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From leading to Tweeting, scholarships can be won in some unexpected ways.

When you packed your bags and headed to campus, chances are you had a major already in mind. But then you started taking your chosen courses and realized something just wasn’t working. If so, you’re not alone.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that about 80 percent of college students end up changing their majors at least once—and the average student will switch at least three times. That can mean you’ll take longer to graduate and spend more money in the process.

Maybe you never settled on a major and are still on the quest for the perfect fit. Or you love your major, but some financial assistance sure would be helpful. In any case, you could use a little inspiration—and a lot more cash to pursue it. Where do you start your quest? The key is to seek out unique ways to use your particular skills and interests.

If you’re a student athlete—or just into working out—for example, the U.S. Army has two-and three-year scholarship opportunities for currently enrolled college students through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.  ROTC scholarships can pay full tuition and fees, including money for books and supplies and an annual monthly stipend. And you don’t have to be an All Star athlete to apply.

“It doesn’t have to be organized sports,” says Joe O’Donnell of the United States Army Cadet Command. “But the Army is comprised of top athletes. We do want to make sure you have the physical skills: the endurance, the stamina. We look for participation in either individual or team athletics…through your school, community athletic events, a recreational league—even participation in things like 5K races.”

Yes, you’ll also need to have excelled in your academic environment—the Army will review your SAT or ACT scores, as well as your GPA. And leadership skills are important too.

“We look for students who are passionate about community service and leadership. If you like to lead, you'll probably do well in the Army. ROTC will continue to foster your leadership and development skills well beyond the college classroom. Our cadets are better prepared for in-demand careers upon graduation.”

But wait, you say. That means I’ll be on a plane to an Army base the day after I get my diploma, right? Not necessarily, says O’Donnell.

“The scholarship itself does not require everybody after they graduate college to go on active duty. They could also serve the time in the National Guard or the Army Reserve…You have a lot of flexibility in what you can do on the other side of your college experience.” 

You will, however, be expected to serve with the Army in some capacity for eight years post-graduation, and that means devoting some weekends and summer vacation to drills and other training – in areas like information technology, computer programming and even medicine. 

Interested in learning more? Visit

If the Army is not what you’re looking for and you’d like something a little less physical? You might be surprised at how your particular interests and skills can pay off. Whether you’re into STEM, art or social media, you’ll find a little exploration can result in scholarship gold. 

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Where: United States and D.C. American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico

If you’re skilled in photography, art or computer graphics, you could score this scholarship. Submit an original creation perfect for the front of a greeting card; if you win, you’ll get the cash and see your design on cards sold through The Gallery Collection company. 

For more information: 

CollegeSTEPS Sweepstakes

Amount: $5,000

Where: 50 United States and D.C., Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands

Are you feeling lucky? Enroll in Wells Fargo’s free CollegeSTEPS program and you’re automatically entered in this sweepstakes. Twice a year, a random drawing designates three scholarships—no essays involved. 

For more information: 

Society of Women Engineers

Amount: $1,000-$15,000
Where: Certain ones available only to U.S. residents or permanent citizens, others offered more broadly

If you’re a woman pursuing a career in engineering, engineering technology and/or computer science, the Society of Women Engineers offers a variety scholarships worth a collective $750,000 each year. You’ll only have to complete one application to be considered for all scholarships for which you’d be eligible.