International Student Earns More than $2 Million in University Scholarships
As Tommy (Grade 12, Vietnam) began the university application process, he had two goals – to get into a great university and to earn a scholarship that would help pay for it. And his hard work paid off – he was accepted to 12 top universities around the globe, with more than $2 million USD in scholarship offers.
Tommy, who has committed to the University of Florida (#30, US News and World Report) where he will study Computer Science, was also accepted to the University of Georgia, University of Richmond, Florida State University, Miami University, University of South Florida, University of Pittsburgh, University of Wisconsin-Madison, VinUniversity, Penn State and the Singapore Institute of Technology.
“When I was choosing universities to apply to, I didn’t just care about rankings,” Tommy said. “Even though those show that it’s a good school, there’s a lot more factors that go into it. For example, I love University of Florida because of the campus, the student life, the academics and the student body there. Being an extrovert, I feel like I’d fit more into that kind of environment than an academic center institution. … It’s important to find a university that fits you.”
Tommy began planning for his university applications his sophomore year, when he began with Amerigo.
“Amerigo has been one of the most important, helpful sources I received for my high school and my university applications. Ever since I was in sophomore year, Amerigo already created a plan for me," he said.
Tommy worked closely with Katie Blue, Amerigo’s Director of University Advising, on all aspects of the university application process, from SAT prep and essay guidance to the actual applications. He advises other international students to start preparing for university applications early and go in with a plan.
“Have a plan,” Tommy said. “My applications have taken a lot of time for me. I spent almost an entire year preparing for college applications and writing my essays – around 10 to 20 total – plus the transcripts, resumes and extracurriculars. My best advice is to start as early as possible. At the start of your junior year, start focusing on your college applications. Also have an advisor – being alone with college applications can be very overwhelming. Having someone like Katie Blue who you can contact regularly is so helpful.”
In addition to having top grades, Tommy is also very involved in clubs and organizations outside of school. He’s the Parliamentarian of the National Honor Society and is involved in the school’s Model UN, the Robotics Club and Math Honor Society. Additionally, he has developed his interests and taken on projects outside of school.
Tommy and a group of his best friends in America founded a non-profit organization called Together Vietnam that raises funds for communities in need in Vietnam. Recently, the group raised $10,000 for a water and sewage system in a small village and are looking into more ways to help communities with development and infrastructure.
Tommy also put his computer skills to use through Founding a phone app called Parkly. As the Founder and Head Developer, Tommy created an app that allows users to search for parking across cities in Asia.
“I like connecting the idea of computer science with the idea of helping people in need,” Tommy said. ‘Technology can change people’s lives. By using my skills in technology, I can really help people.”
Tommy credits the Amerigo program with helping him find his voice and develop so many successes at such a young age.
“Amerigo changed my life completely,” he said. “It has changed me as a person. Before, I was very shy and not that independent. After Amerigo, I’m much more independent while getting the support I need to be in a country abroad. I’ve become more confident talking to people from different countries. I’ve been making a lot of friends ever since I was in Amerigo. It’s also a very good education that Amerigo schools offer. I was pushed and challenged with students as passionate as me.”
Tommy recommends that international students who are interested in studying abroad follow their dreams and embrace the new experience.
“Amerigo is a fantastic program, and all the experiences you have here would be better than anything you could find,” Tommy said. “Looking back at me before and after I joined – I’ve become a completely different person. I suggest students to embrace challenges and try new things. When I think of studying abroad, it’s overwhelming to a lot of people but if you really want to pursue that path, you get used to it easily. I’ve been here or more than 3 years and I feel like it’s my second home.”
Congratulations to Tommy on all of his successes!
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