• Nora Sun

Tags: UCLA

Institution: University of California Los Angeles

Study: Major in mathematics

High School Experience

High school treated me pretty well I’d say. I definitely blossomed a ton in these last 4 years; freshman/sophomore year I was incredibly shy and didn’t care much to make tons of friends, then something just switched junior year and I suddenly wanted to become super social. I found a much better balance between doing my work and getting to talk to my classmates, and became much better known in the school community. I took a pretty full course load with as many APs as I could but surprisingly managed alright. I didn’t get much sleep, especially junior year but I was really happy which is the most important part.

Course choices

I’ve always preferred math, and I was two years ahead in math classes so I got to take extra AP math courses.


Freshman: AP Human Geography, scored a 3

Sophomore: AP Euro, scored a 5

Junior: AP Calculus AB, scored a 5

AP Stats, scored a 5

AP Bio, scored a 4

AP Lang, scored a 5

Senior: AP Gov, AP Calculus BC, AP Chem, AP Lit (scores TBD)


4.0 unweighted, 4.57 weighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1560; 760 reading, 800 math


I have danced ballet for 13 years, and through high school I danced around 20 hours a week outside of school. I pioneered a student choreography program at my ballet school and also acted as a liaison for teacher to student communication. I also was in the dance program at my high school, two periods a day, for all four years, and represented dance on the student advisory council for the multi-disciplinary arts program at my high school. I also did peer court/restorative justice for 3 years at my high school.


I asked my AP Stats and AP Bio teacher from junior year for letters of rec, and I chose them because I did well in their classes and they also had a good idea of my character. I didn’t necessarily have a super tight relationship with either of them (I didn’t do extra office hours or their optional study groups ever) but they got to know me in the classroom pretty well.


I tried to write my essays to flow like a story as opposed to stating facts. I started most of them with a quote or an anecdote to connect the rest of the essay to. I wrote about how ballet impacted my life, my experience tutoring young kids, and finding confidence and becoming more extroverted throughout my high school years.


I think my stats were pretty strong, and I really worked hard to make my essays represent that I am a well-rounded person and have done much outside of academics.


Convince the admissions officer looking at your application that you are somebody they would be proud to have as an alum of their college. Sell yourself as a special, unique individual that is going to make a mark on the world in the future. Test scores and grades are certainly a factor, but really use the essays and extracurricular section to distinguish yourself from all of the other straight A pupils.




I didn’t really have a set first choice, but UCLA was one of my faves. I ended up being between UCLA and UC Berkeley and it came down to what I thought would be a more enjoyable experience for me personally.


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