Having naturally red-colored hair is pretty rare. Only about 2% of the world population has red hair that doesn’t come from a bottle or a dye-job. Depending on what part of the world you’re from, red hair could be a little more or less common; in Northern and Western Europe, for example, about 6% of the population has red hair, whereas in parts of Asia and Africa, frequency is near 0%.
Being in any kind of minority is always a boon when it comes to getting financial aid for college. It may seem like the color of a person’s hair is a strange reason to get a college scholarship–after all, red hair is due to the presence of two recessive genes on a specific chromosome–but if you are a little subjective about it, a scholarship for a person with red hair is no different from a scholarship for a person of a given ancestry, such as scholarships for Zimbabweans.
As a minority population, redheads deal with the same sorts of fascinations and stereotypes as other minorities; many people assume that all redheads have a fiery temper, while in some world cultures they are shunned and insulted. A recent Internet-based phenomenon, known variously as the “anti-Ginger” or the “Kick a Ginger” movement, has actually led to some real-life incidences of bullying among the red haired population. Having red hair is not always a good thing; while many people find red hair attractive, they face their fair share of negativity, as any minority population.
Though scholarships for people with red hair are not as common as, say, scholarships for students with excellent test scores, they are out there. If you have naturally red hair and you’re looking for money for college, there’s no shame in using the color of your hair to get a little extra money for school.
How to Get Scholarships for People with Red Hair
The first thing you need to earn a scholarship for people with red hair is natural red-colored hair. The word “red” is not entirely accurate when it comes to describing the shade of a person’s hair, since redheads vary from a deep burgundy color, very nearly brown, to a light strawberry color, which is very nearly blonde. Having red hair, in other words, being a naturally-born redhead, is the first step to getting a redhead scholarship.
The next thing you should do is the same as any student vying for any scholarship. Redhead scholarships are not just handed out to people with pretty red hair–there has to be something outstanding about you to convince an award-granting committee to give you free money for college. That means maintaining good grades (redhead scholarships vary in terms of GPA requirements, starting at a minimum GPA of 2.5), participating in extra-curricular activities, doing volunteer work, or excelling in athletics or other activities. In other words, no one is going to give you cash for a university education based solely on the fact that your hair is red.
An interesting aspect of existing scholarships for people with red hair is that they are routinely asked to include an essay, a video, or some representation of what it means to them to be a redhead. This creative aspect of a redhead scholarship application seems to take the place of the standard college scholarship essay, though an essay appears to be an entirely appropriate way to apply for most of these awards. Adding a creative element to your application seems to be a common thread for the few red-haired scholarships that exist.
Scholarships for Redheads
Here are a few links to what redhead scholarships actually exist. There are not nearly as many college aid packages awarded to people with red hair as there are to, say, people of African-American descent or any other minority. Still, the money is out there for the taking.
ScholarshipRed is a small college award for natural redheads–worth just $250–but it appears to be a relatively easy scholarship to earn, focusing more on the creative nature of a person’s entry than their academic or extra-curricular performance.
To earn ScholarshipRed, a person must submit two photos showing their natural red hair, be a high school senior applying to any accredited 2 or 4 year college, live in the USA, and have a GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
If you meet those criteria, all you have to do is fill out the application. Include with the application two photos of yourself that prove you have red hair–one from you as a child, one from the present day. The people who grant ScholarshipRed also want to see your high school transcript, to verify your GPA. The final part of the scholarship application is where the rubber meets the road.
ScholarshipRed is given to one student each year, out of thousands of applicants. Their website suggests that they’ll soon be offering more awards, but for now, you have to include a creative piece that really sells your uniqueness and how being a redhead has impacted your life. The website says this final piece of your application can be anything from an ” . . . academic essay to a drawing or YouTube video,” and suggests that you “Play to your strengths.” Past winners make it seem like the award granters heavily favor people who come up with creative videos that they can share on YouTube to promote this award, so you’re probably best off making some kind of video. The Website insists that “there is no wrong answer,” so be as creative as possible.
In the future, more scholarships for redheads will no doubt pop up, especially as the “Kick a Ginger” phenomenon continues, and redheads in the USA and other parts of the world face more hardship. As of this writing, ScholarshipRed is the only viable college aid award for redheads we could find–but if you know of another, please let us know. We’d love to give redheads more opportunities to earn cash for college.