Advice for a Successful Merit Scholarship Interview

You’ve just been shortlisted for a merit scholarship interview because you aced the exam. Now, all that’s left is the interview. While the interview is just a part of the application process and not the whole thing, you want to make sure you give it your best shot.

Here’s some helpful and practical advice on how to win the panel over. Before you head to that interview, make sure you’re ready. Give these suggestions a try to increase your chances of acing the scholarship.

Research About the Programme

What do you know about the programme? If you’re like most applicants, then you likely sent submissions to more than just one educational grant. It wouldn’t hurt to refresh your memory of what you know about the programme.

Take this opportunity to do detailed research about the grant. What’s known about it? What do the news articles say? What kind of grant is it designed for? Who were the former recipients? Where are they now? You’ll want to know as much as you can about it especially if you’ve gone after a lot of merit scholarships.

Know Your Portfolio

What did you say in your portfolio? The panel will base many of their impressions of you on what you write. Make sure you remember what you said.

This is why it’s important that you have a copy of the portfolio that you sent to every programme. That way, you know what they know.

You’ll know the impression you worked hard to build through the answers you provided. When they ask you a question based on those answers, you’ll find it easy to take the right approach. There’s nothing worse than having them ask you about your answers only for you to reveal that you don’t remember what you wrote. That could turn them off your application fast.

Go Beyond Your Achievements

Don’t just list down your achievements. Yes, they’ll pay attention to those things. But remember that you’re likely competing with a lot of students who are equally talented. It’s not enough that you’re at the top of your class. You need to bring something else to the table.

Panels for grants often consider your soft skills. Are you willing to learn and be challenged? Do you have leadership skills, potential, or experience? How great is your drive and commitment to your chosen field?

Write About You

Write about yourself in a way that makes it seem that you’re the perfect applicant to get the scholarship at the international school in Singapore.

Write about yourself by providing them with context about who you are. What’s your background? Was there something different in the way you were raised? What kind of hurdles did you have to overcome to get to where you are now? What events in your life changed you, made you stronger, made you even more driven to achieve your dreams? What do you envision for your future? What do you want to achieve?

Draw Them a Picture

Make it easier for them to see the vision you have in your head. What do you hope to achieve by getting the merit scholarship? What can that grant do for you? How will it help you? Describe that scenario to them.

Provide them with a way to see the kind of future that they can help you achieve and build if they choose you for the grant.

Let them know that their choice will impact that future and dream. Show them what they’ll bring to life if they pick you for the scholarship.

Do Practice Interviews

It’s normal to get nervous and even anxious about the upcoming interview. Even adults who come in for a job interview get anxious. What you can do about your nerves, though, is to do practice interviews. Practice interviews will help you reduce the nerves and anxiety you feel.

Take on common questions. Answer them. If you do this often enough, the next time you get asked even if you encounter a question you haven’t practised before, you’ll be calm, your head will be clear, and you’ll know what to answer. That way, your nerves won’t cost you a chance at getting that scholarship.

Be You

When you talk about yourself during the interview, though, just think back to the times that you think really helped build your character. Don’t embellish, though.

And never try to be anyone or anything that you’re not. Don’t try to be something or someone, thinking that will impress the panel. Just be you, the best possible version of you, and no one else.

The admission committee looks for something valuable that every student can offer and your willingness and drive, your passion for your field, can all be the qualities that recommend you.

Don’t Worry

That’s harder said than done. But really, when you’re worried about not doing good in the interview, remember that the panel wants you to succeed.

They want you to say the right thing, they want to see what you’re capable of, and they want to help you. They want you to be the one.

Make it easier for them to think that. Don’t worry so much about your answers, about not being good enough. If you start telling yourself that you should be better than you were, stop. You’re young yet and you can learn.

Don’t worry and concentrate on doing the best you can and giving it the best effort you can. When you do that, you focus your energies on what you can do instead of wallowing on what you can’t change, on your worries, and that will have a much more positive impact on your outlook, student performance, and perspective. 

When you find out about the interview, start doing practice sessions as soon as you can. Don’t do it a day or two before you face that panel.

The sooner you start to prepare, the better since you’ll be more comfortable in your skin, in how you deal with the questions, and how you carry yourself in that interview. All that helps you make the best possible impression.

About Shahbaz Ahmed

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