Scholarships/Loans

How to shine in scholarship interviews

Published by Afterschool.my on Apr 08, 2014, 06:17 pm

Consider yourself lucky when you finally get selected for an interview. It is a privilege so congratulate yourself! Now that you have given yourself credit, it is time to get serious. Applying for scholarships is extremely competitive, so it is important that you prepare for this interview. Here are general tips for preparing and during the interview:

What to wear?

Our choice of clothing says a lot about ourselves. Whatever the case, make sure you are wearing smart-looking, decent clothes for the interview. This gives an impression that you are taking this opportunity seriously. Most importantly, turn your mobile phone on silent mode.

For men, a long sleeved, collared shirt paired with dark trousers is fine. Make sure your clothes are clean and well pressed. For the ladies, a smart casual dress paired with a dark colored cardigan or coat can make a good impression to your interviewers. Avoid wearing clothes that have plunging necklines and those that have flashy prints in loud colours. Instead of wearing sandals, better wear closed shoes.

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What to bring?

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and nervousness can lead to forgetting important things during the interview. Hence, bringing a copy of your application material with you can help prevent sudden memory lapses. For other interviews that may require you to do some group work, it would be best to bring a pen and a tiny notebook.

You can also bring copies of your curriculum vitae or resumé for your interviewers. Make sure your resumé is short, at least one to two pages. Furthermore, it should highlight your achievements and strengths.

What will the interviewers ask?

  • Self perception and values: In most cases, interviewers will ask you to describe yourself. What your strengths and weaknesses are and how you see yourself in the future. These questions try to asses your personality and how positively you perceive yourself. Interviewers like candidates who possess a positive attitude and healthy self-esteem. Some scholarship organizers want their scholars to possess the same values and ethics they prescribe to.
  • Knowledge of chosen field: Interviewers may also raise questions to asses how well you know your chosen course. If you are applying for a scholarship overseas, they will want to know why you have to study abroad. To be prepared for this, you need to do some additional reading. You need to find out if there is demand for majors in this particular course, and why this entices you to join in.
  • Love for country: For bonded and overseas scholarships, it is important for interviewers to find out what motivates a student to study overseas. Scholarship organizers need to see that sense of loyalty from their potential scholars. Interviewers could ask you questions on how they feel about the country and how you can contribute as a citizen.
  • Awareness of current issues: Aside from being academically good, interviewers look for scholars who can become great problem solvers. Students who read newspapers will find it easy to answer and even propose practical solutions to issues concerning the country such poor garbage disposal, man-made calamities, and even unemployment.

How should you carry yourself?

When responding to questions, take your time. Do not rush your answers and make sure you are speaking intelligibly. Give concise and meaningful answers, and avoid rambling. Once you have made your point, there is no need to repeat it. If you find the question unclear, you can politely ask the interviewer to repeat or rephrase it.

What you shouldn't forget?

At the end of the interview, smile and shake hands with your interviewers and group members, and thank them for the time and opportunity. This will leave a good lasting impression.

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