How To: Ace Scholarship Interviews
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As seniors begin to finish their college applications and begin searching for scholarships, it can become quite overwhelming. For many smaller scholarships, organizations or businesses are ready to hand out a couple hundred dollars to those who apply. Larger scholarships, however, are much more competitive: one must usually write an essay and perhaps even have a face-to-face interview. Realizing that those 30 minutes could change your life can cause a lot of anxiety. Don’t worry though! Here are some tips to come across as your most authentic, poised self:
There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence; arrogance is believing you are better than everyone else, while confidence is being proud of your past accomplishments without thinking they entitle you to anything. Many scholarships are looking for people that can lead others to greatness, and in order to do that, confidence is key. When the interviewee asks about you, you’re allowed to brag a bit. You’ve worked hard for the past four years, and they want to hear everything you have accomplished. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about yourself, but by being open and honest, you will be just fine.
For most interviews, the questions are relatively consistent: your strengths and weaknesses, why you believe you deserve the scholarship, your educational goals, and so on. Preparing yourself for these types of questions will ensure you will not be overwhelmed in front of the panel. Ask family members and friends to help you through the expected questions and make an outline of how you will answer. Again, be confident! If you do not know how to answer that specific question, don’t panic. Just remain calm and collected.
Take Your Mind Off of It
Even though this scholarship may be a huge deal, do not freak out during the preceding weeks. Take this opportunity seriously, but don’t let it dictate all of your thoughts for the next month. Let your friends and family distract you a little bit! Go out to see a movie, take a walk at the park, get some ice cream; whatever will let you have a bit of fun.
Set Yourself Apart
Many of us think universities simply want a student with the best GPA, most extracurricular activities, and highest test scores. While all of these are important, being different and being able to show something that sets you apart from everyone else will help you. Several hundred students from across the state may be competing for this scholarship, and only a select few will be chosen. So, don’t be afraid to be yourself, and once again, be confident!
Talk to Others
If you know someone who has received the specific scholarship, ask them for tips! They will be able to give you more insight into the process, how to set yourself apart, and the interview. Having some idea of how everything will go will hopefully lessen your anxiety and give you more confidence on the big day.
Remember, even if you do not receive this scholarship, there are still plenty more to choose from. Everything will eventually work out, so don’t worry. Seniors, the next chapter of life is beginning soon, and while it may be incredibly overwhelming, know that plenty of others are going through the same thing. Cherish these last few months, and again, don’t let scholarships and college applications stress you out too much.