Being creative could earn you a scholarship

If you write an essay about receding hairlines, create a prom dress out of duct tape, design a greeting card, or have a passion for the mountains, you could receive a scholarship toward your college education.

According to California Lutheran University’s financial aid website, the Mosaic Clinic Hair Transplant Center offers a $250 scholarship to students if they write about how hair loss has affected them or a family member., a website to help prepare students for college, has a list of creative scholarships. Among the scholarships listed are the Duck Tape and The Gallery Collection scholarships.

High school students going to prom can apply for Duck Tape’s $10,000 scholarship by creating a prom dress or tux out of duct tape. The Gallery Collection, a card company, has a $10,000 scholarship for the student that designs the best greeting card.

California Lutheran University’s Student Employment Manager and Scholarship Coordinator, Carol Lingrosso, said often times companies have creative scholarships to help get their name on the market.

“Some of the scholarships might be more social marketing. Sometimes with these companies they get these tax benefits by giving scholarship dollars. Using products in a creative way is a way to market and get their brand out there,” Lingrosso said.

This can be seen with the Ski Butlers $2000 scholarship. According to Ski Butlers’ company website, the applicant must write a short essay about his or her experience with mountains, skiing or riding.

The likelihood of a student knowing about the ski rental company prior to applying to the scholarship may be relatively slim. However, after submitting the application, the student is much more aware of the company and what it offers.

The same can be said of the Duck Tape scholarship. Students must buy excessive amounts of duct tape in order to create the dress. According to Duck Tape’s website, the ten winners of 2014 used between 12 and 90 rolls of duct tape. This creates both advertisement and revenue for the company.

Regardless of whether or not the companies are using the scholarships to market its products or services, senior psychology major, Jenna Gimbel, a frequent applier to scholarships, said it is still worth it to apply.

“They’re cool because they don’t solely rely on your essay skills. Not everyone is a good writer, so to be able to show other skills is great,” Gimbel said.

The majority of scholarships are essay based having to do with career goals, ethnicity, or growing up in a certain area, but writing is not always a student’s strongest quality.

“It would be great if Cal Lu did have creative scholarships, so that we could express ourselves outside of an essay,” Gimbel said. “Essays and tests aren’t necessarily the best way to calculate how bright someone is.”

Senior business major and a Global Advisor for Cal Lutheran’s Study Abroad Center, Diana Garcia, has applied for many scholarships throughout the course of her college career. She received a scholarship through the study abroad center for her semester in Paris as well as financial aid toward travel seminars.

“There’s a lot of scholarships out there, but finding the time to do them is usually what gets me not to do them,” Garcia said with a laugh.

As a Global Advisor for the Study Abroad Center, Garcia recommended for students planning to study abroad to apply to the scholarships that their abroad program offers.

“At least for study abroad scholarships, every single program has them, and they’re really good, and sometimes very few people apply for them,” Garcia said.

Lingrosso recommended that students should more consistently allocate time to searching and applying for scholarships. She suggested looking at scholarships once a month.

“Sometimes scholarship opportunities are only posted for a few weeks, and if students only look for scholarships once a year, they may have missed out on a lot of great opportunities,” Lingrosso said.

Cal Lutheran lists both Cal Lutheran scholarships as well as outside scholarships on its financial aid website:


Julie Griffin

Staff Writer

Published November 5, 2014