• Nora Sun

Tags: Columbia

Institution: Barnard College at Columbia University

Study: Major in political science and electrical engineering

High School Experience

I am a senior at LaGuardia High School, which is a pretty famous arts high school (Timothee Chalamet, Ansel Elgort, Nikki Minaj, etc all went). I am a drama Major at LaGuardia and have been surrounded by the arts my whole life, attending both middle and high school for acting. At LaGuardia, I was very outspoken about my STEM passions, which wasn’t always the most common since LaG is arts-focused. I loved that LaG I could be anyone I wanted to be and love anything I wanted to love, even if the arts weren’t my primary focus. Sometimes, it felt like I was the odd one out, or that there weren’t enough STEM opportunities for me, but this ultimately impassioned me to seek STEM initiatives for me to get involved in outside of school, which led to me getting a prestigious internship conducting astrophysics research, along with moving me to start my first business, First Empower (@first.empower).

Course choices


I was very very academic in high school. I took 9 AP classes which is one of the highest numbers anyone can take at my high school and did very well in most of them. When it came to the humanities v STEM APs, I actually did way better in humanities (getting 100s in AP world, APush, AP Lang, etc) than I did in STEM! This has always been the case for me, though; Ive continuously loved STEM, but have always done better in my humanities classes in school. My passions for STEM are rooted in pure curiosity, rather than in ability to do well in my in-school STEM classes. For most of my life, I’ve wanted to become an astronomer and I never really got to explore this topic in school because my high school didn’t offer any astronomy classes, which led me to pursue ways of getting involved in astronomy outside of school.


4.0 unweighted

Standardized Testing

ACT: 31



I did physics and AP Calc for my recommendations. I wanted to do 2 STEM classes because at the time I was a prospective astronomy major. I had gotten 100 in physics and AP calc was just a really hard but great class for me.


My college essay was about the New Yorker Tote Bag on the surface and exemplified my passion for astronomy. Below the surface, it was about the, at the time, very recent death of my mother following a 14 year battle with breast cancer.


What made me a strong applicant was definitely my strong sense of self and committed passion. My entire application centered around my passion for astronomy and clearly conveyed my curiosity and commitment to continue exploring the wonders of STEM, along with inspire other girls to do the same.


My advice to others is to dive deep into your passions TODAY. There is no need to wait until you get into college to get a head start on your career today. You are the one leading your life; take your passions and run with them today! What are you waiting for?


My mom passed away following a 14 year battle with breast cancer is May of my junior year. This inherently set my application apart. My passion for STEM and inspiring more girls to pursue careers in STEM is entirely fueled by mom, who was a fierce human rights lawyer. Her legacy lives on in me.


I ultimately chose Barnard for its mission: to amplify women’s power to change the world. as Barnard says, there is truly no better time to attend a college with this sole purpose.


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