What does Quynh Trang, winner of the National excellent student Award, have in her Admission application to Fulbright?


Mai Quynh Trang – a student of Class of 2027 at Fulbright, was a member of the English team from Lao Cai high school for gifted to join the National Excellent Student Contest. Securing first place, it appeared that Trang had a guaranteed opportunity to enter top public universities directly.

However, Trang chose to pursue a Liberal Arts education, as she is a person who enjoys exploration and is always fascinated by a diverse learning environment. At Fulbright, Trang had the opportunity to study the fields she was curious about, utilizing the university’s resources to explore new subjects.

Finding inspiration through diverse learning methods

The motto “Learning must be fun” has always been associated with Quynh Trang throughout her learning journey. Trang constantly seeks creative and personalized learning methods that suit her.

When studying English – her favorite subject and also her strength, Trang continuously tried various learning approaches to improve her speaking and writing skills. Instead of sticking to model essays and rigid sentence structures, Trang chose to self-study, delving deeply into various topics, building personal perspectives, and developing a unique writing style. “When delving deep into what I love, even if the result is not the best essay/speech, it will definitely be unique and distinctive because it carries my personality,” Trang shared.

In particular, Trang was a member of the National Excellent Student team in English. In a high-pressure exam preparation environment, Quynh Trang always focuses on finding enthusiasm in learning.

Trang was fortunate to be accompanied by a teacher who always tried to create a diverse learning environment for students. “Instead of just spending time practicing and solving problems, I regularly participate in creative activities such as practicing English speaking through poetry, simulating a TED Talk in class, or preparing a presentation on any topic,” Trang shared about her effective learning method.

Through these activities, Trang not only improved her language skills but also developed the structure of her essays, improved body language, and time management in presentations.

Changes in the definition of critical thinking

Previously, Trang believed that critical thinking was simply the ability to argue with others to prove her own point of view. However, when participating in the National Excellent Student competition, Trang expanded her definition of critical thinking: it is not only about debating but also about grasping and presenting various perspectives on an issue. Therefore, Trang has continually sought information from many sources to build in-depth knowledge for herself.

Seemingly having found the correct definition of critical thinking, during the process of learning about debating, Trang realized that she was still misunderstanding. When having to delve deeper and build arguments, critical thinking does not stop at collecting other people’s views, but also requires the ability to build personal opinions from a unique perspective on an issue. From there, Trang constantly posed questions to herself to develop her thinking and argumentation style.

During the application process to Fulbright, Trang applied her critical thinking skills. Trang focused on demonstrating her deep understanding of a specific issue, along with the ability to build ideas and discuss in a structured way. This process not only helped Trang develop personal skills but also helped her realize the importance of sharing knowledge and personal views with the community, as well as her contributions to common issues.

Through continuous efforts in learning and self-development, Trang has proven that critical thinking is not just an academic skill but also an important tool in forming and expressing personal views.

The secret to studying and participating in extracurricular activities effectively

Although being a student who joined the National Excellent Student Contest with a dense exam preparation schedule, Trang still found time to participate in extracurricular activities. For Trang, participating in clubs and projects is a way to “reset” energy after stressful study hours.

To ensure a balance between studying and extracurricular activities, Trang carefully planned, arranging time to avoid overlapping. At the same time, Trang was also disciplined with her goals. During club activities, Trang developed valuable skills, especially teamwork and leadership skills. Clubs are not only a place for learning but also a family where people bond and support each other.

As the head of the Specialty Team – the core position of the club, Trang occasionally had difficulty connecting members. Trang spent a lot of time understanding the core of the problem and creating new activities to arouse members’ interest. Trang diversified the club’s activities such as organizing workshops with speakers and organizing summer camps. In addition, regularly conversing and updating the situation with members also played an important role in maintaining the cohesion and morale of the team.

Trang impressed the Fulbright Admissions Team when she demonstrated her eagerness to learn while still spending time to enrich experiences through extracurricular activities.

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