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.
This might not be your first interview, but there’s a good chance it will be your first scholarship interview. We’ve put together a list of the most common scholarship interview questions (and how to answer them) to help you prepare.
It sounds simple, but there is a right way to answer this question. They’re not asking for your life story here. Don’t waste time talking about what’s on your resume or scholarship application – they already know all that, and they want to see what else sets you apart from other applicants! Give them a quick overview of what your interests and skills are, how that relates to receiving this scholarship, and why you’d be the best person to win.
If you’ve made it to the scholarship interview, they already think you’re pretty awesome, but this is the time 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. Whatever your strength is, always be specific and give examples.
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, and even though it still makes you nervous, you’re working on overcoming your fear. If you struggle to work in group projects, give an example of a time you were able to let go and trust other people to accomplish something great together. Even if you’re still working on overcoming a weakness, the thing your interviewer really wants to see is how you handle it.
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 all of your skills and accomplishments have come together to get you to 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 scholarship will open the door for many more opportunities.
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.
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, a teacher, or a celebrity, explain how their actions have inspired you or what you’ve learned from them and why.
Whatever you do, don’t say “no.” 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 a few questions that show your interest in the scholarship. Here are a few ideas for good questions to ask:
It’s important to keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to have fun with your scholarship interview! The scholarship committee has already seen your application, essay, and transcripts – now it’s your chance to show them who you are beyond that.