Scholarship Interview Questions
If you’ve applied for a scholarship for college and have been asked to interview with the scholarship committee, congrats! You’re one step closer to winning. Preparing for the scholarship interview is important. It will help you calm your nerves and have answers at the ready. Here’s a list of 13 common scholarship interview questions and answers to help you get ready.
1. Tell Us About Yourself
It sounds simple, but there is a right way to answer this question. They’re not asking for your life story. Don’t waste time talking about what’s on your resume or scholarship application – they already know that information. This is your opportunity to tell them something about you that sets you apart from other applicants. Give them a quick overview of your interest, skills, and goals, and how this related to receiving the scholarship.
2. What’s Your Greatest Strength?
If you’ve made it to the scholarship interview, they already think you’re pretty awesome. This is a chance to really show them. If you’re a good writer, tell your interviewer(s) how much you enjoyed your high school English class or what your strategy was for writing your scholarship essays. If you enjoy performing, give an anecdote about helping others overcome stage fright. If you excel at math, share this talent and how it has had a positive impact on your life, or how you use it to help others. Whatever your strength is, be specific and give examples.
3. What’s Your Biggest Weakness?
The key to talking about your weaknesses is to paint them in a positive light. (And no, saying you’re a perfectionist isn’t a real answer.) If public speaking isn’t your strong suit, explain how you took a public speaking class, even though it makes you nervous as a means of working on your weakness. Be honest, and explain how you overcome the challenges that your weakness presents you with.
4. Why Do You Deserve This Scholarship?
You don’t deserve this scholarship because you have a high GPA or because you won’t be able to go to your dream school without it. You deserve it because of all of your skills and accomplishments have come together to get you where you are today. Explain that you know there are plenty of applicants who are deserving of this scholarship, but your unique experiences are a good indicator of your future success, and receiving this award will open the door for many more opportunities.
5. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
You don’t have to have your entire life mapped out for the next five years, but the scholarship committee wants to see that you’ve got some sort of game plan. What do you want to accomplish while you’re in college? What do you see yourself doing after graduation? Incorporate how this scholarship will give you a leg up on accomplishing your goals.
6. Who Is Your Role Model?
When your interviewer asks this question, they’re trying to learn more about who you are, not about your role model. Whether it’s a family member, teacher, or public figure, explain how their actions have inspired you, what you have learned from them, and why they are your role model.
7. What Are Your Career Goals?
When you win a scholarship, the sponsor is investing in your future. Let them know what that future entails. Explain how your career goals tie back in to the education you plan to receive and how this scholarship relates to and can help with your career goals.
8. What Activities Are You Involved In?
This is a great opportunity to share more about yourself with the interviewer. The activities you are involved in say a lot about who you are as a person. Do you play school or club sports? Do you volunteer? Do you belong to any organizations? Do you have a job? Answers to this question can show the interviewer what’s important to you outside of school.
9. Tell Me About a Mistake You Made and What You Learned From It
Everyone makes mistakes. Not only does acknowledging your mistakes speak to your maturity and readiness for college, but explaining what you learned from a mistake demonstrates how you grow as an individual. The interviewer wants to see that you are self-aware and open to learning from your slipups.
10. Tell Me About a Personal Achievement You Are Proud Of
This is your opportunity to brag! You’ve worked hard to get to where you are. Did you ace the ACT? Did you hold down a job and maintain a high GPA? Were you inducted into the National Honor Society? Not only is this your chance to toot your own horn, but it tells the interviewer more about you are a person and what motivates you.
11. Why Do You Deserve This Award?
This can be a difficult question to answer, especially because all of the other candidates are likely similarly qualified. Steer clear of talking about your GPA or extra-curriculars. Instead, focus on your work ethic, and how you are the ideal candidate for this specific scholarship. Do you exemplify the values of the organization sponsoring the award? Discuss how you are dedicated to ensuring your college career is a success, and how you plan to make sure the scholarship is used wisely. If possible, discuss some additional accomplishments that make you stand out as a candidate.
12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Add?
Is there something unique about you as a candidate that you did not have the chance to address during your answers to the other questions? This is your chance to share that information. Do you act in any leadership roles in clubs or organizations you belong to? Have you pursued your passion for your chosen career outside of school (for example, you want to go to college for environmental science and you volunteer to clear trash from public parks)? Have you participated in fundraisers? Share something about you that is both an accomplishment and adds to your strength as a candidate.
13. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?
Your scholarship interview will most likely wrap up this way. It’s recommended that you always have a question ready. This shows you are both interested and engaged. Some questions to ask an interviewer may be:
- What advice would you give someone in my position entering college with XYZ as a career goal?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge for college students today?
- Do you have any advice for someone in my position who wants to pursue a career in your field?
- What advice would you give your 18-year-old self, if you were in my position today?
After the Interview
Be sure to shake hands with everyone on the interview panel. Make eye contact and thank them for their time and consideration. Sending a handwritten thank you note to the interviewer/committee is also a great way to express your gratitude and make a good impression. If this is not possible, sending a thank you email is recommended.
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