Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

Preparing for interviews

Everyone gets nervous at interviews, and careful preparation can help you to break through that nervousness and present yourself calmly and confidently as a competitive candidate for any scholarship program.

Our office can help you to prepare for an interview. We can do one-on-one or panel mock-interviews, and even record them for review and discussion. Contact us to request an appointment.

General tips for preparing and during the interview:
  1. Getting selected for an interview is a privilege – congratulate yourself! Then get down to the work of preparing.
  2. Review your application materials thoroughly.
  3. Review the scholarship program information, including information about the organization giving the scholarship, thoroughly.
  4. Prepare for demanding, challenging questions.
  5. Develop your verbal communication skills through communication classes, reading avidly to improve vocabulary, participating in debate clubs/organizations, etc.
  6. Learn about current affairs by reading national newspapers and journals, participating in current event discussions and debates on campus and elsewhere
  7. During the interview, take your time responding to questions; don’t rush your answers.
  8. Stop talking when you’ve made your point; don’t ramble.
  9. Practice! It takes skill to talk about yourself without sounding too self-absorbed and to answer questions thoughtfully but concisely under pressure, without sounding too canned.
Practice questions to get you started:
  1. Tell me about yourself, your background and interests.  How did you come to be the person you are today?
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
  3. What do you do for fun? What do you do in your spare time?
  4. How adaptable are you?  Give an example to demonstrate your answer.
  5. Think about stories that illustrate your strengths, weaknesses, times you had difficulty but overcame (or didn’t), times when you had to work with people who didn’t agree with you, etc.
  6. Give an example of a time you’ve been thrown into a new, uncomfortable situation. Why was it uncomfortable? Were you able to be successful in that experience? If yes, what did you do to ensure your success? If no, why not?
  7. What do you envision yourself doing in 10 years?
  8. What makes you an ideal candidate for this opportunity?
  9. What do you hope to learn from this experience?