6. How we select scholars

Selecting Manaaki New Zealand Scholars can take six to ten months from the time scholarship applications close. Applicants should check their email frequently for progress updates.

On this page

Scholarship selection process and typical dates

This page describes the selection process. How long the selection process takes, depends on the number of applicants we get for each country.

Applicants must check their email frequently for progress updates during the selection process.

  1. We screen applicants: We assess applicants against our eligibility criteria and our selection guidelines. We compare the preferred courses of each applicant with our recommended study subjects. 
  2. We advise you of our decision: We email applicants to advise them if they will continue to the next selection stage or if their application has been unsuccessful. Note for PhD applicants: if you are advised that your application will progress to the next selection stage, you must start contacting suitable PhD supervisors, if you have not already done so. Scholarship applicants may apply to undertake doctoral studies in any of the identified sectors. They must, however, be able to show that there are employment opportunities on their return that require them to undertake unsupervised post-doctoral research, or to teach at degree level. They must also be able to show how their proposed research proposal will benefit the country. 
  3. We assess applications in more detail: We carry out a detailed assessment of the applications against our selection guidelines.
  4. You do psychometric testing: While applications are being assessed we mail applicants an email containing a link to the abstract reasoning test. Applicants must do this test within 10 days of getting the email. If you do not receive an email with the link to the psychometric test within 3 days of being advised that your application has moved through to the assessment/psychometric stage you should contact us immediately.
  5. We advise you of our decision: We email applicants to advise them if they will continue to the interview stage, or if your application has been unsuccessful. 
  6. You prove your English competency: Candidates are required to provide an indication of their English language level during the selection process. For most Pacific countries we pay for IELTS testing, and if shortlisted, this occurs after the interview stage. Applicants from all other countries may provide evidence of a current IELTS or TOEFL test score at any time during selection. If an applicant has not passed an IELTS or TOEFL test to the required level within the last 12 months, they must sit an IELTS or TOEFL test at their own cost. Click here and see Academic and English requirements for scholars for further information on IELTS testing.
  7. We interview applicants: Each applicant will be interviewed at the New Zealand Embassy, New Zealand High Commission, or a third party location in the applicant’s own country, or by phone or online video conference (e.g. Skype). Interviews take place typically in May/July. For further information, visit How to prepare for your scholarship interview. Note for PhD applicants: Prior to the interview, applicants must provide evidence that they have a PhD supervisor or are close to confirming a PhD supervisor.
  8. We advise you of our decision: We email applicants to advise them if they are a preferred candidate, or a candidate on the reserve list, or if their application has been unsuccessful.
  9. Preferred candidates apply for admission to their preferred courses and apply for a student visa

Guidelines we use to select applicants

We use these guidelines to select applicants with very good character, ethics and abilities.

In general, we want scholars with these attributes:

  • They have a strong academic ability.
  • They show commitment to the social and economic development of their country.
  • They are 39 years or younger when the scholarship starts.
  • They choose courses that align with our recommended subjects.
  • They want to encourage positive relations with New Zealand now and in the future.
  • They are seeking to undertake a qualification that progresses on from their highest qualification.

We also aim for a balanced mix of women and men scholars.

We select people with the following characteristics

Successful applicants must have a good education

Successful applicants must have high grades. They must have the right qualifications for entry into their preferred courses.

Successful applicants must study in a similar field they have already worked in

Successful applicants must have relevant work experience for their proposed field of study. (School leavers and first year undergraduate students do not need work experience.)

Successful applicants must want to study in a new country

Scholars will find cultural differences when they study abroad. Scholars must have life skills to support themselves away from home. We select applicants who are willing to study in a different country, and leave their family and their community.

Successful applicants choose courses that can help solve their country’s social and economic problems

We prefer applicants who choose to study one of our recommended subjects. We recommend subjects that can reduce social and economic development problems in each eligible country.

Scholars must use their skills to improve their country

Successful applicants must show motivation and commitment to share their skills and knowledge when they return home. After they finish their scholarship, scholars must return home and contribute to their own country’s social and economic development for two years.

Successful applicants must communicate well

We look for applicants who can communicate clearly, listen effectively, and answer questions appropriately.

Successful applicants are agile learners

Successful applicants have strong intellectual and reasoning skills. They can adapt to life away from their home. They have the skills to create a successful career.

Successful applicants manage relationships well

Successful applicants can create effective relationships with other students, academic staff and citizens in their own country.

Successful applicants have integrity

A person with integrity is honest and consistently makes ethical decisions. We want applicants who uphold good ethics and expect other people to do the same.

Successful applicants have good judgement

Successful applicants can assess a situation sensibly. They can make reasonable decisions.

Successful applicants are resilient

We look for applicants who can handle stress well. We look for applicants who can endure or recover quickly from difficult life events when their family is not in the same country.

Successful applicants can motivate themselves

We look for applicants who show ambition, a desire to achieve their goals and responsibility for getting things done. Scholars need a long-term vision for their study and career goals.

The selection process is very competitive

The Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship process is very competitive. Every year we receive over 11,000 applications.

Because we get a large number of applications, we can’t tell each applicant the specific reasons why they were unsuccessful. Please do NOT email us to ask why you were unsuccessful. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough human resources to answer these types of emails.

We know that the application process requires a lot of hard work. We thank all applicants for their interest in a Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship.

You may have submitted a very good application. We may have to decline good applications, simply because other applicants submit better applications.

If you are unsuccessful, you may apply for a scholarship again next year.

Important: In the event we receive an overly large number of applications from one or more eligible countries, we reserve the right to use some form of random selection to manage application numbers from the relevant eligible country or countries.

Common reasons why we decline applications

Here are the most common reasons why we decline international scholarship applications.

All applicants must meet our eligibility criteria

We decline all applicants who do not meet all the eligibility criteria.

Other applicants demonstrated their attributes more clearly

Other applicants demonstrated more clearly the characteristics that scholars need.

Other applicants demonstrated a stronger education and job history

  • Other applicants had higher academic grades.
  • The qualifications and job history of other applicants were better aligned with their preferred courses.

Other applicants chose their preferred courses more carefully

  • Other applicants researched their preferred institution and courses more carefully.
  • Other applicants gave stronger reasons for choosing their preferred courses.
  • Other applicants wrote a stronger research proposal on their application form (Master’s by Thesis and PhD applicants only).
  • You did not have the qualifications required for entry to your preferred courses.
  • Your preferred courses do not progress on from your previous qualifications (for example, you already have a Masters and you want to apply for another Masters).

Other applicants chose to study skills that better match their country's development needs

  • The preferred courses of other applicants aligned more closely with one of our recommended study subjects.
  • Other applicants demonstrated a higher motivation to return home to improve their country.
  • Other applicants more clearly described how their preferred courses would improve their country’s social and economic development.
  • Other applicants more clearly described the skills and knowledge they would gain from their preferred courses.
  • Other applicants more clearly described how these skills and knowledge are important to their country.
  • Other applicants more clearly described why their country needs these skills and knowledge.
  • Other applicants more clearly described how they would use these skills in their own country after their scholarship.
  • Other applicants more clearly described which people in their local community would benefit from these skills and knowledge.

Other applicants demonstrated their personal skills more clearly

  • Other applicants wrote a stronger answer for the relationship skills question on their application form.
  • Other applicants wrote a stronger answer for the problem-solving question on their application form.
  • Other applicants wrote a stronger answer for the goal-setting question on their application form.
  • Other applicants demonstrated stronger communication skills.
  • Other applicants demonstrated integrity and ethics in a clearer way.
  • Other applicants demonstrated decision making skills more clearly.
  • Other applicants demonstrated stress management skills more clearly.
  • Other applicants demonstrated more clearly that they were willing to move to a new country.
  • Other applicants showed more clearly that they could adapt to a new culture and challenge.
  • Your psychological abstract reasoning test scores were low.

NEXT:  7. If we tell you that you are a preferred candidate, follow these steps


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