Almost a year ago, I was a ball of nerves. It was the day of my scholarship interview… it was practically an understatement to say that I was not coping well with the pre-interview stress! I had just been excused from my Geography class, after being ushered away with a chorus of ‘good luck’s from my friends. By the time I had approached the administration office, I was breaking into cold sweat. Could I really do it? Was I really deserving enough of 2 years of free schooling? After all, I didn’t think that I had made many extraordinary achievements in my nine years of studying Tenby.
To make matters worse, I was the first to be interviewed on the first day. After a couple breaths, I stepped inside the conference room. I was met with the faces of my fate, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Ison, and Mr. Temple. My heart began hammering in my chest, as I greeted the three of them eagerly. After I sat into the chair and calmed myself down, my fear seemed to melt off my chest. The rest of the interview passed by smoothly and there were a few laughs exchanged here and there. I swear, I felt myself release a huge breath of relief after I left the conference room! The only thing I could do next was hope…
Hi, I’m Oh WenXuan. Many of you readers might not know me, but I’m currently Year 11 and I’m proud to say that this is my eleventh year studying in Tenby SEP. The paragraphs above were a recount of a scholarship interview I went for in Year Nine. Luckily enough, I got the scholarship. I nearly screamed in delight when I received the email saying that I had received a 100% scholarship from the school!
Many people have asked me for tips for a scholarship interview and how to prepare for one, so I’ve decided to condense this down into a few paragraphs of tips and tricks.
1. Join as many extra-curricular activities as possible.
Contradictory to what most Asian parents might think, academics are not everything. Even if you have a track record of straight As for your whole schooling life, what everyone really looks for are your contributions in both inside-school and outside-school activities.
I would recommend joining a range of extra-curricular activities. For myself, I took part in MUN conferences and the MUN CCA, the Tae-Kwon-Do CCA, and had joined many writing competitions in the past.
2. Of course, get good academic results.
Unless you’re applying for the “special talents” scholarship, I’ll have to be honest and say that the academic excellence scholarship requires…well, academic excellence. It’s important to get consistently good results for all your subjects, even the ones you dislike.
I highly recommend making notes in advance and studying for tests. Time management is a good trait that many top students have. It’s important to make use of your student planner or purchase a calendar or bullet journal to plan out your work daily.
3. Keep your goals in mind.
Always ask yourself this: “Why do I want this scholarship? Why do I deserve it?”. When speaking, you have to speak with passion for what you believe in. If you answer your questions honestly and enthusiastically, you have a much higher chance of receiving the scholarship compared to another candidate who just memorized answers for generic interview questions on the Internet.
4. Be confident.
In both the interview process and the application process, it is important to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Especially when writing a personal statement, do not afraid to be boast about your plethora of achievements. However, don’t put others down when complimenting yourself. Being a potential model student, it’s important to display qualities of emotional intelligence, leadership skills and co-operation.
During the interview process, you have to be articulated and well-enunciated. Answer the interviewers’ questions with thoughtful answers. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep.
5. Have a positive attitude.
Attitude is everything. Remember, the school not only looks at academic results but your A2Ls. Furthermore, they may even ask your teachers for recommendations. If you want to get a good recommendation, never get on their bad side! Always ask intelligent questions during class, display quality work and results, and always finish your homework on time.
6. Don’t stress it.
If you don’t get a scholarship this time, don’t be demotivated. There will always be other opportunities for you. Just because you didn’t make the cut for Tenby’s scholarship award doesn’t mean that you won’t become ASEAN’s next top scholar, or go to Harvard in the future.
Instead, focus on how you can improve yourself and make yourself a better potential candidate. The majority of interviewers prefer articulate and confident candidates instead of a nervous and stuttering ones.
If you’re considering applying for the Tenby Scholarship, best of luck. Just remember to:
Join as many extracurricular activities as possible.
Get good academic results.
Keep your goals in mind.
Have a positive attitude
Following these tips, you should be a confident and excellent candidate for this award. And during the interview, you’ll realize that the teachers aren’t as scary as they look (sorry Mr. Ison, but you really did look scary to me).
So, go ahead, join those extracurricular activities, score those good grades, and good luck!