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I will have an interview for my scholarship to study grad school in US next month (taken 30 in total 122). In this month me and other 6 candidates have been gathering together to mock the interview. Based on what I observe and other information, I think that I can have the scholarship. With that thinking, for over a week, I have switched my focus to other priority. However, I'm afraid that I'm just blindly arrogant, and soon I will have to pay a mortal price for this.

Am I?

Evidences that support me

  1. After I finished my turn, everyone got exited and said that I was very well prepare. They said that they could see my readiness and alacrity in my talk. They commented that I spoke a little fast, but at the same time I reacted to the questions fast as well.
  2. The questionnaire is taken from the previous interview questions. I can answer them all fast with little thinking time.
  3. I have seen their SOPs, and most of them have things like quote from famous scientist. I think I'm very lucky that I have ask this before in Academia SE1.
  4. There is a high chance that the interviewers are not from my field. Mine is biophysics and the professor with the closest field is particle physics.

Evidences that against me

  1. This doesn't mean that other people are worse than me. In contrast, some of them seem to be very prominent. They are either more experience or win more contests than me.
  2. My sample is only 6, while the population is 122.
  3. And my weakest point: I have a big hole in statistical physics, the fundamental knowledge in my major. During my dissertation, most of the time is coding. It does need statistical physics knowledge, but at a very basic level.
    Of course I know what I should do. I am filling my hole by self studying. I need to read six chapters of a very good book2 and so far only finish three first ones. I will finish it in a couple months, but finish all now is impossible.

I see my weak points. But I cannot help of thinking positive. Can you tell me if I'm arrogant or not?

1Why shouldn't I quote famous scientists in my SOP?
2An Introduction to Thermal Physics

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    Honestly, I think that trying to estimate your chances of success (let alone trying to classify your estimate as "confidence" or "arrogance") is kind of pointless. You'll either get the scholarship or you won't, and you won't know which until you're told. Just make sure you're prepared, mentally and practically, for either outcome, and have contingency plans either way. – Nate Eldredge Jul 29 '15 at 17:45
  • @NateEldredge my purpose is to know whether switching to another priority before the interview is good or bad – Ooker Jul 29 '15 at 17:53
  • @Ooker Try to look beyond yourself, at how you can make a contribution to science, or something like that. Also, work on your English. For example, think about why "me and other 6 candidates have been gathering" is grammatically problematic. And try to find some differences between positive thinking and arrogance. – aparente001 Jul 29 '15 at 22:13
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The only way you can be certain that you've earned a scholarship is receiving a letter stating "you've earned this scholarship". Anything else is misplaced optimism/hubris/etc and should probably be avoided.

It goes without saying that you should definitely not take any actions at this point that are based on the assumption that you earned the scholarship. To quote Yogi Berra, "it ain't over 'till it's over."

  • Agree. But based on the evidences, if the question is only "am I good or not?", what would you say? – Ooker Jul 29 '15 at 19:01
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    @Ooker - The relevant question is not whether you're good, it's whether you're better than everyone else who applied. There's no way for anyone on this forum to answer that. – eykanal Jul 29 '15 at 19:49
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    I'd go so far as to say that being better than everyone else is not the question - the only question is if you get the scholarship or not. "Better" has too many different dimensions to quantify here. – Jon Custer Jul 29 '15 at 23:35

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