• Nora Sun

Tags: Duke

Institution: Duke University

Study: Major biology on the pre-med track, minor in global health

High School Experience

My high school experience honestly was very enriching. I loved all the options I was given in regards to classes I could choose and clubs I could pursue. I discovered a lot about myself and what my interests were through those 4 years. I got to take so many challenging science classes, which really helped me expand my knowledge base and figure out I wanted to do a biology major. I got to dissect a cat, blow up a gummy bear, and all sorts of other unique experiments. I also got to work with many of my closest friends in our school orchestra and newspaper.

Course choices

I honestly had none when I first walked into high school. I really found every single class interesting and didn’t have a particular favorite subject. Hence, I tried to take the most challenging course available for every subject at my school. It was my AP biology class during freshman year that really caused me to develop an interest in STEM. It motivated me to take many other science APs down the line like AP Chemistry, AP Physics 1 and 2, and AP Environmental Science.


AP Biology: 5

AP Chemistry: 5

AP Spanish Language: 5

AP World History: 5

AP English Language: 5

AP English Literature: test not taken

AP Physics 1: 4

AP US History: 5

AP Environmental Science: 5

AP Calculus AB: 5

AP Physics 2: 5

AP Calculus BC: 5

AP Psychology: test not take

AP European History: test not taken

AP US Government: unknown

AP Macroeconomics: unknown

AP Music Theory: unknown

AP Statistics: unknown


4.0 unweighted, 5.33 weighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 35

SAT Chemistry: 780

SAT Math 2: 800


As a violinist for seven and a half years, I was very passionate about orchestra all four years of high school and became both concertmaster and secretary of the student board. I additionally became president of a volunteer club within our orchestra known as United Sound in which I developed lesson plans in order to teach music to students with developmental disabilities. Furthermore, I became interested in our nationally-recognized school newspaper my senior year and rose to the rank of copy editor. I also participated in UIL Academic competitions such as UIL math, science, and journalism. I additionally was the publicity officer of Science National Honor Society, which I participated in for 2 years. I also was part of NHS and Math Honor Society for 2 years. I also was part of Spanish Honor Society for 3 years.


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.


The main narrative of my essays were how my creativity shaped me into who I am today. I have always had a very unorthodox perspective of the world, shaped by my unique neurological condition: ordinal linguistic personification synesthesia. Growing up, all of my five senses were tangled together. I could taste the sound of a name, see personalities in letters and numbers, and match specific colors to specific letters and numbers. In my essays, I focused on how my perception of the world always caused me to problem-solve in a unique way.


I personally think it was my essays, which showcased unique perception of the world and how that perception allowed me to develop unorthodox problem-solving skills.


I would say to just find what you love and pursue it. Explore everything you can until you find something that sparks your interest. When you are passionate about something, that is when you’ll produce your best work and create something you’re proud of. In the end, pursuing my personal interests as much as I could brought me to where I am. I believe no one can go wrong if they follow what makes them happy.




I chose Duke because of its culture of exploration. I love how Duke really gives you the freedom to pursue all of your academic interests and even mash them together to see where they intersect. For example, I am both a musician and a scientist at heart so it’s fascinating for me to explore the intersection of music and medicine through exploring the concept of music therapy. I additionally, as an innately curious person, knew I wanted to attend an institution with many research opportunities, hence chose Duke so I could pursue all of my research interests and answer my most pressing scientific questions.


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