“Interviews are conversations, not interrogations,” my teacher used to say. He was definitely right: a good interview is a two-way street, where both parties learn more about each other.
A scholarship interview is no different. The same way the sponsoring organisation wants to learn about you, you also should want to learn about them. Nothing screams “I just want someone to pay for my degree” louder than an interviewee who has nothing to ask – it communicates that the person has no interest in the organisation beyond its monetary offerings.
Well then, what sort of questions should you be asking to show your commitment and interest? If you’re stumped, you can’t go wrong with these three:
1. How does your organisation make an impact on Singapore/the world?
You want to be part of a cause you believe in when you graduate. This question indicates that dedication to finding something that fits with your ideals and dreams. Essentially, it assesses the “fit” between yourself and the organisation – is their mission one and the same as your passions?
2. What are you expecting from a scholar with your organisation?
This question shows that you’re not in it for yourself, you are actively looking at how to contribute. Based on the interviewer’s reply, you can frame how you can live up to – and exceed – their expectations of scholars. This makes it a good way to show your unique abilities and how they could be nurtured by the scholarship… and subsequently give back to the sponsoring organisation when you work there.
3. Where do you see your sector/organisation moving forward?
Always look beyond the near future of your degree completion. Where is the sector as a whole heading? What innovations and technological developments are in store? And once you find out, you can then ask yourself: do you want to be part of them?
More than once, a candidate has found that their plans for the future and the organisation’s simply don’t match. Then, they can part ways at this stage without regrets on either side. A scholarship is a big commitment – so ask away during the interview to find something that truly suits you!