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Most Common Scholarship Interview Questions

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You’ve arrived for your scholarship interview. Most Common Scholarship Interview Questions. That is a tremendous accomplishment in itself. It’s time to be ready for the most important part of the process: the scholarship interview questions.

How To Prepare for a Scholarship Interview

Interview Silhouette of two people sitting down for an interview. Files included – jpg, ai (version 8 and CS3), svg, and eps (version 8) Interview stock illustrations

It’s crucial to rehearse your responses to frequently asked questions that arise during scholarship interviews.

Doing these things can also help:

  • Read up about the funding organization and get an insight into their vision, mission, and goals.
  • Go through your scholarship application thoroughly so if you’re asked any questions about something you’ve said or an experience you’ve mentioned, you’ll be better prepared to answer.
  • Stay updated on current affairs.
  • Practice your answers in the mirror or better still, record yourself so you can play it back and adjust your tone and speed of talking if need be.
  • Make sure you have a set of smart clothes and shoes ironed and ready to go before the interview day.

Here are ten of the most common scholarship interview questions.

1. Tell us about yourself.


You have the ability to steer the discourse with this open-ended question. Given how wide the question is, your initial inclination could be to respond broadly as well. Avoid. Consider what you would like to say, just like you would with a college prompt. Similar to a well-written essay, you might begin with a broad statement about yourself before focusing on a particular story or idea. This is also an excellent chance for you to showcase a skill set that you possess.

Example: I have a strong love and enthusiasm for the water. That’s the reason I want to specialize in marine biology and work for NOAA as a scientist eventually! I’ve already completed many dives and obtained my scuba certification. When I’m not in the water, I love working at the summer literacy program for youngsters at our local library or reading poetry.

Why it Works: In a short length of time, this answer addresses a lot of ground. It demonstrates the student’s consideration for their studies and future goals as well as their willingness to go above and beyond.

  • Long-term goal: Become a scientist.
  • Short-term goal: Major in marine biology.
  • Accomplishments relating to the goals: Earned scuba certification.
  • Values: Volunteers time to help others.
  • Personality: Enjoys poetry.

2. What is your greatest strength/weakness?


This demonstrates your level of self-awareness. Talk about your strengths without being modest. Provide instances to ensure that you are not just promoting yourself. Try to frame the weakness as something you are trying to become better at or as a challenge you want to conquer. Give examples once more.

Example: My tenacity is perhaps my best quality. I’m ready to invest the time and energy necessary to see a task through to completion because I want to do things correctly. We once had to construct a model of an atom for a school assignment, and we decided to construct the element hafnium. Given that hafnium has an atomic number of 72, the model was expected to be enormous. We could have switched, but I declined the teacher’s offer. To finish it, I remained after school for an hour every day for a week. I’m glad to report that the assignment earned me an A+.

Why it Works: Here, a concrete example is essential. This student not only chose the quality of tenacity to emphasize, but they also provided evidence for their assertion by sharing a personal tale of how their tenacity helped them.

Example: Definitely something I’m attempting to improve is frustration. I can become frustrated with myself if something doesn’t immediately resonate with me. I’m attempting to become more patient since I know that skill development takes time. For instance, I’ve started taking up watercolor painting as a pastime, although I’m not very good at it yet and usually don’t enjoy the things I make. I’ve been studying lessons and attempting to improve things by repainting them to offset that.

Why it WorksOnce more, giving a concrete example demonstrates to the interviewer that the student is more than just mouthing words. Acknowledging their shortcomings (frustration) and devoting time to address it (by watching tutorials to enhance their abilities) demonstrates the student’s self-awareness and willingness to grow.

3. Why do you deserve this scholarship?


This is a resilient one. Be forthright and truthful. You have a reason why you applied for this scholarship, and now you must explain it. (For a more thorough response, see our guidance on how to respond to the question, “Why do you deserve this scholarship?”)

Example: I’ve wanted to become a doctor ever before my relative was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Given the high cost of medical school, this grant will enable me to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor and treating ailing children like Maise.

Why it Works: This student not only stated their admirable objective of becoming a pediatrician, but they also mentioned how the scholarship will support them in achieving it. The cousin’s personal touch helps the interviewer remember the narrative.

4. What are your career goals?


They want to know whether you also have a plan for this question. After college, what are you going to do? It’s a smart decision if you can demonstrate how receiving this scholarship would help you achieve your professional objectives.

Example: My ultimate ambition is to become a farmer. I used to adore going to see my grandparents’ tiny farm when I was younger. That taught me how vital it is for a community to cultivate its own food. Iowa State University’s renowned agricultural science program is the reason I want to study there. I want to work at a nearby farm when I graduate so I can start my own fields. In remembrance of my grandfather, I even want to give part of the produce to homeless shelters.

Why it Works: The student has given a clear description of their long-term objectives as well as the short-term objectives that are required to realize their dream. This student echoed the sentiments of many scholarship sponsors by expressing how important community is to them and supporting that statement with intentions to provide meals to the underprivileged.

5. Who has been a role model for you?


Make sure you give this some thought in advance. You should be able to articulate what the individuals you look up to say about you. Is this someone well-known? Is it someone you know? A professor? It’s crucial to keep in mind the shortcomings of your role model’s character and how they continue to be an inspiration despite them (or perhaps because of how they’ve overcome them).

Example: Kai, my camp counselor, has always been an inspiration to me. He had a gift for making people smile and feel at home since he was always so upbeat and kind. I was stung by a bee one summer, and as he was bandaging me up, Kai would make me stop sobbing with silly comments. He truly went above and above the call of duty and was always the first to give assistance. In fact, he volunteers as a fireman! My early years were greatly impacted by Kai’s energy and optimism, and I try to show it to everybody around me.

Why it Works: Describe an admired individual to demonstrate the qualities you value in yourself. In this instance, it’s evident that the student was impacted by Kai’s cheerfulness, generosity, and friendliness to the point that they wanted to emulate him. It demonstrates to interviewers the qualities the student plans to pursue. Sponsors of scholarships seek to provide their money to deserving students who will also be good ambassadors for their organization or its values.

6. Tell me about a mistake you made.


They’re searching for self-awareness of your shortcomings, just like when you name a weakness in yourself. Nobody is flawless. What’s more, they’ll want you to share the lessons you’ve taken away from your mistakes. How has that experience helped you develop personally as well?

Example: I sprayed painted our emblem on the windows of our rival school in the seventh grade as a kind of vandalism. Though at the time I was in a lot of trouble, looking back I’m pleased I was caught. I was grounded, made to clean the windows on a Saturday, and prohibited from participating in extracurricular activities, which meant I couldn’t accompany my team to baseball games. I knew I would disappoint my coaches and teammates, so they were terribly sad. That error taught me a very important lesson: not only will my actions have repercussions, but they may also negatively affect the people I love. Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort to consider my actions before taking them.

Why it Works: Acknowledging mistakes necessitates reflection. This student not only acknowledged their involvement in vandalism but also discussed the lessons they took away from it. Furthermore, they stated that the error and lesson still have an effect on their day-to-day lives; it was a lesson that genuinely transformed their lives.

7. Why did you choose this school?


You ought to have no trouble answering this given how improbable it is that you simply chose a school at random. Was it due to a certain program that was provided? Did someone from the family go as well? Has this been your ideal school all along? Discuss your responses in a bit more detail. They want someone who is passionate about the subject and who will make the commitment to finish their degree there. When asked “why you want to go to our college,” they want to hear the response.


I’m almost a lifelong Hawkeye, having attended the University of Iowa with my mom, aunt, and two cousins. But Iowa’s amazing writing department was what actually brought me in. There, I attended a few of summer writing programs that solidified my desire to write books. Upon exploring the campus, I had a sense of familiarity. I also saw an English lesson and immediately felt comfortable with the instructor.

Why it Works: Speaking of English, do you remember ethos, logos, and pathos when it comes to being persuasive? This response has all three.

  • Ethos (establishing authority on a topic): They have a long-standing familiarity with the university through family and the personal experience of the summer camps.
  • Logos (logical points): The student establishing their goal is to be a writer, that they attending writing camps, and that the university has a well-known writing program.
  • Pathos (an emotional connection): In addition to the family connection, the student emphasizes that the campus felt like home and that they connected with the teaching staff.

8. What activities are you involved in?


Just as with your college application, you need show that you are not just a study. This is an excellent chance for you to demonstrate your ability to collaborate with others, your strong work ethic at work, and your engagement in groups. You should discuss the groups you’ve contributed to rather than enumerating everything. If there are any extracurricular activities, make sure to list them as well.

Example: My primary after-school activity at school is mock trial. I’ve been on the debate team at my school since the eighth grade, and I enjoyed it so much that I want to practise law someday. I walk the dogs at the local animal shelter as a volunteer when I’m not studying for a class or competing. I volunteer alongside a handful of my pals from the debate team.

Why it Works: This student demonstrated their commitment to the Mock Trial activity by outlining their length of participation and how it impacted their individual objectives. To further demonstrate their personal beliefs and readiness to volunteer their time in support of a cause they support, the student included a non-academic activity.

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


You may want to reassess if your greatest achievement was burping the ABCs both forward and backward. Talk about a challenge you faced. Perhaps it happened when your coach switched to a starting role. Perhaps you received your first A on a diligently written paper.

Example: Being inherently introverted, I suffer from crippling stage fright. I adore poetry as well. When my EnglMesh instructor recommended that I compete in a poetry recital, those two sides of myself came into conflict. Though I almost pulled out, I truly wanted to do it but was so afraid I would freeze or make a mistake. I rehearsed reading aloud poetry to the book club in order to overcome my stage fright. I eventually became more at ease performing in front of an audience, and the more I performed the poetry, the simpler it became to recall. I wouldn’t have believed you if you had told me at the start of the year that I would compete in nationals and read a poem in front of 10,000 spectators.

Why it Works: The example highlights the student’s passion (poetry) and challenge (stage fright). It emphasizes how the student worked to overcome an obstacle and ultimately accomplish an incredible goal.

10. Is there anything else you want to add?


Always take this question seriously. They are giving you the opportunity to talk about anything you feel wasn’t sufficiently covered by the other interview questions.

Example: Sure, I want to express my gratitude for this chance for a scholarship. Recycling and maintaining a clean, green neighborhood are the two main goals of your company. For the past four years, I have enjoyed participating on the beach clean-up days. I’m excited to create a recycling organization at my college the following year.

Why it Works: Being appreciative of the opportunity to win the scholarship and thanking the interviewer for their time and efforts are vital aspects of that. This student also addressed the sponsor’s objectives and core values in their response, demonstrating that they are a perfect fit and align with the organization’s mission.

We wish you success and are certain that you will ace the questions at the next scholarship interview! You can do this.

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