Making a Good Impression

photo of happy african american male student

Most scholarships require that you complete an application and some may require an interview with a scholarship administrator or selection committee. Here are some suggestions to help you put your best foot forward.

The Application


Take your time.
Give the application the time and attention it deserves.

Proofread. Be sure to check and re-check spelling. Ask another person to proofread your completed application as a final step.

Be honest. On scholarship applications you often are asked to write about yourself. Be honest and accurate. Highlight your skills and strengths without embellishing or being boastful.

Get good recommendations. It may seem obvious, but make sure you get recommendations from people who know you well and can help you shine!

Beat all deadlines. Don’t just meet application deadlines — beat them! It’s up to you to make sure your application is complete and that it’s done on time. Check with the sponsoring organization before the deadline to be sure they have everything they need. Follow up with the people who are writing recommendations to be sure they have submitted them.

Take notes. Keep a list of the scholarship applications you submit, including notes regarding deadlines, requirements and responses.

The Interview


Dress appropriately.
A scholarship interview is very similar to a job interview — dress carefully.

Be on time. Know where you need to go and when you need to be there. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions, information about where to park, or the person you should ask for when you arrive for your interview.

Introduce yourself. Smile and use a firm handshake with the interviewer.

Be prepared. Know the scholarship criteria and be ready to talk about how you meet the criteria. You’ll probably be asked about your college and career goals. If financial need must be demonstrated, be prepared to talk about your financial situation.

Listen to questions carefully. It’s okay to take a moment to think before answering a question, and it’s okay to say “I don’t know” if you don’t know.

Speak clearly. Use a speaking voice that can be easily heard.

Don’t assume anything. Answer questions as though the interviewer has no knowledge about you or your background. Don’t leave out important details.

Relax. The interviewer is on your side and wants you to succeed!

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