The Scholarship Interview; "Making" It or "Breaking" It


February 15, 2010
by Derrius Quarles
Now that you have made your scholarship list, gotten your recommendations, written your personal statement, created your scholarship application packet and applied for scholarships, you may be receiving e-mails and calls notifying you that you have been selected for interviews. This is it! This is what you worked so hard for! The only problem is, for some students, the interviews will be it, literally. Each scholarship will have a certain number of winners; more students will be invited to interviews than can be selected as recipients. This is why the interview is so crucial; it will be the determining factor of who is in the final group of winners. If you want to be in that final group, you have to set yourself apart, just as you did in your personal statement.  Speaking of personal statements, which essentially are essays, I like to think of the interview as an essay. There is an introduction, body, and a conclusion. Like your scholarship essay, the interview says something about who you are, how informed you are of a topic, what your opinions and thoughts are, and how eloquently you can state those opinions and thoughts. So here is the interview breakdown:  Introduction - Your appearance, handshake, ability to make eye contact, ability to state your name, posture, and overall attitude all add up to a great introduction.

Now that you have made your scholarship list, gotten your recommendations, written your personal statement, created your scholarship application packet and applied for scholarships, you may be receiving e-mails and calls notifying you that you have been selected for interviews. This is it! This is what you worked so hard for! The only problem is, for some students, the interviews will be it, literally. Each scholarship will have a certain number of winners; more students will be invited to interviews than can be selected as recipients. This is why the interview is so crucial; it will be the determining factor of who is in the final group of winners. If you want to be in that final group, you have to set yourself apart, just as you did in your personal statement.  Speaking of personal statements, which essentially are essays, I like to think of the interview as an essay. There is an introduction, body, and a conclusion. Like your scholarship essay, the interview says something about who you are, how informed you are of a topic, what your opinions and thoughts are, and how eloquently you can state those opinions and thoughts. So here is the interview breakdown:  Introduction - Your appearance, handshake, ability to make eye contact, ability to state your name, posture, and overall attitude all add up to a great introduction.

     
  • In every interview, your dress should be business casual, at the very least. Even if the interviewers did not specify a dress code, it is better to be overdressed than to be underdressed
  •  
  • The handshake should be firm, but not overpowering or held for too long
  •  
  • Eye contact is a sign of respect in American society, so always show respect by looking your interviewer in the eye
  •  
  • You should be able to say your first and last name confidently to each interviewer, maintain a good listening posture, and make the interviewers feel like you desire to be there and deserve the scholarship
  •  
 Body - This consists of the questions that will be asked of you. These can either be very open ended such as: “Tell us about yourself.”Or very direct such as: “What is your potential major?” Not only are your answers important but so, too, are the manner in which you listen and interact with the interviewers. 
     
  • The questions can get difficult, it is much better to pause and gather your thoughts before you answer than to answer prematurely
  •  
  • When the interviewers are talking give them your full attention and listen actively and be aware of your body language
  •  
  • Try to answer each question completely and give a complete answer, but do not talk unnecessarily or ramble
  •  
  • Do not be afraid to be yourself or throw some humor into your answers
  •  
 Conclusion - The time to wrap up everything you showed during the introduction and body of the interview. This includes keeping the same professionalism and great attitude you came in with, and reinforcing the answers you gave. 
     
  • When the interviewers are done asking you their questions, they may see if you have any questions for them. Even if they do not ask if you have any questions, politely tell them you would like to ask them some questions. This shows you are interested in them, just as much as they are in you.
  •  
  • When you get up to leave the interview room, make sure that you shake every person’s hand in the room and thank them for the opportunity.
  •  
 In addition to having a good intro, body, and conclusion there are simple mistakes that everyone should avoid, the way you would try to steer clear of spelling and grammar mistakes in an essay. 
     
  1. Always show up early for an interview
  2.  
  3. Turn your cellular device on silent mode or off
  4.  
  5. Do not fidget your fingers or give attention to other items such as a pen while others are speaking
  6.  
  7. Never leave the interview without showing appreciation and stating that you look forward to communication in the future
  8.  
 You worked hard to be chosen for an interview, and you deserve anything that you are awarded. Unfortunately, someone will have to “break it”, so take this advice and come into the interview ready to “make it”.

Derrius L Quarles is a 19-year-old freshman at Morehouse College. He hopes to go to medical school after he graduates with a degree in psychology and biology and a minor in public health, and to one day work on the public health policies of his hometown, Chicago, and beyond. To help him achieve those academic and career ambitions, Derrius has won more than $1.1 million in scholarships, including a full scholarship to attend Morehouse, since graduating from Chicago’s Kenwood Academy High School with a 4.2 GPA. Derrius was awarded a Gates Millennium scholarship and won a number of other highly competitive awards, many of which he found while searching for scholarships at Scholarships.com. He is the first in his family to attend college, and spent his childhood in the foster care system before becoming the “Million Dollar Scholar.” This is the sixth in a series of posts Derrius is writing for Scholarships.com on how he was able to fund his education, along with advice about the scholarship application process.

Just because there are millions of college scholarships out there doesn’t mean you have time to go searching, and many won’t even match your profile. We’ve done the work and Scholarships.com is totally free. We have the search algorithms and scholarships database, saving you time in searching, finding and applying to thousands of dollars in college scholarships. Get instantly matched to scholarships that meet your unique talents, skillset and strengths, only those you qualify for. Access a complete list of college scholarships now by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 
The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the POTUS' travel ban, exempting foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Acceptable groups include students admitted to U.S. colleges and universities, employees who have accepted job offers in the U.S., and lecturers invited to speak to American audiences.

International Students Impacted by Partial Travel Ban

June 27, 2017 9:08 AM
by Susan Dutca
The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the POTUS' travel ban, exempting foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

    When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the go big or go home mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take more work - meaning more time spent on the application process and essays, needing strong recommendation letters and competing against a pool of highly-qualified students. If you're motivated to land a large dollar scholarship that can potentially pay for your entire college tuition, check out these generously-endowed scholarships:

Large Dollar Scholarships

June 23, 2017 11:01 AM
by Susan Dutca
When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the "go big or go home" mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take

    Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love these quality products and services, you may be interested these generously-endowed scholarships. Check out this list of brand name scholarships offered by the companies with which you are most familiar:

Brand Name Scholarships

June 22, 2017 2:44 PM
by Susan Dutca
Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love

    Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though college can be expensive, it is still a fast track towards the American Dream and can be more easily attained with the help of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships - which do not have to be repaid! Exercise your freedom this July and help make your college education dreams more affordable with these red, white and blue July 2017 scholarships:

July 2017 Summer Scholarships

June 22, 2017 11:43 AM
by Susan Dutca
Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as information technology,  healthcare, and manufacturing. The college alternative initiative hopes to attract and prepare students for great careers that do not require a four-year degree or the massive debt that often comes with those four-year degrees and even two-year degrees.

POTUS Pushing Apprenticeship Programs, Grants in 2017

June 14, 2017 11:16 AM
by Susan Dutca
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as

    Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your parents and student loans to help foot your fall tuition bill. While those are all legitimate options, you now have more free time (and less homework and tests), so why not take advantage of these summer scholarships? It's not too late to earn free college scholarships to help pay for school. Use your downtime wisely by applying for these summer 2017 scholarships!:

Summer 2017 Scholarships

June 2, 2017 3:47 PM
by Susan Dutca
Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your

    In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and allies. Scholarships.com is dedicated to bringing equal financial aid and free college scholarship opportunities for all students.

LGBT Scholarships for Pride Month 2017

June 1, 2017 11:42 AM
by Susan Dutca
In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and