IN-PERSON SCHOLARSHIP INTERVIEW TIPS FOR NIGERIAN STUDENTS
Got a scholarship interview coming up?
You’ve sent out a number of applications and now that you’ve landed an interview! You want to make sure you nail it!
Whatever hopes you may have for the interview; one thing’s for sure; you’ve got to be well – prepared.
Interviews can be one of the most daunting parts of the scholarship application process; still, It is one of the factors that determines whether or not you will be deserving the scholarship award.
Little wonder many students get nervous once it comes to this face to face meeting especially when a lot of scholarship money is at stake.
Scholarships are considered free money, in that they don’t have to be repaid. No wonder when you get notified that a scholarship committee wants to interview you, your first reaction is usually that of joy of being recognized.
The second reaction however may be that of fear.
You probably never attended any interview before. The thought of having to go in front of a committee to answer questions may be overwhelming knowing that your performance may put your chances of getting international education on the line.
Although you may not have a lot of experience in this type of high pressure environment, try not to over think the process.
Keep the anxiety level under control by thinking ahead and following these tips.
1. Be prepared
No one goes in for any interview whatsoever without first doing some background research on the interviewing team.
The same is true for scholarship interviews.
Make sure to review the scholarship provider’s mission statement, community involvement and recent news. It also helps to get to know your prospective interviewing team.
Firstly, you need to find out who they are and then carry out some background research on them. LinkedIn is a great place to look up professional profiles and see if you share any common interests.
Invest more time getting to know about the scholarship and its sponsors. Ensure that you know everything that there is to know about the company or organisation that is offering this support.
Try also to think about why they would want to promote advanced education in a particular field. Look for past scholarship winners as they can give you helpful information on what they feel made them successful in their interviews.
Be sure to write down a few questions for the interview panel and finally take time to answer some of the typical questions you may be asked during the interview.
You’ll also need to review your interview kit again and bring along copies of your resume as well.
2. Be punctual
Before you attend the scholarship interview, be sure to get directions to the interview venue address.
You could also add up the scholarship provider’s address to your GPS or look up the directions online. This will give you a rough estimate of the time it will take you to get to the venue.
Give yourself plenty of extra time to deal with unexpected situations, such as traffic issues, to ensure you do not arrive late. And trust me, it’s a terrible idea to show up late for an interview: scholarship or not.
Ensure that a day or two before the interview. Set out your clothes and review any instructions provided by the interviewer such as interview time and who to find once you arrive.
Gather up all needed documents and review the time of your journey route to the venue, Set multiple alarms including one where you need to start preparing and another for when you need to get going.
3. Dress impressively
Although most students are probably more comfortable in sweatpants and jeans. This is not the appropriate dressing mode for an official interview like this.
Your dressing should portray to the scholarship committee that you are a serious student and that you are honored to be nominated for the award. So, look out for your dressing mode and be sure that your dress is impressive.
Select conservative semi-formal wear. Slacks and a jacket/blazers or a dress shirt for guys. dresses, skirts or pantsuits for ladies.
Never wear jeans or t-shirts to an interview.
As the adage goes: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
Also, being well groomed is also essential, so you need to take out time to style your hairs. For the ladies make sure you apply moderate makeup.
Finally, just ensure that you put in a lot of effort to appear presentable before the scholarship interview panel.
Check the scholarship website or carefully review the materials you were provided to determine exactly what may go down at the interview.
Go through the list of questions you developed and think about how you will answer them.
If you need an opening statement, have one prepared.
If a performance is required as part of your interview, choose one that showcases your unique abilities and strengths.
Practice your responses once you have all the parts in place. Get your friends to help you play the role of interviewers and set up a mock interview session with them.
Practicing the interview is a great way of honing your skills before you face the scholarship review board.
Some of the common questions you may be asked in the scholarship interview include:
- What is your biggest academic achievement?
- What extracurricular activities do you take part in?
- What large obstacles have you overcome and how?
- What are some awards that you have won?
- What are your professional goals following graduation?
- How do you see yourself using your degree?
5. Be relaxed
Interviews, generally can be nerve wracking but it is important to stay calm and self-possessed while speaking with the review board.
Do your best to stay relaxed, try not to fidget or appear nervous.
Sitting still, making eye contact and keeping a good posture portrays the appearance of calmness before your interviewers. Be confident when giving answers to questions.
Granted, it can be intimidating trying to impress total strangers. The truth anyway is this: If they didn’t see something unique and special about you, you probably would never have gotten selected in the first place!