Prepare for the bursary interview

If your application for a bursary meets the criteria required by the bursary funder, you could be invited to an interview. Do not miss this opportunity. If you do, you will have very little chance of being awarded the bursary.
You will be advised when they plan to interview you. You must contact them and accept the interview date, or request a date and time that is suitable for you.

This is the last step in getting a bursary. If this is your first interview, you will probably be nervous. The interviewer will help to put you at ease. It is very important to prepare for your interview. If you are prepared, you will feel more confident.

  • Before the interview, find out as much as you can about the company offering the bursary.

  • Have a good understanding of the career field in which you are applying for assistance.

  • Make sure you know the time and place of the interview. Allow yourself plenty of time to get there and relax before you are called in.

  • Never arrive late for an interview. You should look neat and tidy for your interview.

  • When you are asked to come into the interview room, you must be ready to shake hands with the people in the room.

  • Often more than one person will interview you. Be prepared for this.

  • Try not to be nervous—answer the questions in a confident and friendly manner.

  • Concentrate on the questions. If you do not understand a question, say so and ask for it to be repeated.

  • When you respond to a question, look the person in the eye and answer the question fully.

  • Don’t smoke during the interview.

Types of financial aid to study

  • Financial assistance is awarded according to the level of a student’s needs, taking into account the family’s financial circumstances. A financial aid package is often part loan and part bursary. The loan is usually repayable.

  • Scholarships are not normally repayable and usually have no employment conditions attached. The award of a scholarship is normally based on outstanding academic achievement, such as distinctions in matric or first-class passes at university.

  • Bursaries are awarded according to criteria, such as academic merit or financial need. Some bursaries have conditions attached to them, such as working for the donor organisation for a specified period after graduation.

The application form
Filling in an application form is the most important part of the process—your application form gives the first impression of you.

  • If you do not understand ­anything, ask for assistance.

  • Print neatly on your form. The people who select bursars receive hundreds of applications, so submit a legible application form.

  • Ensure that your application form is kept in good condition. A crumpled or dirty form will create a very bad first impression.

  • Companies or organisations that offer bursaries ask questions because they need certain information, so answer all the questions.

  • Always tell the truth. The people who will assess your application are experienced in selecting candidates for bursaries and will be able to tell if someone is giving them false information.

  • Watch for closing dates.

  • If you post your application form, send it by registered mail so that you have proof of the date that you posted it.

  • You must want to study for the bursary that you are applying for. It is no good applying for an engineering bursary if you want to become an accountant.

Information is adapted from the 2011 edition of The Bursary Register. For details, call 011 672 6559 or email

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