Scholarships aren’t just for athletes and smarty-pants kids anymore. There are thousands of scholarships out there that you didn’t even know existed.

Honestly, and I’m not making this up:Is your kid tall? Awesome. Hopefully your family lives in Phoenix – that would make your teen eligible for the $250 CATS Tall Club Scholarship.

Knows how to attract water fowl? Sweet. They’re giving out $2,000 in scholarships for the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest.

Ready to take on a hoard of zombies? The Unigo Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship is the one to go for: one successful survivor will get a scholarship worth $2,000.

Ok, so those are some particularly bizarre examples. Let’s figure out which scholarships your high schooler is eligible for – outlandish or otherwise. I promise they’re out there.

Scholarship Search Engines

Have your teen plug in characteristics about themselves into the following search engines, and then you’re cooking with gas. These are my two preferred tools for students to use, because they keep information private and the scholarships are updated regularly:

BigFuture Scholarship Search: The College Board hosts this resource for high school kids – the same folks who create the PSAT and SAT exams. Awesome tool.

Fastweb: This one’s been around since 1995 and has 1.5 million in scholarships worth $3.4 billion available. Definitely a great resource.

College-Specific Scholarships

Your teen should connect with the financial aid offices for prospective colleges – they’ve got the best gauge for funds there. In fact, a friend of mine worked as an aid in her college’s financial aid office back in the day and saw scholarships that no one even applied for. Students who ask directly win those if they’re eligible! And don’t forget to ask the high school guidance counselor.

Community & Employers

An amazing resource for scholarships could be as close as your social circles.If you’re part of a religious community, ask about local, regional or even national scholarships for denominational eligibility. Your very own employers might offer scholarships for children of employees – lots do that. Local Rotary, Elks, Eagles and Lions clubs tend to have scholarships, too. Also, it sounds archaic, but check the local newspaper, too. Ask, ask, ask!

Hot Tip #1: Before you sign up for any of the scholarship search engines, make sure your teen signs up for a separate email address to use solely for college planning purposes. Because, honestly – they’re going to hate the amount of email that’s about to come flooding in.

Hot Tip #2: Never pay for scholarship search services. Don’t trade money for money – it’s likely a scam.

What scholarships are you finding that your teen’s eligible for? Where are you looking? Leave a comment below!

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