Your Rotary interview preparation began with the time you invested in preparing your scholarship application. Rotarians at the club and the district levels base their interview questions on it. They also seek to evaluate your thinking and communication skills to determine how well you would represent their 1.2 million-member international organization of professionals. Your ability to explain your goals, understanding of and belief in Rotary's humanitarian principles, and to provide examples of your leadership and community service when asked determine your suitability as a Rotary scholar.
Community Service Questions
Rotary has six focus areas that guide its service activities: health of mothers and children; disease prevention; education and literacy; community development; access to clean water; and sanitation and promoting peace. Be prepared to talk about your involvement in extracurricular school activities and volunteerism with local nonprofit organizations. Your interviewers can learn a lot about your leadership potential and ideals by asking you to describe why you chose your activities, what your experience taught you and what challenges you faced.
Global Grant Interview
Global grants for graduate students studying abroad are one of two types of scholarships funded by the Rotary Foundation and sponsored by local clubs and districts. If you seek a global grant scholarship, your interview questions will cover how the courses you plan to take at a foreign university fit into your career plans and how your chosen career and commitment to that career relate to one of the six Rotary focus areas. Be ready to explain how your volunteer experience and jobs you've held support the focus areas. The interview committee also may want to hear your rationale for choosing people for your letters of recommendation. The interviewers will also ask how you feel about continued involvement with Rotary.
Interview for a District Grant
Rotary clubs and districts support students pursuing vocational, undergraduate or graduate study in the U.S. or internationally with district grants. As a district grant candidate, you should prepare to discuss your educational plans and reasons for wanting to attend a specific school. Expect a request to talk about your involvement in extracurricular activities, and use the opportunity to give examples of your leadership. The interview committee may ask other questions to measure your desire to succeed, such as accomplishments that made you proud or gave you the most satisfaction, where you see yourself in five years and why you chose your future career. They may also ask you to describe experiences you've had that made a difference in your life and to identify your role models. One question likely to be asked -- "What is Rotary to you?" -- reveals whether you share the organization's commitment to "service above self."
Checking Your Ability to Think
Similar to a job interview, a Rotary scholarship interview gives you an opportunity to sell your strengths. One strength Rotarian interviewers look for is your ability to think on your feet and express yourself. You can expect character-related topics such your definition of success, diversity and the "Golden Rule." You also may be asked if you vote, to name the hardest task with which you've dealt or how your friends describe you. How you answer may count as much as what you say.
Your interviewers want to know you as a person, not just what your application tells them about you. Questions about your hobbies, handicaps and personal challenges stemming from a health, economic or family situation give them insight into your personality and determination. Prior to asking if you have questions for them, however, they will pose a final, impression-setting question that merits advance preparation: Why do you believe we should select you for this scholarship?
Trudy Brunot began writing in 1992. Her work has appeared in "Quarterly," "Pennsylvania Health & You," "Constructor" and the "Tribune-Review" newspaper. Her domestic and international experience includes human resources, advertising, marketing, product and retail management positions. She holds a master's degree in international business administration from the University of South Carolina.