Chevening Scholarship (The Interview Stage)

Updates:The Chevening Scholarship interviews in 2020 are postponed and nearly all of them are moved online due to coronavirus:

Nonetheless, I hope my past experience can give you some ideas on how to better prepare for interviews.

*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Chevening Scholarship.*

Stage 0: When you received the interview invitation letter

Congratulations! You are one step closer to the Chevening community.

To start with, remember to submit related materials before the deadline (e.g. recommendation letter, self-introduction for website use, upload university offer letter if you have any).

Then you can choose a time slot (which may be on a first-come-first-served basis). Each candidate may have 3–4 weeks to prepare for interviews.

It seems to be a long time but I recommend you start the preparation right after you received the notification.

Stage 1: Prepare for interviews
How’s the interview like?

  • It is a 20–30min interview in English.
  • Normally there are three interviewers (e.g. Chevening officer, an employee from the British Council, a professional with similar academic/work background as you)
  • The three interviewers have different roles in the interview. Some may ask you standardised questions, some may ask follow-up questions, some may ask you challenging questions
  • Dress code: Business Formal/ Smart Casual

Warm reminders

  • To provide consistent answers, try to remember every sentence/ case examples you have mentioned in the essay questions. The interviewers will print out your application form and may ask you in detail.
  • Have a thorough understanding of recent news in your area/ the UK
  • Remember your course preferences. You can change your preference during the interview but with sufficient reasons
  • Improve your hard knowledge (e.g. those related to your course, your profession)
  • Improve your soft skills (e.g. interview skills, emotional intelligence)
  • Consolidate all your research notes into one file for easy editing

Tools for better preparation

  • Mindmap
  • STAR techniques (Situation, Tasks, Action, Result)

Examples of questions

  • Self-introduction
  • Your brief working history + major accomplishment
  • Why do you choose Chevening?
  • Why you? ( = Why should we select you?)
  • Strengths/ weaknesses
  • Leadership and influence, networking (e.g. Your definition, personal experience, role model/ examples, what can you contribute, how do you connect with alumni)
  • Study in the UK, career plan (e.g. Status of your application, why this major of studies, why the UK, potential difficulties, UK culture your plan after the course, your contribution and how to benefit the UK/ your region)
  • Current news
  • Your understanding of the Chevening Scholarship
  • “This is the end of the interview. Any questions?”

Tips on improving your soft skills

  • Visualise the best and worse scenarios during interviews
  • Let them feel your passion
  • Persuasion and influence
  • Keep telling yourself: “I am the expert!”, “Connect with them!”, “Tell them about my feelings!”

Stage 2: On the interview day

  1. Bring your ID, print out interview notifications, bring recommendation letters (not compulsory)
  2. Arrive at the consulate 15 minutes before the interview (I arrived half an hour earlier)
  3. Inform the security guard that you are here for the Chevening Scholarship interview
  4. Conduct a security check
  5. Enter the lobby (Inform the reception that you are here for the Chevening Scholarship interview and they will inform the relevant person)
  6. Sit down and wait
  7. Someone may take you to the interview room (he/she may be one of the interviewers!)
  8. Take a deep breath before entering the interview room. Tell yourself: You can do it!
  9. Interview start
  10. After the interview, the interviewer will give you a notice (or remind you to check your email) to inform you of the next stage
  11. Remember to thank the interviewer before leaving
  12. One of the interviewers will lead you to the back to the lobby (He/she may chat with you a bit. Be cautious about your answer as the interview has not ended until you left the consulate.)

How’s the setting is like?

  • One desk, three chairs
  • You will probably be facing three interviewers
  • You will have a glass of water

Warm reminder

  • Remember to fully utilise your body language
  • Don’t be surprised if you find some interviewers may be busy taking notes/ have no facial expression
  • Drink some water when you feel nervous

Stage 3: After the interview

  • Write down and reflect on the experience
  • Keep updating your application info onto the platform
  • If you already have a university offer while they request a deposit. You can send them the info to certify you are applying for the scholarship to defer/ waive the payment
  • Apply for IELTS if you haven’t yet to
  • Back to normal life, don’t overthink

All the best!

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Sustainable Finance Practitioner from Hong Kong. Enjoy writing about sustainability and personal development.// contact.winniechung@gmail.com

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Winnie Chung

Winnie Chung

Sustainable Finance Practitioner from Hong Kong. Enjoy writing about sustainability and personal development.// contact.winniechung@gmail.com

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