• Nora Sun

Tags: Duke

Institution: Duke

Study: Major in math and computer science

High School Experience

I went to a private school in North Carolina with around 120 people per grade. I had a lot of friends but the social school life was not like other schools since we didn’t really have parties or anything, and the school is very strict with drugs and alcohol. Overall, it was a good experience but I kind of wished we would’ve had more social gatherings since my friends on a given year would highly depend on who was in my classes. I do have to say that the teaching style was nice and productive since I feel like my teachers actually cared about growth and tests were never memorization-based. My projects also rarely consisted of research papers and more so presentations and things like that,


I really like math, computer science, so my interests inside and outside of school were based on STEM. My school offered “advanced” classes instead of AP and that was their way of saying that they offered content beyond just preparing for a test but advanced courses were pretty much the same as AP as they mostly used the AP curriculum, and they were the ones that took the AP test at the end of the year. I took 4 advanced courses each year, so 8 in total, but only 7 of those classes were AP classes since senior year I took Calc 3 which was advanced but didn’t offer the AP. I also took blended classes like macroeconomics and microeconomics and calc 1 and 2 so in total I took 9 AP tests. I did pretty well on my APs I had one 3 in literature in 11th grade but the rest were 4s and 5s. Also my school only offered advanced or so courses 11th and 12th grade.


3.75 unweighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1480; 800 in math and 680 in language

SAT Math II: 790

SAT German: 640


I am passionate about giving back to my community, especially to people like me that don’t speak english as their first language. I tutored kids in Spain, my home country, and taught them english and math and formed an affinity group/club in my school for immigrants where we would have discussions, guest speakers, etc. I did a veracity sport every trimester of high school: cross country, swimming, and track. I also really like design and, since middle school, I've been doing some design projects for people and companies, some of them charging and some free of charge.


My relationships with most teachers in general was good, especially those who wrote recommendations for me. I chose my teachers based on our relationship and how well I knew them and not necessarily based on my performance in the class. I did an internship in Germany last summer and the person who I lived with and worked at the company also wrote a recommendation and my relationship with him was good.


I wrote about my connection to my community, hometown, and family. My common app essay was about the 4 languages I speak and how they all affect/add to my identity. I wrote a supplemental essay about my family and another about giving back to my community. I decided to go through this path on my essays since the rest of my common app was very stem based, and I was clearly a math/science person so I wanted to cover another part of me.


I think it was how I put together my application, like I said in the last question. I made sure all my extracurricular stuff was streamlined and had a theme and had my essays write about something more emotional. The fact that I was a second language speaker and my background in general I feel like made me stand out also. There was no one thing that made me stand out, I wasn't a state champion or had a perfect SAT score, but everything was consistent and I feel like my application made people get a good sense of me. I feel like people stress a lot about comparing themselves to other people in their accomplishments but it is way more important to have a structured application that covers a lot of ground instead of just one or two big accomplishments.



I was foreign and moved here 6 years ago. even though I'm from Spain, I count as Hispanic and am in a Green Card. I don't know if that helped me but the admissions office definitely have me credit for doing anything an American student would do as a second language student.



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