It is often a substantial advantage to know what to expect during any selection procedure. It allows you to prepare mentally for various selection types and maintain more confidence during the procedure. Since there seems to be no account of the selection procedure of the ASML Technology Scholarship available online, those who know a previous applicant personally, have an advantage in this regard.
I hope to improve the fairness of the procedure by offering my personal account of the procedure publicly. Hopefully this will help make the selection process more fair and result in a more diverse selection, since it will reduce the advantage of people similar to previous participants.
Round 1: CV and Transcript
The first round of the selection required candidates to hand in a curriculum vitae and a transcript listing the grades during their bachelor so far. The scholarship requires you to achieve a weighted average of at least a 7.5 over your entire bachelor. Additionally you need to start a master at a university in The Netherlands in the next academic year.
I’ve been told by other candidates that you could also optionally submit a motivation letter in this letter, but I didn’t notice this option myself. So if this option is there, it is truly optional as I got through this round without one. However it is likely that writing a motivation letter in this case does improve your chances.
We were told after the selection that about 330 people applied for round 1. Of these 330 candidates about 150 were selected for the next round.
Round 2: Automated Video Interview
In this round each of the remaining 150 candidates were asked to complete an automated video interview. This interview can be performed at any time before the deadline, since the interview is not performed live with an actual person. Instead you are asked to go to the website of an external company (Sonru), where the computer will ask you some questions, give you 30 seconds to think for each, and record your responses.
I don’t remember what the exact questions were, but they were all on the kind of things you would normally expect, like your motivations for the scholarship. Additionally at the end you are asked if you would like to talk about anything else for about a minute, so it might be worth it to prepare something you want to say ahead of time for this part.
Overall I found the automated video interview to be a very stressful experience, since you are given very little time after each question to prepare an answer. Furthermore, it just didn’t feel right to me that something as personal as an interview was being automated; it seems somewhat dehumanising to me.
If you feel like you performed very badly in this round you might not need to worry too much, since everyone I spoke to about it at the final round felt they did very badly as well, even though they made it to the next round. I myself thought I performed badly at this round as well, but was also selected for the next round.
From the 150 candidates in this round 60 were chosen for the next and final round.
Round 3: Assessment Day
The final round consisted of all candidates being asked to come to an ‘Assessment Day’ on the ASML campus in Veldhoven. There were two dates available for these assessment days, so that on each day about 30 candidates were present.
At the beginning of the assessment day we were first welcomed and got an introductory talk about the purpose of the day and ASML itself. During this talk we were invited to ask questions multiple times, so if you can prepare an interesting question about ASML or the assessment process in advance you might be able to show your interest in this part already.
After this talk we were divided into groups of 5 people each, although it was not clear whether we had been divided randomly or based on some strategy. For the rest of the day you did all your activities together with this group. The schedules of each group were somewhat different in order, but in the end every group did all the same activities over the course of the day.
For my group the first activity was a team game in which we had to work together to solve a problem as quickly as possible. I will not mention what exactly the game was since the game no longer works if people can prepare.
During the game each group was observed by two ASML employees who made notes for the eventual assessment. We were told we were being assessed on our functioning in a team and not on our skill at the game. This matches my experience since my group was not very good at the actual game, but our communication and cooperation was good, so we got positive feedback on this part.
After a free lunch, our group was then scheduled to do another team based game. This game was again all about communication and cooperation, but the game itself was just different. This time again, we were being observed by two people.
Then, after another break our schedule brought us to the pitches part of the day. The pitches were held in a small room were about 4 assessors were sitting, I think two of them part of an external company which specialises in assessing people and the two others were ASML employees.
When we came in they showed us a slide explaining what they wanted to talk about in our pitch and gave us 2 minutes to prepare. The pitch was supposed to be 3 minutes long and on the topic of yourself and your motivations. So for this part it could be worth it to think about your drive and personality in advance and prepare how you want to present yourself. Apart from that I think the usual advice applies for the pitch, try to apply public speaking principle like speaking calmly and using your hands.
For me, the final assessment activity of the day was an interview with an HR (Human Resources) representative of ASML. This interview took approximately 30 minutes and it is mostly about your motivations and why you want to be part of the scholarship program (for me at least). The HR representative has a copy of your CV with them during the interview, so you can also talk about what’s on there.
After this interview the official part of the assessment day was over. The day was finished with some time to talk informally with other candidates and ASML employees over drinks and snacks.
I was called by an ASML representative in the week after the last assessment day to let me know that I’d been accepted. We were told that they make the decision based on the notes from the various people who observed you throughout the day. However, it was unclear to me whether they also take into account your performance on the first two rounds in the final selection.
I hope that whoever is reading this can find some useful information in here. If you have any more questions about the selection procedure you can always email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer you questions. Finally I wish you the best of luck in the selection procedure if you ever choose to attempt to get this scholarship!