• Nora Sun

Tags: Duke

Institution: Duke

Study: Major in economics and statistics

High School Experience

Overall, I’d say my high school experience went really well. I loved making new friends, trying new activities, going to school events such as homecoming/prom and sporting matches, partying, and conversing with teachers. I didn’t particularly like our administration since they seemed to have little regard for student safety and mental health. I also didn’t enjoy the immensely competitive academic environment that our school fosters, even though most people are still really great and awesome people.


My academic interests lie in social sciences, particularly in economics and political science. In total, I’ve taken 15 AP tests and I’m waiting to hear back from four of them from this year. Out of the 11 I’ve taken in previous years, I’ve received 5’s on all of them (CSP, Calc AB and BC, Government and Politics, Biology, World History, English Language, Psychology, Chemistry, Physics C: Mechanics, Chinese)


4.00 unweighted, 4.96 weighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1580

SAT Math 2: 800

SAT Biology: 780

SAT English Literature: 640


  • Track and Field: 4 years, 2-year captain

  • Speech and Debate: 4 years, Vice President senior year

  • Chess Club: 3 years, founder and co-president

  • Acapella Group: 2 years

  • NHS: 2 years

  • Volunteering Club: 4 years

  • Immigration Economics research: 2 years, part of my school’s program

  • Internship at Immigration Law Firm: 1 year: school year and summer

  • Internship at a Defense Contractor: 1 summer

  • Student Member on my local community board: 1 year, previously served 3 years in a similar role


I personally loved the teachers that wrote me recommendations, and I think they liked me back. I have a pretty good relationship with my counselor as well. However, I’m not exactly sure how great my recommendations were considering I asked for them relatively late.


Generally, it was just talking about my passions. I remembered that I wrote a lot about my interests in immigration law and economics and why I was passionate about that change. I also wrote a lot about my debate background and why I loved to dive deeper into material and fight for issues that I believe are important. My common app essay was more of a personal topic and wasn’t really related to any of my interests.


I’m not entirely sure. I think grades and test scores and being valedictorian of a very competitive high school helped, but plenty of students have those qualifications. I would definitely say that students should just try and show through their essays, recommendations, and interviews that they’re really passionate about one or two things and they’ve taken action to explore and further these passions. I also think that being humble is extraordinarily important and that students have to try and find that fine line between shamelessly flexing and selling themselves to colleges.






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