Interviewing for Scholarships

Recommended for Interviews

(Jane Curlin, Udall Foundation)

  • Engage confidently in the exchange of ideas; respectful differences of opinion are expected and even welcomed.
  • Know the difference between a debate and an argument, and avoid engaging in the latter.
  • Take a moment to think before you answer. Ask for clarification if you need to.
  • Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know; do be afraid to fake it.
  • Know when to stop. If you feel that you could talk forever on a particular topic, ask the committee if they would like you to go into more detail.
  • No matter how well you prepare, you will be asked questions you can't anticipate. Expect the unexpected.
  • No matter if you feel like you've just made a fool of yourself,  move on. You will handle other questions well. 
  • Be honest; be confident; be yourself.

Common Interview Mistakes

(Truman Foundation)
  • Failing to answer the question that was asked.
  • Not being succinct in the responses and taking too long to answer the question.
  • Trying to guess what the panel wants to hear rather than providing an honest answer.
  • Being either too staid or too nervous and not permitting the panel to see the personality behind the accomplishments.

(National Selectors Top 5, reported by Reed College)

  • Taking the interview as an exercise in defense rather than discussion.
  • Using the words "never" and "always."  That simply opens you up to a forced withdrawal.
  • Being falsely confident.  It is fine to be phased; it is acceptable to be a bit embarrassed.
  • Refusing to say "I don't know."
  • Attributing everything you know on a given subject to a particular book read in a particular course.  In such cases, "you" disappear, and the book takes your place.

Interview Tips and Sample Questions from Great Sources!

Interviewing for Scholarships

Names You Need to Know

Preparing for Interviews

National Fellowship Interviews

Interviews 101

National Interviews

Truman Scholarship Interviewing

Gates Cambridge Scholarship Interview Topics

Rhodes and Marshall Interviews

Sample Scholarship Interview Questions

Phone and Skype Interviews

Nailing the Phone Interview

How to Style Your Skype Interview