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How to Prepare for a Scholarship Interview

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Written by Bold.org Editorial Team
Updated: August 15, 2022
6 min read
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Congratulations on landing a scholarship interview! After a long and laborious scholarship application process, you can celebrate the little win that is being invited to a scholarship interview.

Chances are you had to submit a scholarship essay and outline every personal achievement and extracurricular you could think of, but it isn't over yet.

Preparing for scholarship interviews takes time and practice, and the following scholarship interview tips can help boost your confidence and preparedness prior to your interview. Plus, knowing how to answer questions and speak to your strengths is a skill that can translate to college and real life. It's one way to prepare for college and learn how to advocate for yourself in a professional setting.

If you are concerned about your scholarship interview, remember that it is an opportunity. If you take time to prepare, you will surely be able to answer any tricky interview questions that might come your way.

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How to prepare for a scholarship interview

How to Prepare for the Interview with a Practice Interview

Before the interview, it's recommended that you conduct practice interviews with a family member or friend to practice answering questions and get used to speaking to your strengths. A scholarship interview is similar to a job interview — interviewers will want to know about your work ethic and your leadership experience. The questions an interviewer asks will likely be about career goals, any meaningful experiences you've had, and why you're the best applicant for the scholarship.

You can also google "common scholarship interview questions" if you need help thinking of what an interviewer will ask you. The majority of the time, the scholarship interview will open with: "So, tell us a bit about yourself." You can talk about your favorite subject, what high school you attend, what you like to do in your free time, etc. You can also consider asking your counselor or advisor for tips, since they will likely be familiar with common scholarship interview questions.

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The ideal candidate will be well-rounded, so don't be nervous to speak about things you do outside the classroom. Also, try to showcase your personality and unique interests or passions to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Scholarships providers want to know that their money is going to the right candidate, so convince them that you are the right candidate.

How to Prepare for the Interview On Your Own

In order to prepare to answer common questions at a scholarship interview, think back to what questions you had to answer on the scholarship application. "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" and "Who has been a role model for you?" are common interview questions and will help interviewers get a better understanding of who you are.

You can prepare a list beforehand to practice answering these questions and write out the answers to other questions to get a better grasp of what to say. If you're a high school student, chances are you'll be asked what major you'll pursue in college and what extracurricular activities you're looking forward to doing as a student.

Even though you've nailed a scholarship interview, you may want to continue applying for scholarships to maximize your awards! Check out our guide on the best scholarship websites!

How to prepare for a scholarship interview

How to Dress Appropriately for Your Interview

Another aspect to prepare for is your scholarship interview attire. Applicants should dress appropriately — most scholarship interviews ask that individuals come in semi-formal attire. A business casual outfit may consist of a button-down/dress shirt or blouse with a length-appropriate skirt or neutral-colored pants. Try to look professional and avoid flashy patterns or revealing pieces of clothing.

Having good posture and a firm handshake will also go a long way. Interviewers often notice body language and eye contact, so make sure that you are putting your best foot forward to wow the scholarship interview panel. When you enter the interview room, stand tall, introduce yourself, and express your gratitude for the scholarship interview. It's also alright to make small talk at the beginning and then transition into the interview questions. Confidence is key, so make sure you've prepared so you feel comfortable when you arrive at the interview.

How to prepare for a scholarship interview

How Do You Stand Out in a Scholarship Interview?

A tip for standing out in a scholarship interview is answering questions in great detail and depth. Take your time when answering questions and maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Also, do your research! The scholarship committee will be impressed if you mention the organization's mission and values or mention details specific to the scholarship.

Another tip is to not be afraid to let your personality shine! Interviewers do want to get to know you and your life, so take a deep breath and be honest with your answers. While your academic and extracurricular achievements are important, try to also highlight the more unique aspects of your life or background to make a more memorable impression on the interviewers.

When the scholarship interview ends, make sure to shake the interviewer's hand and thank them for their time. It might take the scholarship committee a while to make a decision, so in the meantime, keep a positive attitude.

If you're accepted for a scholarship you may wonder how to craft a scholarship thank you letter. Check out this guide for tips on writing a great thank you letter!

interview process

Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarship Interviews

How do you answer "why do you deserve this scholarship"?

This part of the scholarship interview is where you showcase your goals for the future. This scholarship will help fund your studies, but every student can say the same. So what should you say?

Answering this question can be difficult but don't panic — being called back for a scholarship interview already shows that they believe you do deserve this scholarship. However, the application judges and scholarship donors want to hear a genuine answer directly from you. Be honest and talk about the greatest achievements that have led you up to this point. You most likely want to build on those experiences with the scholarship money, so express your passion for learning and make sure they see how dedicated you are to your goals.

Explain how you've learned from past experiences and how this scholarship will help you make a difference in your community. Do your goals pertain to the scholarship? You can mention a personal achievement or anecdote that speaks to who you are as a person today or the person you want to be. Talking about your background will give the interviewer more insight into who you are, but also show that you have grown as a person and will use it to fuel your passion.

If the scholarship is a need-based scholarship, mentioning any anecdote where you overcame adversity during the scholarship interview is beneficial. It will highlight your individual achievements and show that you're a student who goes above and beyond in life. You can prepare for this question by thinking of all the ways in which you've been a leader or advocated for others in your same situation.

If you come from difficult circumstances that have exacerbated your need for aid, you can share your situation to show why you need and deserve the scholarship. No matter what information you choose to share, make sure you remain humble and highlight why you deserve the scholarship, not why other applicants don't.

What questions should I ask in a scholarship interview?

Although the majority of your scholarship interview will consist of you answering questions, you're allowed to ask your own questions as well. This portion usually happens towards the end and a great question can leave a great last impression after the interview is over.

If your interviewer hasn't already mentioned this, you can ask, "What characteristics would your ideal candidate have?" This question can either bring up an opportunity for you to mention something new or reiterate why you are the ideal candidate for the scholarship opportunity.

Another question you could ask is whether there are future opportunities. Oftentimes, scholarships will have events for current members or alum to network or meet to discuss opportunities outside of the scholarship. Asking questions like this one can show your interest in the scholarship and can demonstrate your initiative.

After all the scholarship interview questions, if your interviewer asks you if you have any questions, remember that this is an opportunity. So, in preparation for your scholarship interview, be sure to conduct research and prepare questions in advance.

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