How to Ace Your Scholarship Interview

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The following tips for in-person scholarship interviews were contributed by a Loran Award recipient and StudentAwards member.

1. Be yourself

The following tips MUST NOT contradict this one.

2. Be yourself

Seriously.

3. Remember that time you made your friend laugh?

Don’t be afraid to show your sense of humour! The judges are going through some difficult decisions. So, any way to stand out AND make their day go by easier is a HUGE plus.

4. Be yourself 

Again, it’s better to be a person who admits to flaws than to act like a better person. Judges will be able to spot this, dead-on.

5. Stay confident 

There’s nothing worse than having your answer clearly organized but presented in a less-than-ideal manner due to nervousness. Remember, you made it to the interview for many reasons. It’s NOT a fluke. Therefore, take your time to think about the question.

6. Body language 

Your body language says a lot about you. Try not to show signs of nervousness. While getting questions fired at you that you have no answer to, ask the judges to clarify the question. Or lighten the mood with a joke to buy you some time. Laughter will relax both you and the judges.

Sit straight when you face the judges and make eye contact, but don’t stare them to death. Don’t do any unnecessary movement (this shows insecurity). Also, DON’T fold your arms.

7. Speak clearly, and slowwwwwwly

Remember how your English teacher spoke in class? Keep that in mind.

8. Relax when you get an unexpected question

If you get asked a question like, “what fruit would you be?” you should be smiling on the inside. Unexpected questions have no expected answer. Meaning, you can’t be wrong. My best advice is to use these opportunities to show your sense of humour while thinking up something you want the judges to know. After the laughter dies down a bit (trust me, they will laugh), you’ll throw in your pitch.

If you want to “warm-up” before your interview, think of the significant accomplishments you had and what you are PASSIONATE about.

Keep in mind that knowing the questions that will be asked during the interview will NOT help you. If you’re constantly trying to find out the questions while thinking about how you’ll answer, then you’ll sound “unnatural” (provided that you aren’t an Oscar-nominated actor/actress).  Instead, you should spend your time reviewing your application. Think of the details and why you’ve done what you’ve done or what drove you to do things.