The Ivy Scholars guide to Wake Forest University’s culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.
Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Mascot: The Demon Deacon
Type: Private Research Institution
Population: 8,500 (5,000 undergrads)
Located in North Carolina, Wake Forest’s 340 acre campus is located on a former estate donated to the university, and the lush gardens and museums nearby reflect this heritage. The students, known as “deacs,” treasure the air of camaraderie and the scholarly atmosphere of the school. While the school is historically Baptist, it is now non-sectarian, and is focused on research for the sake of knowledge alone.
Year Founded: 1834
4 Year Graduation Rate: 82%
Gender Distribution: 53% female, 47% male
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Residency: 12% in state, 78% out of state, 10% international
Location Type: Suburban
Schedule System: Semesters
Student/Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Average Class Size: 20
Demographics: 70% Caucasian, 12% Other, 7% Hispanic, 7% Black, 4% Asian
US News Rankings:
Average Applicant Pool: 13,000
Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 3,600
Average Number Enrolled: 1,300
Application Systems: Common App, Coalition App
Average GPA: 3.9 weighted
SAT Scores: 25th% – 1310, 75th% – 1470
ACT Scores: 25th% – 29, 75th% – 33
*Test mandatory. Writing sections are not required.
Wake Forest strongly considers demonstrated interest.
Recommendation Letter Policies:
One letter from a teacher is all that is required.
Wake Forest Essay Prompts:
Wake Forest Essay Writing Tips
Interviews are strongly recommended when applying to Wake Forest. They are held in person or via Skype between June 1st and November 30th.
The aspects they consider very important are: character, class rank, secondary school record, and essay responses.
The factors they consider important are: recommendations, interview, extracurriculars, and talent. While the interview is technically optional, they do recommend all students complete one, and most admitted students do complete an interview.
The aspects which are considered are: legacy status, first-generation status, geographic origin, race/ethnicity, standardized test scores, and level of interest.
Whether an athlete is recruited is considered in the admissions decision, although they are still expected to be prepared for the school academically.
What is Wake Forest Looking For?
The school uses a holistic admissions process, meaning they review all parts of the application and judge it as a whole. The most important part is the school record; seeing if the student challenged themselves with difficult courses, and did well in them. They look to these for demonstrations of intellectual curiosity and academic vitality. While there are no grades or test scores which are automatic admissions cut-offs, failing to perform academically will weaken your application.
They want students who are authentic, and who come across in the essays as genuine people. They want to judge the student’s character, and see how they fit with the idea of the school community they are trying to build.
The school wants students who will be actively and passionately involved, and they approach this both by attempting to further involve current students, and by recruiting and admitting students who they believe will be actively engaged with and participate in the campus community. They are looking for students who are actively passionate and invested in the school and their own communities.
Wake Forest Strategy:
Applying Early Decision is the easiest way to improve your chances of admission, especially given how important demonstrated interest is to the school. The ED pool is smaller, and is used to fill a proportionally large part of each incoming class. While the standards are not relaxed, the smaller pool and demonstration of interest means students who would slip through the cracks in regular decision admissions may have a better chance. If Wake Forest is your first choice, you should definitely apply ED.
While the interview at Wake Forest is technically optional, it is still an important part of the admissions process, and students should participate in one if possible. Not only is the interview itself important, but it allows students to demonstrate their character, another key component of the admissions decision. Students should practice for the interview before going into it.
The school is test optional; therefore if you did poorly on your tests, you shouldn’t send in your scores. If your scores are at or above average for the school, then you should send them in, especially if they are on the above-average side of things. Wake Forest wants to admit students who are academically prepared, so only submit your scores if they support that narrative.
For the essays, demonstrating your character is key. Wake Forest asks for more essays than most schools, and asks unusual questions. The answers should be unique to you, and should enlighten admissions officers about aspects of your character and personality they are unable to find out about elsewhere. The top ten list is an easy way to stand out, so long as you don’t pick an overdone category. Wake Forest looks for authenticity and character in applicants, and the essays are the best place to demonstrate this.
Courses of Study:
AP Credit Policies:
Computer Science Options:
Additional Specialty Programs:
Programs for High Schoolers:
Mission and Values:
Residential Housing System:
Wake Forest guarantees students a place in housing for all four years, and requires full-time students to live in on-campus housing for their first three years. There are separate dorms for first year students and upperclassmen. Some upperclassmen can live in houses owned by the university, in place of more traditional dorms.
Campus & Surrounding Area:
Yearly Cost of Attendance:
54% of students receive financial aid. All students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be considered for aid. There are various need-based grants to help students pay for tuition. Wake Forest commits itself to paying for 100% of demonstrated need for its students.
Additional Financial Aid & Student Loan Information
Wake Forest has a number of highly selective merit-based scholarships, which go to students with outstanding academic achievement. These scholarships do not require an additional application; students who apply are automatically considered for them. Some of these scholarships also take financial need into consideration.