• Nora Sun

Tags: UPenn, low income, first generation

Institution: University of Pennsylvania

Study: Major in biophysics, minor in computer science

High School Experience

My high school experience was overall really good. That was because I had a small group of friends that I could really hang out with and talk to with anything I wanted to. I went to an IB school and the IB program was notorious for helping segregate the white population from the rest of the school. And the white kids acted like it was a good thing and being a person of color in the IB program that was really hard for me.

Course choices

My academic interests were anything that would help me prepare for medical school. I was very long term oriented In high school so I took STEM courses focused on the human body such as physics, chemistry, and biology.


I got a 5 in APUSH a 4 in AP stat, a 3 in AP physics, a 3 in AP gov and a 5 in AP psych I don’t yet know the results of my IB courses but I took HL math, HL physics, and HL bio.


4.96 weighted

Standardized Testing


My extracurricular activities were not school centered activities. I volunteered I’m surgical discharge at a local hospital and then got an internship with the director of medicine. I was a volunteer and a youth center for hispanic kids and then a part time receptionist for a Hispanic crisis center. I was also a state House of Representatives page and during the summer I did a program called pioneer academics,


I had a very detrimental relationship with the teachers I asked for letters of recommendation. I would often talk back in their classroom and get kicked out. The only reason they wrote the letters for me was because they knew I was a brilliant individual who deserved a chance.


The themes of my essays were always about family and community. When I wrote to colleges I wrote from the heart so I didn’t make up a narrative I wasn’t actually living. I had my career interests already decided. I wanted to become a doctor and start a clinic for undocumented immigrants. So I did everything I could in high school to prepare myself for that by serving in the community and helping my people out.


I think the fact that I came from such an impoverished background and used it as a way to give back to others is what makes me different. And also I was really good at writing about it. A lot of really smart or qualified students focus on the grades and test scores and never learn how to write properly. And that is what hurts them when applying to college.


You have to do it for the right reasons. A lot of people don’t deserve to be where I’m at. And I myself don’t believe I deserve the blessings I have been given. You have to find something you are really passionate about and work to manifest it. And it has to help out people that you care about.


First generation, low income, Hispanic


I chose UPenn because I knew that only a big school would be able to give me the financial aid my family needed. And UPenn is a research university with a strong pre-med medical school acceptance rate.


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