Congratulations! You’ve received an invitation to interview for scholarships at the university of your choice. Now what? Excitement! Anticipation! Anxiety! With preparation, you can calm the mixed bag of emotions or, at least, minimize the apprehension.
Here are five tips to help you prepare impressive answers to scholarship interview questions:
You want to appear comfortable and collected when you meet with the interviewer. If you’re nervous before the interview, try practicing what you’re going to say to a friend, teacher, or family member.
Solicit feedback so you can plan effective responses. Instead of memorizing your answers, try starting with talking points that you can expand on. Doing this can help your responses sound more natural and less rehearsed.
Do your research
Visit the website of the program or institution to learn about its history, mission, and recent announcements to better understand its values and goals. If you know who will be interviewing you, you can search their professional network profile to review their background and any connections or interests they may share.
Also, take the time to review the scholarship requirements and scholarship essay so that you can easily refer to the important points.
Answering scholarship interview questions is usually easier when you’re calm. Practice relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, before entering the interview. Smile, shake the interviewer’s hand firmly, and be yourself. Act confident and deserving of the scholarship.
Be clear and concise
Take a few seconds to think about your answers before you start speaking. Don’t rush into an answer without carefully thinking about what you want to say. Then try to answer succinctly. Speak clearly and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
Use the STAR method
The most effective way to answer an interview question is with the STAR method, which combines examples with concrete and qualitative information. STAR means
- Situation (a specific occurrence or problem)
- Task (your role in the situation)
- Action (any action you took to resolve or improve the situation)
- Result (the impact of your action)
Prepare answers based on real-life examples so that they are convincing and concise.
Most Common Scholarship Interview Questions
After applying for a scholarship, the awarding organization may invite you for an interview. Scholarship interview questions are usually open-ended questions that a donor organization representative will ask you to learn more about you. Your answers to the questions may help determine your eligibility for the award.
We share examples of common scholarship interview questions with sample answers, and then offer tips to help you answer scholarship interview questions.
Tell us about yourself
This is an open question that allows you to lead the conversation. The interviewer wants to know what makes you stand out from the rest. They are looking for details, not generalities. You can start with something general about yourself and then narrow it down to a specific anecdote or point. This is also a good opportunity to highlight important and applicable skill sets.
What do you want to do with your career?
Your answer to this question should set a plan for your future. Explain what or who inspired you to pursue a specific field and why. Include how this scholarship will help you in your career and what you would like to do after completing college or the program.
Why did you choose this school or program?
Use your answer to highlight your passion for the university, industry, or subject. Describe what aspects are most important to you.
Why do you deserve this scholarship?
Consider this question another opportunity for an interviewer to learn more about you. You applied for this particular scholarship for a reason, so be open and honest. The interviewer wants to see that you have a vested interest in the scholarship and that it is not just another offer of college funding.
What was one of your greatest achievements?
Take this opportunity to explain an important achievement or project you have worked on. Explain why it was important to you beyond the achievement itself.
Other interview questions
- How will you spend the scholarship funds?
- How would you describe a good college environment?
- How did you decide on a major?
- What is your greatest strength or weakness?
- Tell me about a mistake you’ve made.
- How would you describe yourself?
- Tell us about a time when you were a leader.
- What is your favorite book and why?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
- Describe a meaningful experience or class you had in high school.
- How do you define failure?
- What motivates you?
- Do you consider yourself a leader or a doer, and why.
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