9 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Scholarships You Applied For

Didn’t get the scholarship you wanted? Check out these 9 possible reasons why your application may have been rejected.

Updated 29 Jul 2022

9 Reasons You Didn't Get the Scholarship - Feature-Image

Are you in the midst of sending out your scholarship application submissions? Think the process is easy-peasy? Believe it or not, it takes some serious skills and talent to make it through the tough elimination rounds and be selected as a scholarship winner. So, if you’re in need of financial aid, it’s best to be aware of some of the most common mistakes students have made when applying for scholarships — and avoid them at all costs.

Here are 9 possible reasons your scholarship applications won’t be approved.

#1. You don’t meet the requirements

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Did not meet requirements

This is the most obvious reason. Every scholarship has a specific set of requirements, depending on the type of scholarship it is. Although it’s painful to accept, there’s no point in applying for a scholarship that requires you to have X number of As if you only have X number of Bs and Cs.

You should be realistic in your scholarship options and instead of focusing on the ones that don’t cater to you, you could try putting more effort into the ones that do. Perhaps you would be better suited for a scholarship that looks at your talents instead of academic results? Else, you could consider getting loans too!

#2. You only sent out one application

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Sending one application

You’ve probably been advised to not send out too many applications as this means you won’t be able to pay enough attention to each submission. While you should adhere to the saying “quality over quantity”, this does not mean you should lower your chances of getting scholarships either.

Most scholarship applications would require the same type of documents and credentials such as your identification documents, certificates, results (trials / actual) and household income statement. This means you can easily make several copies of the documents to be included in your other applications. If you prep for your applications earlier, it’s not impossible to submit at least 3 - 4 applications.


Make sure that you do not get your submissions mixed up. The last thing you’d want to do is mail the wrong application forms and essay to the wrong institution. It’ll be an instant N-O.

#3. Your application was incomplete

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Incomplete application

Whether it was intentional or not, while you may think that the scholarship examiners would overlook tiny mistakes such as an unanswered question or a missing document, the truth is, they’ll find any reason to toss your submission aside — even if what you missed out was something insignificant! This is especially the case if it is a popular scholarship.

So, always double check your application to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

#4. You applied after the deadline

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Applied after deadline

This may be a no brainer, but believe it or not, there are many students who think that it’s okay if they missed the deadline by just a day or two. Although these students may think it’s not a big deal, it’s actually a poor reflection of their self-discipline and organisation skills. In scholarship terms, it’s a big N-O.


 Write down the deadline for each of the scholarship you’re applying to so that you’re aware of them. Also, try to send your application at least 3 days before the deadline, especially if you’re sending it via snail mail.

#5. You did not follow the set format

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Did not follow set format

Filling up scholarship application forms can be pretty tedious and after flipping page after page, chances are you might overlook the small section of requirements for your essay. So be sure to keep an eye out for instructions on the essay format, writing style, and the word count.

It’ll be a shame to miss out on your chance to get a scholarship because of something that you could have easily done correctly.

#6. Your essay is off topic

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Essay off topic

It’s common for students and writers alike to get carried away while writing an essay. Unfortunately, this causes them to go way off topic and confuse readers.

To avoid this, make sure you draft your essay and have at least 1 or 2 drafts before writing out the final version. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of your train of thoughts and will not repeat the same points or stray away from the given topic. You’ll also want to avoid padding your essay with irrelevant sentences just to increase your word count (they will know).


 Write the questions at the top of your Word document and reread it as you’re writing your essay. This will prevent you from going off topic.

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#7. You did not proof-read

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Did not proof read

Even the best writers still make grammatical and spelling errors, so be sure to always proof-read your essay and look out for common grammar and spelling mistakes. In fact, it’s recommended that you get a fresh pair of eyes to help you screen through for errors, so you can be extra sure that everything is perfect. Your helpful proofreaders may even give you some feedback about your writing if you’re lucky.

#8. You submitted a plagiarised essay

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Submit plagiarised essay

This is possibly the biggest deal breaker. Even if you’ve submitted an excellent masterpiece for your application, the judge can always tell if something’s fishy about it. And if they’ve detected that a majority of your essay is plagiarised, you’ll immediately be disqualified. Thanks to the many plagiarism checkers available out there these days, it only takes a few minutes to find out if what you’ve written is authentic. So, always be original!


Sometimes you may repeat someone else’s writing by accident, especially if what you wrote is research-based. As such, you can use plagiarism checkers online to help you scan your essay and determine which sentences need to be rephrased or removed.

#9. Your application is dirty and not organised

Reasons Of Not Getting Scholarships-Application not organised

Finally, perhaps your application has made it through and passed all the screenings, and it’s only down to the aesthetics. Just as you’d pick the cleanest and best-looking item on the shelf when you purchase things, so will the scholarship evaluators as they select the most deserving student for the scholarship award. If there’s a time to be meticulous and orderly, this is it.

Remember to organise the pages of your application in the correct order and attach your relevant documents in the correct section. Stay away from food and drinks while you’re working on your application and keep your papers in a clean and proper folder. If you’re submitting your application by mail, opt for the envelopes with bubble wrap to avoid possible damage from liquids.

As you can see, it pays to be conscientious when submitting your scholarship applications. However, sometimes no matter how good your application was, the reason you weren’t picked could just boil down to the fact that the scholarship was just too competitive. But no matter what, always give it your best shot.

If you didn’t get the scholarship you wanted, don’t worry, there are still plenty of financial aids that can help you out. Good luck!

Need help with writing your personal statement? Here are some top tips for writing an excellent scholarship essay!

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    Josephine Serena

    Josephine Serena

    Media studies and journalism graduate. Buy me coffee and I'll spill the beans. Also really tall.