Greetings from Kenya. How nice it is for me to be back home. It is so sunny and warm and above all, another chance to spend time with my family and friends. I am so excited, you can imagine.
As promised in my previous blog post, today’s post is dedicated to potential Chevening Scholars who are lucky to have received a green light and now are scheduled to proceed for the actual interview sometime in March. If you are one of them, congratulations! You did well for yourself, so celebrate and then start preparing.
It is important to remember that you are now competing against other candidates in your country. You were picked from a pool of 60,703 applicants. Out of these, there is every possibility that less than 40 candidates will get the Scholarship in Kenya. In 2019, a total of 2,900 Kenyans applied for the Scholarship. Just like in our 2018 cohort, there is every likelihood that 30 or less than 40 candidates will be picked. So now, let’s assume that 100 candidates will be invited for the actual interview. So why should they pick you? I am here to help you ace that interview. Let’s assume you have booked the interview slot and now you are ready to face the panel.
- Practice, Practice, Practice and practice some more, Picture yourself in the interview and try answering a couple of questions. Do this over and over until you feel confident in your sentences and examples. Treat this as a matter of life and your final chance of getting the Scholarship. The level of preparation you put in this, should be directly proportional to how badly you want it. Get someone to carry out a mock interview for you.
- Project yourself as the most qualified candidate. How do you do this? Be confident when answering the interview questions. Anticipate questions and prepare for them, expansively. Do your homework. Go through your essays once more. See that you remember everything you wrote. The interview is largely a chance to expound on your essay submissions. This time they are simply trying to match you against your own written submissions. Can you articulate your ideas? Can you bring your essays into an interview session and justify every word you typed?
- Read and understand everything about the Chevening Scholarship. Understand Chevening expectations of you. One of them includes the fact that Chevening expects you to go back and serve your home country after your one-year sojourn in the UK. So please do not get to the interview room and start painting a picture of your plans to stay in the UK past your studies. Talk to previous Scholars and ask for tips on how to answer interview questions especially those that are country specific.
- Prepare for common interview questions. You know the likes of ‘Tell us about yourself, what are your strengths and weaknesses, demonstrate practical scenarios of your leadership skills, your life projection in the next five years or your plans past your one year in the UK.’
- Dress the part and above all, BE the part. This is an interview so treat it as such. Wear your best suit, if you must. 1st impressions matter. Don’t allow them to judge you based on how you present yourself. If you have a chance to for a handshake, remember to make it firm.
- Finally, be yourself and trust that you will do your best and that your best is good enough. I can imagine how badly you want this opportunity. Please remember, there will only be two outcomes from this interview. It will either be a yes or no. A no at this stage will pinch a lot, but all is not lost. Prepare for both possibilities. Remember, we already established that rejection is only but redirection.
I hope that these six tips will help in preparation for your scheduled interview. I cannot overemphasize the need to master the contents of your essay. I wish you all the best. I will take you through the next steps after your interview. Stay with me in this journey. For those who will be coming to Cardiff, we are already planning for a handing over. It will be nice for us to transfer our belongings and households to the next cohort.
See you again next week, Inshallah. #MyCheveningJourney #IAmChevening