The easiest part is applying for a scholarship. The challenging part is what follows – the interview.
Don’t worry if the prospect of having to prove yourself to a stranger causes you to break out in a cold sweat. You’re not on your own. Face-to-face meetings can be nerve-wracking for students, especially when a scholarship is on the table.
Here are 5 tips to help you ace your scholarship interview.
1) Start planning ahead of time.
Start by practising your introduction and coming up with a few essential points about yourself. Consider your abilities, passions, and any unique experiences you’ve had.
Next, discover as much as you can about the scholarship provider, including the nature of the business, mission and vision, key leaders, current news, and so on. To impress sponsors, you need to show that you’ve spent the time and effort to learn about them and their products.
Don’t forget to practise answering the following questions that are commonly asked during interviews:
What are your greatest assets and flaws?
In five or ten years, where do you see yourself?
Why did you decide on this particular course, degree, or university?
Why do you think you deserve this?
How have you led or shown leadership skills?
Additionally, you may be required to explain a topic assigned to you during some interviews. The subjects might range from current events to lifestyle choices, making them difficult to forecast. Make every effort to prepare by reading the news and establishing an opinion on a variety of topics.
2) Make a good first impression by grooming and dressing appropriately.
If you want to make a good impression, it’s crucial to dress appropriately for the occasion, whether you like it or not. In order for interviewers to feel confident that they are conversing with someone who is serious and respectful of others, it is necessary for them to see that the candidate has dressed suitably.
If a clothing code is specified, abide by it and refrain from going beyond. Formal or business attire consists of a buttoned-down collared shirt (do not roll the sleeves) and dark-colored pants (no jeans, skinny or otherwise!) or a knee-length skirt. Don’t go beyond with bright fluorescent colours and bold designs, and make sure your shoes are in good condition before you wear them.
Remember to groom yourself as well, making sure your hair is neat and tidy. Remove any unnecessary piercings, avoid smelling like a cigarette, and bring a pack of breath mints.
3) Ensure that you arrive on time.
Being late is the only thing worse than wearing badly. Failure to arrive on time creates the appearance that you are careless, irresponsible, and inept at time management.
Plan your route a day ahead of time, noting how long it will take you to arrive at your destination. Ensure you prepare for unforeseen circumstances such as traffic bottlenecks and parking problems. Ideally, come half an hour early, since you may require time to locate the specific room where the interview will take place.
If you are going to be late, phone the interviewer to inform them so they do not have to wait.
4) Be mindful of your actions.
It is critical to maintain a cool and composed demeanour throughout the interview, even if you are wracked with anxiety. Avoid fidgeting, biting your nails, or bouncing your leg up and down during the presentation.
The most important thing to remember is to keep eye contact with the interviewer. Please respond clearly and concisely to the questions, and refrain from overusing “uhms” and “ahhs.”
If you need a few extra seconds of thought prior to responding to a question, try saying, “That’s a really great point.” “I’m sorry, I’m not sure if I read you correctly,” you can remark as a way of confirming or clarifying. What exactly do you mean…?”
Above everything, be genuine. Interviewers are searching for honesty, so don’t claim to be the scout troop leader if you’ve never been to a camp. It’s one thing to exaggerate your accomplishments; it’s quite another to lie about them.
5) Last but not least, just be yourself.
Indeed, impressing a total stranger might be rather difficult. But, in the end, it’s necessary to keep in mind to be yourself. The fact that you were invited to an interview indicates that you have already impressed them enough that they want to learn more about you.
Think, talk, and act like you’re the best contender for the scholarship at all times!