College debt scares you. So avoid it. Try perusing one of the many telephone-book-sized scholarship guides that list prizes for everything from dog care and training to simply being a white Virginia resident. A quick flip-and-clip session came up with the following gifts, but it's up to you to make sure they're still available.
For instance, the national Moore Scholarship program would love to compensate you further for your hours spent packing bags at the local grocery store. But you can only cash their check at the California State University at Dominguez Hills, which lucky for you, has an acceptance rate of "at the very least 75 percent," according to an admissions officer.
If instead you're an avid handball player, aim for the George Salmon Memorial Handball Scholarship. And if you skipped out on handball games to play your accordion, you're in luck. The Washington Post and the Hispanic News Media offer the Futuro Awards to honor young players.
You can also rake in some cash through your family connections. If one of your parents graduated from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal School and you've followed in his or her footsteps for at least two years, you could win $1200. Or, if you're a female descendent of a Union veteran of the Civil War, with two to three years of college, "good moral character," and a "firm belief in our form of government," you might pick up $200 from the Grand Army of the Republic Living Memorial Scholarship program.
Of course, some scholarships are a little more difficult to obtain. To snag the Clement and Frieda Amstutz Scholarship, you must be Swiss, have a B average, and have two years of college. Oh, and you have to live within a 150-mile radius of San Francisco's city hall.
But you're not Swiss. You're Finnish. So then it's a good thing you live in Hampden County, Massachusetts, because the Finnish Women's Club of Springfield wants to help you pay for your $25,000-a-year education with their gift of $100.
The Virgil Hawkins Fellows Scholarship happily awards 10 Florida residents each year with $5500, but you must major in Latvian studies, go to law school, and then get a personal recommendation from the school dean.
If you don't qualify for any of these hidden gems, then perhaps it's time to tailor yourself to the job market. To help you out, the Carolinas Golf Association will give anyone majoring in Turfgrass Management $1000. The Central Soya Scholarship will give the same amount to those studying soy lecithin or soy protein concentrate.
Still no luck? Take up rodeo and apply to the McNeese State University Rodeo Club Scholarship. You might win $50 almost enough for one week of horse feed.
For more information on these and other bizarre scholarships, check out Princeton Review's Scholarship Adviser and The B* Student's Complete Scholarship Book.
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