Vietnamese teen offered oodles of U.S. college scholarships, chooses DePauw

Friday, July 20, 2018

Cuong Gian, Vietnam -- More than 8,500 miles from Greencastle, a Vietnamese student with exceptional learning skills has been stockpiling scholarship from American colleges, only to finally decide upon DePauw University, the website VietnamNet Bridge reported in a story trending nationallyh this week.

Phan Thi Hanh

Phan Thi Hanh is a name heard often in the coastal commune of Cuong Gian in Nghi Xuan district of the central province of Ha Tinh. The girl, born in 2000, has won scholarships from at least 13 prestigious schools in the United States.

Hanh received many replies from her college applications. Ohio Wesleyan University even decided to grant a scholarship to Hanh even though it had run out of scholarships for students, because it was impressed with Hanh's achievements.

However, after thorough consideration, Hanh decided to study computer science at DePauw University -- which, the website notes, has a high ranking in social sciences, linguistics and biology. The scholarship is $36,000 a year, equal to 80 percent of tuition.

"Studying computer science has been my dream since childhood," she said.

Besides DePauw and Ohio Wesleyan, other schools that offered to grant scholarships to Hanh included Creighton; College of Wooster; Gustavus Adolphus College; Illinois Institute of Technology; University of Dayton; Beloit College and University of Central Florida.

Asked about her knowhow to obtain so many scholarships, Hanh said good learning records and impressive essays helped persuade the schools to grant scholarships. In addition, schools also pay attention to candidates' extracurricular activities, she advised.

Once a self-proclaimed "smartphone addict," Hanh knew she needed to change her ways and vowed to wean herself off smartphones and spend time on more useful things.

"To forget my habit of using smartphones, I spent more time to exchange information with friends and participate in extracurricular activities organized by the school," she said.

Hanh also had an inferiority complex about her English. Therefore, after passing the exams to the high school for the gifted under Vinh University, she immediately set a plan to study English.

"I want to be good at English because this allows me to communicate with friends all over the world and learn about many different cultures," she said.

When entering high school, Hanh spent time every day to practice speaking and listening skills. She learned English everywhere she could, even when she was on the bus. And the efforts were rewarded. She earned high scores on IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the standardized test (SAT) for college admissions.

Hanh's excellent English skills helped her write an essay about the impact of smartphones on youth.

Even in her essay, Hanh emphasized the need to change the development of smartphone technology, to ease youth's reliance on smartphones.

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