It is always a joyful moment when we receive Scholarship Awards but How to prepare yourself for a scholarship interview is most times a nightmare for some persons.
Prizes and scholarships often come with built-in investments. For instance, the International Rhodes Scholarship is an all-expenses paid full scholarship to pursue graduate studies at Oxford University in England. Now that’s a hefty investment!
In order to win such high-value scholarships, you’ll need to go through rounds of interviews — yes, potentially even with your peers. This is especially true if the scholarship is competitive, as many are today. That means that you have to be prepared and willing to reply to potential interviewers’ questions with the right answers. And that’s where this article comes in.
7 ways to prepare yourself for a scholarship interview
1. Before the Scholarship interview:
Do your homework and know information about the scholarship. Research information about any specific requirements or preferences of the scholarship. Read up on what you could potentially be asked in an interview.
2. During the scholarship interview:
Dress appropriately for an interview – if you aren’t sure, ask someone who’s had to go through a similar experience or check out this great article on how to dress for an interview.
Convey the most professional image possible.
Be comfortable in the environment. Know where the restroom is. Know the location of other places such as a cafeteria, library, or lounge.
Know basic information about the college or university you are applying to, such as how many students attend it and their average SAT scores. If possible, try visiting the school before your interview to get a sense of its community and environment. Know the application process.
Be confident in yourself and naturally speak well and with authority. Try to answer questions to the best of your abilities and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
Set a time limit on the interview and stick to it, even if you feel uncomfortable or if it’s late in the day.
Remember that the interviewer is trying to make an informed decision and may be very busy. If the interview takes more than 30 minutes, if you’re not sure if you’re being asked all the right questions, or you feel like your time is being wasted, request an extension. The worst thing that can happen is that they will refuse; it’s better to ask for more time than to let a question go unanswered and blow your chance at a scholarship.
3. After the scholarship interview:
Ask questions to show that you’re interested in the school’s program, that you’ve done your research, and that you have a genuine desire to be at this institution.
Send thank-you notes. Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and are looking forward to hearing about their decision.
If you’re not contacted within three weeks of the interview, send an email or letter requesting an update on your application status.
Write a thank-you note to the financial aid office for their help with the application process. These people are the ones who will be determining your scholarship award and so should be thanked for their services.
4. Get any other scholarships that you might be eligible for as well, and apply early. This will make yourself stand out among other scholarship applicants and give you the best chance at getting in.
5. When you get the scholarship offer, negotiate. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for more money to be added to your scholarship package from a university.
6. Be sure to have fun and enjoy the experience and attention that comes along with your interview!
7. And congratulations on getting the scholarship! What an achievement! As far as investments go, this one will pay off over time — in academic achievements, career opportunities, or even personal happiness.