Before you take out student loans...

Finding Unique Scholarships Online

by Patrick Magoon

Does the thought of outrageous tuition expenses keep you tossing and turning throughout the night? What can you do to help lower the cost of education? Apply for scholarships.

There are hundreds of scholarships that students can apply for online. The truth is that you do not have to be the valedictorian of your school or a super athlete to get scholarship money. There is a scholarship out there for everyone. In fact, a quick search unearthed these scholarships.

Wyzant College Scholarship
Number of awards: 3
Prize amount: up to $10,000, minimum $2,000

If you are into creative writing and good at writing essays, this scholarship opportunity is worth considering. The Wyzant College Scholarship is looking to reward high school sophomores and older that can craft the best essay.

Scholarship for Red Hair
Number of awards: Unknown
Prize amount: $500

Did you know that you can win money for having red hair? It turns out that red hair is rare and people with that hair color have a scholarship that's just for them. To apply, you must be at least 16 years of age and enrolled in college classes for the fall semester.

Marketing EDGE Scholarship
Number of awards: Unknown
Prize amount: between $1,000 and $5,000

The Marketing EDGE Scholarship is looking to award students who are pursuing a marketing degree. You must have at least a 3.0 cumulative weighted GPA (grand point average) to apply. Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible.

Kodak Scholarship Award
Number of awards: 3
Prize amount: Up to $5,000, minimum $3,000

Do have a passion for photography and filmmaking? Have you been told that your work is amazing? If you are proud of your filmmaking skills, you should consider applying for this scholarship. It is open to all film and cinematography students.

The Foundation for Rural Service
Number of awards: 1
Prize amount: up to $2,500

The Foundation for Rural Service is looking to reward people that have lived in rural areas and plan to return to live in the countryside after they graduate. The winner will be awarded $2,500 to help pay for their freshman year of college. All you have to do to be eligible for this scholarship opportunity is be a United States citizen and maintain a C- average.

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Fifth Month Scholarship
Number of awards: 1
Prize money: $2,500

The Fifth Month Scholarship is a great opportunity for creative writers. Students who are 13 years old or older can write a humorous or serious song, letter, poem, or story about the number five. The most creative submission will win the money.

"I Matter" Scholarship
Number of awards: 50
Prize amount: up to $5,000

Volunteering is an excellent way to not only build work relationships and learn more about your community but earn scholarship awards. That is right; some scholarships will give you money for outstanding volunteering efforts. Students often overlook the value of volunteering.

To apply, you must be enrolled in classes full-time, maintain a 2.5 weighted GPA or higher, and live in a metropolitan area with a VILLA store.

If you are not eligible for any of these awards, there is no need to worry; there are plenty more scholarship opportunities online for you to check out. This list is only a small portion of the hundreds of different awards students can apply for.

Where can I go to find more scholarships? If you are enrolled in school, your best bet is to ask your counseling or advising office for more information about scholarship opportunities that match your demographics. The financial aid office will also have some good suggestions.

Expert Interview: Finding Weird Scholarships

If you are not currently enrolled in school or did not get the information you wanted from your counselors and career advisors, then you can use the U.S. Department of Labor's free scholarship search tool or go to your local library and check out a book from the reference section.

Other sites you can explore:

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It is important not to wait until it is too late to apply. Just like any homework deadline, scholarships only accept applications within a specified time frame. The best time to apply for scholarships is in March. Most opportunities close in May. If you are sending in applications to attend a university at the beginning of the year, you might as well send in some scholarship applications as well.

High school seniors typically have the most scholarships available to them. Females are four times more likely to get a scholarship than men.

While a majority of scholarship opportunities open up in March, this does not mean that is the only time to apply. There are plenty of high-paying scholarships during the fall months.

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