Winning an academic or any kind of scholarship can play a huge role in life. Besides looking good in your CV, it's an incredible experience and valuable knowledge. Completing the program you'll meet new people that can turn into lifetime friends and business partners. Not to stress too much about it, but it's better to prepare thoroughly for what can turn your life around for the better.
The process of getting a scholarship usually consists of an application, essay, and an interview. Once you reach the interview stage, it means you're among the final contenders. Now, you just need to make one last step and explain to the committee what makes you the right person for this place.
Most of the interviews follow the same structure. Here are some of the common scholarship interview questions and answer samples that will help you get extra points. Remember, a mock interview can help you beat the impostor syndrome and anxiety that can hinder you during the actual one.
The panel may know you by your achievements, exam results, GPA, but they don't know anything about your personality traits. Don't underestimate the importance of the emotional connection you may build during the interview. It can impact the final decision. The first thing you'll do is a general introduction. It helps to get to know you and mostly calm down the nerves.
Don't make it a story of your life, mentioning all milestones like when you went to school and what projects you've done. Select a couple of facts that speak the most about you, mention interests, and how you've developed them. Show that you're a well-rounded person and know something besides your narrow specialization.
Another typical scholarship interview question is about your plans for the future. Nobody expects you to have a detailed roadmap, but the answer "I'll see how it goes" also isn't the best option.
Your plans shouldn't be utterly alien to the scholarship you apply for or the field you've chosen. Elaborate on how you imagine to use this scholarship to achieve bigger changes in the future. Maybe you have an academic plan set up, or you have a topic you want to study and have an idea on how to implement your findings to make the world a better place. Mention if you've planned to complete an internship or volunteering programs, or you've set your mind to join a specific company. The idea is to show that this scholarship wouldn't be wasted, and you're dedicated to what you do. But don't be too idealistic. Show that you can evaluate your resources and allocate them adequately.
Besides your plans for the future, the committee would like to learn more about your experience and how it'll help you on your path. The board may ask you to speak in general about your character traits or give specific examples of challenges you've overcome. Anyway, try to provide examples. If you mention you're responsible, it says nothing unless you demonstrate it in a real-life example. For example, bring up some cases when you've organized an event or were responsible for a particular project. If you've been a leader of a youth organization or an active member of a school community, mention it. It’s more descriptive than a simple list of qualities.
Don't hesitate to speak about your weaknesses. Making yourself look like an ideal candidate won't win you a place. It's essential to show that you acknowledge your flaws and work on improvement. Another option is to point out weaknesses that don't have a direct connection to the program. It'll convince the committee that these issues won't stop you on your journey, and if you encounter a problem, you'll know how to deal with it.
Preparing to answer this question, remember one thing. All the people in line with you also have good grades, financial struggles, and an active role in their communities. That's why it's not the right time and place to show off your achievements, focus more on your passion and dedication to the cause. Think of the things that make you stand out, but don't exaggerate. You can back your answer with a personal story to show your motivation. You need to prove you're an investment that will bring value to the college or program you're applying to and to the community. Speak freely and don't think about what the committee expects from you, do the research, and determine the principles they stand by.
These are four mostly-asked interview questions for a scholarship, but it doesn't end there. The panel may ask you about the achievements you're most proud of or the extra-curricular activities you were involved in. Another set of questions may be about your goals and role models, as it also says a lot about the path you see for yourself.
The last advice is to try not to repeat yourself and tell the same stories you mention in a motivational essay. It'll show the panel that you can't analyze the information and bring reasoning on the spot. If you don't feel confident to write a scholarship essay yourself, consider reaching out for help. Professional assistance is a way out if you're struggling with expressing yourself on a paper. Services like WriteMyEssay have years of experience writing papers and motivational letters. It'll also free you some time to prepare more for the interview. Good luck!