• Nora Sun

Tags: Duke

Institution: Duke University

Study: Major in mechanical engineering with a concentration in automotive engineering

High School Experience

I liked that my high school stressed interdisciplinary courses and the significance of visual and performing arts in a well rounded curriculum; however, I thought that the student and faculty members were monolithic in their political views, and the school fostered a culture of “safetyism” and fragility.

Course choices

Throughout high school, I really enjoyed biology, psychology, neuroscience, and many of my history courses, and these interests definitely guided my course selections.


Our school did not offer AP/IB courses.


4.0 unweighted

Standardized Testing

ACT: 34

SAT Math 2: 800

SAT US History: 750


I was editor in chief of my high school newspaper, actively involved in MUN, debate, and political action clubs.


I had a wonderful relationship with the teachers who wrote my recommendations.


My common app essay was a series of vignettes outlining challenges that I had confronted successfully or unsuccessfully throughout high school, including academic and social.


I displayed a wide range of interests and passions, as well as leadership skills, through my common application, and I had a very strong GPA and high tier test scores.


I would say all academic challenges are surmountable if you are determined to tackle them, and I would suggest not pursuing extracurriculars a for performative reasons only, but because they are consistent with a passion of yours.




I chose Duke because it had the perfect balance of rigorous academics and social life, and they also had interesting service-oriented programs such as DukeEngage.


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