We all know that college isn't cheap. In fact, the latest statistics show that a four-year degree costs anywhere from $22,000 to $36,000, depending on whether you attend a public or private institution. While the brainiacs and the jocks might be able to coast on full-ride scholarships to pay their way, you might feel stuck if you tend to fall somewhere in the middle. But just because you didn't have a 4.0 GPA or play quarterback doesn't mean the entire burden of your college education needs to fall on your shoulders. By checking out some of the out-of-the-box scholarships available to you, a few smaller rewards could add up to big relief when it comes to college-related debt
Most schools have their own scholarship programs, and surprisingly enough, you don't always have to be a stellar student to snag one. In fact, often you simply need to meet a range for GPA and you're automatically qualified for scholarship money of varying dollar amounts. When applying through your school, make sure you don't forget the little guys. While it's tempting to apply for full-ride awards, some of the smaller amounts can really make a difference. Apply for a couple of the larger awards, but see if you can grab $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000 scholarships as well.
Were you the tallest guy in your graduating class? Do you love veggies? You're in luck, because there are scholarships set aside for both of these qualities. Tall Clubs International offers a $1K award for males over 6'2" and females over 6'0" just for writing an essay about what being tall means to you. There's also an award for those short in stature through the Billy Barty Foundation. There's even scholarships for vegetarians, so eat your greens and you could be the recipient of $5K through the Vegetarian Resource Group. Research your areas of interest to see if there's a scholarship attached to whatever you happen to excel in -- even if it's being able to reach stuff on the top shelf.
Scholarship programs based on contests let you show off your talents and help pay for college. For instance, enter the Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest and you could be eligible for $2K. Duck Brand duct tape also holds a Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck on Prom Contest, where creating a prom outfit out of duct tape could snag you $3,000 in college money. The Collegiate Inventors Competition offers $15,000 in scholarship money to students with great ideas. They're all ways to get creative, get in the competitive spirit and help reduce debt burden later on.
You're probably used to looking toward big business, corporations, institutions and associations to help you pay your way, but private scholarships might be easier to snag if you know how to look in the right places. Websites and smaller companies often offer scholarship awards for writing essays or excelling in a certain field. By running an online search for private scholarships or branded scholarships, you could win big when it comes to paying for your education.