7 Reasons Why Your Scholarship Application Was Rejected

Often times it comes as a shock when your scholarship application is turned down. Just like any other application, there are many reasons why your scholarship application was rejected. When this happens, it seems your world is crumbling and you begin to cross-check where you got it wrong in your application.

So many candidates who apply for fully-funded scholarships abroad get rejected. The reasons why your scholarship application was rejected may not be far-fetched from these reasons below. Nevertheless, the downfall of a man is not the end of his life.

If you have failed to win a scholarship before, it does not necessarily mean you are doomed. It also does not mean that you lack what it takes to win it in your next application. It could be that you ignored some guidelines or you were not aware of a few things that could have won it for you.

Reasons why your scholarship application was rejected

  1. Number of Scholarships Available

This is the ground on which over a thousand applicants are turned down. This is not by their own making, rather excellence and luck play a key factor here. It has to do with the number of scholarships available. For instance, if the number of scholarships available is just 100 and over 10,000 applications were received, this will definitely lead to many rejections.

At this point, getting the minimum required score is not the issue as many candidates can do it. Nothing else but excellence is the only thing required to succeed at this point. Oftentimes, the minimum scores required are hiked in other to meet up with the number of scholarships available.

If the minimum score is 70% and the available scholarship is 100, what happens when over 1000 applicants score above 80%? Is the benchmark still going to remain at 70%? Definitely, the answer is “No”! This way the benchmark may be raised to 90 or above 90 in other to reduce the number of applicants.

This time, it’s not your fault. This is the major reason why your scholarship application was rejected. So brace up and keep trying.

  1. Ineligibility

It is advised that you check the eligibility criteria of a particular scholarship before you apply. This is to enable you to know if you are eligible to apply. When you are not eligible, it is better that you don’t bother to apply as your application will be thrown away definitely.

Ineligibility could be based on so many grounds which include these:

  • Type of study program (Undergraduate, Masters, Ph.D.)
  • Study area/Specialty
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Nationality

When a particular eligibility criterion is ignored, maybe age, you miss a whole lot of steps which are detrimental. This is why you have to check very well to know which scholarship you are qualified to apply for. A particular scholarship may be available for Ph.D. study only, this means you must have finished your masters to apply.

On the ground of nationality, scholarships are open for some particular countries or continents. When you don’t apply for a scholarship that is meant for your country or continent, your application will be rejected.

There are some scholarships that are gender-specific, this means that only a particular gender is eligible to apply for such a scholarship. Scholarships like the AAUW International Fellowships in USA for Women is strictly for women. Hence every male applicant will be rejected. There are reasons why your scholarship application was rejected based on eligibility criteria.

  1. Incomplete Documents

Most times when an application lacks the compulsory documents required to be attached, the application is rejected. It is important for applicants to read carefully and note down the documents required to apply.

Getting these necessary documents ready and effectively uploading them on the scholarship portal can guarantee a successful application and acceptance. When applying for a scholarship, do not fail to upload every required document and within the stipulated time frame.

It is not enough to partly upload some documents and submit your application. Pause the application process and revalidate the documents you are uploading. When this is done, be sure to submit your application and also expect some positive news at the end.

Never forget to upload those documents that are mandatory such as;

  • International passport
  • Transcript
  • Certificate of language proficiency
  • Certificate of Medical fitness
  • Motivation letter/Statement of purpose
  • Academic Certificates and
  • Recommendation letters
  1. Fake Documents

This is a serious offence that will not only deny you a scholarship but can land you in prison. Oftentimes, applicants ignore this and submit whatever they think they have. Most documents submitted during the application process are verified to ascertain they are authentic.


The World Education Service (WES) don’t ignore this part, after reviewing all applications, they send back your documents to the issuing institutions to verify the documents you submitted are actually authentic. This is done at times without your knowledge. Guess what happens when they discover you submitted a fake document. Your guess is as good as mine.

In other to ensure that your application doesn’t get rejected because of fraudulent/fake documents, submit the original (scanned) copies of your documents. If it requires that you pay some fees to get the original documents, do and don’t cut corners.

Your application may progress through the first stages of verification but be rest assured that fake documents will be detected. This is because there is always a routine check of the submitted documents.

If this is the reason why your scholarship application was rejected, be rest assured that you have caused collateral damage to your reputation. As so many other applications from you will be rejected if they are sent to the same scholarship board. The scholarship board may as well notify other scholarship bodies of your fraudulent reputation.

  1. Number of Options

Most scholarships give more than just one option to apply for. This means that you can apply for more than one study program at the same study level (undergraduate level or postgraduate level) but in different universities under the same scholarship. An example is the Scholarship Programme for Christian Young People.

When you have the option to take more than one study program, use it. Don’t just choose one, broaden your options, so that if one fails, another substitute. Most times applications are rejected because the applicant did not meet the requirements for that particular study program.

When the candidate does not have another choice, he/she won’t be considered again. This could be another reason why your scholarship application was rejected.

  1. Inability to convince the board with your SOP

A good Statement of purpose (SOP) is your weapon of success in getting a fully-funded scholarship abroad. It is with it that you convince the scholarship board that they can trust you with a scholarship. Writing a convincing SOP will not only attract the panel to look into your application with keen interest, but it will also make them understand that you know what you are doing.

Hence if given a scholarship, you will not disappoint. Remember you may not be granted an oral interview, so make your statement of purpose worth it. Most applications are rejected on this ground, do not be a victim, do not copy others.

  1. Late submission of application

Application deadlines are not compromised, do not be a victim! Many applicants wait until the last day to submit their applications. Do not leave your fate to chance by submitting an application very late.

Try as much as possible to beat the deadline by at least a week or possibly a month. With this, you can still have time to re-evaluate your documents and make necessary corrections if need be.

Submitting applications on deadline day could be detrimental as the portal may be down and you end up missing out. To ensure that your application is no rejected, do the needful and in time.


You have no reason to panic about being rejected when next you apply. If you have failed at winning a scholarship before due to any of these reasons above, then be rest assured you won’t fail again when next you apply.

Get up, dust off and give it another try… Now be sure to celebrate your acceptance!

Having read this and it is helpful to you, please share with friends and associates to empower them too.

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