• Nora Sun

Tags: UPenn

Institution: University of Pennsylvania

Study: Major in biology

High School Experience

My high school experience was kinda hard as I went to a “college-prep” school. However I think being surrounded with like-minded ambitious individuals cultivated a really enriching experience and led to important discussions/conversations I wouldn’t have had at another school

Course choices

Although I was primarily interested in Biology, my school was lacking in AP courses so I just took any courses I could. I definitely had a preference for STEM and chose those classes first, but a lot of my classes were humanities too.


AP Psych: 5

AP Bio: 5

AP Lang and Comp: 4

AP Calc AB: 4

AP Comp Sci: unknown

AP Lit: unknown

AP Chemistry: unknown

AP Statistics: unknown

Dual Enrollment: Spanish in Healthcare, Anatomy & Physiology, and Sociology


4.0 unweighted, 4.65 weighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1530; 800 math, 730 reading

SAT Biology M: 790


NHS- 2 years, president NMHS- 1 year, founder Volleyball- 3 years, founder, captain Various other community service clubs- 4 years, no leadership (ex. HOSA, Key club, Leo club)


One of my recommenders was my writing tutor since 4th grade. I eventually started working as her assistant during my freshman year. She was like a mentor to me and we were very close. Another one of my recommenders was my AP Chemistry teacher and UIL coach. I felt very close to her as well because she inspired me to consider STEM at the university level and taught me how to find positivity during any challenge. Additionally, my AP physics teacher wrote me a recommendation. I was also fairly close to him but not as close as I was with my other two recommenders.


I typically wrote about how instead of focusing on “the bigger picture” focusing on a smaller scale could lead to greater change. I related my passion like this to cells and bio-mimicry to show my passion for biology.


I made my own opportunities. Where I live there isn’t a big push for college and not a lot of opportunities, so I founded clubs and took classes at a community college. I also started stuff within my community to emphasize smaller scale initiatives having a bigger effect than intended.


Grow where you’re planted. Don’t try to be someone you aren't, just focus on what you love. I wrote specifically about how I loved horseshoe crabs and their quirks. Uniqueness isn’t something you need to create. You already are amazing just find out how.


I had a single parent, my mother died when I was young, and was first gen.


I was deciding between Dartmouth and Penn and realized I loved the city more and didn’t want to be stuck with so much frat culture. I also looked at researchers and teachers and found that I preferred those at Penn.


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