Yesterday, I got a letter from Wake Forest University’s Office of Academic-Merit Based/Talent-Based Scholarships. I was very excited, as you may well imagine, to see that on the outside of the envelope. I opened the envelope, and inside was a letter, informing me that I had earned the “William G. Starling” scholarship, and congratulating me. Inside, there was an attached description of the scholarship, as well as a request that I reply by April 18 (WAY too soon, guys) if I want the scholarship, or want to ask for an extension until May 1 to tell them. I settled in to read the description of the scholarship and read:
“What the Scholarship Covers:
“The Starling Scholarship has an annual stipend applicable toward direct costs of attending Wake Forest.

“Starling Scholars will be invited to the annual scholarship picnic, held at the beginning of each school year.

“An important part of the scholar’s responsibilities is the semi-annual hosting of a potential scholarship student. Bright high school seniors are often invited to campus to interview, and scholarship recipients are called upon to host these prospective students in their residence hall room.”

At this point, I quickly flipped through the rest of the letter, to see if there were any actual NUMBERS anywhere. There were not. The Office of Academic-Merit Based/Talent-Based Scholarships (the longest named office ever), evidently, did not see fit to tell me how much money my scholarship was for, and yet I am supposed to accept or decline the scholarship within the next two weeks. So, I called the OAMB/TBS, and was greeted with a recording saying that “the actual amount of all merit based scholarships will be mailed in a second letter shortly.” Ah, apparently I am not the first to call.

Now, I am picturing myself, next year, at Wake Forest, hosting a potential Starling scholar, when the inevitable happens: they ask the question. “You see, I got a letter that I got this scholarship, but they seem to have left off the amount… Exactly how much is this scholarship worth?”

To which, I will surely have to reply, “Well, we have this picnic at the beginning of the year, and let me tell you… those sandwiches are gourmet. And the soda is free! Really, it’s a great picnic. AND you get to host a student. The scholarship is just the icing on the cake, you know?”

Or, maybe I’ll just go to Vanderbilt. They’re very upfront about their scholarships there.
But I haven’t been invited to any picnics there yet…