If you’re looking for tips (hints) or solution on how to answer the most commonly asked scholarship interview questions, then that means you’re in contention for winning an award. So, first, we want to offer you congratulations. It’s a big deal to become a finalist for a scholarship.
It’s unlikely that they are interviewing every applicant, which means that you are on the right track to securing the funding you need to go to the university of your dreams, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
Interviews can be stressful, and you need to find a way to keep your cool and make yourself stand out from the other applicants.
If this prospect is nerve-wracking, then don’t worry. One of the best ways to overcome your fears and to put the best version of yourself in front of your interview committee is to prepare.
By knowing the types of questions you may be asked and practicing your responses to them ahead of time, you are more likely to keep your cool and showcase your potential.
With that in mind, here is a look at 15 of the most popular scholarship interview questions, along with some insider tips on how you can draw on your strengths and experiences to provide great, personalized answers that will help you stand out.
how to answer the most commonly asked scholarship interview questions
The interview is the interviewer’s chance to learn more about you beyond what he or she already knows from your scholarship application.
It also gives you a chance to let your personality shine and to make a connection with the interviewer.
This process can make or break your chances at securing the funds, so you must take it seriously. By reading over the following list of scholarship interview questions, you will give yourself some practice and get a good start on preparing for this important interview.
The fist on the list on how to answer the most commonly asked scholarship interview questions is:
- Tell us about yourself
Often used to build rapport, this question is one of the more challenging ones to answer. Although it might be tempting to recite what is on your application or resume, those are details your interviewer already knows. You have an open platform to highlight your special skills and interests.
It gives you the chance to showcase why you are unique and why you are the best fit for the scholarship. However, don’t get long-winded. Keep it short and sweet. If the interviewer wants to know more details or specifics, he or she will ask.
- How will you use the scholarship dollars?
Scholarships can come from a lot of different sources, but one thing they have in common is that they all want to know the money will be used wisely. Come prepared to answer this question with specifics on what you will pay for with the money and how it will affect your education. You want to show that you have thought through your college funding picture and truly need the scholarship.
- Tell us about your greatest strength
If you’re sitting in front of an interviewer or committee, the chances are good that they see a lot of strengths in your application, which is why they asked you in for an interview. So, relax if this question comes up. It might be uncomfortable and feel like you’re bragging about yourself, but that’s why you want to plan ahead of time for this question.
Pick a quality that you feel is your strongest and give specific examples and stories as to why it’s important. If you’re an excellent writer, talk about a time your writing made an impact. If you’re a great athlete, tie a specific experience or accomplishment to your strength in athletic performance and why it mattered.
- What’s your greatest weakness?
Possibly the only situation more uncomfortable than bragging about yourself is admitting things you’re not so great at. The key to this question is answering it in such a way that it also paints you in a positive light. This is a great time to talk about how you overcame your weakness and achieved success. The answer should focus less on the actual vulnerability and more about how you handle it.
- Describe your biggest mistake
This is one point i would want you to note in this article (how to answer the most commonly asked scholarship interview questions).
A variation of the weakness question, this one has been popping up more frequently as it can elicit a powerful response. Not only might this question make some candidates uncomfortable but also it forces you to be self-aware.
Just like your answer about your weaknesses, choose a specific experience where there is a positive result showing you handled it well. Spend the majority of the time discussing how it helped you to learn, grow, and evolve as a person.
- Why should you be the one to receive this scholarship?
Although your high GPA and desperate financial need seem like the right answer to this question, that’s not what your interviewer is looking for when asking this. Your application already makes those things clear. What they want to know is why you are worth investing in.
Your answer should include information about what makes you unique and how your past successes will feed into your future success. Tell them why you are a good investment, and give them a narrative to back up your claims.
- Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Interviewers know you don’t have a crystal ball, but the scholarship committee is still looking for reassurance that you have a game plan. If you’re applying for a scholarship to fund your four-year degree, they want to make sure that down the road, you don’t still see yourself as an undergraduate. It’s okay to dream big with your answer, but it’s also important to incorporate how the scholarship will facilitate your success in achieving that. Tell them why their money matters.
- Who is your role model?
This is a common question for an interviewer to ask when they are trying to understand your deeper motivations. Choose someone who inspires you, and talk about how their life, actions, or accomplishments have driven you to succeed. What have you learned from them, and why is that important to the path you are on now that the scholarship is a part of.
- Tell me about your leadership experience
Most often interview committees will ask about your favorite book as what you read reflects both your interests and intelligence level, but recently movies, television shows, or songs have also been topics they are curious about.
What they are looking to do is better understand your interests and where you get meaning and inspiration in your life.
Pick an example that is meaningful to you for specific reasons and discuss why. Was a certain character motivational?
Does a particular lyric make you want to conquer the world? For most interviews, the specifics of what you choose isn’t important; the important thing is drawing the connection to why it matters to you.
- Why did you choose this university or college?
This is one of the scholarship interview questions that is designed to learn about you and not the institution you’ve selected. You don’t need to be a university tour guide and tout the amazing football program or the excellent education you plan to receive. Instead, focus on the things that are most important to you and why.
If your school is well-known for their linguistics program or research facilities, talk about why that appeals to you and how you hope to utilize them during your education.
If it’s applicable, you can walk the committee through the process you went through determining which institution was the best fit for you. They want to know why you think you will be successful and make a difference there, so tell them.
- What subject is your favorite in school?
Another way that interviewers will try to get you to reveal parts of your personality is to ask about your passions and things you like to study.
Choose a subject that you love, and tell them why it’s your favorite.
Avoid saying things like “because I’m good at it” or “it comes easily to me.” Instead, focus on something that ignites your fire and makes you feel curious and excited.
This is also an excellent time to talk about an award or an achievement and give an anecdote about how you won it. For example, if your favorite subject in school is history, you can discuss how it helped you prepare for a debate tournament you entered or a history fair you won.
- What is a meaningful experience you’ve had in school?
Scholarship interview questions like this are a perfect opportunity to showcase your achievements. It could be something as simple as working through a difficult dynamic during a group project to turn in a well-done assignment that earned the team an A.
Alternately, you could talk about a high school class you took or a teacher you had that inspired you to go to college and pursue a degree in your chosen major.
If at all possible, select an experience or class that somehow relates to the scholarship to tie into why you should win the award.
- Were you involved in any activities at school or in the community?
It’s likely that this information is also on your application, but even if it’s not, resist the urge to list the 15 different clubs you participated in.
Choose a handful where you made notable contributions and highlight your accomplishments. This is another opportunity to tie your passions into the award.
If you are applying for a scholarship for writing, discuss the work you did with the yearbook committee or the school newspaper.
If you’re vying for an award in medicine, talk about your volunteer work at the hospital or animal shelter. The more relevant the activities are to the scholarship, the better.
- What questions do you have for me?
This is nearly always how the interviewer will wrap up their questioning. And no matter what, your answer should never be no. If you feel like you missed a chance to talk about a specific accomplishment that would interest the committee, this is the right time to bring it up.
It’s also a perfect opportunity to show your continued interest in the scholarship. You can ask a few questions that may open the door to a deeper conversation or a mentorship opportunity in the future.
Some suggestions include:
- What advice would you give to someone like me who wants to get into your field someday?
- What motivated you to get into this field?
- If you could give advice to your 18-year-old self, what would you say?
- What do you think the biggest challenge is for new graduates who want to enter this field?
Final Words on how to answer the most commonly asked scholarship interview questions:
There are plenty more questions interviewers may ask, but they are all similar in nature. You just have to figure out the goal the interviewer has by asking this question. Then, you will know how to answer it.
Remember that with scholarship interview questions, there are no wrong answers. Be yourself, be truthful, and keep it professional. The committee has already decided that you are a top candidate on paper. And now this is just your turn to shine.
As you continue to prepare for your scholarship interview questions, keep in mind that this is your chance to make the right impression.
These people are giving you free money that you never have to pay back. That is a huge commitment. They want to be sure you really are the right person.
So, in closing, we want to remind you to present yourself as a confident person who knows what you want and show that the scholarship money will be well invested in you.
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