Who has been a role model for you?
Make sure you consider this one beforehand. The people you admire says a lot about you, and you need to be able to explain that. Is it a famous person? Is it a family member? A teacher? It’s important to remember your role model’s character flaws as well, and how they are also inspiring in spite of them (or maybe because of the way they’ve overcome them).
Example: My camp counselor Kai was always someone I looked up to. He was always incredibly positive and friendly; he had a talent for making people smile and feel welcome. One summer, I got stung by a bee and Kai got me to stop crying by telling corny jokes while he bandaged me up. He was always the first person to offer to help out, and really went above and beyond the call of duty. He’s even a volunteer firefighter! Kai’s enthusiasm and positivity made a huge impact on my childhood, and I hope I emulate that to the people around me.
Why it Works: Describing a person you admire shows what traits you yourself value. In this case, the student clearly was affected by positivity, altruism, and friendliness, so much so they desired to be more like Kai. It shows interviewers what that student will strive to embody. Scholarship sponsors want to award students who are deserving, after all, and who will act as a good ambassador of the sponsor’s mission or ideals.
Here are ten of the most common scholarship interview questions.
This open-ended question allows you to direct the conversation. Because it is so broad, your first instinct might be to also answer broadly. Don’t. Plan out what you might want to say as if it were a college prompt. Like a good essay, you can start with something general about yourself and then narrow to a specific anecdote or point. This is also a good opportunity to highlight a set of skills you have.
Example: I’m someone who is really passionate about the ocean. That’s why I plan on majoring in marine biology and becoming an NOAA scientist one day! I’ve already earned my scuba certification and have gone on a number of dives. When I’m not in the water, I really enjoy reading poetry or volunteering at our local library’s summer literacy program for kids.
Why it Works: This response covers a lot of things in a small amount of time. It highlights that the student is thoughtful when it comes to their academics and future plans, and also that they’re willing to go the extra mile.
Why do you deserve this scholarship?
This one’s a toughy. Be honest and open. You applied for this scholarship for a reason, and now you also need to put it into words. (For a more involved answer, read our guide on what to say when you are asked why do you deserve this scholarship.)
Example: Ever since my cousin was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, I’ve wanted to become a pediatrician. Medical school is expensive, and this scholarship will help me accomplish my goal of becoming a doctor and helping sick kids like Maise.
Why it Works: Not only did this student outline a noble goal (becoming a pediatrician), they also acknowledge how the scholarship will help them in their goals. The personal touch of the cousin helps cement the story in the interviewer’s mind.