Many students think that the only way to get a scholarship is to be a gifted athlete or scholar. However, you'll be surprised to learn how many scholarships are awarded for bizarre, obscure reasons. If you're a unique individual, there might be a unique scholarship waiting for you.

Do you have a special skill, unique hobby, or personal attribute that no one else possesses? If that's the case, that special quality may be worth more than you think. In fact, it may help finance your college tuition. There are an amazing number of scholarships awarded for all kinds of obscure reasons. Check out the list below for a sampling:

1. Klingon Language Institute Study. You don't need to be a Trekkie, or even speak Klingon, to receive this scholarship. Its intent is to promote the study of languages. Apply where few dare to go.

2. Scholarships for Left-Handed Students. Have you gone through life bearing the stigma of not doing the "right" thing? If so, this scholarship, awarded to students at Pennsylvania's Juniata College, may be right for you.

3. Zolp Family Scholarship. Forget about being a Smith or a Jones. Only people with the last name of Zolp are eligible for this one, awarded to Catholic students at Loyola University. Caution: Name changes don't count.

4. Mycological Society of America. Sometimes it's okay if those text books get a little moldy. The Mycological Society of America offers graduate fellowships for students pursuing the study of mycology, which includes learning about mold spores and fungus.

5. Little People of America Scholarship: If you're less than 4'10", the unexpected money can help keep things looking up by giving you a little boost when it comes to tuition.

6. Tall Clubs International Scholarship. How about equal time for tall people? Only women taller than 5'10" and men over 6'2" can apply. Height can be right.

7. Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship. Who knew all those days riding a skateboard would lead to a college scholarship? These are given to high school students with a 2.5 GPA or higher. (SATs aren't the only boards that count.)

8. Duct Brand Duct Tape Stuck at Prom Contest: If you're over 14 and attend your prom in an outfit made entirely of duct tape, you're eligible for a scholarship. Apparently, Duct brand Duct tape is not only looking to help students through college, but also to kick-start a new fashion trend.

9. Beef Ambassador Program. Here's the beef: This is a public speaking program in which winners are eligible to receive scholarships and represent the beef industry. Rewards can be meaty.

10. Vegetarian Resource Scholarship. Equal time for veggies. These annual awards are given to students who promote vegetarianism in their schools or communities. (Beef Ambassadors need not apply.)

These aren't the only bizarre scholarships available to college students. Scan the Internet or consult your guidance counselor at school. You'll find plenty more opportunities for those who dare to be different.

Published on February 23, 2011