Paying for College

National Scholarship Month

There seems to be a week or month for just about any occasion these days. According to finaid.org, "The month of November is devoted to raising awareness of the need for scholarship support for post-secondary education. Scholarships help students realize their dreams. (National Scholarship Month was previously celebrated in the month of May from 1998 to 2007. It was switched from May to November in 2008 to coincide with the start of the main scholarship application season.)" Interesting.

Have you been searching for and applying for scholarships? I'm always amused by the statements you see on the Web and arriving in the mail sometimes that proclaim, "BILLIONS OF SCHOLARSHIP DOLLARS AVAILABLE!" Really? To get a reality check on just what the wonderful world of scholarships is like, check out some of the comments on the College Confidential discussion forum. The truly worthwhile scholarships out there, the ones that award at least five figures, are so insanely competitive that it's almost like playing the lottery. Aspiring college students should look for the less-high-profile offerings to try to gain a competitive advantage in the money sweepstakes.


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Which brings us to Fastweb's press release about their unusual approach during National Scholarship Month:

Fastweb Honors National Scholarship Month by Listing Unusual Scholarships

Laser Tattoo Removal, Beekeeping and Cheese scholarships available to prospective students looking for monetary help

In honor of National Scholarship Month in November, Fastweb, owned by Monster Worldwide, Inc., parent company of Monster.com®, the leading job matching engine (NYSE: MWW), is highlighting examples of unusual scholarships for those looking to pursue careers in industries such as laser tattoo removal and beekeeping.  National Scholarship Month is devoted to raising awareness of the need for scholarship support for postsecondary education. Fastweb is supporting this cause by bringing attention to the various forms of monetary help available for students looking to pursue a higher education.

“October into November marks the start of the scholarship application season,” said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb and nationally recognized expert on student financial aid.  “People tend to think of the more traditional scholarships but it is important to remember that help is available, no matter where your passion lies.  Whether you’re looking to further your education in finance or beekeeping, resources are available.”

Some of the current unusual scholarships that span a variety of industries include:

  • Laser Tattoo Removal Scholarship. The “New Look Laser Tattoo Removal Scholarship” is available to students enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited college or university in Spring 2011. You must be a U.S. resident, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be majoring in a field that has advanced the field of laser tattoo removal whether through research and development or clinical practice to qualify for this award. An essay of 300 to 500 words must also be submitted by November 30, 2010.  Additional information can be found at: http://www.newlookhouston.com/New_Look_Scholarship.html.

  • Top Turkey Scholarship Contest. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the Top Turkey Scholarship Contest is available to students planning to attend the Culinary Institute of America. You must be graduating high school by June 30, 2011 and enrolling at the Culinary Institute of America no later than December 2011 to be eligible for this award. To enter, you must submit an entry describing how you get creative with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.  For additional information, check out: http://www.ciachef.edu/admissions/finaid/turkeycontest.asp.

  • Cheese Scholarship. Say cheese—the “North Central Cheese Industry Scholarship” is available to students with a major or minor in food science at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls. You must have a demonstrated interest in dairy and cheese technology, have completed at least 45 credits and have a minimum 3.0 GPA to be considered for this award.  Look for more information at: http://www.uwrf.edu/financial-assistance/.

  • Beekeeping Contest. A stinger of a scholarship and available to all fields of study, the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees “4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest” is open to current 4-H members. To be considered, you must submit an essay of between 750 and 1000 words on the following topic: "U.S. Honey: A Taste for Every Preference."  The essay deadline is March 1, 2011 and you can check out more information at: http://honeybeepreservation.org/2010/05/2011-essay-contest-topic/.

  • Vacuum Technology Scholarship. The “Society of Vacuum Coaters Foundation Scholarship” is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a course of study related to vacuum coating technology. Practitioners already working in the vacuum coating technology field are also eligible to apply.  The deadline to apply is January 31, 2011 and more information can be found at: http://svcfoundation.org/id1.html.

Fastweb currently has more than 1.5 million scholarships listed on its website catering to a variety of talents and interests.

Since its launch in 1995, Fastweb has benefitted more than 50 million users looking for a way to pay for college*.  Free for all students, Fastweb offers personalized scholarship matches, internship and entry-level job opportunities, and financial aid advice at one convenient, online location.  Launched as the first free scholarship matching site, Fastweb has grown from servicing 270 students on its site to assisting over 50 million members with expert financial aid advice.

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So, it looks like if you have a new way to vacuum bees off of cheese (and you have recently had a tattoo removed), you're sitting on a pot of gold! Don't just sit there. Start cooking Thanksgiving dinner!

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Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.