Will My Son Be A “Show Off” At A Scholarship Interview?

Hi! My son is a year high school old senior. He has been invited to a “scholar’s day” event this weekend at a college where he has been accepted. He has been offered a partial scholarship. They will be conducting interviews with small groups of students. From these interviews, certain students will be selected to receive larger scholarships.

I am not sure what they are looking for in this interview. He is not the type to brag about his accomplishments. He will graduated at age 16 and is not only an honor student, but a talented musician, performing in many extracurricular events and groups. Should he tell them all these things or will he seem like a show-off? -Debbie

Hello, Debbie, and thanks for stopping by.  It sounds like congratulations are in order for raising a bright, but humble kid!

That said, if there was ever a time to toot your own horn, that time would be in college interviews, scholarship interviews and job interviews.   It may seem unnatural to someone who is used to being humble, but it’s your one chance to get it all out there.  You can bet the farm that each and every one of the other applicants/group members will be singing their own praises.  Who are going to pick if you are the interviewer – the kid telling you how much he can do for you or your school, or the wallflower who has some good numbers on paper, but may fade into the background?

Now, that has to be done with some class as well.  No one likes a braggart, and there is a fine line between popping off at the mouth like you are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and tactfully describing why you would be a good fit for their school/scholarship/job.  He should be confident, not cocky.  He shouldn’t go in there bragging about being the best at this or that, but instead matter-of-factly stating what his accomplishment are and, more importantly in my opinion, what his passions are.  Every member of the group members will be smart and accomplished, but how many will really let their passions come through?  Those are the ones that will be remembered.

What do you think?  Would Debbie’s son be mistaken not to boast a little about his accomplishments, or should be lay low and let the numbers do the talking?

1 thought on “Will My Son Be A “Show Off” At A Scholarship Interview?”

  1. I distinctly remember my first college admissions one-on-one when the rep said to me, “Be your own cheerleader.” I was obviously nervous, and only 15 at the time, and the admissions officer wanted me to break past the shyness and open up. “You’ve probably spent most of your life around people who know you and your family, and expected certain things from you. I don’t know you at all. I just know your grades. You can remain just a piece of paper to me. Or you can be your own cheerleader in my office, because no one else will.” And 25 years later I am telling my own daughters the same thing!

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