Turn creativity to cash with weird scholarships

As any weird scholarships recipient will tell you, good grades aren't the only way to earn free money for college. For Williamson, N.Y. high school seniors Brittany Moran and Rowan Ketchum, it took 30 rolls of duct tape and 140 hours of creativity.

Both 17, they created their prom outfits out of duct tape to enter Duck brand's Stuck at Prom scholarship and, along with 10 other finalist couples, earned $500 for college from one of the many weird scholarships available.

"We looked at clothes to figure out how they were made with planes of fabric and make it out of duct tape, and then figured a way to connect them in a way that would work out," said Ketchum, who plans to study accounting at SUNY Brockport.

Made completely of duct tape, the duo used Moran's paint splatter inspiration and Ketchum's favorite colors of bright orange and electric blue as inspirations to create a dress, three-piece suit and shoes out of duct tape, plus accessories like hair clips and buttons and sliver-thin duct tape thread to hold it all together. Though the shoes wore through by the end of the night, and dancing in duct tape clothes was a bit stiff and sweaty, Ketchum said the entire process was worthwhile to win the weird scholarships.

"I don't know if I want to touch duct tape for a few months," Ketchum said. "We got so sick of it."

Voting for the weird scholarships contest is ongoing, and the top vote-getting couple will earn $3,000 each and $3,000 for the school that hosted the prom. There are plenty of other weird scholarships out there:
  • Calling all teetotaling, Pennsylvanian couch potatoes: Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., offers the Voris Auten Scholarship fund, eligible to students "who have resided in Mount Carmel, Pa. for 10 years, who are graduates of Mount Carmel Public High School, who are not habitual users of tobacco, intoxicating liquor, and narcotics, and who do not participate in strenuous athletic contests." That sure stands out among weird scholarships.
  • For the more athletically-inclined, the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund offers $1,500 to $7,500 per year to undergrads with at least two years of caddying or other golf course experience at a Massachusetts golf club.
  • The SAMMY Scholarship, another among the weird scholarships -- sponsored by America's Milk Processors -- gave $7,500 apiece to 25 graduating high school scholar/athletes. Who knew milk mustaches were a good source of calcium and weird scholarships?
  • Tall Clubs International offers $1,000 scholarships to incoming freshman gals taller than 5'10" and to guys taller than 6'2." Never fear, short students have their own scholarship too -- Little People of America, Inc. awards scholarships up to $1,000 with preference given to students diagnosed with dwarfism.
  • Would a scholarship by any other name be just as sweet? Loyola University Chicago students with the last name of Zolp are eligible for a weird scholarship, as are Gatlins or Gatlings at North Carolina State University.
  • DePauw University's need-based Icy Frost Bridge Scholarship has been awarded annually since 1973 to female music students able to sing or play The Star Spangled Banner "with sincerity."
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