eg: Memorial Scholarship
eg: Accounting, Nursing, Computer Science
eg: University of Toronto
eg: National Union
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You Must Follow Directions to Win Scholarships

You don’t want to put in a lot of work on an application, and then be disqualified for some silly oversight!


Every scholarship application will have a list of directions on how to complete and submit your application. It is critical for you to complete the application and submit it in the manner the application describes. If you don’t, you run the risk of your application being disqualified.

The reason is because scholarship committees must ensure it is a fair competition between applicants. Each applicant must follow the same rules, otherwise, it’s no longer fair. For example, if the application requests two references and someone submits three, then they get an extra reference that others don’t, and the information in it may give them an advantage in the competition. Or, if the maximum essay word count requirement is 500, and someone submits an essay with 501 words, then they didn’t follow the rules, and there is no longer a level playing field.

These are just two reasons why students may be disqualified from winning a scholarship. To avoid this mistake, it’s very important for you to read all of the instructions and follow them exactly. Even if the requirement seems relatively unimportant, it’s still critical to follow the rule. For example, if the instructions say to double-space your essay, and you submit it single-spaced, you haven’t followed the rules. You have now created an unequal playing field, and you run the risk of being disqualified.

Being disqualified happens more often than people think. I’ve seen it happen first-hand. I’ve been in the room with scholarship committees where students’ applications have been put in the “no” pile (without hardly even been read) because they didn’t follow directions. The committee had to take their application out of the competition because if they kept it, they would no longer be comparing apples to apples.

Everyone must follow the same rules, it’s as simple as that. So please take the time to read and follow the directions. You don’t want to put in all of that work on an application, and then be disqualified for some silly oversight!

Janet MacDonald is a Scholarship Consultant at MycampusGPS. She teaches students how to prepare their best scholarship applications through her online program, “How to Write Winning Scholarship Applications”. She also wrote the guide, “How to Find Scholarships in Canada”. Janet offers one-to-one scholarship consulting for high school students, and scholarship essay writing workshops. Janet’s blog is one of the top education blogs in Canada.

Modified on January 11, 2019

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