Congratulations! If you have made it to the interview stage, you are a
finalist, entering the last phase of evaluation. The face-to-face interview is
an excellent way for the scholarship committee to get to know you and assess
your maturity, composure, performance under pressure, etc. Interviews usually
last 15-20 minutes and often involve a panel of people.
It is impossible to predict what questions you may be asked in a personal
interview but you can prepare yourself by working out answers to some of the
more common questions that get asked in interviews. Write down the answers to
Next, do some research on the organization offering the scholarship that you
are interviewing for.
Use this information to develop responses that you may be able to introduce
into the discussion. For example, if you are interviewing for a scholarship from
an environmental group and you believe that your volunteer work with the Bermuda
National Trust was key to your selection as a finalist, use an example from that
experience to highlight your strengths or describe lessons you have learned.
You need to make a good impression, so if you need a haircut, get one. Select
your interview outfit with care - look smart and professional - it doesn’t have
to be the height of fashion. Make sure your clothes are clean and well-pressed
and there are no loose buttons or hanging threads. Don’t overload on make-up or
jewelry. If you are still in high school, you can wear your school uniform if
you want to.
Make sure you know where the interview is taking place and how long it will
take to get there. It is really hard to concentrate on the questions you are
being asked when your heart is still racing from trying to find somewhere to
park in Hamilton. If you do get held up and know you won’t make it in on time,
then it is okay to call the scholarship administrator and let them know you will
be late and why.
You look great. You arrived in plenty of time. You are under control. It’s
impossible to relax under the circumstances, but remember that the people who
will be interviewing you believe you are a qualified candidate. They are already
interested in you and want to get to know you better. Show that you are
genuinely pleased to be given the opportunity for interview and demonstrate your
enthusiasm for your educational goals. See the interview as a wonderful
experience rather than a trial.
What if, despite your logistical preparations, you are late or
arrive with a big stain on your shirt? Well, now you have the
opportunity to exhibit grace under pressure and the ability to adapt to
circumstance. Acknowledge the problem ("I had a flat tire”); apologise if
appropriate ("I’m so sorry to be late”) and then move on. Don’t continue to
focus on the initial negative; try to get the process moving forward so you can
shine. ("I realize that I’m late but I’m very interested in being interviewed if
there’s still time”)
What if you can’t think of a good answer to a question that’s
been posed? Or, you can’t even think of a bad answer because your
mind has gone blank? Again, grace under pressure is key. Explain that you’re
having a mental block on that topic just now and ask if it’s possible to come
back to the question a bit later. Or, suggest that it’s a really interesting
question that has prompted a lot of different ideas for you and you’d like to
take a moment to organize your thoughts.
What if you’ve just heard you’ve been awarded another scholarship
right before the interview?You should immediately call the
scholarship administrator or go to the interview and tell them right away as
they are busy people and will not appreciate taking the time to interview you
only to find out at the end that you’ve accepted another scholarship.
There are a lot more possible what-ifs. The key is to remain confident and
don’t let a problem shake your faith in yourself. The interviewers recognize the
pressure you are under and you are often judged by the style with which
you.manage any problems which may arise. Approach the interview with a sense of
confidence, some humility and enough good humor to get you past any awkward