• Nora Sun

Tags: UC Berkeley

Institution: University of California Berkeley

Study: Major in environmental economics

High School Experience

My high school experience has had its ups and downs. Friendships aren’t always perfect, there’s drama, but ultimately, finding the people and activities that make you happy is what you’ll look back on and cherish. I liked trying new things (new clubs, extracurriculars, and contests). It’s fun to put yourself out there! Also, I made the most out of my school events (going to all the dances, pep rallies, sports games...).

Course choices

I’ve always been really interested in math and science, so I took AP Environmental Science (junior year) and AP Bio and AP Calc (senior year). I also took AP English and AP Literature, because I enjoy writing as well. I decided to take whichever AP’s I could, mainly because I felt the teachers and curriculum were better in the AP classes.


AP Human Geography: 3

AP World History: 3

AP U.S. History: 4

AP English Comp: 3

AP Environmental Science: 5

AP Calc: unknown

AP Lit: unknown

AP U.S. Government: unknown

AP Biology: unknown


4.0 unweighted, 4.6 weighted

Standardized Testing

ACT: 32

SAT composite: 1420

SAT superscore: 1480

SAT Math 1: 700

SAT Math 2: 600

SAT Literature: 710


I love musical theater and artistic opportunities. I participated in the spring musical for 3 years and was the lead in Mamma Mia and Newsies. I also was in the fall play for two years. I was VP and then president of Interact Club. I was president of Big Sister Little Sister club as well. I have been a member of GSA, NHS, CSF, and 6 man club as well. I did JV swim for two girls, JV soccer for 1 year. I have done poetry contests and a speech contest. I have done a program with my county government. I spend every summer doing community service with my church (a weeklong service project and a week of being a camp counselor).


I had a very good relationship with the teachers who wrote my recs. One was my math teacher for two years (and she nominated me as a mathlete). The other teacher was my English teacher and my spring musical director. He had known me for all three years, and came and supported me when I performed in the speech and poetry contests. He had lots of perspective.


My personal statement was told from a narrative perspective about the spring musical, Mamma Mia. I used lots of descriptive language so the reader could feel like they were also there with me. Music was something I was so passionate about, so I wanted my reader to see my enthusiasm, and understand how this enthusiasm was present in the other parts of my life, and how it has brought me success.


I think I was a strong applicant because my activities were relatively unique, and I put so much time and commitment into them (ex. 3 years of musical theater and 500+ hours of community service). Yet, these were also activities that I genuinely loved and was excited to write about!


My advice would be to take advantage of the opportunities life presents you. High school offers you the chance to try new things that likely you won’t be able to try when you’re older (like teen writing contests, school clubs, programs...). Take on the attitude of “why not try it?!”




UC Berkeley has a fantastic reputation and a top program for my major. I get in-state tuition, and the campus is beautiful. Everyone is open-minded and passionate about learning and success.


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