• Nora Sun

Tags: Duke

Institution: Duke University

Study: Major in biomedical engineering

High School Experience

My high school experience was great! I had awesome friends and great teachers, most of my classes were pretty interesting and I genuinely enjoyed going to school. I went to a “gifted” program within a normal public high school, so I had classes mainly with the same 40ish people in my gifted program while attending a 1500 person school with good sports teams and extracurricular stuff.

Course choices

I tended to really like stem. I loved my higher level science and math classes and signed up for most that my school offered and would fit into my schedule. i also signed up for high level classes in other subjects (spanish, english, history) but mostly because I really liked the teachers.


AP spanish lang: 5


AP microeconomics: 5

AP computer science A: 5

AP chemistry: 5

AP calc BC: 5

AP English Lang: 4

AP World History: 4

AP Government: 4


4.0 unweighted, 4.7 weighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1570

ACT: 35

SAT Math 2: 800


I did student council, held elected positions and stuff, which was a lot of fun. I also did HOSA and competed at state and even went to nationals one year, and was co-president of the HOSA chapter senior year. I started taking orchestra my junior year and played bass which I really liked. Outside of school I do martial arts, and since I'm a “master” level I actually work at our gym and teach people Muay Thai, Taekwondo. I really like it!


The best part of my high school was the teachers, my math teacher for 3 years was also the student council advisor so I became really close with her, I spent a lot of time in her classroom and we have a great relationship. I also was close with my freshman/senior english teacher and even helped tutor her daughter in chemistry, so we’re also pretty close. Even my guidance counselor was also my AP spanish teacher, so we got to know each other very well. Overall all the teachers who wrote me recommendations I knew very well both in and out of classroom settings.


My essays were very personal. I often talked about my sister who has a disability, as she is a big part of the reason I have the passions that I do.


I think my general passion for learning shone through in my essays and teacher recommendations. I also think my many extracurriculars helped me.


Good relationships with teachers!! It’ll be easier to ask them for help if you don’t understand the material, and it will help with letters of recommendation. Also, don’t blow off freshman and sophomore year, that is really a time to build up your GPA and get summer internships that look great on college applications and give you really good experience and exposure to different careers.



Duke is amazing! My cousin just graduated and she has all amazing things to say about it. She had great professors, an awesome on campus vibe with basketball games and parties, and an awesome alumni network that helped her get an internship with the NIH. She said she feels really prepared for her career, and that was really what I was looking for in a college so I decided on Duke.


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