By tamara Are your grades and test scores too low to earn a merit-based scholarship? Does your family make too much money to qualify for need-based financial aid? Don’t worry; you still have plenty of other ways to earn free money for college that don’t hinge on your brain or your bank account. You might actually be surprised at how many scholarship programs reward students for their talents and hobbies. Some have appeared in weird scholarships posts, such as the duck calling scholarship. There are programs for just about any side interest you can think of, but not all are created equally. If you really want a shot at winning some scholarships, consider taking up one of these three hobbies. Writing/Poetry You don’t have to be an English or literature major to have a chance at winning writing and poetry scholarships. Most are open to the general public, regardless of your chosen career path. If you enjoy journaling, blogging, or any other form of written expression, you may want to check out the following open programs: Porter Fleming Literary Competition Open to undergraduate and graduate students in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama are eligible for consideration. Prizes range in value from $250 to $1,000 each. Deadline: February 2. #nofilter Scholarship Slam Students 25 and younger may submit an original poem for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship. Deadline: March 6. ScholarshipExperts.com Monthly Scholarships Each month, we offer a creative writing scholarship (250 words or less) that is open to U.S. legal residents 13 and older. Scholarships range in value from $1,500 to $5,000 each. Deadline: Last day of each month. Gaming (Video/Cards) Video gaming is growing in popularity on college campuses, not only as a career path, but also as part of the new eSports trend — and many colleges are even awarding scholarships to entice students to come play for them. If you spend considerable time in the virtual world, these scholarships may be just what you need to get to the next level. Gamers Helping Gamers Scholarship If you play Magic: The Gathering (high school seniors and older), you could earn $5,000 through this program. Deadline: March 31. Pokémon Scholarships Each year, the top finishers at the Pokémon TCG U.S. National Championships and the Pokémon World Championships receive scholarships to help cover their college expenses. If you’ve “gotta catch ‘em all,” this could be the scholarship for you! Deadline: April – July 2015 (varies per tournament). Penny Arcade Scholarship This award is open to current college students who have a grade point average of 3.3 or higher. Deadline: August 2015 (TBA). Art/Graphic Design Whether you spend your time doodling on paper, canvas, or your laptop, you’ll find plenty of organizations that are willing to nurture your artistic interests. Here are just a few that are currently accepting submissions. eSchoolView Web Design and Development Scholarship A total of eight scholarships are offered through this program. The top prize is $5,000. High school seniors interested in graphic design may apply. Deadline: February 1. VFW Post 6899 Patriotic Art scholarship Open to Texas high school students who submit a piece of patriotic art (excluding digital). Deadline: March 31. Geddes Creativity Scholarship Contest Anyone can enter this visual design contest. A total of three scholarships ($250, $500 and $1,000) will be awarded. Deadline: April 3. Do you have a unique talent or hobby? Register for a free account with Unigo.com, and see what’s waiting for you!