If you are fortunate enough to be on a shortlist for winning a scholarship towards your education, you will most likely attend a scholarship interview. Being prepared to answer the questions in an interview will help you stay calm and relaxed.
While each interview may be different, there are a few questions that are common to most interviews. If you know the type of questions that you may be asked and practice your answers beforehand, you have a better chance to relax and show your potential.
Here are six of the most common questions asked during a scholarship interview and how to answer them:
1. Tells us about yourself
While this isn’t exactly a question, your interview board will expect an answer and it better be good. Your answer will give the first impression and set the stage for the rest of the interview. Since they have the application, what more do they want?
The board wants to hear from you about your special interests, hobbies or skills and how they relate to the scholarship. This doesn’t mean you should talk on and on about your knowledge of Formula One race cars, but you could say your love of Formula One racing has influenced your love of physics.
2. What is your greatest strength and greatest weakness?
Once you are on a scholarship shortlist, the interview board has already seen your academic strengths. Talking about your strengths may seem like bragging. The best way to avoid this feeling is to choose a quality beforehand and practice speaking about it to another person.
Whatever strength you pick needs to add value to your scholarship application. If you are a good writer, this quality may help you if your major subject is literature. If your subject is languages, you can emphasize the fact that you speak several languages. If you are an award-winning athlete, you can mention that it has helped you achieve your best in all your endeavors.
When you mention your weaknesses, it’s not a good idea to disparage yourself. Don’t focus on your vulnerabilities but focus on how you overcome your weaknesses. For example, if you tend to be lazy, explain how keeping a regular schedule has helped you stop procrastinating.
They could ask you about the mistakes you feel you made. Again, you should point out a mistake that taught you a positive lesson and how you have improved yourself because of it. Keep in mind the saying ‘sweet are the uses of adversity’. Your adverse situations have taught you how to make your life sweeter.
3. Why should you receive the scholarship?
Since you are on the shortlist of applicants, you have already shown good academic reasons why you deserve the scholarship. You need to say more than that you have a 5.0-grade point average or financial need. You need to prove you are a good investment. You may show that your commitment to your work such as years working on a school paper or practicing and playing a sport or musical instrument prove that you plan to continue improving your skills.
4. What are your hopes for your future?
You can’t predict the future, but you can have goals that you work hard to achieve. This is what the board wants to know. For example, the scholarship is for four years or some other specific time.
You need to express your plans for after that time. You shouldn’t see yourself as an undergraduate in five years. You can mention big goals in life, but you need to show how receiving the scholarship will help you achieve those goals.
5. Do you have a role model?
There are many answers to this question. Your role model may be a famous person who has overcome adversities and achieved success in his or her chosen field. It could also be your grandfather who taught you the benefits of hard work. Whoever you look up to, be ready to express how that person has impacted your life for the better.
6. Do you have any leadership experience?
The board wants to know how effective your leadership experience was. For example, if you headed a project in your school to collect clean drinking water for a disaster area such as flood or fire, you should explain how you organized the volunteers to canvas the area, collected the water and distributed it to the people in need. If you have never been a leader, you can talk about the qualities you have that will help you be a good leader when you need to.
It’s always good to be truthful when answering questions in a scholarship interview, but you should also try to keep your answers on the positive side of your qualities. It doesn’t mean you are hiding the negative. It just means you want the interview board to see that you are worth supporting.