• Nora Sun

Tags: MIT

Institution: MIT

Study: Major in aerospace

High School Experience

I think I found out pretty quickly that your university goals decide your high school experience. Basically, if you want to shoot high you have to perform and sacrifice a little bit of fun, and that’s what I did. However, that doesn’t mean I had no fun like I still took my APs and did my homework and studying and all that but I’d never spend more than 2 hours on homework (with some exceptions) and I’d always give myself breaks and time to breathe. I’ve also had a girlfriend since sophomore year which gave me like an outlet to focus on something other than school lol - but yeah as for what I liked and didn’t like: I went to a pretty big school with a ton of smart people so I really enjoyed learning from people that were smarter than me. I also played volleyball which I always enjoyed and of course the cliche making friends and stuff. As for what I didn’t like, school can be a real grind when you’re shooting for straight A’s and high scores and stuff so the stress and all that was a little much to handle at times.

Course choices

I’ve always loved chemistry and sciences and engineering so my electives were usually science or math based. I mainly chose my electives by either what was required or what I felt would actually help toward college (not just be an easy A).


AP Spanish Language: 3

AP Language: 4

AP Calculus AB: 5

AP Chemistry: 5


3.89 unweighted, 4.5 weighted

Standardized Testing

ACT composite: 35

SAT Math 2: 800

SAT Chemistry: 730


I played varsity volleyball all 4 years, and I’ll continue in college. Apart from that I was in National Honor Society but didn’t really hold any leadership positions and didn’t do much else because high school and club volleyball consumed all my time.


The teachers that wrote my recommendation letters definitely liked me a lot. One was a mom of one of my teammates from eighth grade but also my AP Chem teacher, and I’m pretty sure she got a pay bonus because of my 5 on the exam. My AP Lang teacher was an incredible writer and liked me as well.


All of the essays are pretty different so I didn’t really have a theme. I did my best to answer each question straight forward and shed myself in a positive light without too much fluff and unnecessary information. Basically I just aimed to make myself stand out with who I am and not how I write.


I’m a firm believer that all elite universities are correct in saying that their review process is holistic. I think to get into top universities you need really good grades and scores as well as something ELSE extraordinary that shows commitment and determination. For me that was volleyball and the fact that I got a letter of recommendation from the MIT coaches - that’s what cemented my application. Just as an example, I actually got denied from Notre Dame and I think that’s either because 1. They didn’t need more engineering majors or 2. I didn’t have that letter of recommendation from a volleyball coach so just my grades and scores weren’t enough to get me accepted.


Apply to every school that interests you and don’t worry about the money until you actually get accepted. A lot of Ivy Leagues and top schools have excellent financial aid and I saw so many kids in high school that were much smarter than me underachieve by not applying to top schools because they felt that it was pointless or it was too expensive. I was so close to not even applying for MIT because I thought I had no chance.




I chose MIT because I really want to make an impact on the world and not just make a bunch of money and live an easy life. I think MIT pushes their students toward using what they learn to change what’s around them and help others. Personally, I want to work on colonizing other planets so that we can learn more about them and about space/our existence. Since MIT’s aero/astro is the best in the world, it was a pretty easy choice for me.


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