Scholarship Interview Questions: How To Give Yourself A Competitive Edge

scholarship interview questionsIn 2013, the average student loan debt from attending college as an undergraduate was around $29,000 upon graduation.  Looks like you can forget about that new car you wanted!  These days the price of college can seem outrageous, and it only continues to rise, making the prospect of a college scholarship even more and more enticing.  If you were fortunate enough to be picked as a candidate for a scholarship, you might be gearing up for an interview alongside other hopeful recipients.  To put yourself ahead of the game, it might be time to start going over some scholarship interview questions to prepare to help fund your future.

Today we are going to help you close the deal on supporting your education with some useful tips and sample scholarship interview questions to gear you up for your big day.

General Questions

Your interviewees are going to want to know as much about you and your plans for the future that they are going to potentially help fund, as possible.

  • What made you become interested in your major?
  • How did you become interested in your focus area?
  • Have you ever traveled abroad before?  If so, where, and what did your travels teach you?
  • What do you hope to accomplish while at ______ college or University?
  • What are your educational and academic goals?
  • What are your future career plans?
  • How do you plan to use your studies to achieve the future career plans that you have for yourself?
  • What would you do if you were not chosen to receive the scholarship?
  • Where do you see yourself doing in 10 years?  What are you doing in terms of your career?
  • How will this scholarship help you in your career goals?

Specific Application and Essay Related Questions

If you have gone as far as to land an interview for a scholarship, you had better believe that the people who are interviewing you have reviewed your application and your essay thoroughly.  Be prepared to talk about what you say you have done or can do!  We are going to use Creative Writing as an example for these questions.

  • You wrote in your application that you enjoy creative writing.  What type of creative writing do you like best, and what are your favorite authors of creative literature?
  • We saw that your transcript includes a few low grades and courses not pertaining to your major.  Can you tell us about this?
  • Your application says that you are fluent in _____.  Please translate this statement for us.  Where is it from?
  • What can you tell us about the person or organization that this scholarship is named for?

Refernce Questions

Almost all scholarships require a person to have recommendations written for them.  Be prepared to answer questions pertaining to what your references could have said about you.

  • We see you went back to some High School teachers for recommendations.  Why did you go back this far?
  • Your adviser wrote you did significant research on _______.  Can you tell us a little bit more about that and why it was important to you?
  • Tell us how you think some of your friends would describe you.

Other Interview Questions to Prepare For

Current Events:  There is a good chance that the people interviewing you are going to want someone who is well-rounded and well-versed in different areas of life, as well as current happenings.  Make sure you are up to date with what is going on in the world.  Read newspapers, listen to open discussion talk shows, and tune into podcasts or AM radio.

University-related questions:  Be informed about the University that you want to get into, because you are ultimately going to use your scholarship money to fund your education there if you are chosen.  Be prepared to answer questions about why you want to go to that University and why you want to earn your degree there.

Personality Questions:  Interviewees also want to know your type of personality and how you spend your spare time.  Be ready to answer questions such as, “What do you do for fun?” or “What hobbies do you have outside of school that are non-education related?”

Tips for Your Scholarship Interview

  1. Show up early with ample time to spare.
  2. Dress appropriately for an interview.  Do not wear shorts or jeans, brush your hair, and take note of your shoes.
  3. Smile, shake everyone’s hand, and introduce yourself when you enter a room.
  4. Sit up straight and be still while you are being interviewed and try not to fidget with your hands, sit on your hands, or grip the side of the chair.
  5. Avoid using the words “like” and “um” in your conversation.
  6. If there is more than one person interviewing you, make sure you make eye contact and engage yourself with everyone in the room.
  7. Bring your application with you in case you need to reference it at any time.
  8. Think on your feet, focus, and listen intently to the questions being asked.
  9. Be prepared to answer questions about your financial situation.  Remember, scholarships are based on a student’s need, so be truthful and honest about your situation.
  10. Ask the interviewer questions at the end of your interview.
  11. Do not be shy about your accomplishments.

Get Your Responses Ready

No matter how you look at it, going to college is going to be worth it in the long run, even if you do not end up working in a career pertaining directly to your major.  The importance of obtaining and scholarship can be essential as the cost of living goes up, and it could provide you with a nice cushion as you move forward in your future endeavors.  If you need any further help preparing for your scholarship interview, check out this scholarship course at that hundreds of other students have used to help them prepare for their scholarship interview questions.  Put on your game face and get ready to win at your interview.