• Nora Sun

Tags: Vanderbilt, low income

Institution: Vanderbilt University

Study: Major in nursing, minor in global health

High School Experience

I moved countries to start my high school experience. I made the transition from Costa Rica to the United States. I really loved how attentive my teachers were and how much they cared about me and the material they were teaching. I like how everyone is also involved in many extracurriculars related to the school such as sports, clubs, student government, fundraisers, etc.

Course choices

I started out not really knowing what my interests were and took a lot of courses in a wide range of topics. For example courses like computer science, psychology, global history, human geography... and found my interests to be very science and math related. This led me to choose subjects heavily influenced in those two fields such as advanced physics, calculus, economics and sports medicine.


I took 11 AP courses throughout high school. AP: Computer science principles (4) Spanish Lang (5), World history (4), US history (4), English Lang (5), Human geography (4), Psychology (TBD), Calculus AB (TBD), Macroeconomics (TBD), Microeconomics (TBD), Physics (TBD).


3.94 unweighted

Standardized Testing

ACT: 34

SAT Spanish: 800


I was very interested in sports and have been an outdoors person so my extracurriculars followed that path. I played varsity soccer for 4 years and was captain, I was president of the great outdoors club and member for 4 years, I was a student government member for my senior year, I was a volunteer at a local soccer camp where I helped teach kids to play soccer for 2 years, and I volunteered on a farm in Costa Rica my freshmen year.


I had a very good relationship with all the teachers that wrote me letters, they personally knew me, my stories, who I was as a kid inside the classroom and out.



I think I was an overall strong candidate, my scores on standardized tests and GPA were strong, however, I think what really made me a standout candidate was my personalized essays.


I sacrificed a lot of weekends studying (Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday mornings) and a lot of time I could have spent playing video games or hanging out with friends working on improving my scores. I worked all my junior year and senior year non stop on my essays, extracurriculars, standardized tests, etc. If I had any advice I could give, it would be to start early on a couple things you’re passionate about and be consistent with them. Start joining a club and attending since freshmen year so you show commitment, participate in school activities, and set time away to study (get your priorities straight).



Duke was my first choice school. Great academics, campus, sports, location, but the people and environment there is what captured me. It’s a community where people are willing to help and guide you, work as a team and want you. To succeed, unlike many other top schools. Duke fosters creativity and innovation in a collaborative manner. My brother really influenced me to pick Duke university as well, and without him I would not be where I am today. He is a couple years older than me and advised me duke fit my personality and was the perfect school for me, and after a lot of dwelling and thought, I realized he was right. Originally I didn’t believe I could get in, but he pushed me and gave me the courage to apply. The rest is history.


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