A few months ago, I was invited by Peking University, one of the top universities in China to deliver a workshop on how to win scholarships to study in the United States.
I titled the workshop “How to Win over $200K in Scholarships” and delivered it to 50 of the most talented students in China that are interested in pursuing higher education in the US.
But to my surprise, these students were just as interested in learning how to win $200K in scholarships as they were to learn how to deliver a killer self-introduction at the beginning of a scholarship interview.
What I didn’t realize was that not all students are comfortable talking about themselves. Students that are naturally shy, introverted, or self-conscious can really struggle to present themselves in a scholarship setting.
So for all those students out there, here are 3 tips on how to deliver a killer self-intro.
When the interviewer starts off the interview by asking you to tell them a little bit about yourself, give them a self-introduction that is relevant to the scholarship.
As much as you probably want to share stories about your favorite hobbies and where you’re from, the interviewer is likely to be more interested to find out if you’re a good fit for their scholarship.
You can help make their job easier by giving them a compelling reason why you’re a good candidate for their scholarship right at the beginning of the interview.
As much as you want to pitch yourself to the interviewer, make sure that you still stay authentic and true to yourself. Interviewers are actively looking for a candidate that fits all the characteristics they are looking for, but they don’t want someone that just checks all the boxes.
They want to find someone that they can connect with and enjoy getting to know.
So no matter how insecure or self-conscious you feel about yourself, let your personality shine and let the interviewer see a glimpse of who you really are.
Finally, make sure that you try your best to tailor your self-introduction to your audience. So for example, if the scholarship is about diversity, see if you can put a spin on your own story so it is better aligned with what the interviewer is looking for.
Self-Introduction: Hi everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here. My name is Leslie and I consider myself to be a student with many diverse identities.
Not only am I American, but I’m also Asian American, Chinese American, Taiwanese American, and Cantonese American. I have rich cultural experiences all over Asia and can’t wait to help increase the representation of these cultural identities on campus.
Self-Introduction: Hello everyone! My name is Leslie and I am extremely passionate about supporting young women pursue careers in underrepresented fields because I know exactly how it feels like to be underrepresented.
Not only am I the first woman in my family to attend college, but I am also the first woman to ever win a scholarship, the first woman to ever travel to Europe, and the first woman to be able to pursue a career of her own choice.
Because of that, I was immediately drawn to your scholarship and can’t wait to learn more about how I can help further the same mission.
First Generation Scholarship
Self-Introduction: Hi everyone! I’m Leslie and I’m the daughter of two immigrant parents, one of whom was a refugee from the Vietnam War. Both of my parents have dreamed their entire lives of being able to attend university but were never afforded the opportunity.
Because of that, I don’t take this scholarship opportunity or a college career lightly. I know that I’m not only in pursuit of my own dreams but I am also carrying the dreams of my family.
International Affairs Scholarship
Self-Introduction: Good morning everyone! My name is Leslie and I often feel like I was born to be in cultural diplomacy. Not only is my mom from Taiwan and my dad from Hong Kong, but I also have family ties and lived experiences in Mainland China, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan.
To keep up with all of that, I became trilingual at the age of 13 and have dreamed of becoming an American diplomat ever since. So I feel right at home when I first heard about your scholarship.
Self-Introduction: Good afternoon everyone! I’m Leslie and I’m delighted to have a chance to meet with so many other global leaders. In many ways, I feel like I became a global citizen from the day I was born.
Not only was is my mom from Taiwan and my dad from Hong Kong, but I also have family ties and lived experiences in Mainland China, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan.
But the more I study abroad and the more languages I learn is the more I realize just how diverse leadership styles can be around the world and that there rarely is a one-size-fits-all approach to effective leadership.
So I look forward to learning more from all of you about leadership and am also excited to share my own thoughts on global leadership.
For all the students out there that are uncomfortable speaking up about themselves, just remember it’s all about practice. You can train yourself to be comfortable with and proficient in anything with just deliberate practice. You can do it!
And if you need any additional support, make sure you send me your questions or comments. I will try my best to get back to you as soon as possible!
Catch you next time! Cheers!