• Nora Sun

Tags: UCLA

Institution: UCLA

Study: Major in civil engineering

High School Experience

I would say I had an amazing high school experience. I grew so much as a person as well as a student. Everyone has their highs and lows in high school. One of my highs was my amazing teachers. Some pushed me and taught me to think outside the box, especially my engineering teacher, he helped me when I struggled and always gave me advice for pursuing engineering. In Freshman and Sophomore, I was a bit held back by my peers. I was a follower, and never wanted to take a challenge. However, at the beginning of Junior year, I became an officer of my Video Production Club, my engineering club, and for numerous large school events. I felt so much like myself that I knew that I wanted to be a leader, not a follower. However, the highs always came with lows, and unfortunately, my school is very cutthroat. My peers would constantly throw me down telling me I wasn't smart enough to be in the top classes. Even at the start of my robotics team, being the only girl, I was ignored, tossed aside, and given the jobs that were in no way reflecting how I could benefit the team. So, I rose above it all and worked hard—I got top marks in all my classes and became an officer in my team because when faced with obstacles, it’s imperative that you never give up!


I didn’t take an APs freshman or sophomore year, however I did take 2 honors classes in freshmen, then 3 honors in sophomore. Junior year I took two: AP Lang and AP Calc A.B. Then my senior year I took AP Lit, AP Calc B.C, AP Psych, and Honors Principles of Engineering (a weighted class). However, I did classes that I loved like Video Production (junior and senior year) and did two years of engineering (junior and senior). So my AP Calc A.B. I got a 5, AP Lang I got a 3, And I took 3 more AP tests this year but I have no clue what I got yet.


~4 weighted

Course choices

Standardized Testing

ACT: 34

SAT Math 2: 800


I won't bombard you with my extracurriculars, but I did do a lot--at times I focused on my outside activities more than my grades. I have been doing musical theater since 5th grade, playing piano since 4th grade, and film since 8th grade. I continued my passions and expanded them by doing numerous programs-- but my advice is to take your passions and expand them; they are a great way to release your stress. Everyone needs an outlet from school. Furthermore, I held a lot of leadership positions. I was President of the Video Production Club, leader of a school-wide technology event, created of the first-ever art gallery at my school, and organizer of my school's film festival! I strongly believe that if you are passionate about the things that you do, people will notice, and if you work hard on something you are passionate about, you are a true leader.


My relationship with just about all my teachers was wonderful. I came to the realization around my junior year (as silly as this sounds) that my teachers are human too, and just saying a quick hello every time you walk into their class makes a huge difference in their lives. Again, if you work hard and are passionate in your classes, your teachers will respect you for that. And on top of which, just be a nice person towards your teachers-- they are people too and they are trying to help you learn.


I did have a narrative theme to my essay. I was really lucky to have my parents hire a college counselor for me, as my parents are both immigrants and have no idea how college in America works! However, my college counselor recommended I stick to the main point and "show, not tell.” So I detailed my story, showed all sides of me, rather than stating the facts. I detailed the struggles I have had as a Hispanic female engineer on an all boy's robotics team. I detailed the divide my brain had-- wanting to pursue both film and engineering when people told me to only pick one. You don't have to detail a struggle you had, just tell them about yourself. Be honest, and tell a story.


Personally, I think my dedication and passion made me an excellent applicant. I may have not had the grades to get into UCLA freshman through Junior year-- but truth be told, I was not mentally ready for AP classes. However, in my senior year I was ready. My advice to others is don't push yourself to be someone you are not. All my friends pressured me to take AP Bio my sophomore year or AP Chem my junior year, but I wasn't a big fan of that class, so I didn't take it. It's not the end of the world if you get a B. I took AP English because I'm dreadful at English and wanted to improve-- even if that means I got a B. If your heart tells you that you want to be a songwriter, pursue that passion. Don't become a doctor because your friends, parents, or school tells you that's who you should be. You won't be happy. Take classes you love and are passionate about because then you want to work hard and achieve great heights. Never give up because people say your dreams are too big.






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