It is a common practice among universities to have a scholarship interview weekend. They invite 50-100 students to come and interview with faculty and staff and use these interviews, along with information such as SAT/ACT scores, GPA, extracurricular activities, etc., to determine to whom they will award their highest scholarships. I was lucky enough to be part of those of two scholarship interview weekends as a high school senior and participated in three more as a staff member at Asbury University. I would like to offer a few tips.
First, dress as nice as possible. I remember showing up to my first scholarship interview as a high school senior and convincing my parents I did not need to wear a coat. I informed them, with the tone of an expert, that a shirt and tie were just fine and that none of the other kids would be wear a coat or suit. Boy was I wrong. Out of the entire group there was only one other guy not wearing a coat. If you hate dress clothes like I did when I was 18, just put on the coat long enough to get through the interview. Like it or not, your appearance does make an impression. Ladies, I am not the right person to tell you what to wear. Ask a female admissions officer at the school you are interviewing at as to what is appropriate.
Second, prepare for the interview. You cannot be ready for every question you will be asked but you can prepare for the obvious ones. Here are some questions I heard asked over and over:
- Where are you from?
- Tell us about your family.
- What is your favorite subject in school and why?
- What is your favorite book or movie or song and why?
- How would your best friend describe you?
- Describe yourself in three words.
- What types of activities have you been involved in? (Having a mental list of all your extracurricular, church and civic activities helps.)
- Who is your role model?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- What do you plan to major in?
- How do you think you fit with the mission of the university? (Look up the university’s mission statement prior to the interview.)
- In what areas would you want to get involved in on campus? (Looking at the different campus groups online before arriving helps.)
- What are you most looking forward to about being at college?
- What is your biggest fear about college?
- Do you have any questions for us? (Have at least one.)
- Is there anything you would like to tell us about yourself? (This is your chance to brag and to convey your desire to study at this particular school. Don’t leave the room without letting them know all the things that make you special. There are few chances in life where you are expected to brag shamelessly. This is one of them.)
One last tip; relax. I was so nervous in my interview my body was shaking. You were asked to interview because the school thinks you have something special to offer. You are great, which is why you were asked to interview. Take a deep breath, go into the room with confidence, and just be you. Leave the stress up to the people who have to decide how to split hairs between so many great students.
Aaron Wilkinson is the Director of Admissions for Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. He got his M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary and his B.A. in Religious Studies from Gardner-Webb University. Prior to working for Wesley Seminary he worked for three years as the Coordinator of Admissions and Marketing for Asbury University’s Master of Social Work program.