ou might not have been proud of several rejections for your interview application. But your application success depends on your ability to answer the scholarship interview questions correctly with the right answers.
In some cases, the interview comes early during the application, but it comes just before your claim in others.
Nevertheless, before your next scholarship or grant interview, you need to be familiar with some of the common questions.
5 Tips to Answer 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.
- Remain calm all through the interview process. Whether the interview is for a scholarship, a grant, or a job, never rush to answer a question.
- Don’t always follow your first assumption. During an interview, it is easy to assume you know what the interviewer means. Then, you get the temptation to answer according to your first impression, don’t.
- At the slightest non-clarity, ask questions. Asking questions does not only make you more relaxed, but it 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. In other words, this question is an open-ended type but requires giving specific and related information.
You may want to imagine a 10-second introduction during a debate. It instantly tells you that the interviewer is not interested in everything that has 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. Moreover, your answer may contain general information about yourself but quickly relate it to impressive skills you possess.
For example, let’s say you are presently in a scholarship interview for a study related to oceanography’s marine science.
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 actually 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 strength or weakness comes to the fore. In one way, carefully describe your power, what you do with ease.
On the other hand, your weakness is that you are trying to improve or overcome an obstacle.
For example, you can describe your tenacity at doing things that seem otherwise tricky, such as a group project.
So, while others were complaining, you were practically finding ways to solve the problem. And you eventually got a distinction in the course.
3. Why Do You Deserve this Scholarship?
Although this question is a tricky one, the interviewer expects your absolute sincerity. Therefore, you must decide on your most important reason beforehand.
Besides, the answer to several scholarship interview questions lies in your sincerity and clarity of purpose.
Simply put, the interviewer wants to hear a noble goal and how this scholarship will help you achieve those goals.
As a result, you may describe your ambition to study the desired course while breaking through any barrier, including funds.
Sample answer: “After a pandemic struck in my little village, I resolved to study medicine and specify in epidemiology.
“Moreover, I determined to achieve this goal so that can help prevent such occurrences in the future. I also knew this might be expensive, hence the need for this scholarship”.
What a story! This kind of story immediately connects with the interviewer emotionally and clearly states your specific goals.
4. What are your Career Goals?
In some cases, a similar question could be, where do you see yourself five, ten, or twenty years from now? This question is clearly asking about your career dreams/
There might not be the most accurate way to answer this particular interview question. But one thing is sure, think big, and show a clear plan of getting there.
Don’t worry about how sure you are about achieving the goal yet; describe your dream.
Note that this is not a time to describe personal goals and career goals for others’ benefits.
Sample answer: “Early in life, I discovered that my village used to supply the enormous export volume of groundnut in my state.
“However, I also found that it became impossible when farmers failed to afford the available irrigation system.”
“Therefore, in the next five years, I will 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. Or else, you may not have ample time to take a pick in your head during the interview quickly.
However, in any case, this is a quick fix: think of your best teacher, lecturer, or parents who inspired you early in life.
In other words, this question is actually to test where you get your inspiration from and how reliable.
Such role models may be popular or unpopular, near or distant. At least, to you, you draw inspiration from the personality.
Sample answer: “I had the privilege of attending a Boy Scout camp, where I first met a commander who greatly inspires me. Before that time, I make excuses for practically everything when I fail.”
“However, he convinced me that excuses were meant for failures, and I surely didn’t want to be one. He has also been a major source of inspiration for me, especially in 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 not as tricky as the question itself sounds. Instead of being afraid to share your failures, aim at self-awareness, recovery, and lessons from past errors.
These characters and values are the main objectives of this question. Do not assume that your interviewer wants you to be flawless. But instead, he expects you to be bold to share what you learned.
As a result of that experience and the derived lesson, how has it affected your development?
Sample answer: “I once exposed myself to ridicule in school while trying to paint a school logo.
“Although I had good intentions, I chose the wrong method, not to talk about how horrible others considered my painting.
“This error nearly cost me my studentship, but for a few teachers who pleaded on my behalf.”
Afterwards, I determined always to understand underlying principles before I venture into a project. Also, this lesson has helped my career in preparation for whatever I want to do.
7. Tell us about any leadership role you took in the past
Many scholarship and grant bodies belle that leadership attributes correspond to the ability to handle responsibilities.
Therefore, the answer to such scholarship interview questions lies in the experience of your past successful leadership roles.
Also, focus on your uncommon traits and the self-discoveries you made while taking up such responsibilities. What are your unique methods of leadership that yielded great results in the past?
Sample answer: “Before high school, I was a timid person who could hardly stand up to others. But things began to change when out of nowhere, the class appointed me as the representative.
“I remembered I rushed to my class teacher, who was also a counsellor. That experience took me to the role of a students’ association president in college, 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, it is very likely that you deliberately chose a particular school. Therefore, your answer to this question should be easy.
It may be that you identified their facility for your specific course 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. More so, the university offers one of the leading art colleges. I once attended an art exhibition at the school, and it persuaded me further to study there.”
When answering such open-ended scholarship interview questions, you have options of approaching them correctly.
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
There is a temptation to use an irrelevant achievement here but don’t. For instance, you can’t start to talk about the day you met your favourite TV star while answering this question.
Instead, pick a happy day directly on point with 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 even start your description from the early struggles and doubts.
Sample answer: “I once enrolled for a public speaking competition where I was an underdog. To make matters worse, I fell seriously ill, only 10 days to the competition.”
“My challenge doubled: I faced a journey of quick recovery as well as preparation for the speaking competition. The medical professionals suggested I needed at least two weeks to recover fully, which I could not afford.”
Before that, I have never been so helpless. However, I did not only recover in due time, but I also won the national competition.”
10. Describe a time you overcame a challenge.
If you have an outstanding achievement, you probably have had the experience of overcoming a challenge.
Therefore, we can relate the answer to this question to the previous one and many other scholarship interview questions.
Instead of overrating an achievement, tell your interviewer how worse the situation is 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 when I learned that everyone at one time or the other suffered the same, I had more encouragement.
“This eventually counted later in high school when my team came out first in a regional debate competition. And guess what? I was the principal speaker. For me, this experience is unforgettable.
“Today, I can boldly address a large audience in an auditorium. But who would have thought that was not the same only a few years before?”
11. What is your favourite movie or book?
Your interview does not expect you to watch movies or read books because that may sound really weird. However, you should be able to recall one title or the other.
Also, be careful to pick any movie or book at random without reason for your choice. In other words, you can’t give an unexpected answer, mainly because the next question may be why.
If you pick any book or movie, you must give one or two great reasons or proofs. That is, get ready to sell the book or movie to your interviewer.
Sample answer: “My favourite book will definitely 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.
“I cannot forget how it teaches me to recall people’s names quickly: I’ll recommend it to anyone. It is a relatively old book but still holds a strong relevance to our day-to-day lives”.
Trust me, and if your interviewer hasn’t read the book, he will search for it.
12. Is there anything else you want to add?
Now you have provided an answer to each of the scholarship interview questions, here is your chance to ask yours. Consider it a free check but don’t overuse your case.
Moreover, you should prepare at least three questions before the interview and open your mind during the interview process.
For instance, you may ask the interviewer if he/she is also an awardee and what their best advice would be. Find some example below:
Sample answer: I will like to know if you are a scholarship recipient, so learn from your well of 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 or grant?
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 very best, the more reason you should prepare.
I look forward to hearing the good news from you soon. Good luck!
Are there lessons you learned from your past scholarship interviews? Kindly share in the comments section below.