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7 Scholarship Applicants' Issues and Questions - With Answers

Better application management of scholarships, grants, awards, and more.

7 Scholarship Applicants' Issues and Questions - With Answers

Applying for scholarships can be a daunting task. Even the tiniest mistake may result in a student missing out on a potential reward they could have used for their education. The seven questions we’re covering below may come up with your program and if not addressed can potentially lead to problems for your applicants. We recommend looking them over to help you design your scholarship and help your candidates avoid issues.

Note: While these questions may not be asked directly by your applicants, when going through the scholarship application procedure, they might surface for them. By addressing them from the outset you may be able to avoid correspondence and confusion.

1. What Are The Various Types Of Available Scholarships?

There are many types of scholarships that are available to students and potential students seeking money for school. Each type of scholarship will have different requirements ranging from how much you can receive to when your application needs to be submitted.

Each scholarship will also have a different focus and, depending on this focus, will determine which types of applicants are best suited for that scholarship. That said, there are seven commonly accepted types of scholarships. These include:

  • Minority Scholarships
  • Local/Community Scholarships
  • Academic Scholarships
  • Religious Scholarships
  • Professional Organizations & Associations
  • Need-Based Scholarship
  • Athletic Scholarships

All of these scholarships require applicants to have some criteria that have been set by the scholarship provider. It’s important to note on your form and in your promotion materials what type of scholarship your program is offering. This will help potential candidates understand better what you’re looking for in an applicant.

2. Why Is It So Difficult To Get A Scholarship?

Getting a scholarship can be difficult for many reasons, but a common one amongst applicants is related to issues with their application due to the lack of information provided on the scholarship form. If scholarships are not specific when providing details about how an applicant can win, they may get unqualified individuals applying and/or not receive pertinent data that could get a candidate to the next stage in the review process.


For example, some scholarships don't mention when submissions are due or what forms must be included in their applications. Another example would be not confirming what materials have been submitted which can lead to an applicant submitting materials multiple times or not submitting them at all causing them to lose out on a scholarship opportunity because there is no way to find their results/progress/status.

Another reason why scholarships are hard to obtain is the number of applications submitted for the same scholarship. Many scholarships receive hundreds of applications for an award that only has one winner. This means thousands of people could apply and not even be considered. 

To avoid questions/issues about the chances a single candidate has in being selected, transparency is key here. Let them know things like:

  • How many applications you will accept (or if there is no cap, at least let people know how many candidates have applied)
  • How many awards will be given
  • When you will select the recipients
  • Precise details on ways to increase their chances of being selected.

3. At What Level Of Education Can I Get A Scholarship?

There are many different levels of education that scholarship providers will offer their scholarships for, and this is significant when it comes to applying. For example, scholarships can be available for high school, college, or graduate school students, depending on who is providing the scholarship. Many scholarships target a specific audience, which means only particular students may be eligible (i.e. only high school seniors, college sophomores preferred, or restricted to graduate students).

It should be easy for a candidate to look at a form and determine if they are eligible for a scholarship depending on their level of education. When designing a scholarship, it’s important to remember that the level of education can be a significant factor in how you market your scholarship and how many applicants you will receive.

4. Can I Gain Admission By Paying The Admission Fees After My Scholarship Application Has Been Rejected?

Timing is everything when it comes to admission. If your program is within the college's deadline for admissions, you will pay the admission fees if you find out your scholarship application was rejected.

Scholarships can be an excellent way for students to pay their tuition and other fees associated with attending school. Some applicants rely on scholarships to pay for their education and get them through school.


Many colleges and universities will allow a scholarship that has been applied for to be considered part of school funding. If the applicant is not awarded the scholarship, they need to update the school as soon as they find out. This way, any tuition or fees schedule can be adjusted.

Depending on students' circumstances, they may have their admission fees waived if their scholarship application is denied. Applicants must find out all of the details from a school to determine what their costs would be after a scholarship has been rejected.

It is crucial to stay in contact with the school and find out what is necessary to gain admission after a scholarship has been denied.

5. What Documents Do I Typically Need To Submit Along With My Scholarship Application?

Scholarship applications may require specific documents as part of the application submission. Applicants should always read over their scholarship's documentation to determine what is expected from them before sending it in for consideration. And, program managers should make the documents required clear to all candidates. 

Typical items that are required or requested of applicants may include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Essay about why they deserve the scholarship and why they would be a good candidate for it
  • Proof of enrollment in school and the courses they will be taking during the year
  • Proof of high school or college graduation
  • Proof that the student is involved in an extracurricular activity or volunteer work if requested by the scholarship provider
  • ID or photo
  • Family income information
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport or visa information if they are international students
  • Recommendation letters
  • Standardized test results

These are only some of the items that might be required when applying for a scholarship. Applicants should always read their applications thoroughly to determine what is needed.

This will help applicants submit the scholarship application properly and ensure it is received for consideration for the award.

6. How Can I Avoid Falling Prey To Scholarship Scams?

Scholarship scams are unfortunately becoming more common. Applicants need to understand the risks to protect their personal information and finances.

There are many ways that scholarship scammers target potential victims, including social media posts, emails, and phone calls. Applicants should be aware of the tactics used by scammers to avoid falling prey to them.


Here are just a few tips you can share with your audience for avoiding scholarship scams:

  • Research the Scholarship Provider Before applying
  • Don't give bank or social security information to an unverified source
  • Protect your personal information at all times
  • Don't pay a fee to apply
  • Don't wire money to anyone.

These are just some of the precautions applicants can take to avoid scholarship scams. Applicants should do their research about potential scholarship providers before applying.

7. How Can I Make My Scholarship Application And Essay Stand Out?

A scholarship applicant can stand out from other applicants in various ways. A good place to start is reading the application guidelines carefully to have an idea about what is needed. From there, they should ask themselves how they are different from other students who will also be applying for that scholarship. Differentiating themselves helps develop an answer for the essay prompt and makes them more likely to be selected for an award.

Knowing what a scholarship program is looking for in an applicant can help ensure they align with the scholarship provider and increase their chance of getting an award. This will help applicants applying to several different scholarships prepare their essays for each individual program. Applicants should only spend time writing an essay that they feel is uniquely suited to them and that they are passionate about.

Final Thoughts

Scholarship applicants often have many questions about applying and what is expected of them. Students need to take the time to learn as much as possible about scholarships before they apply to protect their personal information, submit their applications properly, and do everything they can to increase their chances of being accepted for an award.

Your scholarship program should be able to address the questions mentioned above that your applicants might have. Having a clear and congruent scholarship application process and form will enable your applicants to learn about your program and make it easier to apply.

Using software like SmarterSelect can help streamline your application process and make it easier to communicate with applicants. Get a free trial of SmarterSelect application software today!

the ultimate guide: how to manage scholarship applicants

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