creative Sandwich contest. There are several prize levels to shoot for, with a grand prize of a $25,000 college fund up for grabs.

4. Give Peace a Chance

Despite its New Age-y name, The Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding is a bona fide and sincere organization that believes world peace can be achieved by open and analytical discussions of justice and freedom by young people today. They sponsor an annual essay contest that awards both national and state prizes, with a top award of $10,000. The topic for the 2012/2013 contest is “What does it mean to have a gendered approach to war and peace issues?” and the submission deadline is February 1, 2013. Get all the fine print and requirements here.

5. Design a Greeting Card

Have you ever browsed the rack of greeting cards at your local drugstore and thought “My kid can draw/write a better card than that!”? Well, here’s your kid’s chance to prove it and perhaps earn a $10,000 scholarship in the process. The deadline for submitting original artwork, photography or computer graphics for a family- or business-friendly greeting card is January 16, 2013. Everything you need to know can be found at the Gallery Collection’s website.