Win Community College Scholarships Using STAR Interviews

by Chad Agrawal

Win Community College ScholarshipsWinning community college scholarships are a great way to start off a community college career.

With the cost of bachelor degree programs consistently rising, community colleges are becoming a popular alternative...

And so are community college scholarships.

More and more community colleges scholarships are increasing in quantity every year.

So there is a lot more opportunity to win scholarships for community college students, but there is more competition at community colleges overall.

This has led to the introduction of interviews for community college scholarships. 

In this post, I'll be explaining one of the most popular interviewing methods and how you can stand out like a "star" at community college.

For basic tips on winning scholarships for community colleges, read this post: 

5 Tips to Help You Win a Community College Scholarship

How to Shine Bright in a STAR Interview

Behavioral interviewing or the STAR interview is a popular technique now being used by interviewers to ascertain how a scholarship candidate responded to a particular situation in the past, and how they are likely to respond to a similar situation in the future.

This interview method is based on the concept that how an individual performed in a comparable situation is the best indicator of how they will perform in the future.

The technique sees the interviewer asking behavior-based questions in a structured manner that is meant to pull from the candidate answers that reveal specific information about what they did in situation X or Y.

To accomplish this, the interviewer will ask specific rather than hypothetical questions.

So let us say for example the interviewer wants to know get from you a concrete example of what you did or will do in given situation, he will not ask "How will you...?" but rather "Describe an instance when you..."

So What is STAR?

STAR is the acronym for:

 * Situation - This refers to the situation you were in.

* Task - The task you had to perform to deal with the situation.

* Action - The action you took to perform the task.

* Result - What were the outcomes that stemmed from your actions.

The common trap interviewees fall in when faced with this technique is that they say too much.

What you actually need to do is to be concise and specific in your answers.

STAR actually serves to break down for you how you can go about answering the questions.

Here are some techniques you can use to ensure you come through the interview with an 'A' mark.

1. Think story

Think of the entire process as a story telling session, only it is not a fictional story, it's your life story that you are sharing to prove your eligibility for a job.

This should help you to relax a bit and gain some confidence.

2. Listen carefully to the questions asked

Behavioral questions tend to be what we advise candidates to avoid making their answers - long-winded and wordy.

The actual question usually comes after what can be a lengthy prompt.

In spite of this, you must listen carefully to the question and answer it concisely.

Do not try to mimic the length of the question to seem intelligent.

3. Make sure you understand the question

We do not think we have to expound on this point very much.

It is plain folly to answer a question you do not understand.

If you are not clear on what was asked, paraphrase and ask the interviewer if you understood him correctly.

Do not, however, do this for every question.

The interviewer may justly question your ability to listen and comprehend.

4. Organize your thoughts and your answer before speaking

Take at least five to eight seconds to collect and structure your thoughts as you formulate and organize your answer.

Aside from coming off as being poised and collected, you will also afford the interviewer a little time to take a sip of water, and glance over his notes.

Remember, though, the pause is more for you than for him and it should not be lengthy.

5. Three minute answer

That's all the time you need for your answer.

State your answer, and respond to any follow-up questions.

Avoid injecting new information as this can cause you to ramble.

Remember that your aim is to be concise. Stick to the plan.

The STAR technique is helpful as it allows you to structure your answer, and deliver information about yourself in an effective and concise manner.

If you stick to this interviewing strategy, you'll have a much better chance at winning community college scholarships and grants that are worth quite a bit of money that you can save on your community college tuition.

To learn more about how you can save on your college education, check out this community college transfer guide.

About The Author

Chris Griffith is a careers advisor with extensive experience with placements in various industries. He enjoys sharing valuable information on various career blogs. Visit Progressive Personnel for more information on career advancement.

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

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