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Nguyen Hai Ly - a freshman at Dartmouth University: An energetic, hardworking and ambitious girl from Chemistry class

Post by: trangtrang | 23/05/2020 | 227 reads

Reporter: First of all, congratulations for officially becoming a freshman at Dartmouth University! Can you share with us what you felt when you received the results?

Hai Ly (HL): It was about 6 am that day; as I had been accepted into a few universities of my liking, I opened the mail without any real worries. However, the results were still unbelievable to me, because while I had applied for Early Decision, Dartmouth decided to delay my acceptance confirmation until Regular Decision, meaning that for a long time I didn’t dare to hope for anything. In the end though, the saying “waiting is happiness” actually did wonders.

Reporter: It is known that the process of writing the college essay is one of the most difficult periods for anyone preparing a CV to study abroad. Can you reveal a few things about your personal essay?

HL: My essay is about who I am in the laboratory, in the debate club, when I am organizing a summer camp or a science fair, when I am speaking at competitions. Through those familiar settings, I tried my best to portray my personality and tendencies. I was lucky to have a counselor to establish the style of the essay and guide me through drafts after drafts to the final product. In my supplemental essay for Dartmouth, I wrote about one of the school’s professors, Ms Jane Hill, who is working in the area that I am passionate about. I watched a lot of her interviews to write accordingly, and I also inserted a few details about the state of feminism in Vietnamese culture and society to express my opinions.

Reporter: Why did you choose Dartmouth University and which major will you pursue at the university?

HL: In this college application season, I felt really grateful cause I got lucky. I used to think that if my financial situation weren’t competitive, my choices would be more limited. However, that’s not how it necessarily works. Among the schools I got accepted in, Amherst, Colby, and Dartmouth were all my top choices and they were incredibly generous. Colby even granted me the Pulver Scholar (ten freshmen each year) to do research at American scientific institutions, something I have wanted right from the start of this journey. But when Dartmouth accepted me, everything that pushed me to apply for their Early Decision rushed back, complete with congratulatory messages from seniors at Dartmouth, all of which made me feel the “school spirit” just like at Ams, so I concluded that this would be the place! After that, I also asked people about opportunities to study and work at Dartmouth, but the more I looked into it, the more impassioned I felt, as I could not find any downsides.

I intend to study Biomedical Engineering, but I also welcome any changes in the future. At Dartmouth, it’s only until second year can students choose their major, and they are very flexible with students’ academic interests; I am also a curious person, so I decided to broaden my knowledge in a variety of areas.

Reporter: Can you share your stories about some difficult periods in the CV preparation process?

HL: The hardest time is probably the period closest to the application season - summer of 11th grade - as at that moment, I was snowed under by work, and despite having prepared for a few years, I still felt like that “was not enough”. At the time, I was still taking standardized tests, still participating in extracurricular activities, and struggling to find ideas for my essay. It was mainly my own trepidation and pressure from friends (everybody has their own strengths and I knew that it wasn’t comparable, but I couldn’t help thinking about it). Fortunately, I always had loyal and like-minded friends who I could share everything with; having someone to go together on the journey gives you more encouragement. My mom is also understanding - I frequently tell her stories about school; other people also always helped me make the right decision. While I was waiting for the results, I stayed awake every night, anxiously anticipating emails. At the time, my form teacher, Mrs Le Thi Ngoc Ha, always supported me whenever the school needed more information; she also supplied me with tips about my future ambitions so that I could calm down and make plans regardless of the results.


Hai Ly (wearing a red hat) along with friends in the 17-20 Chemistry 1 class yearbook

Reporter: Finally, do you have any advice for the 18-21 Amsers that will submit their applications next year?

HL: If I can go back and change something, I would focus on myself more instead of financial matters. Everybody always brings up a particular budget and says that you have to outdo it for better chances. Just try your best to achieve your ambitions, and don’t pay attention to things around you. I know a lot of outstanding people with less than desirable results, and I always want to tell them that they are great everywhere, so don’t think too hard. GPAs, achievements, extracurricular activities, essays, or eligible schools - none of that matters much. What’s important is to always follow your dreams in spite of what the future holds. Through the college application process, I feel like the school chose me more so than I chose the school, and everything happens for a reason, so you must always stay optimistic.

Reporter: Thank you for having sat down for an interview with Ams Wide Web today. We hope that you will always stay passionate and continue to succeed in life!


Hai Ly at the summer Science Camp of the club Society of Open Science


Hai Ly (furthest left) with Society of Open Science at the club’s Science Fair

A summary of Nguyen Hai Ly’s achievements:

Academic achievements:

  • Second Prize at the National Intel ISEF

  • First Prize at Hanoi’s Intel ISEF

  • Consolation Prize at the National Chemistry Competition

  • Second Prize at Hanoi’s Chemistry Competition

  • Bronze Medal at North Coast’s Chemistry Competition

  • First Prize at Hanoi’s Chemistry Competition for 9th Graders (got an entrance pass into the Chemistry class of both HUS High School for Gifted Students and HNUE High School for Gifted Students).

  • Honorary scholarships for many consecutive terms

  • Excellent student of Hanoi 3 years running

  • Gold Medal at Asian Student Leadership Conference (ASLC) in Singapore

  • Bronze Medal at the Invention Exhibition of Wiipa in Taiwan.

  • Participated in the research at The Biomedical Research Center at the Vietnam Military Medical Academy.

Extracurricular achievements:

  • Vice President of the science club Society of Open Science

  • Head of Events of the debate Club Puzzle Ams.

  • Member of the project on feminism Muse Exhibition.

Dartmouth University was established in 1769, before the American Revolution. The university campus is in New Hampshire. Dartmouth is a member of the renowned Ivy League. According to US News, Dartmouth University is in the top 12 best universities in the U.S with an incredibly low acceptance rate, at 8%.

More than 164 Dartmouth students went on to join the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. In the area of literature and journalism, 8 Dartmouth alumni won the Pulitzer. 3 Dartmouth alumni received the Nobel Prize.

Reporter: Pham Minh Anh - Literature 1821

Photos: Provided by the interviewee

Translator: Dinh Thu Ngan - English 1922