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7 Valid Reasons Why Your Scholarship Application was Rejected

A lot of people ask why they were not selected for a scholarship when in fact, they were the perfect fit for the scholarship.

Here’s a story about two students who applied for a scholarship. Joe  and Ela. Joe is an average student with average school marks. He is also a music enthusiast having equally great music-making skills and as a result has represented his school in Music competitions a great number of times. Ela, on the other hand is an all As student. He has won two consecutive Best Student in his High School, has been recognised by award organisations in his community and has also been presented with many Leadership awards.

These two students, Joe and Ela think they’ve got what’s needed to win a scholarship. Both have impressive profiles and should be awarded scholarships to the higher education of their choice. Joe should be eligible for a full music/creative scholarship while Ela, an academic scholarship.

Would you be surprised to learn that neither Joe nor Ela was shortlisted for the scholarship? Do you feel a great sense of injustice for the both of them?

Many people are surprised when someone with a more impressive list of achievements is not called up for a scholarship interview while the other with little or no achievement ends up being the next scholarship recipient.

Although the scholarship selection process is as we repeatedly say on AfterschoolAfrica, a thing of luck, there are some things you probably did that got you the rejection mail.  Now, listed side by side are some other things that you can (and should) do to make sure your scholarship application doesn’t end up in the bin, ever.

1. You were not eligible for the scholarship:

The very first possible reason for your rejection could have been your ineligibility for the scholarship that you applied into. Every scholarship has its own requirements and even the requirements for a scholarship could be changed from year to year. You completed all the requirements but ignored the most important that you were not eligible.

The foremost step to take in applying for a scholarship is to read all requirements for that particular scholarship. If one of the requirements for applying is a first class only candidature, do not apply if what you have is a second class. Also the scholarship may be for South African citizens, and you are from Uganda. Or the scholarship may be for PhD candidates and you intend to study a Masters course. The selection criteria ensures you don’t waste all time and effort applying for a scholarship that may not come your way. Let’s set some realistic expectations. 

And of course, there’s no point in applying for a university scholarship if you haven’t yet been accepted for that programme.

2. Your Essay was not good enough: 

As was mentioned in the previous blogpost, Essay writing, if required,  is the most important factor in wining a scholarship. It can get you selected or rejected. If you have made too many spelling mistakes or copied it from internet or you probably paid for it to be written, it is likely to be too glaring for the selection committee to miss.

Give yourself plenty of time. Read the instructions carefully. If you don’t  know where to start in writing your essay, seek advice from a family member, friend, teacher or counsellor. Ask them what they think are your great features and jot them down. Write your essay in line with the questions posed to you. In the end, go for quality, rather than quantity. Your final product should read like it was written by a knowledgeable and educated person, not a robot. If it is a great essay, keep a copy with a few changes you may be able to use for another scholarship.

3.  You did not apply to the Programme:

That’s right. It is possible you didn’t get the scholarship because it’s non existent. In other words, you fell for a scam. It’s often easy to point out these types of scholarship scams out of the myriads of opportunities that exist online. One way to do so is to find out is if one of the requirements involves applying with a sum of money. There.

The best way to avoid scams is to link the scholarship information to a school, organisation or individual with solid online presence. Solid being the operative word here. Research thoroughly before investing into applying for a scholarship.

4. You missed the deadline:

It’s easy to point out a scholarship that you are willing to apply for and then miss the deadline. Many candidates start out with great gusto when filling out their application but they may become distracted along the way, get overwhelmed with the number of scholarship application essays or unconsciously dawdle at the difficult parts where they need to write an essay.

Another explanation for missing deadlines is the lack of attention. Here’s a trick: When you have too many scholarship applications to handle, set two reminders: one for the month before the deadline and another a week to the deadline date to send your application. Advice: No matter how busy, do not wait till it’s a week before to finally send in any application to a scholarship that receives thousands of hopefuls.

5. You limited your application to one or two scholarships:

There is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for. For a chance to be successful in one, you may apply for as many as eight! It may be daunting taking on more than one things at a time but it will be well worth it at the end. The first step is to research. Locate a credible scholarship search website so you are privy to every option available to you. Almost every university has some kind of funding for their incoming students. Start applying today.

6. You provided incorrect contact details:

This is surprisingly a common mistake with many scholarship applications. When contact details are incorrect, you simply deprive yourself of any chances of success. You will never know that you are the one who won a $2,000 scholarship that could have helped you cover your expenses. To prevent that, double-check your email, phone, Skype name, etc. before submission.

7. Lastly, plenty of Grammar errors and mistakes in application:

When you don’t ensure your application is sent in the best possible manner with facts checked, neat documents, correct spelling etc., you’re telling the scholarship board that you don’t care all that much about whether you get the scholarship. There are many ways you could commit blunders in your application without noticing. There may not be enough space to address all the errors but here is an attempt:

  • Very poor grammar
  • Incoherent vision and goals
  • If you had to write on any document, your handwriting may have been illegible.
  • You sent an incomplete application form
  • Attached irrelevant/incomplete documents
  • Submitted a dirty or torn application
  • Used impossible-to-read fancy font
  • You didn’t answer the questions correctly
  • Submitted a younger photo as your ‘recent’ picture
  • Gave vague descriptions in your application
  • You simply were off-point from the beginning