• Nora Sun

Tags: Yale, first generation, low income

Institution: Yale University

Study: Major in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology

High School Experience

I went to the largest, most diverse, inner-city public high school in my area. I absolutely loved getting to interact and exchange ideas with students from all over the city. There were countless opportunities to pursue STEM at local university partners, which enriched my high school experience. However, with such a diverse school came a great deal of inequity. POC did not nearly receive the same opportunities to academically thrive which was frustrating and a constant battle with our administration.

Course choices

I have been deeply interested in STEM throughout the entirety of high school, therefore I pushed myself to enroll in the most advanced courses offered at my school: AP Physics 2C, AP Calculus BC, and AP Biology. My school is an engineering magnet as well so every year I was required to take one year-long engineering course.


AP Calc BC: 4

AP Physics 2: 3



AP Lang: 4


4.0 unweighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1480; 710 reading, 770 math


I conducted genetics research at a local university and competed at several regional/state science fairs each year. I swam for my high school and community club teams, helped run a non-profit that promotes inclusive schools, and participated in several student-run initiatives at my school to build school unity.


My relationships with my recommenders were really strong. I picked two teachers, one in STEM who watched me grow as a scientist throughout high school, and one in History who I, by far, had the best relationship with. This combination allowed for my letters to cover both my academic and personal characteristics.


My essays were very globally-focused and I usually wrote using an extended metaphor. I spoke a lot about interdisciplinary and intercultural experiences of my life and thus how they serve as a testament to my character, abilities as a student, etc.


I think my essays were the best part of my application, personally. Many applicants have numerous science awards and accolades, however the essays add a very humanizing, personal touch that can stick with a reader/AO.


My best advice is to be present! This doesn't mean just showing up to class, school, or any events. More so, be present in the intellectual and social communities of your school/city. Colleges are seeking global learners, engaged citizens of the earth, and students who wholeheartedly dedicate their time to a cause outside of school. You do not have to do every club, but choose something that lights a fire in you and be present.


I am the daughter of two immigrants and a member of the FGLI community.


I chose Yale because of its immense dedication to community and interdisciplinary studies. While I am a STEM girl at heart, I have a deep interest for the intricacies of language, culture, and the humanities. Yale really stresses their liberal arts curriculum, pushes students beyond their comfort zones, but creates a collaborative community where students feel empowered and loved. I found it to be unmatched to other comparable universities.

#Yale #first_generation #low_income

Recent Posts

See All

Affable Minotaur: Undergraduate at Tufts

Tags: Tufts, low income, first generation Institution: Tufts University Study: Major in biomedical engineering High School Experience My high school experience was exceptional, but I’ve come to unders

Adventurous Lamia: Undergraduate at UC Berkeley

Tags: UC Berkeley Institution: University of California Berkeley Study: Major in molecular & cellular biology on a pre-med track, minor/double major in philosophy High School Experience I actually lov

Adaptable Kobaloi: Undergraduate at UCLA

Tags: UCLA Institution: University of California Los Angeles Study: Major in mathematics High School Experience High school treated me pretty well I’d say. I definitely blossomed a ton in these last 4