In some cases, every second applicant will get a scholarship, in some other cases, just one of every twenty will.  You should prepare for the interview with the scholarship committee, trying to improve your chances of being selected for one of the grants.

The key is to show the people in the committee that you are serious about your studies, and that you really need scholarship to pursue them. Our list of common questions, and advice on how to answer each question, should help you to make a good impression, and get a grant at the end. Let’s start!

Common scholarship interview questions

Introduce yourself

Usually, the interviewers will know nothing about you, or they will know just a little. They have seen only your scholarship application. When introducing yourself in this interview, you should focus mostly on two things:

  • Your dream to study at the particular college.
  • Your financial situation which does not allow you to follow your dream.

Use numbers and facts. Do not play with emotions at this point of the interview. Simply say them how much your parents earn, and explain that they have to support a lot of people with their money (your siblings, paying debts, etc). Describe briefly, in facts and numbers, your financial situation and why you need scholarship.

Then you can say something about your hobbies, about your private life. Perhaps you like to run, to paint, you play a musical instrument. To share some details of your personal life helps to improve the atmosphere in the interview room, plus it shows the people in the committee that you are human being after all, and have you life outside of the college.


Why have you decided for this school? Why have you chosen the particular subject of your studies?

Answer the question with enthusiasm in your voice.

Tell them about your future plans, and explain what you want to do once you graduate and earn your degree. Try to convince the interviewers that you are serious about your career path, and won’t leave the school after a year or two–if things get tough.

What is more, you can praise them for something (that is the second part of the question, the one that touches their educational institution). Talking about your reasons for choosing them, you can point out their reputation, excellent study programs, campus life, or anything else that caught your eye.

* Must Read: Guide on how to overcome interview nerves – do not let anxiety to ruin your chances in this important moment of your young life.

Students of University sitting in a park, three women and one man, all of them look happy and wear casual clothes

Questions 3. How do you plan to use your scholarship?

This is a very common question, and I suggest you to bring a breakdown of your monthly expenses to the interview with you. How much do you pay for living, transport, and food? How much do you prefer to (or need to) invest in books, and in other study materials? And what about your average daily spending?

You should simply break it down to individual items, and bring the list to the interview. This clearly demonstrates why you need the scholarship. Once they see it on a paper, they will have no doubt about the justness of your request.

Special Tip: Download a simple, one-page long .PDF guide on how to answer the most common questions in a scholarship interview, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

scholarship interview questions, PDF

Question 4. What makes you special to receive our scholarship?

If you are in a different situation, if you re not applying for a form of a social scholarship but for a merit scholarship, you can get this question in an interview. Actually you can always get it…

Tell them about your achievements, and show them how their school can benefit from having you onboard (in terms of their reputation). Do not forget to ensure them that you plan to continue with your efforts to be a top notch student, scientist, or athlete.

At the end of the day, schools care also for their business. They prefer to grant scholarship to someone who’s willing to represent them.


Question 5: Do you plan to do anything for our college?

Schools prefer to support someone who can give something back, and who wants to give back. If you are a great athlete, the answer is easy. Just say that you will compete in their colors and jersey, trying your best in every race you take part in, or every match you play.

If you apply for a social scholarship, however, different ideas come to play. You can tell them that you would like to organize some events for other students, work as a resident assistant, or simply do something else for the local community of students, teachers and administrators.

Try to come up with a plan, with a particular idea. You do not have to really do it afterwards–one month later nobody will remember what you told in a scholarship interview. But once you talk to the scholarship committee, you should do your best to convince them that you want to give something back.


Conclusion and next steps

Scholarship interview can be both easy and difficult, depending on the competition (how many people try to get the available grants), and on the things you can offer.

If you are a great athlete, or a particularly bright mind, things will be easy and straightforward. If you are not, you’ll have to impress them with your interview answers, and simply do everything right in your interview.

Check the following articles to ensure you’ll do it right:

  • How to dress for an interview – Learn how to choose the best clothes for your scholarship interview.
  • Physical, mental, practical preparation – Interesting insight on the interview preparation. Break it down and take care of each important part of your preparation.
  • Interview Success Package – One and only product you need to get ready for your job/scholarship interview, and to pass with flying colors. Great answers to all difficult questions, and a guide on how to impress your interviewers and win them over. Use it for your scholarship interview, and keep it for the job interviews you’ll go to in the future!
Matthew Chulaw
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