• Nora Sun

Tags: Columbia

Institution: Columbia

Study: Major in chemistry

High School Experience

I go to a small private Christian school in the South, and I have gone to this same school for twelve years. Despite the fact that the diversity was low, I really enjoyed my time there. Being there for so long allowed me to form really tight bonds with my classmates, which would have to be my favorite thing about my school. Most everyone is pretty close, including the teachers, which is nice. What I didn’t like was the ever-changing administration. Sometimes, we’d have good leaders, sometimes we would have more unpleasant ones. I also didn’t like the extremely strict dress code, but that’s on a less serious note.


AP Environmental Science: 3

AP US History: 3

AP Biology: 3

AP English Language: 5

AP English Literature: unknown

AP US Government and Politics: unknown

AP Calculus AB: unknown

AP Statistics: unknown


4.69 weighted

Standardized Testing

SAT superscore: 1430; 700 math, 730 reading

SAT US History: 670

SAT Literature: 540

SAT Math 1: 640


I did a good bit of extracurriculars through my years. Sports wise, I played JV basketball (1 year), managed Varsity basketball (1 year), played Varsity tennis (3 years), and played Varsity Soccer (4 years). On the soccer team, I was a team captain my junior and senior year. I also played travel soccer at local soccer clubs for 2 years. I was on the yearbook staff for 4 years, and I held a couple leadership positions. In 10th grade, I was the Copy Editor and a Group Mentor, in 11th grade, I was the Editor-in-Chief, and in 12th grade, I decided to be a Group Mentor again. The clubs I was a member of were Key Club (4 years), Future Business Leaders of America (4 years), Latin Club (2 years), Red Cross Club (1 year), Environmental Club (2 years), and I started a Fitness Club during my junior year, so I was the Creator/President for 2 years. I was also on the Mock Trial team for 3 years, and I was on SGA for 3 years as well (Class President twice, and Class Representative once) IG cut my message haha but to continue.. I also organized mini soccer camps for the elementary schools children at my school and served as a coach for 2 years. I forgot about these, but I was also in National Honor Society, and I served as an ambassador for my school.


My relationship with my teachers and counselor was incredible! I think it’s because I’ve gone to the same school for twelve years, and they have known/taught me for so long. It really helped establish super close relationships with the people who did my recommendations as well as the rest of the staff.


So I just tried to really dig deep and make sure my essays were super specific to the prompt while still showing different parts of my personality. My main common app essay was about childhood obesity and my personal fitness journey. If I had to pick a theme, I would probably say I really tried to stress my love for health/fitness in every application I sent. I also liked to talk about my love for science (specifically chemistry) and spending time with kids. However, I definitely didn’t repeat it a lot, so as to not talk about the same thing for every prompt.


To be completely honest, I’m not sure what made some schools accept me and not others. My grades and GPA were.. great, but so were a lot of other candidates. And I’m sure there were lots of people with better SAT/ACT scores than me. If I had to guess, it might have just been my experiences that made the difference. I think that some of the things I’ve gone through allow me to bring a really different perspective to the table when trying to discuss important topics and solve various problems.


My advice would be to just really try and reflect on what instances have shaped you, regardless of how insignificant you may think they are. When I was in seventh grade an started my fitness journey, I had no idea that’s what I would be basing my Common App essay on. I definitely didn’t expect to learn so much from that experience. Also, although this may sound cliché, I would say to find what you really enjoy doing and give it your all. If there’s not a club for it at your school, start one. Or find an organization outside of school that does it. Being able to talk about your passions and how you acted on.. them is great for your application, in my opinion.


No, there weren’t really any of those special circumstances that applied to me. The only thing I can think of that could’ve possibly affected my application is the fact that my dad is in the military, so he’s gone a lot. I’ve had to step up and kind of fill the role of a parent for my younger siblings to help my mom out. Nothing too crazy though, and I’m not sure that I even put that on my application.



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