Most scholarships attract a large number of applicants and it is necessary to short-list candidates for an interview. If you were invited for an interview it indicates the committee has been impressed with what you have shared so far. The interview is then your opportunity to demonstrate that you are worthy of the scholarship on offer.
Facing a panel of interviewers can be intimidating, particularly if you have never participated in one before. To help you get ready, here are some scholarship interview tips and hints.
Scholarship Interview Tips and Hints
- Be prepared. Preparing well for the interview is the best way to get through it. The background work can make you stand out as someone who comes prepared, and is genuinely interested in the scholarship.
- Be early. Check the time and location of where your interview will be. Arrive at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time to allow for any last minute changes and to give yourself sometime to settle down and be mentally prepared for the interview.
- Dress professionally. We don’t expect you to buy new clothes, smart casual is appropriate if you do not have business attire. No thongs, shorts, t-shirts or singlets.
- Be polite and friendly. Address everyone appropriately, look at them when they are speaking you. Always let the interviewer finish speaking before giving your response.
- Be honest. At no point in the course of the interview should you come across as fake or disingenuous. Talk about your achievements and success but do not lie about them.
- Do your research. It’s helpful to get some background information including the requirements for the scholarship and the granting organisation. Typically, this will give insights into the organisation’s priorities and can also help you adjust your responses to the scholarship interview questions.
- Know yourself. You will be talking about yourself to your interviewers. Knowing who you are, what you value and what you want to achieve in life are important areas that will be covered. So make sure you are ready to talk about these things to strangers in a structured manner.
- Be confident. You must ensure that in the course of the interview, you speak in a confident manner expressing yourself coherently.
The time you spend preparing before your interview is as important as the interview itself. Below are some common questions you can use to assist in preparing responses for your interview.
You will be asked several questions during the interview. Often, these questions don’t have inherent rights or wrong answers, which is likely to lead to a little confusion as to how to respond. By taking some time to practice answering questions, you can become more comfortable with the process. Plus, it gives you a chance to refine your responses, ensuring you deliver the information in a concise yet comprehensive manner.
It is important to understand that these questions are only a guide.
- How would you describe yourself?
- What motivates and/or inspires you?
- Are you involved in any activities in your community?
- Why are you studying your current or future degree? What is it about the degree that interests you?
- How do you see this scholarship assisting you to help achieve your educational goals and prepare for your desired career path?
- How do you plan to spend the money if you get the scholarship/grant?
- Tell us what you know about the organisation/community group sponsoring this scholarship/grant.
- What do you think you can provide the organisation or what differentiates you from other candidates who are applying for this scholarship?
You will have an opportunity at the end of your interview to ask questions or make any further comments. Asking questions will show that you care about the mission/organisation and are looking for a good fit.
On the Day
If you have further achievements or awards that you think may be relevant bring them along to the interview. Use this as an opportunity to mention anything you didn’t get to talk about that you think the scholarship committee should know, or to ask few questions that show your interest in the scholarship.
As you get ready to head into the interview, staying relaxed is vital. Remind yourself to take a deep breath, offer a firm handshake, smile, and keep your head held high. The committee already thinks you could be worthy of the award, or they wouldn’t have invited you! So, as long as you conduct yourself appropriately and follow the tips above, you have a great shot at being selected.