• Nora Sun

Tags: Georgetown, first generation

Institution: Georgetown University

Study: Major in human sciences, minor in sociology

High School Experience

High school was definitely an experience I’d never forget. There were just as many painful moments as there were happy moments. I found it very difficult at times to maintain my social life with my academics (with the courses I was taking and my extracurriculars against my failed relationships / friendships and breakups, arguments, poor home situation, mental health issues, etc.). It definitely did not feel good at all at times, and I guess I did not like that. However, high school definitely taught me how to maintain all of the above, and still make it out strong and alive, which I definitely liked. It ended up becoming one of the biggest learning experiences of my life. I liked how it made me a better and stronger person, and mentally prepared me for college. It taught me how to work-hard, play-hard. I especially appreciated how, though I’m no longer friends with my freshman-year friends, I definitely found a new group of friends who truly resonate with who I am, and I have been able to have the fullest of times with them. I loved going out to pep rallies, sports games, and different school events with them. I also love how, in the end, my hard work paid off.

Course choices

I've always been extremely interested in the STEM field, and I knew, especially, that I was always geared towards the medical field career-wise. In that, I had to prepare for whatever STEM courses I would have to take in college, so I took whatever college-leveled courses I could take (#5), focusing a little more on STEM. Also knowing that medical graduate schools would require college calculus, I took a college-leveled calculus class to prepare for that. The same applied with biology and chemistry for any college medical pathway. Ultimately, I took the classes that were best suited to preparing me for my future plans.


I didn’t take any APs, but I took dual-enrollment college courses with one of my state colleges and a local community college. I took dual enrollment General Biology 1 and 2, Statistics, Calculus 1, History since 1877, English Writing through Literature, English Academic Writing, and General Chemistry 1 with the University of Connecticut (but at my high school), and I took General Psychology 1 at my local community college.


4.321 weighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1380

ACT: 30

SAT Biology M: 690,

SAT Math 1: 670


  • Throughout high school, I spent all four years involved with my city's Relay for Life, student council, and Animal Science Club, as well as volunteered at my old elementary school helping out during different student events and running errands for the principal over the summer.

  • During my sophomore year, I stepped up as a participant of the event to become part of the Relay for Life event organizing committee as someone who contacted the media and press and promoted the event throughout the months following the event. I also got inducted into National Honor Society during this year (though this was not a big commitment for me, personally)

  • In my junior year, I got two summer volunteering opportunities; I volunteered at my local hospital, which went through into the fall semester of my senior year, and I volunteered and shadowed under a surgeon at a medical office.

  • With all this together, my BIGGEST extracurricular interests were organizing and participating in Relay for Life as well as the medical volunteering opportunities at the hospital and clerical setting.


  • I had my chemistry teacher since my sophomore year; she taught my intro to pharmacology course, and she ended up becoming my dual enrollment general chemistry 1 teacher. She was also the Relay for Life event head coordinator, and she was essentially the one that got me heavily involved with Relay for Life. With this, we spent a lot of time together in and outside the classroom, and we formed a very strong bond. She saw the great passion I had for science and how hard I worked for my grades, and so she pushed me to my fullest potential and offered me guidance when I was going through rough times or needed help. She became one of my biggest support systems, and I would essentially go to her for both academic and personal advice; she was like an older sister to me.

  • My junior year English teacher also saw the work ethic I had, and he noticed the positive impact I had during class discussions and just the classroom dynamic between my peers; he noticed when I was feeling down, and he offered his overwhelming support and guidance when needed (he was a psych major as well). Even after I completed that class with him, he still would ask me for advice on what he should do for his next students, bring me into his class to discuss topics with his current students, and we would have casual conversations in the halls about what was going on with our lives. He saw how I was genuinely interested in engaging everyday.

  • My biology teacher, lastly, was my dual enrollment general biology 1 and 2 teacher, as well as my capstone teacher. She noticed the tremendous amount of passion I had for science and the work I put into her classes. In particular, she noticed the interest I took into my capstone project: a metadata analysis on using different stem cells in Parkinson's disease. By this, she became my mentor for my capstone project. She also was there during times of distress from both the academic, and personal, stressors in my life, and she always provided her overwhelming support almost as a maternal figure (she was also my best friend's stepmother).


My common app essay for some of my colleges was about my character development, though it was more metaphorical -- it was essentially about me on a bus, getting off at different stops, meeting new people, exploring new places and finding new opportunities, and how all of that made me into the person I am today. Another common app essay I had was about how I was lost and didn't necessarily know what I was truly passionate about, but then I eventually found my passion for the biomedical sciences through the various opportunities I encountered from around me and how I grew up. My extracurricular essays (which will ask which extracurriculars had the biggest impact on me) were about Relay for Life and how it helped change me from a timid and shy person to a more outgoing person, as well as how it helped me find my voice in my community and helped me discover my own potential.


I think what made me a very strong applicant was definitely the passion I had for the sciences. That was made very well known through the capstone project I pursued (as part of the magnet curriculum at my high school) and just my consistent mention about it throughout my college essays. The same could be applied about my passion for service work, which I sprinkled within my essays and my extracurriculars.


I would say definitely find an interest in something (it can be multiple things) and hone your application to surround those interests. In other words, make it known that you genuinely put work and effort into the things you enjoy, and you will end up where you belong! Make your passions known! Find a passion project! Also, regardless of your economic status / what you can afford, hard work and resilience will definitely get you places. I never really had transportation home from my extracurriculars or volunteer places, so I had to rely on the city bus or wait long hours for a ride home; with that waiting time though, I spent it on doing my homework and studying. I also never really had the money for SAT/ACT prep classes, but I still got a book lended to me and saved a couple hours every night for a few months studying for those tests (though my SAT score is not that high compared to ivy admits, it would’ve been much lower and less realistic for me to go to my reach schools had it not been for my dedication to bring my scores up). Ultimately, it’s not about how many resources you can get, rather it’s about what you make out of what you have.


I do live in Bridgeport, CT, which is one of the urban inner city areas in Connecticut, and it's very notorious for its high poverty and crime rates. With that, our education systems are relatively poorer than our surrounding neighborhoods, so I never really got proper test preparation and so forth (but colleges will take into account the area you are from and how they may affect your ability to gain access to certain opportunities). On top of that, I am a first-gen Asian American. My school in particular was also a magnet school geared towards the biotechnological and zoological sciences, which is why my college application was so strong in those areas.


Besides the fact that Georgetown is a very prestigious university, but they were also the only reach (and one of my top choices) that I was admitted into. They also gave me a VERY generous financial aid package (a full ride, which my other schools did not offer me!) and many alumni and current students have said that this school has such a wonderful community and endless opportunities. In terms of my preferences, they were located in such a big and bustling city, which was a plus, and they were part of a big political hotspot (DC), which was bound to make me more aware of the issues around me.

#Georgetown #first_generation

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