Why People Get Rejected for Fully Funded Opportunities

In the pursuit of our dreams, there’s one universal truth we all must face: Rejection. It’s that unsettling feeling that gnaws at our confidence. Rejections are not just a reflection of our capabilities; they’re often the result of a complex interplay of various factors. 

Occasionally, this somber truth can act as an obstacle, preventing individuals from daring to embrace uncertainty and thus hindering the pursuit of their aspirations.

If you’ve ever found yourself on the receiving end of a rejection for a fully funded opportunity, rest assured, you’re not alone. Let’s delve into the diverse array of factors that can lead to these disheartening outcomes.


The adage “survival of the fittest” rings true on the turf of fully funded opportunities. Imagine a scenario where a handful of openings are swarmed by a multitude of well-qualified candidates. In such cases, it’s not merely about your qualifications; it’s a matter of statistical chance. Even the most qualified individuals might find themselves facing rejection simply due to the overwhelming tide of competition. For example, consider a scenario with 50 available slots worldwide. Out of these, 10 slots are allocated for Africa, and within that, 3 slots are specifically reserved for Nigerians. If you happen to be the 4th best Nigerian candidate, you might not be selected. But this outcome doesn’t imply that you lack qualifications, but rather that the limited number of slots prevents all deserving candidates from being chosen.

Background and Diversity:

Diversity makes our society vibrant. Certain opportunities are crafted to uplift underrepresented backgrounds or experiences. While this noble endeavor champions inclusivity, it might influence the selection process in ways beyond your control. For example, an opportunity that gives preference to women over men could inadvertently disadvantage qualified men, and vice versa. If a job role has 20 slots and emphasizes women’s inclusion, well-qualified men could potentially be overlooked. This challenge extends to considerations of race and ethnicity as well. In the context of gender advocacy, consider an organization working on various fronts, such as women in climate change, women in STEM, maternal health, women in agriculture, and education. If each of these 10 key areas is allocated 30 slots, for instance, 30 slots for women in peacebuilding. However, an issue arises when a particular area, such as women in education, receives an abundance of applications, making it saturated. In an attempt to achieve balance, the organizers might decide to select only 3 candidates from each area to fill the 30 slots. This approach presents a unique challenge. Even if someone is exceptionally talented and well-suited for a role, they might find themselves at a disadvantage if they happen to be in a saturated area with numerous applications. For instance, if a highly qualified individual ranks fourth in a saturated category where only three candidates are selected, they could miss out on the opportunity. This outcome isn’t a reflection of their competence but rather a result of the predefined slot allocation.


Rules are the guiding principles in any selection process, and disregarding them can jeopardize your chances of securing the desired position. This serves as a poignant reminder that success often requires meeting prerequisites and respecting procedures. Organizations use predefined criteria to assess applications, spanning attributes like innovation, creativity, and prior experiences. Additionally, certain applications may involve rubrics, as they aim to be selected based on innovation, creativity, and other criteria. In some cases, applications may include rubrics as they seek to be chosen based on innovation, creativity, and three additional criteria. The allocation of slots follows a specific pattern: 30% for the first rule break, 20% for the second, 10% for the third, 5% for the fourth, and so on, summing up to 100%. It is important to note that if the allocation changes – for example, making the second rule break 30% – some individuals admitted under the original 30% may not be selected, while others will. Furthermore, certain organizations prioritize specific areas of interest, potentially favoring one area over others. They are more likely to give higher priority to applications aligned with their core focus or identified interest areas.

Privilege and Bias:

The shadows of life’s inequalities often stretch across the path to achievement. Whether amplifying or impeding progress, privileged origins can inadvertently sway the judgments of decision-makers. Narratives of rising from humble beginnings captivate, but candidates from privileged backgrounds may encounter biases that insidiously infiltrate the decision-making process.


You possess all the right skills, the perfect alignment, and an unbreakable spirit. Yet, the timing is askew. The opportunity knocks when you’re entwined in prior commitments or when your application is momentarily buried beneath a pile of other obligations. You’re an aspiring entrepreneur with a brilliant startup idea. Your business plan is solid, you’ve gathered potential investors, and you’re ready to pitch your concept. However, just as you’re about to present your idea at a major investor conference, a global economic downturn hits, causing investors to become more cautious and risk-averse. Despite your perfect alignment and preparation, the external factor of economic timing dampens the enthusiasm for new ventures, making it harder to secure the necessary funding for your startup.

So, the next time you find yourself facing a rejection from a fully funded opportunity, remember that it’s not always a reflection of your worth. Factors beyond your grasp often conspire to shape these outcomes. Keep your chin up, continue to strive, and know that the path to success is paved with both acceptances and rejections, each leading you closer to your ultimate destination.

Why People Get Rejected for Fully Funded Opportunities

2 thoughts on “Why People Get Rejected for Fully Funded Opportunities

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. This article has reaffirm my abilities and worth despite the rejections I have faced and will face, knowing that the path to success is paved with both acceptances and rejections

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