How to Nail a Scholarship Interview
by Michelle Osei-Bonsu
Discovering that you have been chosen from a pool of applicants for a scholarship interview is an exhilarating moment. However, many students quickly find themselves getting anxious as they start to prepare for the big interview. It’s normal to feel this way, especially when you have great sums of money on the line. The following is a list of tips and tricks that can help you get ready for the big day:
- You’ve probably heard this from your parents and teachers already, but it’s important that you appear relaxed and confident. If you display confidence in yourself, the interviewers are far more likely to have confidence in you, too!
- Keep in mind that the interviewers have to sit through several students for hours, who often respond to the same questions with the same answers. If you want to stand out, provide memorable answers that will stick in their minds for the rest of the day. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give ridiculous responses either. You need to find a healthy balance between appropriate and creative. You can also make your responses stand out by sharing something personal about yourself. It might be a brief story or it might be a personal goal that you’ve held for years. Just make sure it’s not too random and that it fits within the context of the question being asked.
- You need to present yourself as a worthy investment. Interviewers don’t just want to hear why you want or need the money; they want to know how you plan to use it to better your future. Try to prepare some ideas beforehand about how this scholarship money can change your life in the long-run.
- Your attitude can differentiate you from the pack as well. Try your best not to be monotone and boring. Speak conversationally with your interviewers because it will make the atmosphere far more relaxed. This will be like a breath of fresh air for the people interviewing you! Remember that they have probably been sitting stationary for a while so they could use something to wake them up.
- There are several “little things” that you can also do to bring yourself to the top of that list. These little things are often forgotten by most so keep them in mind: Shake hands with your interviewer. When they ask you how your day was, return the question. Thank your interviewers for even considering you for the scholarship. Believe it or not, these simple and polite gestures will increase your chances of being remembered!
- At the end of the interview, most interviewers ask if you have any questions. Use this as an opportunity to extend the conversation beyond the standard questions that they ask everyone. A cool technique is to ask a question about the organization that is offering the scholarship. This gives the interviewers a bit more time to talk about themselves, which will be a welcome change from a long day of asking questions!
You now have a bag full of tricks to get you through your big interview. Keep your head held high and remember to show off that sparkling personality!
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