Common Scholarship Interview Questions
The following are a few of the most commonly asked scholarship interview questions and their conceivable answers
Tell us about yourself?
It might sound easy and simple, but do keep your heads on this question.
Don’t waste time blabbering about the stuff already on your resume or scholarship application as they already know all of that. What they really want to know is what else sets you apart from others.
They’re not interested in your past. Give them a quick overview of what your interests and skills are, how that relates to receiving this scholarship, and why you’d be the best person to win.
“I’m someone who is really passionate about nature. This is the reason why I plan on majoring in Environmental Science and aim at becoming an Environmental Science and Protection Technician! I’ve already earned my certification and have gone on a number of adventures. When I’m not with nature, I really enjoy reading poetry or volunteering at our local library’s summer literacy program for kids.”
What is your greatest strength?
This is the time to really show what you’re made up of. If you’re a good writer, tell your interviewer(s) how much you enjoyed your high school English class or what your approach for writing your scholarship essays.
If you enjoy performing, give tips about helping others overcome stage fright. Whatever your strength is, always be specific and give examples.
“I’d say that my greatest strength is my quick-thinking. Whenever I’m in a critical situation where the viable options aren’t available anymore and a decision needs to made immediately, I am able to keep my cool and analyze the situation from all the angles to point a temporary or permanent solution.
Once, for a school project, we had to build a model of a Vending machine, which would require a lot of mechanics and hard work. The teacher offered to let us switch, but I decided not to. So in order to finish it, I consulted a mechanical branch senior my older sister once mentioned as her friend months ago and asked for her direction to assist us through the project. I’m happy to say I got an A+ on the project.”
What is your biggest weakness?
This question is designed to assess whether you are introspective and learn from your mistakes.
Rather than listing a stagnant or generic weakness like “I lose my temper” or “I’m messy,” try to think of an area that you have identified as a weakness and made attempts to improve.
“Frustration is definitely something I’m trying to work on. If something doesn’t click with me right away, I can get irritated with myself. I understand that it takes time to get good at something, so I’m trying to learn to be more patient.
For example, I’ve been taking up watercolors as a hobby, but since it’s a new skill, I’m not really good yet and tend to dislike whatever I create. To counterbalance that, I’ve been watching tutorials and trying to repaint things and make them better.”
Why do you deserve this scholarship?
You don’t deserve this scholarship just because you have a high GPA or because you won’t be able to go to your dream school without it. You deserve it because all of your skills and accomplishments have come together to get you to where you are today.
Explain that you know there are plenty of applicants who deserve this scholarship, but your unique experiences are a good indicator of your future success, and receiving this scholarship will open the door for many more opportunities.
“Ever since my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, I’ve always wanted to become a pediatrician. Medical school is expensive, and this scholarship will assist me in accomplishing the goal of becoming a doctor and helping sick people like my grandfather”
How will you use the scholarship money?
To answer this question, you need to analyze the possibilities of how the scholarship may bring you closer to your goals and dreams.
“This scholarship would allow me to visit Russia the summer before I enroll in the University. This visit back to Moscow is something I have always wanted to do so I can understand where my family’s roots lie and to volunteer at the orphanage where my dad grew up. It will also help me decide whether I want to pursue a career in social work.”
What are your career goals?
No one is going to hold you to your answer, so it’s okay to paint a picture that you are not 100% sure is your future path. Try to focus on career and service accomplishments more than family or personal life.
“My ultimate goal is to own a farming operation. My grandparents had a small farm, and I always loved visiting when I was a kid. Through that, I learned the importance of growing food for a community. I want to study agricultural science at Iowa State University since its ag science program is nationally renowned. Once I graduate, I plan to work at a local farm and earn enough to start fields of my own. I even have plans to donate some of the crops to homeless shelters in honor of my grandpa.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years down the line?
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 college? What do you see yourself doing after graduation? Incorporate how this scholarship will give you a leg up on accomplishing your goals.
“I know I love nature, so I’ll probably be living somewhere far away in the wild shortly after college. I also want to be a zoologist, so I’ll probably live near a university town like Boulder, CO.”
Who has been a role model for you?
When your interviewer asks this question, they’re trying to learn more about who you are, not about your role model. Whether it’s a family member, a teacher, or a celebrity, explain how their actions have inspired you or what you’ve learned from them and why.
“I really look up to Sophie Blanchard, one of the first women to ride in a hot air balloon. She used to try daring journeys all alone. She lost consciousness in a hailstorm and ultimately died when she tried to light fireworks from her balloon while it was in midair. I think Blanchard was reckless, but ultimately I admire her for trying something new and not being afraid. Though if I ever go in a hot air balloon, no fireworks!”
What is your favorite book/movie/song?
This is a “bring it”, just be ready to explain what it is you like about the mentioned. You must not give an answer without being able to back up your answer with why that material means so much to you.
“I love the movie ‘Up’, as it represents that once you put your mind to something, no one can stop you from accomplishing it, Sheer will and dedication are the keys to success and growth.”
What subject is/was your favorite in school?
This subject is specifically designed to understand how deeply you are committed to the core subject the scholarship revolves around. Try to stick as close to that specific subject as possible to obtain the best remarks and reviews while being considered for the scholarship.
“My favorite subject is and always has been Social Science. I find it interesting and mesmerizing. Reading and learning about how society stands made me understand what changes are required. One thing leads to another and here I am, planning to join the Civil Engineering program and applying for this scholarship for Civil Engineering undergraduates.”
Which experience impacted your life the most?
Just like naming a weakness about yourself, what you need to answer for here is self-awareness of your mistakes. No one is perfect. More importantly, they’ll also want you to explain what you’ve learned from your failures. How have you grown as a person because of that experience?
“In seventh grade, I vandalized our rival school by spray painting our logo on the windows. In retrospect, I’m glad I got caught, even though I got in so much trouble at the time. In addition to being grounded and forced to clean the windows on a Saturday, I was suspended from extracurricular activities, which meant I couldn’t go to baseball competitions with my team. My coaches and teammates were really disappointed; I knew I’d let them down. I learned a valuable lesson from that mistake: that not only will my actions have consequences, but they can have a negative impact on the people I care about. Ever since then, I’ve definitely thought things through before doing them.”
What activities are you involved in?
Like with your college application, you’ll want to demonstrate that you do more with your time than 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. You shouldn’t list everything; you’ll want to talk about the groups you’ve contributed to. Be sure to mention the activities that are also related to the scholarship, if any.
“Mock Trial is my main extracurricular activity at school. I’ve been part of our school’s debate team since 8th grade and loved it so much I plan to become a lawyer someday. When I’m not studying for class or a competition, I volunteer at the local animal shelter by walking the dogs. A few of my debate team friends volunteer with me.”
Tell me about a personal achievement that makes you proud
Your achievement is only as big and sweet as the struggle you had to go through to accomplish it. Try to convey an experience that moved you from the bottom and once it did, it changed everything in your life.
“I’m an introvert with a huge stage-fear. At the same time, I love medieval plays. The two parts of me collided when my Arts teacher suggested I enter a small skit contest. I was really looking forward to it, but I was so frightened that I’d freeze or mess up the play that I nearly backed out. To outgrow my stage-fear, I practiced the skit out loud to the play-bar. Over a period of time, I felt less scared standing in front of people, and the more I practiced the skit, the smoother it wen the next time. If someone told me in the past that I’d go to nationals and participate in a skit in front of an audience of 100,000 people, I would’ve laughed. But I actually did it. I was even ranked third place!”
Is there anything else you want to add?
Take this chance to appreciate the opportunity provided to you and mention how grateful you are to be considered for this scholarship.
“Yes! I’d like to say how grateful I am for this scholarship opportunity. Your organization is all about recycling and keeping our community clean and green. I’ve loved volunteering during the beach clean-up days for the past four years. I can’t wait to join our start a recycling group at college next year.”