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After you’ve applied for scholarship, now it’s time for you to proceed to the next scary step: scholarship interview. If you’re nervous or anxious about it, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Sometimes it can be really nerve-wrecking. How to stand out among other candidates? I am here to tell you some tips and tricks on how to ace your scholarship interview.

Scholarship Interview 101

These are some of the so-called ‘strategies’ that people will tell you:

  • Be punctual
  • Dress appropriately
  • Make good first impression
  • Be polite to interviewer(s)
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Be confident
  • Be honest
  • Ensure good behaviour

The list goes on…

Theoretically, the ‘strategies’ above would work. Practically, they are total nonsense. Just think about it, people who qualify for a scholarship are just as smart as you are. Do you think you can differentiate yourself with other candidates just by ‘being punctual’, ‘dress appropriately’ or ‘maintain eye contact’? I THINK NOT.

THE REAL STRATEGY? BE DIFFERENT!

Your interviewers might have interviewed more than 50 or even hundreds of students, so what would make you different from all the other candidates? For starter, try not to answer questions like they are ‘pre-scripted’.

For example, if the interviewers ask: how do you demonstrate your leadership skill? Do not ever bombard them with answers like:

‘I was a president of Music Club in high school / I’ve been involving in many AIESEC activities such as blah blah blah.’

Do you think that the other candidates do not have those qualifications? So unless you’re an U.N ambassador like Emma Watson, don’t even bother. It doesn’t make you special.

So the following is an answer provided by an actual scholarship holder which I think it is one of the reasons he got his full scholarship:

‘I do involved in various activities in high school, but I think club’s position and certificates are overrated. Leadership is not to be measured through a pile of certificates. In fact, the quality of leadership is demonstrated in everyday life. Personally, I think that I am a person who can make prompt and wise decision in daily activities. Besides, I have the ability to handle adaptive challenges. For example…’

Do you see the difference between the first and second answer? That’s what it takes to leave a deep impression for the interviewers.

Some interviewers might also ask questions that seem to be insignificant such as: what is your hobby? / How do you spend your free time?

Conventional answer would be:

‘I love reading books. I’ve read plenty of books. It enables me to learn new knowledge that cannot be obtained on textbooks. I crave knowledge and so on.’

The ‘better’ answer would be:

‘I love reading books. One of my favorite books is ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey. The 1st habit – ‘be proactive’ inspires me. It refers to controlling one’s environment, rather than having it to control you. I take charge of my life and try to make a difference to the world.’

That’s it. Your answer immediately stands out from the crowd!

In a nutshell, the only strategy to do well in your scholarship interview is to be different (in a good way) from the others. That’s the way for the interviewers to remember you.

I hope it helps, don’t forget to share it to your friends and good luck for your interview!

Maya Angelou Quote

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