How to Prepare for a Scholarship Interview Tips for Presidential Scholarship Days
During your senior year of high school, it is important to consider what you will be doing after graduation. Whether you are off visiting colleges or still trying to decide if college is worth it, you have a lot to ponder, and whether or not you can afford college should not be one of them.
That’s why we at Grace College understand how important financial aid is for helping you become part of the Grace family. We offer many merit scholarships to assist you as you start on the next phase of your life, but there are some merit scholarships, including a full-tuition scholarship, that you can only get by attending one of our Presidential Scholarship Days.
You may not know what to expect during your scholarship day. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Past top-award winners Melika Minnaar and Nikki Toth shared their scholarship interview tips on how you can prepare and do your best on your competition day.
1. Make Eye Contact and Smile
Your moment to shine will take place in the form of a 20-minute interview. When you first walk in, it is important to look your interviewer in the eyes and smile. Maintaining eye contact throughout the interview is one way to show that you are engaged and attentive, and you can feel at ease when you see them smiling back at you.
2. Ditch the Nervous Habits
If you’re feeling anxious, you are not alone. “I was so nervous,” Minnaar said. “I think I hyped myself in a negative way.” Minnaar and Toth recommended that even though you feel on edge, you should not act jittery. Keep your hands in your lap, and make sure you are not tapping your foot or other nervous habits.
While the interviewers will know that you are anxious, it can help both them and you feel at ease if you find ways to calm your nerves. “Every single person that walks into those interview rooms is nervous,” Toth said, “but if you give yourself a leg up by focusing on the little things and being able to present yourself as professional, it’s going to be more impressive.”
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
When put on the spot, it may be difficult for you to come up with answers to the interview questions. To help prepare for this challenge, Minnaar and Toth both said that practicing beforehand is one of the key scholarship interview tips. One way you can do this is by looking up practice questions online.
Minnaar practiced with her mom, who would ask her random questions that made her think critically about how to best represent herself. “Normally it takes me a long time to think, but practicing random questions helps you think on the spot,” she said.
4. Take Time to Think
If you need time to think about your response, Minnaar said, do not be afraid to ask for a moment. When she did so during her interview, her interviewers were more than willing to let her process the question. “It’s better than sitting in silence,” she said.
5. Figure Out the “Why?”
It is likely that during your interview, there will be a question about why you chose Grace and your intended major. Minnaar suggested that you prepare a reason ahead of time. “And never answer with, ‘Because I’ve always wanted to,’” she said. “Really speak from your heart and really reflect.”
6. Ask a Question
At the end of the interview, when the interviewers ask if you have questions, “never say no,” Toth said. She suggested, “What advice would you give to someone sitting in my position?” She used those questions to talk about what she had not yet been able to discuss. “I could talk about other things that I had previously thought would help my case or would just be something that is really showing who I am as a person.”
7. Be Yourself
Remember that your interviewers are not there to pick you apart and judge what you have to say. They are taking part in the scholarship competition because they want to learn more about their future students, not so they can find out who is the best. “They are there for people,” Toth said, “not for perfection.”
It can be easy to compare yourself to the other contestants, but remember, “you’re here because you’ve already earned it,” Toth said. “You should be proud of yourself no matter what happens.”
Even if you start to feel overwhelmed by the pressure, Minnaar said that it is important to focus on being yourself instead of trying to be someone you think will impress your interviewers. “At the end of the day, you can only be a fake person for so long, and your original self is your best self,” Minnaar said.
8. Focus on God
The most important of the scholarship interview tips, Minnaar said, is to trust God in the process. Even if you are worried about paying for school or you aren’t sure what your plan is after graduation, “God will open the doors where they need to be opened,” Minnaar said.
On each competition day, Grace will be awarding many scholarships, including a full-tuition scholarship. All contestants who participate will receive at least a $1,000 per year Winona Merit Scholarship that is added onto your previous merit scholarship, making it even easier for you to afford college. Additionally, each event provides you the opportunity to tour campus and get to know many of the faculty, staff, and students that make up our genuine, Christ-centered community so special.
While there are many scholarship interview tips to help you feel confident as you walk into your interview, it is important to remember that whatever happens, you were meant to be right where you are.
With nothing to lose and much to gain, it’s your turn to keep these scholarship interview tips in mind and register now.