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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Prepare for a scholarship interview?but how?.........

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Prepare for a scholarship interview?

How to prepare for a scholarship interview...........,,,,,,,Before the Interview............
Recommendation #1: Read about the scholarship program and understand its purpose. The first thing you need to do for any scholarship is to read up on the program. Find out why the funder of the scholarship is supporting the program. When possible, seek out program alumni who might also be able to describe the program to you. Learn about the program’s history and purpose, and then list and describe the connections between your own future plans and the scholarship’s goals. Keep in mind that many scholarship donors want to hear about how you’ll use your new-found knowledge or credentials to benefit Yemen and your community at large. They’re not interested in hearing only about how you will help yourself or your future financial prospects.

Recommendation #2: Prepare yourself for all kinds of questions. Don’t just think about the obvious questions like what you are interested in studying and why. Scholarship interviewers have been known to ask almost any kind of question that they want to ask, even ones that seem to have nothing to do with your study or research interests or future plans. Interviewers can ask you, for example, about your ideas or thoughts on current events, global trends, or academic debates. This means that it is a good idea to think about different questions in addition to the usual, easy question, ‘why do you want this scholarship?”Fortunately, there are resources in educational advising centers and the Internet that can help you think about all kinds of scholarship questions. Mohialdeen Al Outumi, a U.S. Department of State Fulbright alumnus and English Access Microscholarship Program instructor who is now working towards a doctoral degree notes, “As we all know a scholarship, especially the Fulbright Scholarship, is not something easy to get . . . Hence, I took preparing for the interview very seriously. A few days before the scheduled interview, I googled the phrase ‘prepare for a scholarship interview,’ and this resulted in many website links. Then, I went through some of the links but actually I liked the one from the “Scholarship Preparation” blog (http://www.scholarshippreparations.com/category/scholarship-interview). I tried my best to utilize their tips, which were really useful.”Aside from looking at examples of questions and ideas on how to answer them, Mohialdeen also suggested preparing for the questions by practice interviewing with a friend in a mock session: “I also did my utmost to practice some anticipated questions with a friend of mine. This helped me look for ways to enhance my composure and draw out my personality. It also helped me feel confident about my discourse skills such as clear speaking, smiling, and maintaining eye contact. These are important for an interview.”


On the Interview Day.............
Recommendation #3: Dress appropriately and be on time. By this time, you should have learned as much as you can about the scholarship, you should be able to state clearly what your interests are, and you have conducted practice sessions presenting your ideas as well as your future plans. Now, you also need to present yourself well. Dress appropriately. Being dressed in jeans, for example, may make you feel relaxed, but it can suggest to the interview committee that you are too relaxed and not that interested.Also make sure to arrive early for the interview. Give yourself plenty of time for possible delays on the way to the appointment. From my experience, this is a simple recommendation that is often overlooked because candidates are nervous. Just like not being dressed well, arriving late to the appointment sends the wrong message too: you don’t care about the scholarship and you don’t care about the interview committee. The reaction to one or both mistakes can be reciprocated: the committee won’t care about you and you probably won’t be viewed as a serious candidate.

Recommendation #4: Follow the guidelines of the interview and make sure to give the interviewer time to ask his or her questions. Interview committees usually explain the schedule or plan for the interview at the start of the process. Give the committee members time to describe the schedule even if you think you know what it is. Usually the process is that interviewees are asked a few standard questions followed by more thought-provoking ones and then are provided with an opportunity to ask a question at the end. In short, you will have a chance to talk. Nonetheless, since there are time limits on interviews, it means that you should not memorize a speech. In fact it is best to avoid memorized speeches and presenting them without pause. Skilled interviewers will recognize these quickly and many will not be impressed. Stick to sharing general thoughts and utilizing discourse skills that you have practiced in your preparation sessions.

Recommendation #5: Answer the questions with full, thoughtful answers. Donors who fund scholarship programs want diversity. They want people who represent many different opinions and backgrounds, and who can explain how they fit those concepts of diversity. Answering either “yes or no” or with brief, one-sentence response doesn’t give the interview panel or committee much information to work with. It doesn’t help you draw an interesting personal profile of yourself or achieve a successful interview.

Recommendation #6: Finally, be yourself and don’t worry about the results. Try to see the interview as a learning experience and an opportunity to meet new people. Being able to think about varying questions posed by different people will help you in your future. Think positively about your experience. If you don’t succeed this time, there may be other opportunities in the future. Try and prepare again. Farouk Al Salihi, a U.S. Department of State PLUS scholarship grantee and now a master’s degree candidate at the London School of Economics writes, “Be confident, do not lie, relax, and go to the interview keeping in mind that if you ‘blow’ it, it will not be the end of the world—nor the end of you either.”


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