Career Advice and Inspiration

10 Common Scholarship Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them)

Published by
Ikenna Odinaka

What are the common scholarship interview questions interviewers ask? How do you answer these questions to increase your competitive advantage?

By the time you are done reading this article, you will be ready to go for your next scholarship interview with confidence.

If your scholarship application successfully proves to a scholarship provider that you are a worthy candidate deserving of the financial award, the next and most important step is to be invited for a scholarship interview.

You’re one step closer to winning. So you want to make the best of this opportunity. To help you prepare ahead of time, I have put together the 10 most common scholarship interview questions and how to answer them.

Be sure to read to the end because this might just make the difference between winning that scholarship or wishing you had known better.

Also read Common Scholarship Essay Questions and How to Answer Them

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1.   Tell us about yourself.

With this question, don’t waste time talking about what’s already on your scholarship application. They already know all that. And they want to see what else sets you apart from other applicants!

Your response should include your long-term goal, short-term goals, accomplishments relating to your goals, and your personal values. Show that you are thoughtful about your academics and future plans.

Did you start a school book club? Have you been in the choir since kindergarten? Did you involve in a school debate to overcome your fear of public speaking? Talk about what you’re involved in, and what you enjoy about these extra activities. What you do reflects who you are, or at least an aspect of who you are.

Think about what the scholarship is about and how you relate to it. Then piece together an answer from that information. Plan out and rehearse your response to the question ahead of the interview.

Also read “Tell Us About Yourself” – The Smartest Way to Answer this

2. What’s your greatest strength and weakness?

The purpose of this question is to demonstrate your self-awareness. When talking about your strength, don’t just mention a positive attribute. Also, back up your claim with a short story about when the attribute benefited you and other people.

For your weakness, recognize your shortcoming, and demonstrate that you are making deliberate effort to work on it. Your interviewer does not plan on meeting a perfect candidate. They just want to know that you are aware of your shortcoming and taking the initiative to handle it. Whatever your strength or weakness is, be specific and give examples.

3.   Tell me about a mistake you made.

Like naming a weakness about yourself, they’re looking for self-awareness of your flaws. No human is perfect. More importantly, they’ll also want you to explain what you’ve learned from your failures. So don’t forget to mention how you have grown as a person because of that experience.

Also read 7 Reasons Why Scholarship Application Was Rejected

4. Why do you deserve this scholarship?

You don’t deserve this scholarship because you have a high GPA or because you won’t be able to go to your dream school without it. You deserve this scholarship because you have passion and persistence. You deserve it because all of your skills and accomplishments have come together to get you to where you are today. Explain how your unique experiences are a good indicator of your future success, and how receiving this scholarship will open the door for many more opportunities.

Make sure to show your passion, rather than just telling them about it. Not only will it make you more memorable, it will also show that you’re someone who will put the award to good use.

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

You don’t have to have your entire life mapped out for the next five years, but the scholarship committee wants to see that you’ve got some sort of game plan. What do you want to accomplish while you’re in the university? What do you see yourself doing after graduation? Tell them how this scholarship will serve as a bridge to that future you envision. Show that you have clearly outlined long-term goals, and detailed short-term goals necessary to achieve your vision.

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6. Who is your role model?

Make sure you consider this one beforehand. When your interviewer asks this question, they’re trying to learn more about who you are, not about your role model. The people you admire say a lot about you, and you need to be able to explain that. Is it a famous person? Is it a family member? A teacher? Explain how their actions have inspired you or what you’ve learned from them and why. Describing a person you admire shows what traits you value. It shows interviewers what you will strive to embody. So be careful and genuine about who you mention.

Also read 10 Steps to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

7.   Why did you choose this school?

It’s highly unlikely you just picked a school at random. So you should be able to answer this question pretty easily. Was it because of a certain program offered? Did a family member also attend? Has this always been your dream school? Expound a little on your answers – the interviewer is looking for someone with passion, who is also going to commit to earning a degree at that institution. 

8.   What activities are you involved in?

Scholarship providers want to know that you do more with your time than just study. This is a great opportunity to showcase your willingness to work with other people, show that you have a good work ethic at your job, and also talk about your involvement in groups. Be sure to mention the activities that are also related to the scholarship, if any. Also, show that you are interested in these activities rather than just something you had to do.

9.   Tell me about a personal achievement that makes you proud.

Here you want to talk about something you struggled with and overcame. Let’s say you had been a very shy person but took the challenge to represent your class in a school debate. You may not have won the prize, but that experience gave you the confidence to take further steps to challenge and overcome your fear. This is an achievement to be proud of.

Also read 25 Best Job Interview Tips to Help You Get Hired

10. “Do you have any questions for me?” or “Is there anything else you’d like to add?”

Whatever you do, don’t say “NO”. Use this as an opportunity to mention anything you didn’t get to talk about that you think the scholarship interviewer should know, or to ask a few questions that show your interest in the scholarship.

Here are a few ideas for good questions to ask:

  • What’s something you wish you would have known when you were in my shoes?
  • What advice would you give someone in my position?
  • How and why did you get into this field?
  • What do you think is the biggest challenge for people looking to get into this field?

It’s important to keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to demonstrate your curiosity!

If they ask if you have anything to say, they are giving you the opportunity to talk about anything you feel wasn’t sufficiently covered by the other interview questions.

It’s important to thank the interviewer for their time and efforts, and be grateful for the chance at the scholarship. If you have had an interaction with the organization or have done work in the past, relating to the mission of the organization, feel free to mention it here.

In conclusion, the scholarship committee has already seen your application, essay, and transcripts – now it’s your chance to show them who you are beyond that. Go make it happen.

This post was last modified on September 28, 2022 11:33 am