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'Are Only Outstanding Students Admitted to Top Universities?' | College Success Conference

The journey to conquer top universities is increasingly competitive as Vietnamese students receive numerous acceptance letters and substantial financial aid from prestigious global institutions. While these results are often seen as dream achievements, students agree that more than just being "outstanding" is required to reach their goals.

Dr. Hieu (right-most) and top student-speakers at College Success Conference

During the conference "Outstanding Students Conquering Top Universities" at Olympia School, Nguyen Tu Nhi shared her story of being accepted into five top universities in Australia, Singapore, and Vietnam, securing the highest scholarship amounting to over 2.2 billion VND. Inspired by her successful mother, Tu Nhi initially struggled with her study abroad plans but eventually overcame the challenges and received high scholarships.

Nguyen Duc Minh Son was accepted into several top universities, including Purdue University, Fordham University, Michigan State University, University of Florida, and University of Southern California. With his mother's support, Minh Son worked tirelessly to realize his dream, demonstrating the power of family support in pursuing knowledge.

Tu Nhi (left) and Minh Son (right)

Nguyen Thanh Son applied to only one school and was accepted into Fordham University (USA) with a scholarship of over 4.8 billion VND. Transitioning to a new school in 12th grade, Son felt shy and anxious but regained motivation through persistent effort and engaging activities during his final year. He earned the competitive Faber Scholarship for international students at a highly ranked finance and business university.

Hong An (left) and Thanh Son (right)

Nguyen Hong An, who was accepted into 13 prestigious universities in the USA with the highest scholarship of over 4.8 billion VND, dreamed of studying in the USA since childhood but initially struggled with poor English skills. With determination and support from teachers and seniors, she made significant progress and achieved her dream.

Dr. Nguyen Chi Hieu, an Oxford and Stanford graduate, shared that having an impressive application is essential but not enough to get into top universities. He emphasized that while good academic scores, standardized test results, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, essays, and achievements are necessary, they are insufficient. The most crucial aspect is how students perform during their university years and subsequently seek job opportunities, competing with international and local students.

Dr. Hieu highlighted four essential elements for studying abroad: academic skills, soft skills, enriching life experiences, and career orientation. Students need to develop foundational skills such as research, in-depth reading, creative essay writing, critical thinking, and discussion. They should avoid focusing solely on traditional test-prep methods.

Dr. Hieu also emphasized the importance of experiencing the world and diverse lives to enrich understanding and expand worldviews. He encouraged students to explore various interests in secondary school and focus on their most suitable paths in high school.

Finally, he stressed the need for students to cultivate unique qualities and resilience. Sharing the story of a student who wrote an outstanding essay about lighting candles in a church, he illustrated how expressing unique qualities can lead to success even with less impressive applications. Dr. Hieu concluded that students should always showcase their unique qualities in their essays, university life, and beyond to ensure success.

Source: IEG Global

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