ou may not have been proud of your previous scholarship interviews. However, your application success depends on your ability to answer scholarship interview questions correctly.
Sometimes, the interview comes early during the application, but it comes just before your claim in others. Before your subsequent scholarship or grant interview, you must prepare for the common interview questions.
5 Important Tips to Answer Common Scholarship Interview Questions
- Carefully differentiate between an open-ended and a close-ended question. The former tempts you to broaden your answers by expressing yourself. However, the latter only allows you to answer to affirm or deny a supposed position.
- Be calm all through the interview process. Whether the interview is for a scholarship, a grant, or a job position, never rush to answer a question.
- Don’t always follow your first assumption. It is easy to assume you know what the interviewer means during an interview. Then, you get the temptation to answer according to your first impression; don’t.
- At the slightest non-clarity, ask questions. Asking questions not only makes you more relaxed but also allows you to get more clarity.
- Answer the scholarship interviewer with what they want to know and not what you feel you should tell.
Scholarship Interview Questions and Answers
Below are the most common and practical scholarship interview questions and tips on how to answer them to win:
1. Tell us about yourself, or can we meet you?
This question is typical of most academic and non-academic interviews. It instantly suggests you should keep talking, but don’t. This question appears to be open-ended but requires giving specific information.
You may want to imagine a 10-second introduction during a debate. It tells you that the interviewer is uninterested in everything that happened to you.
However, he wants to know if there are things you did or happened to you that are important to the present cause. In your answer, give general information about yourself but quickly relate it to your impressive skills.
For example, let’s say you are presently in a scholarship interview for a study related to marine science. Below is a sample answer.
Sample answer: “I grew up close to the seashore, and my parents often take us out to sea. It built a passion for ocean life in me early in life.
“Hence my choice to study oceanography in college. And become a certified member of the Institute of Oceanographers.
However, when I’m not swimming, I’m reading or exploring local species.”
2. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
The question of your strength concerns your self-awareness. Also, the interviewer expects you to sell yourself without overrating your powers or undermining your weaknesses.
The most relaxed way to answer this question is to cite examples of where your strengths or weaknesses show.
Firstly, carefully describe your power and what you do with ease. On the other hand, your weakness is that you are trying to improve or overcome an obstacle.
Sample answer: “I am tenacious about achieving my goals, making me a great team player. If we encounter any obstacle, I continue to find new ways to solve the problem. Sometimes, people get offended so I never get tired. So, I am trying to become a better team player.”
3. Why do you deserve this Scholarship?
This question can be tricky because the interviewer expects absolute sincerity. Therefore, you must decide on your most important reason beforehand.
Note that your sincerity and clarity of purpose are vital to the success of your scholarship interview questions.
Simply put, the interviewer wants to hear about a noble goal and how this Scholarship will help you achieve it.
You may describe your ambition to study the desired course while breaking barriers, including funds.
Sample answer: “After a pandemic struck in my little village, I resolved to study medicine with a focus on epidemiology. I am determined to achieve this goal to prevent such occurrences in the future. I know this goal might be expensive, hence the need for this scholarship”.
What a story! This story immediately connects with the interviewer emotionally and clearly states your goals.
4. What are your Career Goals?
In some cases, a similar question could be, where do you see yourself five or ten years from now? This question is asking about your career dreams and goals.
There might not be the most accurate way to answer this particular interview question. Before you answer this question, remember to think big and show a clear plan for getting there.
Don’t worry about how to achieve the goal yet; describe your dream. Note that this is not a time to define personal and career goals for others’ benefits.
Sample answer: “Early in life, I discovered that my village used to supply a large export volume of groundnut in my state. I also found that farmers could not afford the modern irrigation system.”
“In the next five years, I would like to create alternative irrigation systems for farmers in my village. While research survey has started, this Scholarship or grant makes that possible.”
5. Who Is Your Role Model?
The question concerning a role model is one you must determine beforehand. Otherwise, you may not have ample time to take a pick in your head during the interview quickly. But don’t pick a controversial personality.
Here is a quick fix: Think of your best teacher, lecturer, or parents who inspired you early in life. This question aims to test your inspiration source and its reliability.
Role models may be popular or unpopular, near or distant. At least, to you, you draw inspiration from the personality.
Sample answer: “I attended a Boy Scout camp, where I met a commander who greatly inspired me. Before that time, I make excuses for practically everything when I fail.”
“However, he convinced me that excuses are meant for failures, and I didn’t want to be one. He has influenced my life a lot, including my career.”
“Since then, he has always fueled my passion for going for whatever I dream of achieving. Irrespective of the number of times I try, I am committed not to give up on anything I desire.”
6. Can you share an experience of a mistake you made in the past?
The way to answer this question is to redirect it. Instead of being afraid to share your failures, aim at self-awareness, recovery, and lessons from past errors.
The lessons, characters, and values are the main objectives of this question. Do not assume that your interviewer wants you to be flawless. Instead, he expects you to be bold to share your life lessons.
In addition, how have the lessons affected your development?
Sample answer: “I once exposed myself to ridicule in high school while trying to paint a school logo.
“Although I had good intentions, I chose the wrong method, not to mention how horrible others considered my painting. It nearly cost me my studentship but for a few teachers who pleaded on my behalf.”
Afterward, I determined to understand the underlying rules before venture into a project. This lesson has helped prepare my career for whatever I want.
7. Tell us about any leadership role you took in the past
Many scholarship and grant bodies believe that leadership is seen in the ability to handle responsibilities.
Therefore, the answer to this scholarship interview question lies in an experience of your past successful leadership roles.
Focus on rare traits and your journey of self-discovery with your leadership role. What are your unique leadership methods that yielded great results in the past?
Sample answer: “Before high school, I was timid and could hardly stand up to others. But things began to change when, the class appointed me as the representative out of nowhere.
“I remember I rushed to my class teacher, a counselor. That experience took me to the role of a college student association president, representing over 2000 students.
“Along the way, I have received recognition awards for various student projects, including an UN-financed water project.”
8. Why did you choose this school?
In light of your Scholarship or grant opportunity, you likely deliberately chose a particular school. Therefore, your answer to this question should be easy.
Describe your target faculty or a family member who attended the school. Besides, talk about the uniqueness of the school in meeting your needs.
Sample answer: “The University of Alabama has always been home to all of us in my immediate family.
“My parents both studied and worked there. Moreover, the university has one of the leading art colleges. I once attended an art exhibition at the school, which persuaded me to study there.”
Your options may include an ethical, logical, or emotional approach, which can help you achieve your dreams.
9. Tell us about an outstanding achievement in your past
Think of a happy day directly linked to the scholarship interview you are applying for.
You may also cite an instance that shows the application of your strength of character or leadership. You may also describe your early struggles and doubts.
Sample answer: “I once enrolled in a public speaking competition as an underdog. To make matters worse, I fell seriously ill only ten days before the contest. My challenge doubled. I had to recover quickly and prepare for the competition.
“The medical professionals suggested I needed at least two weeks to recover fully, which I could not afford. I have never been so helpless. However, I did not only recover in due time, but I also won the speaking competition.”
10. Describe a time you overcame a challenge.
If you have an outstanding achievement, you probably have experienced overcoming a challenge. Therefore, relate your answer to the previous scholarship interview questions.
Instead of overrating an achievement, tell your interviewer how bad the situation was and how you overcame it. The case may involve another person or an uncommon problem.
Sample answer: “I used to be shy when facing people. But I encouraged myself when I learned that everyone once suffered the same.
“Later in high school, my team came first in a regional debate competition. And guess what? I was the principal speaker. For me, that experience is unforgettable.
“Today, I can boldly address a large audience in an auditorium. But who would have thought that was not me only a few years before?”
11. What is your favorite movie or book?
Your interviewer does not expect you to have watched every movie or read all the books. It may sound bizarre. However, you should be able to recall one title or the other.
Also, select a movie or book at random with a good reason. The reason is crucial because the next question may be why. If you pick any book or movie, you must give one or two great reasons or proofs.
The goal is to see how you sell an idea to your interviewer using the book or movie.
Sample answer: “My favorite book will be ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. That book is my all-time best because it revolutionizes how I perceive my relationship with people.
“It teaches how to easily recall people’s names. I’ll recommend it to anyone. It is a relatively old book but still holds a strong relevance today”.
Trust me, if your interviewer hasn’t read the book, he will search for it.
12. Is there anything else you want to add?
This question usually comes last of all scholarship interview questions; it is your chance to ask a question. Prepare at least three questions before the interview and open your mind during the interview process.
For instance, you may ask the interviewer if they are also an awardee and their best advice.
Sample answer: I would like to know if you are a scholar to learn from your experience.
Why is the number one reason you would recommend this school to me?
Are there habits you think could mar my chances of winning this Scholarship?
On a final note…
Finally, the choice of answers to scholarship interview questions is proof of your readiness to win. No doubt, the process is there to pick the best, the more reason you should prepare.
I look forward to hearing about your scholarship win soon. Good luck!
Are there lessons you learned from your past scholarship interviews that could help someone? Kindly share in the comments section below.