Money in the Bank
By Molly Brauch
Whether it’s filling out forms to receive money off of high school tuition or writing countless essays to ease the financial burden of college, chances are that by now you’ve encountered the lucrative scholarship process. While some scholarship applications simply toss your name into a random drawing, many more require hard work on the applicant’s part to craft essays describing everything from service activities to one’s favorite ice cream flavor.
Recently, I’ve been browsing scholarship search websites for short essay scholarship competitions. Many of the prompts are funny to the point of ridiculous, including one asking what was the weirdest dream I’ve ever had and another with a prompt that instructed the applicant to write about the zombie apocalypse. All of that hilarity is to be compressed into a 250 word or less essay which is then submitted to the contest holder. Waiting for scholarships to be returned is a painful, torturous experience, but the thrill of knowing that you can bank a little more cash for high school or college is worth the anxiety.
One of the best scholarship essays I’ve ever written was an ode to the number five, as described in the prompt: “May is the fifth month of the year. Write a letter to the number five explaining why five is important. Be serious or be funny. Either way, here’s a high five to you for being original. The student’s written response must be written in English, with correct spelling and grammar, and it must not exceed 250 words.” With those instructions in mind, I crafted the following gem of an essay using only 249 of the allotted 250 words.
I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for being the mediator between feisty Four and surreptitious Six. Thank you for being the number of fingers on each of my hands, so that I can do things like type scholarship essays. Thank you for being the number of members (not including me) in my immediate family. You’ve always been very important to me, Five. You’re the number of the month of May, the month in which my mother was born. Through thick and thin, you’ve been the number that has represented my height: 5’5”. You are the number of best friends that I have. In order to understand your importance, though, I must look beyond my own life. Five is a good number of men to have in a boy band (unless you’re The Beatles, of course). Shakespeare used you to decide how many feet to put in his lines of poetry. You’re the number of acceptance when those around me chuck up a hand to slap: “High Five!” People from my hometown of Cincinnati see you whenever they think of the best catcher in baseball history, Johnny Bench. A perfect Fifth makes up the most stable harmony in all of music. Pleading you can help someone avoid self-incriminating. And maybe most importantly of all, if I drop something on the floor, I’m counting on you to tell me how long I have before it goes bad. So thanks, Five, for being so important in my life.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best writer of your generation or just trying to ease your mind and pockets; writing scholarship essays, especially short ones, can greatly benefit you. Turn off your Netflix and get typing, Saints!