THE SCHOLARSHIP INTERVIEW
There are two types of financial aid. The first is need-based aid, which is given to a student whose family is unable to pay the entire tuition based on need. This is difficult for schools to calculate because of the paperwork involved. The second are scholarships which students earn because they are meritorious in one way or another. Scholarships are given for academic or testing excellence, athletic or artistic ability, or commitment to service. In addition, because many schools are anxious to have Vietnamese students, they will sometimes show preference to students from Vietnam when giving aid. Scholarships are limited so that is why it is imperative that you make the best impression on the interviewer.
First, you should know the lay of the land.
1.Some schools, many of the most selective, will give no financial aid to international students, so if you need financial aid, you should strike these schools from your list.
2.Some schools will only give need-based aid. Because the amount they have to offer students is limited, you must start this process early. Because money is limited, you will most likely be asked to make a positive impression during an interview.
3.Schools that offer merit-based scholarships will probably require an interview, either in person or through SKYPE or ZOOM.
When I was a head of school, visiting Vietnam starting in 2009, I was hoping to find a few students that would make a positive impact on my school. Because my knowledge of the Vietnamese schools was limited, I based my decisions on who to offer scholarships to on the quality of the interview. Students who have an effusive personality have an advantage, but the better prepared you are, the better chance you will earn financial aid, either need or merit based.
Some things to consider:
1. Relax and be yourself
2. Be on time for the interview. Tardiness leaves a bad impression.
3. Be dressed appropriately.
4. Research the school. Make sure you are an expert on the school you are considering. This will help you to tailor your responses to fit what the school is looking for and will allow you to ask good questions. Go into the interview with a few questions prepared for the interviewer.
5. Be prepared for typical questions that you think the interviewer will ask, such as: favorite teacher and why, favorite class, a difficult problem that you have had to overcome, what career do you wish to pursue, an activity that you love, etc.
When asked what accomplishment she was most proud of, a student said:
She had recorded over a thousand hours in volunteering since entering school. One time she passed up a vacation with her family who went on a trip to Cancun in Mexico to serve with a group from her church which was going to Haiti to help them rebuild after a devastating flood.
Another student when asked about his most enlightening trip said that he spent a summer of study in Chicago at the Art Institute, from his home in Shanghai, to improve his art skills and to foster his love of the creative process. This was the first time he had ever been away from home.
( this is one you may not want to include)
When asked what the most transformative experience she had ever had, she said the when she was twelve on the way to the bus, she saw her beloved older sister hit and killed by a car. At that point, she approached her life with more determination to succeed in honor of her sister.
6. Don’t be afraid to inquire about your chances for a scholarship. By bringing along a copy of your high school transcript and by giving an admissions counselor an accurate description of your academic strengths, an admissions counselor will be able to give you a general idea about your chances and ways to improve your chances, if necessary. However, an admissions counselor cannot give you a definite answer until you have applied and submitted all the information required. And don’t forget, the quality of the applicant pool often plays a large part in whether or not a student will be competitive for a scholarship to a particular prep school.
7. If you are creative, don’t hesitate to bring along a piece of artwork you are proud of.
8. Don't hesitate to “brag” about yourself. Make sure the interviewer realizes the strengths you will bring to his or her school.
9. Practice with a member of the Capstone staff.
Remember after the interview to follow up with the interviewer. Send him or her an email thanking him or her for the time spent with you. Perhaps even craft a couple follow-up questions. It is important to keep in touch with the school representative because they probably have interviewed several candidates for the scholarship. Do not hesitate to “think up” additional questions that you want to ask during the weeks after the interview.
You should show interest in the schools with which you are smitten, but don’t put your eggs in a single basket. Keep your options open. Remember, you are beholden to the school to award you a scholarship.
2 Le Quy Don St., Hai Ba Trung Dist.
Tel: +8424 3938 8455
Hotline: +84936 701 696
Ho Chi Minh City Office
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Tel: +8428 3848 2628
Hotline: +84966 703 162