Winning a scholarship is a very competitive process. Each year we receive more than 11,000 applications for only 530 available scholarships. We are unable to provide personal feedback to applicants who are unsuccessful, but there are some common reasons why you may have been declined.

The most obvious reason why you may have been unsuccessful is that you did not meet our eligibility criteria. If you did meet the criteria, you may have been declined because your profile did not match our selection preferences as strongly as other candidates. (Read our Selection preferences)

More specific reasons you may have been declined are related to the following major areas:

Academic background and work experience

  • Your academic and work history was not strongly aligned with your proposed study programme.
  • Your history of employment was not as clearly related to your chosen field of study as other applicants.
  • Your academic achievement and academic record was not as strong as other competing applicants.

Your proposed study programme

  • You did not show that you researched your institution and your proposed study programme enough to answer our questions. You did not have sound reasoning for why you wanted to study that particular programme at that particular institution, or for why New Zealand is the best place for that particular study programme.
  • You did not have the pre-requisite qualifications for your proposed study programme (for example, you applied to do a post-graduate degree, but have not completed an undergraduate degree).
  • You are applying for a programme of study that does not progress from your previous study (for example, you already have a PhD and are applying to do another PhD).
  • If you are applying for a PhD or Masters by Thesis, your research proposal was not as clear, as well structured, or as well described as other applicants. 

Likely development outcomes for your home country

  • Your proposed programme of study was not strongly aligned with the priority sectors for your country, or other applicants had stronger alignment.
  • You did not show how your proposed study programme was aligned to the development needs of your home country. For example:
    • you may not have shown that you understood which new skills and knowledge you hope to gain from your proposed study programme
    • you may not have explained why these new skills and knowledge are important for your country
    • you may not have provided evidence of gaps in these skills or knowledge in your home country
    • you may not have explained realistically how you will use these skills when you return home>
    • you may not have explained who in the community would benefit from your new skills and knowledge.
  • You did not show genuine motivation to return to your home country or commitment and passion for the development of your home country.

Skills and personal attributes

  • You did not demonstrate good evidence of strong relationship management skills in your answer about this in the application form.
  • You did not demonstrate good evidence of strong self-drive in your answer about this in the application form.
  • You did not demonstrate very good communication skills.
  • You did not show that you have high integrity and that you would stick to your ethics.
  • You did not show that you have good judgement or good decision-making skills.
  • You did not show that you are resilient to stress.
  • You did not show that you were ready to move countries. You may not have provided strong evidence that you understood the challenges you would face and that you have the life skills to adapt.
  • If you did the online abstract reasoning test, your test scores may have been very low, suggesting that you are not an agile learning.

To understand more about what we’re looking for in a successful scholar, read the Who we’re looking for page.

It is very competitive

It’s important to keep in mind that the New Zealand Scholarships process is extremely competitive. In some intakes, we accept fewer than 1 in 100 people who apply. You may have had a very strong application that we had to decline simply because another applicant had a slightly stronger one.

We acknowledge the hard work that you have put into your application and thank you for your interest in New Zealand Scholarships and coming to New Zealand.

Due to the sheer volume of applications we are unable to provide personal feedback. Please do NOT email us to ask for feedback. But feel free to apply again during the next application round. Applications open early in the year. See Application dates for more information.