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  • Nora Sun

Tags: Brown, low income, first generation


Institution: Brown University

Study: Major in computational biology


High School Experience

Overall I enjoyed my high school experience a lot. I went to a fairly big public school our graduating class is 500 kids. I liked that my school had well rounded opportunities so everyone had the option to explore music, athletics, art, and languages.


Course choices

History was actually my favorite subject, but I knew I wanted a career in stem so I tried to keep my high school classes well rounded and challenging. I continued core classes all 4 years and opted to take more advanced physics and math classes. For electives I took music, psych, math, and language classes so basically whatever seemed fun.


AP/IBs

I took the AP level of a class whenever I had the option so I’ve taken AP world history, US history, language, and physics I before senior year and somehow pulled off all 5s except a 4 in physics I. Senior year I took the courses for AP stats, BC calculus, literature, microeconomics, macroeconomics, physics c mechanics, and physics C electricity/magnetism but I ended up only taking the test for calculus since my college doesn’t take the credits.


GPA

98 unweighted


Standardized Testing

SAT: 1440

ACT: 32

SAT world history: 750

SAT math II: 650 [unsent]

SAT physics: 660 [unsent]

SAT US history: 640 [unsent]


Extracurriculars

I jumped around the clubs my school had a lot so I was in community service clubs called helping hands and breaking boundaries freshman and sophomore year and I also was in gay straight alliance. Most of my activities I did for all 4 years were outside of school where I volunteered at a hospital, joined community improvement/environmental groups, and my local historical society where I was community service coordinator. I was also a section leader in my school's marching band. Another good extra curricular opportunity was a summer internship that I did at Brookhaven National labs where I did engineering research.


Recommendations

I submitted a guidance counselor letter of recommendation, and 3 teacher letters. I wasn’t super close with my guidance counselor but she was nice and knew enough about me as a student. I was very close with my 3 teachers that submitted letters. They all knew I was very dedicated and I spent a lot of time talking to them outside of school. I asked my chem teacher from 10th grade who I wasn’t the closest with but knew my personality and that I liked science and my physics teacher who I had grown very close with in 11th grade and I talked to a lot throughout the summer. I also had a history teacher who had dad vibes and knew my personality the best to write one more character to show I was not just close with my STEM teachers.


Essays

I wrote the common app essay and my college had 3 supplementals. My main essay was a specific narrative about a random day in my health class that branched into a deeper idea of being spontaneous and excited to take on new ideas. My supplementals were school specific but I tried to thread the idea of being passionate and interested in trying new things through all of them.


Strengths

I definitely think the holistic review process was in my favor. Although I felt I was good in all my categories I felt like I didn’t have a super high SAT score or a ton of extracurriculars for competitive schools but being well rounded combined with trying to put across a really open and excited personality stands out most on an application.


Advice

The best advice I would say is that everyone has their own path so don’t compare yourself to others or take classes because you think it’ll get you into a certain school. Genuinely do what you like because you will be better at it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you won’t know until you try.


Circumstances

Low income, first generation


Why?

At first I thought any “name brand” school would be perfect but after visiting a lot of schools I realized that I valued the feeling on campus a lot. Brown is known as a hippie school so I was really drawn to the open curriculum, laid back atmosphere, and family feelings on campus. On top of the academic opportunities I just felt really at home on campus which was very important to me.


#Brown #low_income #first_generation

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