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HUNT TREASURE IN UNUSUAL PLACES

Let hair color, handedness or even your height lead you to scholarships that reach beyond sports or GPA.

Before you get afflicted with senioritis, a condition whose only known cure is graduation, get busy with your scholarship hunt. In fact, juniors may want to get a head start, before symptoms kick in.

Most scholarships that your guidance counselor or a generic Google search direct you to require high GPAs, devotion to a nonprofit organization, or some kind of athleticism. But don't despair if those strict requirements and applicant pools of tens of thousands of hopefuls across the country are too daunting.

A little more digging online can help you turn up more unusual and or little known scholarships. A Google search for "unusual scholarships" turned up monetary awards for tall students, left-handed students and those who knit things with wool yarn. The J.D. Salinger Award at Ursinus College takes a nomination by a teacher of a student with "quirky brilliance," who then, of course, has to attend the college the famed author did. Also part of the prize for a brilliant essay is the assignment to live in Salinger's old dorm room.

Such offbeat scholarships may not all be big prizes, but with less rigorous application requirements, you may be able to stack up the cash quicker than you think. Here are some other examples:

Natural-born redhead? This one is for you! (Strawberry blondes welcome to apply.) The application will be open soon for gingers of all hues. Go to scholarshipred.com, where redheads can display why they are passionate about their fiery locks for a prize of $250, which you can add to your college fund.

Not a redhead? Aspiring college students with any color hair can type up an original 200-900 word essay about the monthly topic at varsitytutors.com/college-scholarship. The site gives away $1,000 to the author of the winning essay of the month. Once you enter, remember to share your entry on Facebook to get your friends to read and "like" your essay. The Top 5 most-liked essays are finalists for the scholarship. Then, one will be selected the winner based on the essay's sincerity, creativity and clarity of expression. It works; just ask St. Petersburg Collegiate High senior Samantha Swift, whose essay was recently selected and whose college fund is now $1,000 richer.

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