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  • Nora Sun

Tags: Columbia


Institution: Columbia University

Study: Major in chemical engineering


High School Experience

I’m a graduate of TASIS Dorado. I have studied there all of my life since PPK and I have seen the school grow ever since. Ever since I started, there have only been eight graduating classes since the school is only 18 years old (small school). In terms of high school, I have seen how my school has been able to provide students more sources with time. More APs were available, more teachers available to enhance our curriculum, a new theatre, new sports, new clubs, wellness programs, etc. Even though these new opportunities were amazing, they created this very competitive attitude among students since the school expected us to participate in as many as we could for college. I call this being “Tasified” and it’s something I didn’t like about my high school experience. Basically, my school would quantify success based on how many activities students participated in, resulting in even more stress for students. Anyways, something I loved about my high school experience was the Science Olympiad Team, the music program, and the teachers. They allowed me to channel my interests and create an environment where I would be at my best.


Course choices



AP/IBs

Personally, I like the sciences more than the humanities, however, I have created a great balance between both as I love music and writing but at the same time, I am a big science nerd. My school has an AP curriculum and so far I have gotten 4s and 5s in all of them and one 3.


GPA



Standardized Testing

ACT: 34

SAT Chemistry: 700

SAT Molecular Biology: 710

SAT Ecological Biology: 740

SAT History: 500


Extracurriculars

I actively participated in Student Council, Music, and Science Olympiad Team activities (NHS and MUN were other activities but I wasn’t as active with them). I did all of them for 4 years of high school. I held leadership positions in the Student Council and eventually stepped up to be Student Body President.


Recommendations

The teachers at my school are amazing! I love them so much. Not only I admire them for being extremely talented, but for always caring for their students. All of my teachers were friends (I’m not a teacher’s pet or anything, they are just so caring with everyone). My recommendation letter teachers were my math teacher and my history teacher, whom I both knew since middle school. Not only could they speak about me at an academic level, but they could also talk about my personal character. For example, my Math teacher would go to my piano recitals, and I have traveled with my History teacher for MUN competitions.


Essays

I didn’t really have a theme for my essays but many of my essays talked about my passion for playing the piano or traveling (that is both globally and locally/my family loves to travel). Also, some of them talked about my Puerto Rican heritage or experiences I’ve had. However, something that my essays would share is the way they figuratively presented the ideas.


Strengths

I believe that besides the “number stuff,” what made me a strong applicant was just being genuine. I could have a lot of stuff in my resume but I only focused on the things that really matter to me. I showed admissions officers that I don’t do these things just for them to look good in my CV, but because I love participating in these activities (Music, StuCo, Science O).With this, I showed them how I can contribute to their community.


Advice

Explore and find what you are passionate about. Don’t let your background, anyone, or anything limit you from doing what you love.


Circumstances

Only one of my parents went to college (here in PR). My mother is a doctor while my dad is a construction worker.


Why?

It may sound cheesy, but I fell in love with this school when I first learned about it back in junior year. I never imagined moving to Indiana, but the school had so much to offer in terms of a holistic experience- something that I could not get if I were to choose to stay on Guam or move to the Philippines for college. ND also gave me a large scholarship that made tuition more affordable than my other college options, so I could not pass this offer. My chosen university has a reputation for helping medical students excel so it was another large factor that influenced me to enroll.


#Columbia

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