Interviews

Depending on the award and its process you may or may not need to interview with the foundation selection committee to progress in the process and be selected. If interviews are required the following information will be important to consider. The Committee on Fellowships conducts interviews during Mount Holyoke’s internal competitions for certain Nomination/Endorsement Awards.

Before the Interview

  • Most interview questions will be based on your application, so prepare by re-reading it critically and anticipating questions.
  • Prepare an opening and closing remark. Generally, the first question is “tell us a little about yourself” and the last is “do you have anything to add?”
  • Practice interviewing! The CDC offers both mock interview practice sessions, which can be videotaped by appointment, and workshops on interviewing techniques.
  • Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities but also try talking to yourself in the mirror and practicing with friends.
  • Prepare a list of every question you can think of that is related to the scholarship. If it is named after someone, for example, Morris K. Udall, know who that person is and why the award is named for the person. 
  • Expect to be asked about anything unusual in your background, gaps in your record, or contradictions in your application.
  • Depending on the award/program, you may also be asked about current issues in the news or schools of thought in your field.
  • Think about how you will present yourself. Dress neatly and appropriately.

During the Interview - General Tips

  • You may wish to arrange for a mock interview through the Career Development Center whereupon your interview will be critiqued.
  • Be yourself but be your most articulate self! The committee wants to know more about you and who you really are.
  • Try to relax and enjoy the interview. This is your opportunity to show how wonderful you truly are. Think of it as a discussion.
  • Interviewers may ask you questions that have nothing to do with what you’ve prepared or are contrary to your views with the sole purpose of seeing how you react.
  • Remember to remain calm, pause, and breathe!
  • Don’t talk too much or rush to answer a question; it’s better to pause to collect your thoughts than to reel off a disorganized reply.
  • Avoid one-word answers; if it’s a “yes or no” question, add an explanation. If you can’t come up with a reasonable answer at all, it’s better to say you don’t know than to ramble.
  • After you’ve answered a question, sit quietly and wait for the next one. Interviewers typically appreciate complete and concise answers.
  • Be sure to establish eye contact, think about posture and body language, use the interviewers names if you remember them, and keep a sense humor.