Be prepared to discuss:
- Your background: your educational history, your employment experiences, family background and upbringing.
- Your academic achievements: class-ranking, grade point average, awards you have won or projects you have undertaken (science fairs, debate competitions, etc.).
- Your future plans: academic plans, career plans.
- Your hobbies and interests: extracurricular activities, skills, jobs, etc.
- Your financial profile and needs: income, savings, parent's resources, level of financial need, anticipated expenses, etc. Information about your financial resources is especially important if the scholarship is need-based.
- Your personal "value structure": the things you think are important in your life. Information about your personal value structure helps the interviewers determine whether you would serve as an appropriate representative for their organization.
- Be punctual. Check the interview time and location before leaving home.
- Do your homework on the program. Interview previous winners, if possible.
- Dress appropriately. Select conservative, semi-formal wear.
- Make a good first impression. When you meet the interviewers, introduce yourself, make eye contact and use a firm handshake.
- Be brief and honest with your answers. Try to sum up your thoughts quickly. Interviewers will ask follow-up questions if they want to know more.
- Have some questions ready for the interviewers. Prepare these questions in advance by researching the sponsoring organization, school or company.
- Be prepared to reiterate the basic information you supplied on your application. Review your application before the interview to jog your memory.
- Don't be afraid to say "I don't know" or ask questions. It's better to ask for clarification than to miss an opportunity to produce an insightful answer.
- Show your appreciation. Thank the interviewers for their time at the end of the interview.
Many of these excellent tips are drawn from Lisa Portenga, scholarship coordinator for the Fremont Area Foundation.
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