When you prepare for a scholarship interview, you may focus on how to answer the questions you expect to be asked, such as what your strengths are or your goals for the future. However, most interviewers will conclude the meeting by asking whether you have any questions. Instead of just asking when you'll hear about a decision, craft more thoughtful questions to reveal more about yourself and make an impression. Just do your research and make sure you don't ask anything that's already explained on the scholarship website.
Ask About the Organization
Scholarships are typically sponsored by the school, a business or an interest group. These organizations sponsor the scholarship to promote a mission, such as providing scholarships to needy students to create more access to education, or providing scholarships for those interested in agriculture to improve the business of farming. Ask questions about the organization sponsoring the scholarship to show that you care about this mission and are looking for a good fit. Questions might include, "What does your organization hope to accomplish in providing this scholarship?" or "What other programs does your organization sponsor to achieve this mission, and how can I get involved?"
Ask About the Selection Process
Of course, you are likely most interested in how you can improve your chances of getting the scholarship. By asking the right questions, you can show your commitment to the scholarship and to completing your education while also getting more information about how to be a better candidate. For example, you can ask, "What characteristics would your ideal candidate have?" If you prefer to be more direct, you can ask, "In what ways can I improve my application?" or "What concerns do you have about my application?"
Ask About Academic Benefits
Many scholarships are renewed each year instead of being awarded as a single payout. Students typically have to meet minimum criteria to renew the scholarship, such as maintaining a certain GPA. You can show your commitment to academic success by asking questions about this process. For example, you can ask, "Will I get a mentor to help me stay on track for the goals of the scholarship?" or "What other academic resources does the scholarship provide?" You can also act direct questions about the renewal criteria, such as "How will you judge my success in the program?"
Ask About Future Opportunities
The goal of scholarships isn't just to get students an education, but to open up certain doors because of that education. Show that you have the same concerns and aspirations about your future in the questions that you ask. For example, you can ask, "What resources or opportunities are available after I graduate?" or "Does your organization sponsor any programs for job placement or connecting with alumni?" Just remember to keep your questions insightful, yet brief.
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.