20 Feb How to Nail the College Scholarship Interview
A scholarship can really fatten your college piggy bank, but some are harder to win than others. Some are just like a lottery with no real qualifications, while others ask you to meet certain criteria. Most rely on an essay, but some require an in-person interview. The selection committee wants to meet you, so they can size you up and obtain more information to help make their decision.
The typical scholarship interview used to be conducted in-person but, in our new social distancing era, many are turning to the videoconference interview as well. These are very important, so here are some tips that will help you nail the college scholarship interview:
- Familiarize Yourself With the Details: You may have applied to dozens of scholarships, so take time to review the specifics about this one. What is the organization, what are they looking for in a recipient and what is the scholarship about?
- Think About Questions: Once you get the details straight, try to think about some questions the interview committee could pose. They might ask for general information about you and your background, but will probably also look for insights related to why you should win their specific scholarship. Don’t create entire responses, but formulate some key points that will help you provide the information they need. Do be aware that some committees might want to know if you have questions for them, so have a few ideas in mind.
- Practice: Have a parent or another trusted adult simulate the interview experience with you. Practice introducing yourself, and let them ask the questions you think will be covered. This gives you a chance to rehearse your answers to find out if they hit the points you want to make.
- Think About How You Present Yourself: You probably have a pretty good idea of how to dress for an in-person interview, so the clothing you wear for a Zoom or online session should be the same. Now, though, you also have to make sure your audio and video components are in good order, and take a look at your surroundings to determine whether they will make a good impression, too. Be sure you are on time and always be conscious of your behavior.
- Say Thank You: Thank the committee for the opportunity once the interview is completed. You can also consider a follow-up email or thank you note with specifics of what impressed you most.
Be positive in your approach to the scholarship interview. At the very least it will give you a good handle on how to perform in an interview situation, which will come in very handy in years to come. At the most, though, it could be the moment that tips the scholarship award in your favor.
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