Scholarship News

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.

ADVERTISEMENT
     
  • 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.

Get instantly matched to scholarships that meet your skillset, strengths and unique talents. Our search algorithms match you to scholarships that fit your profile. Access a complete list of college scholarships now by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

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


 
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
College is a big commitment and burnout is easy if you don’t pace yourself. That said, taking a semester off is a normal thing to do while pursuing your degree. Whether you need a quick break for personal reasons or exciting opportunities, like a once-in-a-lifetime trip or work experience, here’s what you need to know about your scholarship money before taking time off.

Will Taking a Semester Off Hurt My Scholarship Money?

August 5, 2022
by Ashley Eneriz
College is a big commitment and burnout is easy if you don’t pace yourself. That said, taking a semester off is a normal thing to do while pursuing your degree. Whether you need a quick break for
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid — more commonly known as FAFSA is the key to funding your college education. Not only can the FAFSA connect you to grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities, but filling out the form is 
also the first step to applying for federal student loans. Even though filling out the FAFSA is simple and straightforward, several misconceptions still fly around it. Here are the top FAFSA myths you need to stop believing.

FAFSA Myths You Need to Stop Falling For

July 26, 2022
by Ashley Eneriz
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid — more commonly known as FAFSA is the key to funding your college education. Not only can the FAFSA connect you to grants, scholarships, and work-study
The new semester is just around the corner, which means it is time to start thinking about how you are going to afford the new school session. Student loans can be taken out any time of the year and are useful for paying for textbooks, special classes or summer terms and additional living expenses. Choosing the right student loan can help you reach your education and career goals while still keeping your finances balanced. Here’s what to look for before you take out a student loan this summer.

Which Student Loan Is Best for Me?

June 13, 2022
by Ashley Eneriz
The new semester is just around the corner, which means it is time to start thinking about how you are going to afford the new school session. Student loans can be taken out any time of the year and
As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we reflect on the enormous contributions of Asian Americans and share their culturally rich history. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up the fastest-growing racial group in the United States, with more than 23 million it total. However, API individuals, communities, and businesses have been disproportionately impacted by discrimination and criminal acts that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic in recent years. Now more than ever, we need to stand united as Americans against anti-Asian racism.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022 Scholarships

May 25, 2022
by Liz Montenegro
As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we reflect on the enormous contributions of Asian Americans and share their culturally rich history. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make
The   Voyager Scholarship was implemented by the Obamas in partnership with Brian Chesky, Co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, who donated $100 million to this program. The mission of this scholarship is to help students pursue careers in public service and solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. The Voyager Scholarship provides students access to education and travel opportunities to help expand their horizons and bring about significant change. During this scholarship’s first year, and it is estimated that 100 college juniors will receive up to $50,000 to cover tution and educational expenses, plus up to $30,000 in international travel stipends and credits. Recipients have the option to renew as seniors.

The Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship for Public Service

May 18, 2022
by Liz Montenegro
The Voyager Scholarship was implemented by the Obamas in partnership with Brian Chesky, Co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, who donated $100 million to this program. The mission of this scholarship is to
Summer is a great time to experience new things outside of the hectic school year routine. For students who want to beef up their resume, make some money, and have a little fun along the way, working a summer job is a great option! A part-time job gives you the unique opportunity to gain real-world experience and begin forging your own career path. You’ll also get the chance to become a better communicator by working with a wide range of customers and co-workers from all walks of life. Explore which types of work environments you might enjoy with these top 4 summer jobs (and related scholarships)!

Top 4 Summer Jobs For High School Students

May 13, 2022
by Liz Montenegro
Summer is a great time to experience new things outside of the hectic school year routine. For students who want to beef up their resume, make some money, and have a little fun along the way, working
Applications are currently open for the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Corporation Foundation’s  Better Together STEM Scholarship! Ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, the program is available to students who are pursuing STEM-related careers at universities in California and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the U.S. Eligible applicants include graduating high school seniors, college students, veterans, nontraditional students, and adults returning to school and plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate program at an accredited four-year college or university. Don’t delay, applications close on June 3, 2022 at 3:00 PM CT.

PG&E Better Together STEM Scholarship

May 11, 2022
by Liz Montenegro
Applications are currently open for the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Corporation Foundation’s Better Together STEM Scholarship! Ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, the program is available to students