Experience in applying for top universities in the US

American universities look for students who are strong in both academics and extracurricular activities, so applicants need to show a passion and connection between these two criteria.

According to Tran Dinh Dung - who has just been admitted to Physics, Darmouth University, a school in the Ivy League group of 8 elite universities in the US, believes that most US universities are looking for comprehensive candidates, not only good ones. only one field.

During his three years of high school at Hanoi - Amsterdam High School for the Gifted, Dung achieved many achievements in Physics when he won the third prize in the national excellent student competition, the gold medal at the International Olympic Games in Astronomy and Astrophysics. IOAA) and the International Olympic Silver Medal for Urbanism.

In the second semester of grade 12, I and my family decided to study abroad. Dung gap year for a year to prepare a more complete profile. During this time, the male student worked as a consultant for the national Olympic team, participated in research at a university and did a number of personal projects, supporting children in disadvantaged areas. Dung's essay talks about the existence of stars and their connection to human life, expressing his desire to contribute to the reduction of environmental pollution.

The male student considers the strength of his profile that both the essay and extracurricular activities are related to the field of Physics, Astronomy and the relationship of these two subjects to life.

"That makes my profile more prominent, and at the same time shows the school that I have a strong passion for both these subjects," Dung shared, saying that he had an orientation about this when he decided to pursue this career. STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

According to Dung, when students have not yet identified their passion, parents should give their children access to many exams or activities related to many subjects. As a result, students can gain more knowledge and be exposed to that industry in practice, supporting the building of extracurricular profiles related to the major they want to study.

Student participation in research is also an advantage because universities around the world always take this activity seriously. Meanwhile, the candidate shows an interest in the field and how to apply the knowledge in practice. In addition, candidates should explore some other areas outside of their expertise, be it singing, piano, drawing or sports.

"If you can use that passion to spread to many people, the application will certainly be brighter," Dung said. The male student will come to the US next fall with a financial support of about 65,000 USD (1.5 billion VND) per year.

Students shared how to choose majors and prepare their study abroad applications at the Study Abroad Festival in the US, Canada, UK and Australia, on April 9. Photo: Binh Minh

Attending the same school as Dung, Truong Vi Thao said, highlighting her profile with an ethnic minority girl's self-discovery journey and efforts to contribute to her community. Previously, Thao had researched relevant scholarships to apply for.

Female student won the Chancellor Scholarship of Vanderbilt University (ranked 13th in the US). Thao's profile highlights the extracurricular activities she participates in at many large organizations dedicated to developing education for minority communities. I also have my own project for ethnic youth. In the essay, Thao expressed her desire to work for NGOs and continue to develop these projects, not only in Vietnam but globally.

" The Chancellor's Scholarship is for students who have made great contributions to building minority communities and my profile is focused on that. I think that's why the school sees me as a good fit," Thao said. good.

According to the students, three years of high school is the time when each individual determines the direction, knows what his passion is. In which, the preparation starting from 10th grade is appropriate.

Luong Anh Khanh Huyen , 12th grade, Concordia International School, entered the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League) late last year. According to US news ranking, this is the number 1 business school in the world today.

Khanh Huyen said that the family has a business tradition from her grandmother's life, she soon got to know, even followed her and her parents in contract negotiations. In family meals, the topic of business is always mentioned.

"I started reading books about economics and was very interested in starting a business. I also expressed this desire throughout my study abroad application," Huyen said. Before deciding to study business abroad, Huyen consulted the preparation timelines of her brother and sister.

According to Huyen, in 10th grade, studying was not too stressful, so she spent most of her time participating in many extracurricular activities. By the 11th grade, girls only focus on 2-3 activities to be more sure of their choices. In addition, Huyen focuses on maintaining grades in class.

Grade 12 according to Huyen is the time when candidates complete what is necessary for the application, including essays, invitations and standardized certificates, best from the beginning of the school year.

Bui Tu Uyen and Luong Anh Khanh Huyen (right) - two female students who have been admitted to many of the top US universities in the early admission period in 2023. Photo: Summit

According to Ms. Le Dieu Linh, Deputy Director of Summit Education, most schools select comprehensive candidates, both in academics and extra-curricular activities.

Standardized scores and study scores are important, but candidates also need to find themselves a clear focus and passion. This is an important contributing factor to win the competition for the top schools.

"The current training trend of many schools in the US as well as top schools in the world is interdisciplinary education. The boundaries between disciplines are not too far apart anymore, so comprehensive education is early and there are a few interests. Being different will help students have a more holistic view of things," said Ms. Linh.

However, with increasingly fierce competition for top schools, Ms. Linh suggested parents and students consider choosing more high-quality liberal arts universities. These are small-sized universities that are more inclined to develop foundational knowledge and skills that can be changed flexibly.

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