For many an applicant, this final stumbling block proves to be a step too far. But do not be nervous! Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you cross this last hurdle and crack your scholarship interview.
I. Before the interview
Preparation: As with anything else, your preparation is the key here too. To start off with, learn everything about the scholarship you’ve applied for and ensure you do not miss even the minutest detail. This knowledge would prove helpful not only in case of a direct question by the panel, but would also help you to prepare for the best response to the standard questions, in line with the aims and ethos of the scholarship.
It would be advisable to re-read your application and essay as well – there should be no inconsistencies between your answers to the panel and what you’ve stated in your application.
(Also Read: How to write a College Scholarship Essay)
Dress and venue: You need to dress properly to impress. It is imperative that you’re dressed formally and neatly, lest you be judged negatively for a lackadaisical approach to a serious occasion. Ensure you’re aware of the interview venue and the distance you need to commute to get there. While it wouldn’t hurt to be there before time, showing up late could have adverse consequences.
FAQs: Most interview panels ask standard questions to get an insight into the applicant’s mind and motivations. Be prepared to be asked about your strengths/weaknesses, your plans five/ten years down the line, or to give a brief introduction of yourself. Asking your friends to form a mock interview panel may be useful to get some practice.
II. During the Interview
Be composed: To walk into a room aware that you’re about to be judged by complete strangers would be a nervous moment for anyone. And yet, maintaining your composure during the interview is vital to your success. Don’t be perturbed by the demeanour of the panel members if they show disinterested or unenthusiastic. It may be a tactic to put you off. You must, nevertheless, display your confidence and enthusiasm throughout the interaction and always address the panel politely.
Answer carefully: There might never be a better time to remember and respect the old adage of thinking before you speak than during an interview. Your every statement, word, intonation and inflection will be judged by the panel, so you would do well to listen carefully and make sure you understand the question before responding. If needed, do ask the panel to elaborate. While answering, form a response in your head before you express it. Always speak slowly and clearly, carefully weighing your words.
Be yourself: There is often very little to choose between the applicants who’ve been shortlisted for a scholarship interview, but an important quality that the panel looks for in successful candidates is authenticity. You would do yourself a huge favour by being honest and true to yourself during the interaction. The panel members are experienced enough to see through any façade. Staying true to yourself also ensures there are no inconsistencies between your responses and your application.
III. After the Interview
On concluding the interview, do remember to thank the panel for giving you their time. In case the panel invites you to ask them a question, use the opportunity to clarify any doubts you may have.
Remember, you’re already among the select few since qualifying for the scholarship interview round itself is a commendable achievement. A little extra effort is all that is required now.