• Nora Sun

Tags: UPenn

Institution: University of Pennsylvania

Study: Major in nursing

High School Experience

Overall, I enjoyed my high school experience. I came from a middle school where academics weren’t seen as important and the majority of my classmates didn’t care about grades, which left me feeling like the odd one out. The high school I attended had many intelligent girls and going to an all-girls school left me less stressed about boys. At first, the academics were quite difficult and I spent many nights having to learn how to adjust my studying habits, which I can say I disliked. I wish I had a smoother transition from the middle school I went to, in comparison to the intensive college preparatory high school I was able to go to. But, I really liked the friends I made at my high school, they made study nights and all-nighters much more bearable.

Course choices

Academically, I was interested in computer science, as well as English classes, especially Creative Writing. My school didn’t offer many APs, like 1 or 2 per year, so my course choices each year were determined by whatever AP they offered that year.


I took AP US History, and got a 4. I also took AP Chemistry, and got a 4 in that exam as well. I took AP Biology, AP Computer Science, and AP Literature & Composition this year, so I don’t have the scores yet.


96 unweighted

Standardized Testing

SAT: 1420


I took up several clubs during high school as my extracurricular interests. I was in Mock Trial for freshman year only, I was in Chinese Club for all 4 years of school (Secretary) Girls Who Code for 3 years (Treasurer) Pre-Med Society for 3 years, Science Club for 3 years, National Honor Society for 1 year, School Ambassadors for 4 years, and Student Council for 1 year (Homeroom Representative). During the summer, I would work a part-time job at my local tax office, and senior year I volunteered at a senior center in Harlem, NY. I also volunteered at my church since middle school, so every few weeks I would visit to volunteer.


My best recommendation was written by my AP Chemistry teacher, whom I volunteered for after school for two hours once a week. We spoke often and she really helped me with the course I was struggling in by showing me practical applications of chemicals, which she detailed in her recommendation. My second recommendation came from my AP US History teacher, who saw all the effort I put in my work and was generally just liked by the entire class because she was a good teacher. My last recommendation was written by my Creative Writing teacher, who I chose because she genuinely enjoyed everyone’s stories in that class and we were a small elective body of only like 7 people. So I felt the personal attention she gave all of us would be good for a recommendation.


The theme in my essays focused on sexual assault and how universities should take more responsibility when it comes to this issue. Mostly I just spearheaded this social issue and why it needed more awareness in regards to sexual assault victims.


Personally, I think my essays were the best aspect of me as an applicant. I wrote essays that I spent a lot of time contemplating over and everyone who read it said they genuinely enjoyed it and they felt it stood out. My SAT score and GPA could have been complimentary, but they weren’t particularly outstanding. And I list many extracurriculars but I felt my lack of leadership roles didn’t make them outstanding either.


I’d tell them that even though the academics in high school may seem difficult at times, and you’ll get frustrated frequently, the hard work really does pay off. I’ve lost countless nights and times where I could’ve spent the day with my friends rather than r at studying, but I achieved a good balance between maintaining my relationships and studies. It’ll come naturally, maintaining the balance. But studying and being involved with your school will be good for colleges, but mainly try to make your essay as unique as possible. Don’t write anything cliche and look up as much as you can about college app essays, like on YouTube!


My family’s slightly underprivileged as we are a minority family, and my mom is separated from my dad but had to take care of three kids. I’m not first generation, but maybe Hispanic/Latino gave me an edge in my app?.


I chose this university because it offered a nursing curriculum unparalleled to the rest of the country as it’s #1. So I knew if I wanted to receive the best nursing education, it’d be at UPenn. It was also the best school academically I got into, and my mother wasn’t allowing me dorm unless I got into here so I’m also really excited about dorming.


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