Reviewed 10 Aug. 2011 by CHC; gratefully adapted from the NAFA 2011 New Advisors’ Workshop and additional sources as cited.
Your applications are signed and submitted, and the waiting begins. Although you will not know for several weeks whether you have been selected to interview, you should prepare now.
Why practice for interviews now? First, the skills you hone arent wasted; they will serve you well for graduate and professional school interviews, and for job interviews in the future.
Secondly, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel with answering questions “on the fly” – and ease in the interview setting is an important ingredient for success.
The Requirements of the Scholarship
Scholarships can be quite competitive, and if you have been chosen to appear at an interview, this means your application stood out in some way. You will want a thorough understanding of what each committee is looking for. Most prefer students who have excelled not only in academics but in extracurricular activities as well. Be sure you understand upfront what the specific requirements are for each scholarship so you can have any necessary paperwork and documents ready.
Search online for typical scholarship interview questions. There are thousands! Have your parents or a friend ask you question after question. It’s not enough to just look at and think about questions. You need to hear yourself giving answers.
When the interview is over, shake hands and say thanks. If you’re interviewing as part of a group of students, it’s fine to skip the handshakes. I’ve been in awkward situations that felt like wedding receiving lines when eight or nine students lined up to shake three interviewers’ hands.
Have a few questions to ask the interviewer. Examples of good questions to ask the interviewer: What makes this university unique? What global learning experiences are available? What are class sizes? Will I be assigned an academic advisor? The interviewer will appreciate the opportunity to put the university in a good light.
Be yourself. Be honest and be yourself. As an interviewer, I want to get to know you. If you’re from a tiny town or rural area, I don’t expect you to have the same high school experiences that the student from a class of 600 has. I want to hear about your 4-H projects or the online college classes you’ve taken. Don’t just say what you THINK the interviewer WANTS to hear. As a professor at a Christian university, I’ve frequently heard responses to questions that were much more spiritual than believable. Interviewers are not easily fooled. Tell us who you are – really!
At least a week ahead of time, plan what you’re going to wear. Ladies, interviews call for dressing professionally which doesn’t necessarily mean “dressing up.” This is not the time to add extra jewelry or lace, wear higher than usual heels, or polish your nails with a bright color. A clean and well-pressed suit or dress is fine. I’ve seen pants that should have been hemmed so they weren’t walked on and heels so high that the student teetered instead of walked. Choosing what you’ll wear several days before gives you time to try on your outfit and make sure you’re comfortable wearing it. See how it feels when you walk, climb stairs, and sit down.
How To Prepare for a Scholarship Interview
The most important thing to do is to practice your answers to some of the common questions that get asked at most scholarship interviews.
Doing these things can also help: