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The Scholarship Interview: Part One - Preparation

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If a scholarship interview is in your future, congratulations! You have made it to the final phase in the scholarship appeal process. This means your application aroused the interest of the judges enough for them to want to meet you in person.

From this point forward, be aware that the impression you make upon the evaluators at your interview is the most deciding aspect of whether or not you will be awarded the scholarship. Therefore, here are some preparation tips for a champion interview:

Know Your Application

The interviewers will ask a series of questions, most likely similar to the ones on your application. Study your written responses so that you will have those basic answers on the tip of your tongue.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Since there is no way that you will know what questions the interviewers will ask, it is best to have a list of responses to generic questions prepared before the interview. Basic questions often asked can pertain to your strengths and weaknesses. Prepare to answer these questions in a way that is relevant to the scholarship or major.

Know Your College Career Plan

An essential thing to remember while interviewing is that members of an organization will not award a candidate who appears to be indecisive in their plans and goals while in college. They want to be sure that the scholarship recipient they choose is not going to change majors multiple times or drop out in the middle of the year and misrepresent their organization by delinquency. Be very explicit about your college career plans pertaining to the scholarship.

Know Your Future and Career Goals

Another essential to prepare for is knowing your future and career goals. This is a very typical interview question and something you should plan to talk about. Again prepare to be explicit yet concise and relevant to your college major and the scholarship you are applying for.

Know Yours and Your Parent’s Financial Status

If your scholarship request is based upon need, this piece is especially important. It may not come up in the interview, but it certainly does not hurt to be prepared to divulge this information.

Know the Organization

A excellent way to gain the good graces of your evaluators is to know all the facts on the organization that is awarding the scholarship:

  • History
  • Mission
  • Judges’ Names
  • Past Recipients
  • Why they have chosen you as a finalist

Know the Meeting Details

Make sure you have a confirmed time and location of the meeting, directions, and phone numbers of the organization in case of an emergency. Find out how long it will take to get to the place you are meeting and plan ahead for traffic or other unforeseeable events by giving yourself plenty of time.

Practice, practice, practice

Spend time practicing with friends or family members. Write down notes and speak your answers aloud. Remember: You mustn’t give long, convoluted responses to questions, but rather, practice responses that are brief and succinct. The more prepared you are, the more confident and articulate you come across.

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