As you prepare to interview for a scholarship toward your health degree, you may be feeling a bit awkward. After all, you’re basically asking complete strangers to give you lots and lots of cash.
But the key to a successful scholarship interview – or any kind of interview, really – is to look at things from your interviewer’s point of view. They see you as a young student with lots of potential who could one day do great things for the health field that they themselves love. They want to help you out, financially and otherwise – as long as you’re the person they’re looking for.
Don’t worry too much, though. For one thing, they already think highly of you if you’ve made it to the interview stage. You look good on paper; now, you have to show them that you’re good in person, as well.
To be “the right person,” you have to become your past accomplishments and future goals. You should be able to talk about your professional life in a professional yet comfortable manner. The best way to do this is to practice talking about yourself so that you come to internalize your health career goals.
There are a handful of questions that are almost always asked on an interview for a health degree scholarship, and they’re not very tricky. You will likely be asked about your career goals, your short-term and long-term career plans, and your greatest strengths and weaknesses. You may be asked about your leadership or volunteer experiences, or situations where you made a mistake or where you did something exceptionally well.
One important answer to have ready is why you think you would be a good candidate for this particular health degree scholarship. This answer requires research into the scholarship program. Find out about the mission of the scholarship, who founded it and why, and look at yourself from your interviewer’s perspective again. Pick out two or three unique characteristics from your professional or personal life that match the objectives of the program.
Whatever you’re talking about, it’s important to make yourself stand out. Try to avoid talking about how much you care about people’s health, or how you want to save lives, or other generalizations. Instead, talk about specific unique experiences that show, in and of themselves, that you feel strongly about helping people. Also, try to make a connection: look your interviewer in the eye, and smile when they’re talking to you (at least some of the time).
What happens if you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, or your mind just goes completely blank? Although you may be freaking out on the inside, you must stay calm on the outside. Don’t say “um” 10 times or laugh awkwardly. Instead, wait a few seconds in silence, put a thoughtful (not distressed) look on your face, and calmly tell the interviewer that you really can’t think of an answer at the moment. You might apologize once, but don’t keep repeating “I’m sorry.”
Above all, remember that the health degree scholarship program wants to help students like you. You just need to be grateful, humble, confident, and a pleasure to talk to. And be sure to say thank you on your way out.