One of the catchy features we look for when applying for college is the availability of scholarships and financial aid. Schools with loads of scholarships make us super excited. However, many of these scholarships may not be easy to get. You may get an invitation for a scholarship interview down the application process. This post provides scholarship applicants with the common scholarship questions and answers as well as scholarship interview tips.
Popular scholarship Interview Questions | PDF Attached
Even though some schools automatically qualifies you for scholarship awards on gaining admission, some others don’t. You’ll have to apply for scholarships manually in these schools and follow through the process. Some other scholarships, however, are so competitive that you need to prove beyond a good GPA score that you’re the best candidate for the scholarship.
When it’s these kinds of scholarship you’re applying for, you’ll need to put in a lot of preparation. You must know the kind of questions your interviewers will ask and get answers for them ready. You’ll also need to know the way to comport yourself as well as what to do before, during, and after the interview.
We provide you all these in this post in addition to a PDF that answers the scholarship interview questions. This is in case you need something to refer to even when offline.
Popular Scholarship Questions and Answers
What are the questions scholarship interviewers ask? How do they need these questions to be answered? What are they checking for by asking these questions? Here are all the answers to your questions.
Question 1: Tell Us About Yourself.
This is the most common scholarship questions. It is also most likely the first question scholarship interviewers ask. When interviewers ask this question, they don’t mean for you to ramble about what you are and what you’re not. No, it’s no life storytime. The interviewer is basically giving you a chance to set yourself apart from the pool of scholarship applicants. Therefore, this could be a time to hint at your main interest and how it relates to the scholarship objective while giving an overview of other interests.
My name is Janice, and I’m currently a freshman at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I love my study there, especially that I get to take American Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies. Also, I spend a great deal of time outside my studies following advancement in technology. To this effect, I have a YouTube channel that discusses the latest trend in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. When I’m not reading or listening to music, I like to spend time with my grandma.
Make sure to list the interesting things about you without taking more than a minute. Here, Janice’s main interest is Humanities, even though she talks about other interests.
Question 2: What Extracurricular Activities Do You Involve in?
This is another common scholarship interview question. Here, the interviewer is trying to find out your other activities asides your study. It also gives the interviewer a peek into your personality, if you are responsible. Also, how you blend and interact with others in a team. Here, you’re to tell your key extracurricular activities in school and in your community as well as a couple of accomplishments.
I am currently with the school’s Baseball team. I play quarterback and I go with the coach most times to train the community’s Ivy League team. At home, I visit the gym frequently to train kids who want to become boxers. I love their passion and determination. I also sing with the choir in church on Sunday. I’m an outgoing person and these three activities help me share my knowledge, as well as learn with others.
You can see from the answer to this question that the scholarship applicant points out that he/she works well in groups as well as possess some teaching skills.
Question 3: What is Your Greatest Strength?
This scholarship interview question wants to know if you are aware of yourself, so don’t mistake it for your greatest interest. What you need to do here is simple: state your greatest strength and give an example that showcases how you applied it. Meanwhile, don’t try to be humble about it.
I think I am really good at winning others over to an idea. Two months ago, I and a couple of coursemates got a project to take the stock count of a real company. We were to work as a team and we elected a team lead. However, the team lead couldn’t sway us to take a stock count of a grocery store instead of a cafeteria, which others were suggesting. I was able to point to everyone on the team that taking stock of a cafeteria would help them realize it’s an effective accounting practice for their kind of business. However, taking a stock count of a grocery store would be more effective, as we won’t only be showing them new trends in stock taking, but also saving them the cost of acquiring the knowledge. In the end, they all agreed the grocery store was better.
You can also see here that the applicant supported his/her claim with life experience. This is the best practice.
Question 4: What is Your Greatest Weakness?
For this interview question, your interviewer is trying to assess whether you examine yourself for flaws from time to time. Of course, we are all not perfect, so you’ll need to specify one of your weaknesses that may hinder your success at college. However, you’ll have to show that you’re attempting to improve, or that you’re trying to overcome this weakness completely. Again, like your strength, give examples.
I can’t express myself well in a crowd. However, I am constantly looking for ways to be more outspoken. Throughout high school, all of my teachers commented that I hardly speak up in class even though I had an opinion on the subject matter. I joined the theatre club on getting to college to be able to face a crowd and speak. Surprisingly, I began to conquer my fear of the crowd and express myself better with my act. I feature in more plays now, and my teachers are beginning to comment on my progress.
Here, the scholarship applicant explains their weakness while showing a positive action to conquer the weakness.
Question 5: What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Ever Made?
This may not be a very common scholarship interview question, but like your greatest weakness, this question also tests your ability to recognize a flaw. But unlike your weakness, the interviewer also wants to see how you learn from past experience. Therefore, to answer this, you’ll acknowledge that you did something wrong at a point in time but you’ll also show that you’re better now.
Last year, I slammed shut a text in the face of my little brother. He was too slow on picking up the basic algebra I was teaching him. He made a sad face about it and said I made him look dumb but he didn’t have a problem that I stopped giving him extra algebra classes. I didn’t know how wrong I was until a friend teaching me a dance routine did the same to me three months ago. Now, when I teach someone and they are not picking up quick, I smile and ask them to take a break then continue when they are refreshed. I haven’t been impatient at anyone since.
You’ll notice that the applicant took care to explain how they have moved on. This is very vital when answering this type of scholarship interview question.
Question 6: Tell Us About Your Leadership Experience
Some scholarships require you to possess leadership skills. This is a common interview question for those kinds of scholarships. The interviewer simply wants to know how much responsibility you can take for the welfare of others. When answering this kind of question, don’t restrict yourself to leadership roles in formal settings. You should explain how you were able to lead people in a positive way, which may not be easy for someone else to do.
I didn’t know I have the leadership trait in me until I became the president of a Book Club I belong to three years ago. We were able to make a lot of changes in the way we operated and through the community outreaches we carried out, I realized that I like to involve others in solving societal problems. Presently, I am the president of a Fundraising Community and I get to involve people to solve community problems on a bigger scale.
Here, not only did the scholarship applicant state their leadership roles but also their style of leadership.
Question 7: Who is Your Role Model?
This is another pretty common scholarship interview question. Here, the interviewer wants to know the kinds of traits you admire, whether they are positive. You know the people you admire speaks volume about your person. Meanwhile, to answer this question, you’ll have to state who your role model is. It doesn’t matter whether the person is a family member, teacher, or a celebrity. You’ll point out the traits they have which you admire, as well as their flaws because no human is flawless. Your answer will be richer if you can show how your role model tries to overcome their flaws.
I look up to my dad who manages his own printing press. He started the business using the basement at home. This was after he lost his job. Nobody thought the business would thrive or even grow, not even my mom. Although he divorced my mom, I admire my dad for his strong self-belief and sheer doggedness. If I eventually attain the height he attained, however, I’ll discipline myself to be faithful in my marriage.
You’ll notice here that the applicant chose his dad, and even though this figure didn’t keep his marriage, the applicant is clear about the trait of his dad he would emulate.
Question 8: Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
This interview question is not only common for scholarship interviews but also for job interviews. The interviewer here is assessing how visionary you are, probably to see how your vision blends with theirs. Even though it is okay to project yourself a picture of yourself you aren’t so certain about, try to focus on service and career accomplishments. They may not be keen about personal accomplishments.
I love technology so much, so I’ll try to intern with Dell during the fall Internship. I want to become a Robotics engineer, so I’ll be living in Silicon Valley by then. However, I am excited that this scholarship is also available for Master’s degree students. I have started purchasing component parts for my robot and I believe I can utilize the scholarship funding and research opportunity to build the world’s most intelligent robot in the next five years.
You should notice that the applicant links his passion to a future achievement of which they have started working on already. The applicant also hints on how the scholarship will benefit them, which is good.
Question 9: Tell Us a Meaningful Experience or Class You had in School
This is not a very common scholarship interview question. When scholarship interviewers ask this question, they want to know how you appreciate new knowledge. They also want to see how you express yourself, so go ahead and be funny if you won’t suck at it. Otherwise, just tell a school experience in your own voice.
The best moment in class I had was when I was in 9th grade. We were learning poetry but it was just reading from books. Our teacher then introduced us to spoken-word poetry. He rolled up his sleeves, put his teaching manual aside and began to perform poetry. It was entertaining as well as educating. I was able to see the elements of poetry take shape in performance. That day, poetry became easy for me. I realized it was merely expressing your deepest feelings in words.
It is obvious here that the applicant got a teaching that enhanced their understanding of a particular subject and it has impacted them for them to still remember it in details.
Question 10: What is Your Favorite Subject in School?
This particular scholarship interview question seeks to know how much you love learning. You may not need to state how you excelled in that particular subject. All you need to tell the interviewer is what you like about the subject.
Biology is my best subject. I love studying it because it teaches about all kinds of life form. I also enjoy that it shows me the different ways animals adapt to their environment. This year, I learned that several kinds of fishes can switch from being male to female if the circumstance is right. It is the most interesting thing I’ve learned this year, and interesting things like this happen in the wild most of the time.
Question 11: What is Your Favorite Book/Movie/Song?
This may not be a common scholarship interview question, but your interviewers will ask it depending on the kind of scholarship. Your interviewers aren’t asking this because they really want to confirm if the book, movie, or song you like is worth liking. No, they want to know why you like what you like. It gives them a sneak peek into your personality. Therefore, to answer this, you’ll have to back your favorite book/movie/song with reasons.
My favorite music is ‘Heal the World’ by Michael Jackson. The late pop king in that song admonishes us all to be more sensitive to the sufferings of others. Being a Black American who rose to fame after his plastic surgery, the song echoes the inequality and unfairness that exists in the world. I like the song not only because it has a strong moral but also because I would love to run a charitable home. Like Michael, I can also encourage people to care for others, only not through music but actual deeds.
This is a good response because the student connects the music to their personality and career aspiration.
Questions About the Scholarship Opportunity
You may have noticed that the set of popular scholarship questions above are quite personal. In this section, however, we’ll share questions that inquire about your interest in the scholarship.
Question 12: Why Did You Choose This College?
This is a very common scholarship interview question for scholarship applicants. The interviewer here wants to know if you have enough interest in their college. To answer this question you would have to pick something really interesting but uncommon about the college. You make have to spare out general features of the school, like their diverse student body.
I love the “Peace, War, and Defense” program at UNC, Chapel Hill. It’s arguably the best in the country. The people of Chapel Hill were so kind and friendly to me when I visited. I couldn’t stop thinking of their kindness long after my visit. Also, the school’s honor code implies that my things are safe without me having to employ extra security measures. Also, I would be close to my family in Cary schooling here.
It is interesting to note that this applicant spoke of his interest in the school based on criteria that praise the school as well as benefits him. This is a smart answer.
Question 13: Why Do You Deserve this Scholarship?
This is a common scholarship interview question that you must come well prepared for. It is so common that there is almost no chance of your interviewer skipping this question. Here, the interviewer wants to be sure you know what the scholarship you’re applying for entails. You have to show them, however, that you possess the traits they listed in the scholarship advert. Thus, to effectively answer this, you’ll have to be conversant with the scholarship description and the traits they are looking for.
My focus throughout high school has been service, academic excellence, and citizenship, which is what a Jefferson Scholar should demonstrate. I have had the opportunity to serve around the county and provided service and leadership since the founding of the Student Service League. Also, as a member of the School Board, I have begun to implement strategic policy changes in my hometown. The Jefferson scholarship will assist my study at UVA and help me grow to be a policy-maker.
The applicant here gives a balanced response, listing past success with knowledge of the scholarship as well as their benefit from the scholarship.
Question 14: How Do You Plan on Spending the Money?
This question is pretty easy and straightforward. The interviewer merely wants to know how you hope to achieve your academic or important financial goals with the award money. So, you’ll do well to explain just that to them without attaching any trivial expenditure.
With the scholarship money, I’ll be able to visit France the summer before I matriculate. I’ve always wished to go back to Nantes to learn the culture of the place my family comes from. I would use the opportunity to visit the family’s carrot farm and learn how to grow the famous Scarlet Nantes Carrot. I will also be able to decide whether I really want to take up a career in agriculture.
It is clear from the above response that the applicant wishes to use the money wisely, linking it to their career and family. This is a cool answer.
Questions to Ask in a Scholarship Interview
The next set of questions you’re about to read are the closing questions of the scholarship interview. Even though these questions are for the scholarship applicants, they give them the opportunities to ask the interviewers some questions. This section is very important and you should utilize it.
Question 15: Do You Have any Question for Us?
The interviewer by this question wants to see if you are really excited about the scholarship. They also want to know if you are robotic, answering only questions they ask you. Prepare yourself for this stage even while the interview is ongoing. Take note of the questions the interviewer asked you and ask up to four questions based on what you learned from the interview.
Yes, is there something you wish you knew when you were in my shoes?
What advice would you give someone about to attend Concordia University?
As a former recipient of this scholarship, did you get to find out what made this experience a special one?
Are there things you think are the biggest challenge for people looking to get into this field?
You’ll notice that these questions show how futuristic the scholarship applicant is. They are already thinking and making plans for their study and not merely sitting through the interview process.
Question 16: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Although this is not a question that demands you to ask questions, it is a platform for you to still interact with the interviewer. This is a time to review all you have talked about and see if you neglected anything. If you think you had given a wrong impression at some point, this is a time to switch the impression to good. Most important at this stage is to thank the interviewer.
I think we covered everything concerning this opportunity. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, I really appreciate.
This student thinks the interview was satisfactory and made it even more so by thanking the interviewer. This gesture makes the interviewer feel respected.
So, the answers to these questions for scholarship applicants are simply guides to structure your own answers. We don’t expect you to respond in the same words we used here. Remember that every scholarship opportunity is specific.
Good luck with your interviews.
Scholarship Interview Questions and Answers PDF
Do you enjoy reading our tips for answering scholarship interview questions? If yes, then feel free to download the PDF version from the link below. We have compiled it into a PDF document so you can always have it handy for reference, or view it offline at any time.
How To Prepare For a Scholarship Interview PDF
Of course, you don’t only have to prepare for answering scholarship interview questions. Your answers to the questions they ask you in the interview takes most of the interview grade. But there are also things the scholarship interviewer looks for asides the way you answer their questions. There is a way you should dress for interviews. There are also things you must do before, during, and after the interview.
Massey University Graduate Research school has compiled a wonderful document of scholarship interview Tips. We have made them available for you to download here.
Follow the link below to download Massey University’s Scholarship Interview Tips.
You don’t qualify for all scholarships by applying for a particular college with financial aid. Also, not all scholarships come easy. Some scholarships call you for interviews to access if you qualify for the award. You don’t want to qualify for a scholarship academically and flop in the interview. Our list of questions and answers is a guideline to acing scholarship interviews. These questions also help you succeed in other interviews like job interviews. You’ll find that they have the same structure. Once again, success on your scholarship interview.