• Nora Sun

Tags: Duke

Institution: Duke University

Study: Major in computer science on a pre-med track, maybe minor statistics

High School Experience

I liked how long term oriented my school was and how it had a very communal feel to it, but didn’t like the inauthenticity of most people. I went to a harsh and competitive high school where many people were just fulfilling family expectations.

Course choices

At first I was interested in biomedical engineering but over time I found that a computer science and medicine hybrid path was for me. I took all of the science and math classes I could, but not enough coding classes because I discovered I loved CS too late.


I took 20 AP exams, which were all of the science, math, cs, English, and social studies exams except European history and comparative government. I got 5s on all courses so far but I haven’t received senior year scores.


4.0 unweighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1550

SAT Biology: 800

SAT Math 2: 800


Synthetic biology research team for 3 years where I was a senior wet lab and modeling person, volunteered at an emergency room for 3 years, president of school biotech club, swimmer for entire life (but not recruited by Duke), and lab intern at a cancer research center.


My physics and biology teachers wrote my letters and I only knew them from class. However, I asked my biology teacher for advice and help about synthetic biology and the cancer research center work many times.


I think my personality shined through in both my essays and my interviews, so colleges likely saw these as strong parts of my application. Additionally, my transcript is very good as I worked very hard in high school to keep up all A’s and a high GPA.


Almost perfect academic record and research experience in a cool field.


It is not shameful to be a student. If you are applying for something or asking someone for an opportunity, don’t exaggerate your skills, just tell the truth (that you know nothing and want to learn).




It has strong academics in everything I like (CS, stats, med school), is one of if not the best premed school in the US, and has an emphasis on innovation and research instead of traditionalism.


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