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  • Nora Sun

Tags: UC Berkeley, first generation, low income


Institution: University of California Berkeley

Study: Major in computer science


High School Experience

My high school experience was pretty laid back. I kept to myself and my group of friends. I didn’t play any sports or play any instruments. Freshman year was rough and I struggled since I was moving. Starting into my high school late definitely provided its own challenges. Although by the end of the year I had found my support group. I began getting involved in clubs during sophomore year. I joined NHS which is a volunteering club. I also joined more clubs throughout the rest of my high school career such as- Spanish club, Korean club, Key club, and a couple others. I also volunteered through my sophomore to senior year. I liked my friends that I gained and the classes, which introduced valuable knowledge to take into college. I disliked that my school didn’t provide enough higher level courses. There was a total of 8 AP classes and only a handful of honors courses.


Course choices

My academic interest throughout high school was computer science. This unfortunately did not guide me through my course choices as my school did not provide classes in CS. I mostly chose my courses based on if it was an honors or AP class.


AP/IBs

I took AP English, AP Biology, AP Literature, AP Studio Art, AP Calculus AB, and AP Spanish.


GPA

4.5 weighted


Standardized Testing

SAT: 1050

ACT: 21


Extracurriculars

My extracurricular interest was volunteering at my local animal shelter. I volunteered from sophomore year to senior year. I held the role as “leader” and “volunteer trainer."


Recommendations

I had solid relationships with my teachers who wrote my letters of recommendations. I had spoken to them about my struggles and passions and so they invested their time into me. They knew my goals and aspirations; they wanted to see me strive and helped in any aspect they could. I basically built rapport with my teachers.


Essays

I had the theme of vulnerability and struggle for the first of my essays. The next two were more about my personal growth and self discovery. My last essay was about how I made a positive change, more of a humbling moment.


Strengths

Personally, I think I held decent grades and had very vulnerable and honest essays. Along with the immense hours of community service, I think they saw growth and perseverance through my grades and essays.


Advice

Start early with extracurriculars! Get out of your comfort zone. Join a club/sport/event that doesn’t sound too interesting because it might be the turning point in your college admission decision. So many opportunities are missed out on because we don’t want to try or we’re too shy. Please get out there and try something new. It could be a game changer. I know it was for me.


Circumstances

I am a first generation student living in poverty. Me and my sister are the only people working in my household. My living conditions are not the best in terms of physically and mentally. My school is underfunded, leading to less opportunities. The city in which I live is dangerous and the opportunities are limited. My financial situation led me to apply only to a few schools.


Why?

UC Berkeley is full of opportunities for my major. Especially being that Berkeley is near all of the developing tech companies and the well known established ones such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. It is right in Silicon Valley. The education at Berkeley is also known to be one of the highest nation wide. In addition, Berkeley was also my dream school since I was a young girl.


#UC_Berkeley #first_generation #low_income

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