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Coaching daughter for scholarship interview - tips?

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Replies to: Coaching daughter for scholarship interview - tips?

  • pumpkin65pumpkin65 Registered User Posts: 361 Member
    edited March 2015
    Thanks everyone...I don't plan to overdo this...I just want to do some common sense preparation. The stakes are pretty high, a full scholarship would be nice.

    I think who she is will shine through. She is naturally fairly articulate - though she can be snarky, I think that's reserved for me and I've never seen it come out with another adult. I've stayed completely out of her academic life, and have had a rather hands off approach to her college search and selection. Definitely not going to over-helicopter this one, perhaps more of a stealth submarine approach.

    Preparation soothes anxiety also. She and I are alike in this way, and I want her to be at ease as much as possible.
  • rhandcorhandco Registered User Posts: 4,292 Senior Member
    FWIW, I write up about a page or two double-spaced based on a 30-minute alumni interview. I can only hope that someone interviewing for a high dollar value scholarship would do the same and not distill a candidate down to a "Twitter length" line of text.
  • SomeOldGuySomeOldGuy Registered User Posts: 1,986 Senior Member
    That may be true for scholarship interviews, but I think that when a large batch of files are presented to the admissions committee it would be unusual for an AO to take more than 30 seconds to summarize it to kick off the discussion. That's the way I framed it for my kid to consider.
  • BarflyBarfly Registered User Posts: 1,456 Senior Member
    Hey, @JustOneDad, sorry. Thought we were on the same page - didn't mean to tick you off.

    I think listing possible questions for your child to consider is not the same as telling the student how to answer. I also think that teaching your child to not say anything critical in an interview is appropriate parenting. Some kids don't know this. In fact, I've interviewed several adults who didn't know this basic etiquette and bad mouthed their past or current employer. So I think it's a good lesson to teach your kid prior to an interview. For example, don't say negative things about your music teacher in an interview for a music scholarship. Is there some reason that you would not teach this to your child?

    So, FWIW to the OP, what we did was help where needed to be sure our kids had an appropriate wardrobe selected, and knew how to enter an interview with a smile and an introduction and a firm handshake. We discussed possible questions so that our kids could consider how they would answer. Sure, they may be caught off guard with a wacky question. That happens. But on the other hand, the fact that they had considered some common questions made them more confident, then when the interviewer asks "What is your best trait", they are ready to discuss it because they had considered it. Of course, if it turns out to just be a chatty discussion, and no tough questions are asked, then great! And perhaps some of the prep will come in handy in a future interview.

    We also suggested to them to just enjoy the visit and have fun. We talked about how it would be a great learning experience and great interviewing practice regardless of the outcome. We talked about how you never know exactly what an interviewer is looking for, so you might as well assume he/she is looking for YOU. Be yourself (although, obviously, in my opinion, it's best to be your PREPARED self!)

    In the most recent scholarship interview one of my kids had, he was asked what his biggest disappointment was, and he had most likely never considered that exact question, but he felt he gave a good answer. He was also asked what his biggest flaw was, and he was really glad he had already considered that one and knew how to answer.

    Good Luck to your daughter, @pumpkin65!
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,519 Forum Champion
    I agree that looking at some standard interview questions is helpful as is preparing a few questions about the school that she can ask about. Firm handshake is good advice as well. Most important thing is to be herself, let her interest in the school shine through and make sure they know that while she appreciates the scholarship she was already awarded, that having this scholarship will make a difference in her final decision.

    One additional suggestion.............when my D went to interviews, she brought a couple of copies of her resume in a folder with her. If your D has one prepared, I'd have her bring it and offer it to the person conducting the interview. My D felt that having the resume allowed for a better conversation as the interviewer could target questions to her interests/activities and she could talk about things she was very comfortable with.
  • PosAttitudePosAttitude Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    Not sure if these are tips, watchouts, or just advice based on my experience as an interviewer... but I hope this is helpful. IMO, there are interviewers who want to extract new, differentiating information and interviewers who want to gauge the "fit" more subjectively. The best try to do both. I agree that eye contact, a big smile, and a confident handshake make a great first impression. So does body language. Don't slump in your chair or look/act lethargic; sit on the edge of your seat, be attentive and alert, and let your body language communicate your enthusiastic interest. Then, listen. It is at least as important to get an accurate read on what each question is really asking as it is to jump in and answer. Don't be afraid to say, "That's a great question" and take a minute to compose your thoughts. Even ask for clarification (e.g. "Are you wanting to hear more about my internship responsibilities or what I learned from the experience?"). At the end of the interview, ask "Have I answered all your questions completely?" and wait for confirmation. Then, finish as strong as you started -- with a big smile, firm handshake, and sincere "thank you for this opportunity." If it feels right, consider adding, "I'm even more excited about my future here than I was before this interview." If you mean it and they can tell, it could well clinch the offer.

    Good luck!
  • pumpkin65pumpkin65 Registered User Posts: 361 Member
    Thanks for all the great info everyone. I knew this was the place to go...haven't been here in long time and have missed it.
  • JustOneDadJustOneDad Registered User Posts: 5,845 Senior Member
    Barfly wrote:
    Hey, @JustOneDad, sorry. Thought we were on the same page - didn't mean to tick you off.
    I wasn't too worried about it. I was just explaining my rationale, but thank you for taking the time to check on it!
  • DiffMomDiffMom Registered User Posts: 161 Junior Member
    What is your favorite book? Why?
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