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10 Reasons Why Your Scholarship Application Was Rejected

by on January 22, 2015 | Top Stories

If you want to boost your chances of success in getting a scholarship, read on to find out what not to do. Number 8 might just surprise you.

Everyone wants to be awarded a scholarship. Even those who may not need the money all that badly still apply for scholarships. Why? Besides the financial aid, getting a scholarship is recognition of your merit and achievements. It is something to be proud of, for sure. Besides, it will look great on your CV when you apply for an internship or job later on.

Here's a story about two people who were both hoping for a scholarship. Let's call the first person Emil – a top student at school (always straight As), active in several extra-curricular activities in leadership roles, and has represented his school in debate competitions. Chances are Emil could be feeling quite confident about his application. On the other side we have Fikri, an average student with reasonably good grades, member of two student clubs that he's passionate about, and plays football with the neighbourhood guys. Of course, Fikri is also hoping for a scholarship.

10 Reasons Why Your Scholarship Application Was Rejected Would you be surprised to learn that Fikri was shortlisted for the scholarship while Emil wasn't? Do you feel a great sense of injustice for Emil? Well, hold your horses and let's have a look at what could've gone wrong.

Many people are surprised when someone with a less impressive list of achievements is called up for a scholarship interview or ends up being the next scholarship recipient. Although the scholarship selection process is quite subjective in some areas, there are some things you can (and should) do to make sure your scholarship application doesn't end up in the ‘reject' pile.

Although these tips may seem really basic, getting them right will help make sure your application gets off on the right foot (and into the ‘shortlist for interview' pile). So, let's look at 10 reasons why your scholarship could be rejected:

1. You did not qualify under the terms of the scholarship.

Most scholarships specify the terms under which prospective candidates are eligible. This could concern the applicant's age, academic achievement, area of study, level of study, and many other things. As an example, if the scholarship is offered only for disciplines in engineering and business, you can be quite sure of getting rejected if you indicate your choice of degree as ‘Bachelor of Marketing Communications'.

2. Your application was incomplete.

If you've applied for scholarships before, you'll understand how lengthy some scholarships forms can be. From details of all your family members to every last thing you did in school, some applications request enough information for you to write an autobiography. Tedious as it may be, you have to make sure you provide all the info they want, and if for some reason you can't, be sure you include a short explanation why.

3. You did not include a valid contact.

Make sure you give a phone number at which you can be contacted. Now's the time to make sure your pre-paid line is active. Also, now is also not a good time to change phone numbers. Some organisations may contact you via email, so make sure you check your email daily.

4. You missed the deadline.

Think it won't happen to you? Think again. Many candidates start out with great gusto when filling out their application but they may get distracted along the way, or dawdle at the difficult parts where they need to write an essay. If you're late, you're out.

5. You did not include enough postage.

If you're sending out your application by mail, make sure you put the correct amount of postage on your envelope. Double check to make sure the address is the right one too. If your application doesn't reach them, you have zero chances of moving to the next stage.

6. You submitted a dirty or torn application.

10 Reasons Why Your Scholarship Application Was Rejected Don't laugh. It happens. In the process of compiling your application form, academic transcripts and other documents, who knows: you may have spilt coffee on them, sat on them, or even ripped them. If that happens, start over with clean crisp copies. There's nothing that puts off a potential interviewer more than dirty, crumpled or torn applications.

7. Your application contained several spelling errors.

When you don't stop long enough to correct the spelling mistakes in your application, you're telling them that you don't care all that much about whether you get the scholarship. So do read it through to catch typos that spell-check miss. And while you're at it, check the punctuation and grammar too. Get help if you think you need a second opinion.

8. You copied your personal statement or essay from the Internet.

It's too tempting sometimes…. There you are surfing the Internet to get ideas for your personal statement or essay and there in front of you lies a sample essay that fits you to a T. You may be thinking, “Should I use it? Oh, who would know?” If you're copying essays from the Internet then most likely another student will be doing the same. Getting caught is risky and not worth it. Write your own – you'll be glad you did.

9. You submitted irrelevant or inappropriate supporting documents.

There may some of you who are simply the kiasu type. Well, try to control yourself. If the application requests for only 4 types of documents, then please don't supply 10! You don't want to annoy the people in charge of vetting through applications. If they have to go through an entire stack of irrelevant documents to approve your application, chances are they won't.

10. Your handwriting is illegible.

These days, most applications can be done online. And even if they need to be sent in my snail mail, you can always complete your application on a computer and print it out. However, there will be instances where you'll be requested to submit a handwritten essay. Or perhaps you have no option but to submit a handwritten application. In these situations, do make sure your writing is neat and legible. You don't want them to get frustrated trying to decipher your writing.

If you want to boost your chances of success in your scholarship search, keep these tips in mind even though they may sound overly simple. Begin early in your search and prepare a few strategies along the way. Here's one to get you started.

Visit our Scholarship page now! We have compiled a list of the latest scholarships for you, and the list is updated whenever a new scholarship is in the offing.

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