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How to avoid a PMP Application Rejection?

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

How to avoid a PMP Application rejection?

After spending weeks or months studying for the PMP, you finally decide to write your PMP application and submit it to PMI. Then, you spend the next couple of days cobbling together your project management work experience with much enthusiasm and effort. Confident that your application will go through, you go ahead and submit your application.

You're hoping for some positive news; instead, you get back the dreaded email saying 'PMP application rejected' with an explanation why your PMP application cannot be accepted.

At this stage, you're feeling frustrated, disappointed and quite irritated because PMI just decided that all your years of hard-earned, well-deserved project management experience are not good enough in their eyes.

You're now wondering what must be done to address the PMP application rejection and debating between rewriting the application yourself or using professional PMP application help to rewrite it.

At this juncture, all you want is a well-written application which satisfies PMI's finicky standards and gets you moving forward in the PMP certification process.

To make this process a little easier for you, in the article below, I've outlined some recurrent reasons why PMI can reject your application and how you can address them to eliminate this annoying obstacle. I've also shown actual examples of applications which have been rejected by PMI and the reasons provided by them. This would, in turn, help you improve your own PMP application and get it approved.

Unclear project objective

After assessing and rewriting hundreds of PMP applications, we have seen 'unclear project objectives as a recurrent theme for PMP application rejections. This means that PMI reviewers are unable to ascertain from your project descriptions what the project was really about. This could be because the project information presented is too technical or vague and hasn't been articulated properly.

Here is an example below of an application written by a candidate and the resulting response from PMI.

PMP Application Rejected due to unclear objective
PMP Application Rejected due to unclear objective

See below an incorrect project description submitted by the rejected candidate.

Bad example PMP project description
Incorrectly written project description

As you can see from PMI's response, they state that 'It is unclear if the experience documented on your application is a project without a clear objective statement in the description.'

Projects are of different types and vary in complexity from industry to industry. Irrespective of the kind of project you're doing and the industry it belongs to, you must ensure that it's explained in simple terms to avoid unnecessary technical jargon. In essence, even a non-specialist should be able to read your project information and get a sense of what was happening.

Writing a simple, easy-to-understand project objective is a checkbox you would want to tick to avoid a PMP application rejection.

Operations dressed up as a project

Another chronic problem we've seen with many PMP applications is that their application contains operational work disguised as a project. PMI is extra careful about this specific point and can easily sniff this out from any application. It's important to recognize that they scrutinize hundreds of applications every day. What's essential to understand is that any work you do repetitively in your day-to-day job isn't a project and shouldn't be used on your application. According to PMI, a project is a temporary endeavour in which you worked with a team and stakeholders and accomplished a goal. Therefore, take extra care to choose work performed as an actual project rather than just day-to-day operations.

Here is an example of a rejection email from PMI highlighting operational work on someone's PMP application.

PMI rejecting PMP application due to operation work
PMI rejecting PMP application due to operation work

Didn't lead or direct a project

PMI is quite clear that you must have led or directed a project in order to be considered for the PMP. Being only a project contributor or team member would not make the cut. PMI states this quite explicitly in the PMI handbook. This is also a widespread reason for PMP application rejections.

Here is an example of a PMP application rejection email which states that the candidate did not provide enough evidence that they led or directed the project.

PMP Application Rejection Email example
PMP Application Rejection Email from PMI

Generally, leading or directing a project means overseeing the project from initiation to completion and will also include planning, execution and monitoring and control. While writing your application, wear a PMI Project Manager hat and list all the responsibilities across the 5 process group areas.

This candidate above chose our PMP application review and rewrite service to get their application rewritten and approved within a few days.

Here is another snippet from a PMP application rejected Reddit post where you can see the reason cited is the inability to evidence that the role involved leading and directing projects. This candidate was also audited, and his reference also verified his responsibilities, yet PMI rejected his application.

Reddit Post on PMP Application Rejection
Reddit Post on PMP Application Rejection

Common PMP Application Rejection FAQs

What is the PMP application rejection rate?

While PMI does not release any official number of rejected PMP applications, from our experience of working on hundreds of PMP applications, we've seen that out of every 100 application submissions done, 25 to 30 applications are getting rejected by PMI. This equates to an application rejection rate of 25-30%. Considering the large pool of candidates applying for the PMP every month, that is a fairly high rejection rate.

What happens after my PMP application is rejected?

Once you receive a rejection response from PMI, you must address the areas highlighted by PMI and resubmit the application. However, once the application is rejected, PMI will audit your PMP application experience when you resubmit, and therefore, you must be ready with the information and documentation required to follow the PMI audit process.

How can you avoid a PMP application rejection?

One of the best ways to avoid a rejected PMP application is to have another pair of eyes look through your application. Obviously, using someone seasoned and experienced in this process will increase your chances of approval. We recommend using a professional PMP application rewrite service to rewrite your application to meet PMI standards and reduce rejection-related stress.

Do you guarantee PMP application approval?

While no company can guarantee PMP application approval 100%, and neither should you trust anyone who guarantees approval, it's important to note that we've been writing PMP applications for a long time and have written it for people from several industries. We've had excellent approval rates when it comes to writing PMP applications and sincerely attempt to write a good application for you that will match PMI standards. If your application does get rejected even after we write it, which is extremely rare, we will again write your application based on PMI's feedback.

Let's just say we are quite confident about our application writing service and haven't disappointed any clients so far.

Do you help with determining PMP eligibility requirements?

Yes, we can help you determine whether you are eligible for the PMP exam or not. We assess your project information and help you craft a compelling case to PMI to evidence your exam eligibility. This is offered as part of our PMP application review and rewrite service.

If you are looking for PMP Coaching and mentorship, which includes personalized coaching+ text, WhatsApp, email, zoom support from a trainer + personalized study plan+ help with PMP application approval+ classroom training (2-3 times a month), then you can check out our PMP Blended Programme.

If you have any other questions about your PMP Application, please email us at

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