Tell Me Something About Yourself Sample Essay For Scholarship

“Tell me about yourself” interview samples

September 23, 2006 at 5:55 amDee

Posted by Dee

It occurred to me yesterday that when I gave guidelines for responding to the quintessential interview question of “tell me about yourself” I failed to actually give an example of the answering strategy put into action.

So, here are three different examples of how to answer the query.

Model 1: Activity-geared answer

(This would be for students who participated in some really unique extracurricular activities that they’d like to focus their interview on.)

Interviewer: So, Dee, tell me about yourself.

Dee: Well, just to start off generally, I’m a senior at Somewhere High School, and in addition to academics, throughout high school I was really involved in three (or two) activities that I really enjoy and spend a lot of time on. First, I am really involved in music. I played the tuba in our high school band, and by senior year, now I’m drum major. Second, I’m really active with local politics. I interned for our state’s senator whose offices are located in my city, and I learned so much researching issues for the campaign. Also, I’m an avid soccer player. I’ve been playing since I was five, and I was really excited when I was voted team captain of our club team last year.

Interviewer: Oh, that’s great. Tell me more about being drum major. What does that involve…?

Other follow-up questions to expect:

What does being a drum major involve? What are your responsibilities? What’s your leadership style? What campaign issues did you research? What was the most interesting learning experience you had while working for the state senator? What surprised you about politics during your internship? How do you as soccer team captain handle a loss? How do you motivate your team?

Model 2: Personal traits answer

(This would be for students who want to be really general about themselves.)

Interviewer: So, Dee, tell me about yourself.

Dee: Sure. Well, I’m now a senior at Somewhere High School. I’m a really energetic person whose a real self-starter. What I mean by self-starter is that in the past I’ve loved being independent and taking on new projects and developing my fresh ideas. For example, last year I started an Internet-based company that sells cookie recipes and the site has increased in traffic by 20% since three months ago. But, sometimes I’m also more introverted too, and enjoy just reading and writing, and painting as well.

Follow-up questions to expect:

Tell me about your company? What has been your biggest success thus far? Your biggest failure? What did you learn from that? What are your goals for the future with your business? Do you see yourself continuing with that through college? What’s your favorite book, and why? What style or what genre or what form of writing do you do? What do you paint? Do you take classes or are you self-taught? What piece of work are you most proud of?

Model 3: Background information answer

(This would be for students who have particularly interesting personal or family backgrounds.)

Interviewer: So, Dee, tell me about yourself.

Dee: I just started my senior year at Somewhere High School. Actually though, I wasn’t always in standard schools. When I was younger, my mom was in the military so I spent most of my childhood on military bases going to school with other military kids. It was a really interesting way to grow up because we were moving around a lot, so it was really new and exciting for me to start school at sort of a standard, American high school. My mom was actually inspired to join the military because of her father, who was a general. And, by seeing my mom work in so many different countries, she’s really inspired me in what I want to study in college too.

Follow-up questions to expect:

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome? What skills or qualities did you gain from your experiences? How have you learned from that experience? How has your experience shaped who you are today and what goals you have for the future? Who’s your role model? What’s your family’s background?

Note that these CAN and should be tweaked to fit your own personal needs. These are just the samples for the three styles that I think are best to answer the quintessential “tell me about yourself” question. For more about this interview-starter, refer to the post, “Ah, the quintessential ‘tell me about yourself.'”

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Entry filed under: Athletics, Band, Books, Business, High school, Interview questions, Interviews, Leadership, Military, Reading, Sports, Tips/Tricks, Writing.

By the way, Cornell’s thinking about joining Princeton & Harvard tooLearn to like reply cards

You’ve probably heard a great deal about the admissions interview, including various perspectives on its relative importance as part of your college application. It’s a good idea to look into interview options at the colleges on your list, because not only does it provide a good opportunity for the admissions committee to learn more about you as a person, but it also gives you a chance to learn more about the school itself.


Once you’ve scheduled an alumni or on-campus interview with a college, how do you prepare? While you have no way of knowing exactly what an interviewer will ask, you can — and should — expect and be prepared for certain types of questions.

At CollegeVine, we specialize in guiding students through the admissions process, including holding mock interviews with tons of practice questions to be as prepared as possible. Learn more about how our College Applications program can help you ace your interview. 


Starting the Interview: What your Interviewer Wants to Know

The interviewer will most likely begin with some form of the question, “Tell me about yourself.” While this may seem like a fairly open-ended prompt, and perhaps even a bit daunting, there are certain ways to answer effectively, as well as topics to avoid.


Setting the Tone

You should see the “tell me about yourself” prompt as an opportunity to show the interviewer your most important qualities and describe what you can contribute to the school community. Just as with any interview you will have over the course of your career, college years and beyond, this prompt is meant to give the interviewer an idea of what qualities you offer that are relevant to the position at hand — in this case, as a member of that college’s matriculating class.


Because this may well be the interviewer’s first question, it will set the tone for the rest of the interview, so be ready with a strong, but not overly rehearsed, answer. Keep in mind that this is not an invitation to share your life story or overly personal information with your interviewer; doing so will make you appear unprofessional and unprepared.


Topics to Cover

In general, it is a good idea to begin by mentioning the area in which you grew up. Don’t spend too much time discussing the intricacies of your hometown and home life, but mention if you’ve lived there your whole life or moved around a lot, and, if possible, connect it to your interest in the college’s area, size, or campus.


Tell the interviewer about your prospective major, if you have one, or what your main area of interest is and what you hope to study. Also, describe a few personality traits (roughly three), which will allow you to segue into your academic areas of interest and extracurricular activities and why they are important to you. End your answer with why you want to attend that college.


Since you should have researched the school thoroughly before the interview, you will have a good idea of how your personality and academic and extracurricular interests will fit in there, so make an effort to connect what you know about the school with your personal strengths and the topics you’ve covered in your answer. Keep in mind that, if the school offers you admission, the admissions officers want you to choose them as much as you wanted them to choose you, so you should express how interested you are in attending.



I grew up in a small town in Connecticut and have lived there my whole life, so I’d really love to experience city life in college. Since I live relatively close to New York, I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few times, and it has so much to offer, especially in terms of the literary scene. I love reading and writing, so I’m planning on majoring in English or journalism. Journalism seems like a good fit because I’m good at noticing the details and know how to dig deep.


I’m proud of my ability to persevere and overcome challenges. This year I was having a hard time in trig, but I met with the teacher outside of class and committed to studying for two hours a day, and ended up with an A in the class. I’m also really passionate about my interests, especially writing and foreign languages. That’s why I’m a columnist for my school newspaper and the president of Spanish club.


I also tutor English and Spanish at an after-school program in my town. I’d love to attend NYU because it has such strong English and journalism programs. I’m also interested in foreign languages, and I hear NYU has an amazing study abroad program. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, New York is such an amazing city, especially for an aspiring writer.


In this response, the interviewee touches on the topics relevant to her interests and qualifications for the school. She discusses her background a bit and connects it to why NYU and the candidate are mutually good fits, explaining her interests in English, writing, and foreign languages, what she has to done to explore them both inside and outside school, and how she can continue to pursue them in college.


She also makes it clear what attributes of NYU appeal to her. Additionally, she reveals some attributes that make her unique and avoids offering cliché personality traits. She provides examples that illustrate these attributes, such has her ability to persevere and overcome obstacles in a challenging course, also demonstrating her ability to turn a negative into a positive.

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