Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dig deep, there's a gold mine of scholarships to be had

Photo courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
President Reagan posing outside the oval office:6/6/83
Right about now, many college students or undergrads are busy collecting a few more hours of community service, letters of recommendations and transcripts in anticipation of the 2012 season of college scholarships.

While most students will apply for funds offered by clubs and organizations, there are others who, having done some excavating, know there are nuggets of obscure scholarships just waiting to be unearthed by some worthy student.

Did you know there's a scholarship that honors the legacy and character of our nation's 40th president, Ronald Reagan? Like President Reagan, candidates use the formative experiences of their youth to lead, serve and pursue a life of purpose and significance, both individually and for their communities. Each year, roughly 20 scholars will receive a $10,000 scholarship renewable for an additional three years.
There's $40,000. Apply here by Feb. 17, 2012:

The Ursinus College Creative Writing Award, honoring the creative work of The Catcher in the Rye, author J.D. Salinger not only awards recipients a whopping $30,000 but the honor of living in the author's former dorm room. J.D. Salinger once attended Ursinus College, and it seems the school is looking for its next great writer in residence with this scholarship. Applicants must share a portfolio of creative work in fiction and/or poetry in the spirit of “Catcher in the Rye's” unusual perspective, brilliance and voice. What's interesting about this scholarship is it is known on campus as "Not the J.D. Salinger Scholarship."

First page of The Catcher in the Rye.
 The New York Times article “J.D. Salinger Slept Here (Just Don't Tell Anyone)” explains the incident in detail.

The school was hoping to attract publicity for Ursinus and tried everything they could think of to lure Salinger from the secluded world he'd lived in for his final 50 years. They offered to make him a guest lecturer; to build a literary festival around him; to award him an honorary degree. "No response," said Richard DiFeliciantonio, the vice president for enrollment at the small liberal arts college. "Absolutely nothing."

Then Jon Volkmer, an English professor, had what Holden Caulfield would have called a goddam terrific idea. They could establish an annual J.D. Salinger Scholarship in creative writing for an incoming freshman, and as a bonus the winner would get to spend the first year at Ursinus in Salinger's old dorm room. "Any college could offer money," Professor Volkmer said. "Nobody else could offer Salinger's room."

2011 Grand Prize Winner.
Also on the list of obscure and often unknown is the annual Stuck at Prom scholarship contest. 

In this case it's not academics that garner cash but imagination, creativity and gumption. For 11 years now, Duck brand duct tape has offered a Stuck at Prom scholarship contest, which awards $5,000 scholarships to the couple with the most creative use of duct tape in their prom outfits. What's particularly nice about this scholarship is the winner's school also gets $5,000.

Not your cup of tea?

I believe that true identity is found in creative activity springing from within. It is found when one loses oneself -- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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