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The Interview

Wake Forest admissions officer Dawn Calhoun holds a mock interview session in the Byrum Welcome Center on Monday, November 3, 2014.

Wake Forest admissions officer Dawn Calhoun holds an interview session in the Byrum Welcome Center on Monday, November 3, 2014.

Eight years ago when we at Wake Forest were discussing becoming test optional in our admissions process, we agreed that alongside academic records and recommendations,  personal interviews and creative short answer questions could provide useful insight about our prospective students. Since then our application questions have caught the attention of the Huffington Post, the Today Show and many others but it is our interview which has generated the most questions from students, parents and school counselors. Why do you do it? What are you looking for? What do you ask? How should I prepare?

Plain and simple we interview because we want to know as much about you as possible in the admissions process. And not just what’s on your transcript or your recommendation letters or the essay that may have had some editorial suggestions from Mom or your English teacher. Wake Forest is a face to face place and despite our world of iPhones and Snapchat and Instagram, there’s a lot of meaning and value in a face to face conversation. We are eager to talk with you and we understand and appreciate the effort it takes on your part to make that happen.

We know Wake Forest is a place that values intellectual curiosity, character, community, inclusion, and open-mindedness and somehow in the course of every interview conversation we are going to explore that. And sometimes you might not even realize we are doing it. The conversation may meander and we won’t ask you the same questions that we asked your neighbor who interviewed last week, but we will likely get lots of the same information.

Are we going to discuss with you imagery in Moby Dick or South African politics? – maybe if you bring it up. Are we going to ask you questions about your high school and your classes, your talents, what you think about and what you do when you aren’t studying? Absolutely.

These are turbulent times in America and in the world. Our campus community knows that and those who are applying to join it should know it too. We see creativity and compassion in our students and a desire to solve problems, not just take up space. We are going to explore that in our interviews.

What if I’m shy or awkward or what if this is my first interview or sometimes I have a hard time articulating what I want to say? At Wake Forest, you are interviewed not by alumni volunteers or students but by admissions officers who read applications and visit schools and spend their careers with high school students. We know. We’ll meet you where you are. If you want to be here and are willing to talk and listen, we are going to make your interview a good and informative experience for both of us.

So before you come, think of things you want to make sure we know about you. This is your chance. Think about what you are most proud of, most energized by, most concerned about, most looking forward to about the future. Try to work those things into your interview responses. I always end my interviews with, “What have I forgotten to ask you that you need to tell me about?” And happily, the response is usually, “Not a thing Dean Allman. You got it.”

Martha Blevins Allman
Dean of Admissions

Application News For Fall 2017 Freshman Applicants

Happy Summer everybody! Junior year has ended for just about everyone and our visitor numbers are starting to climb (over 200 people will attend an information session today alone!). Interviews have also begun, both on campus and via Skype. Scheduling instructions for information sessions and interviews can be found on our Visit Wake Forest webpage.

What follows is an update on new facets to the application process for Fall 2017 applicants:

  • In addition to our own Wake Forest application and the Common Application, Fall 2017 applicants now have the option to prepare the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success Application. We do not have a preference for one of these applications over another and insist only that you submit one single application. We anticipate that our 2017 Wake Forest application will be available online in early July. The 2017 Common Application will likely be available in early August with our Coalition application following soon thereafter. Visit our Apply Now webpage for links to these applications.
  • We will begin offering an Early Decision II option this year. Early Decision I will continue to be a rolling admissions plan at Wake Forest with applications accepted beginning this summer up until November 15. Early Decision II applications will be due on January 1 with all decisions released at once on or around February 15. Review our Early Decision Applicants webpage for additional information.
  • Financial Aid deadlines have moved up! With the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) now available to applicants in October, families can now prepare financial aid applications earlier in the process. Financial aid application deadline information for students applying to Wake Forest (whether Early or Regular Decision) can be found on our Office of Student Financial Aid website.
  • Beginning with our Fall 2009 class, we have had a test-optional admissions policy. Though many students apply to Wake Forest without submitting standardized test results, some do still share their scores with us. For these students, know the following regarding the “new” SAT:
    • We will accept scores from the “old” SAT and the “new” SAT. Wake Forest will consider your highest section scores from any sitting on the same version of the SAT to form the highest possible composite score. We will not combine section scores from the old and new tests. Finally, the Essay section of the new SAT is not required (nor, for that matter, is the Writing section of the ACT).

It’s an exciting time at Wake Forest. Keep checking in for news on exciting new academic and international programs that will be open to our Class of 2021. Stay tuned!

June 1 Wait List Update

I want to give everyone a quick update on where things stand with wait list activity. We continue to monitor our numbers very closely as we just about have enrolled our target number of 1310 first year students. Though we cannot risk over-enrollment and as such are extremely careful with the number of offers of admission we extend, we may well have students cancel their enrollment over the next few weeks which would in turn prompt us to call additional applicants.

Students who indicated on their active wait list cards that they were willing to hear from us as late as May 15 were released from our wait list two weeks ago and those who indicated June 1 will receive notifications indicating their release shortly. This leaves those of you who checked July 1 or August 1. If you are in this group and are still interested in hearing from us, do not hesitate to reach out (visit our Meet the Staff page for contact information).

Important Information on our Wait List Process

By now, many of you have received a decision letter from us stating that you have been offered a place on our wait list. We understand that being a member of the Wake Forest University Class of 2020 is a goal for so many of you. What follows is some helpful information for you to know going forward.

First, you need to send in your wait list reply card. Your application will not be evaluated without it should we need to admit additional students. Once received, we will attach it to your application and move your file to our active wait list shelf. Active wait list applications are shelved alphabetically and are not ranked.

Second, email your regional admissions dean. If you are not sure who this is, visit our Meet the Staff directory. This is your chance to convey your interest in attending Wake Forest while also describing how the final months of your senior year are progressing. In particular, we are interested in hearing updates on recent academic success. Feel free to email your representative again as May 1 approaches noting your continued interest.

A sculpture by Wake Forest sophomore Will Coleburn ('18) as part of his public art class stands on Manchester Plaza on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

That’s it! There is nothing more you need to do. Should you elect to visit campus to help determine whether you would say yes were you to be offered admission, by all means do so. However, visiting will not increase your chances of being admitted. Further, we do not offer interviews to students on our wait list. Express your interest via email to your regional admissions dean and continue to perform well in the classroom – then rest easy knowing you’ve done all that you can do.

On our end, we will monitor enrollment carefully. In early May, the Admissions Committee will gather to discuss how many (if any) additional students we will need to enroll. Last year, we admitted over 100 students off of our wait list. In 2014, we did not call a single student. Again, we will not know until May what our enrollment needs might be. We understand that many of you are anxious and appreciate your patience with this process.

It is likely that you have been admitted to many wonderful colleges and universities. Please be sure to pay your tuition deposit to one of these schools prior to their deadline (traditionally May 1). It is important that you not risk losing your place there in hopes of receiving an offer from us.

Our active wait list will undoubtedly be comprised of students who would greatly enrich the Wake Forest community. We look forward to hearing from you.

Bringing Into Focus our Class of 2020 Applicant Pool

Yesterday, decision letters for the Wake Forest University Class of 2020 left our office (a fun video of the process can be seen here!). Our decisions are only delivered via mail and as such seniors will soon begin the time-honored tradition of checking the mailbox daily to see whether their letter has arrived. We know that the opportunity to attend Wake Forest is very important to so many of you and that this is an exciting time.

The Admissions Committee reviewed more applications this year than any in our history. Each committee member read hundreds of wonderful essays and literally thousands of thoughtful and often clever answers to our six short response prompts. We learned about remarkable findings in science laboratories and of emotional artistry on the stage, of meaningful service in your communities and of championships won on the national debate circuit. We also saw evidence of tremendous academic success in the classroom. In the end, we truly feel that we were able to get a strong sense of what drives so many of you intellectually. For the effort you put into this process, we thank you.

As required, we spent a great amount of time meeting and discussing your applications with each other, often late into the evening. Our debates were spirited and lively as we collectively evaluated your applications in an effort to build a diverse and interesting new class for the Wake Forest community.

We are fortunate to have received almost 14,000 applications for the Class of 2020, 5% more than our previous high received last year. Representing 39% of our incoming class of 1310 freshmen, 513 members of our new class were enrolled through our early decision process where we saw a 6% rise in applications over our previous record high. Acceptance to Wake Forest has been offered to 29% of those who applied, making this one of the most competitive selection processes in our history.

We are really excited about the composition of our admitted class. 53% of the class is made up of women. 31% are students of color. 22% come from North Carolina while 6% are international applicants. In order, the top eight states represented in the admitted class are North Carolina, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts and California (with at least one admit from all fifty states!). Students residing in 41 different countries have been offered admission. 61% of admitted applicants who attend schools that calculate an actual class rank are in the top 5% of their class with 89% within the top 10%.

Though the group of students we are admitting is well worth celebrating, we understand that we have sent out letters that will disappoint so many strong, accomplished applicants. Some of you will be invited to remain on our wait list, a process that is explained with the decision letter. Others will be denied admission. The task of building a class from an applicant pool far larger than that we are able to enroll requires us to make many difficult decisions. Being denied admission is so rarely an indictment of an applicant’s ability to do strong college work or of one’s character. We know that the great majority of you would contribute greatly to our community if given the opportunity. Though we recognize this note will likely do little to ease your disappointment, we sincerely thank you for your interest in attending Wake Forest and for allowing us to learn more about your ideas, your beliefs, and your accomplishments.

The college admissions process is an anxious one fraught with every emotion one can imagine. Thankfully, it is almost over! We wish you courage and clarity as you make your match this April and become a member of the very special Class of 2020.

Martha Allman, Dean of Admissions

Releasing Decisions … Getting Closer!

With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, the Admissions Committee should release decision letters this week in time to reach everyone (we hope!) by April 1. We received almost 14,000 applications from students seeking a place in the class of 2020, a 5% increase from our record high submitted last year. Needless to say, we’ll be doing a good bit of business with the US Postal Service this week!

We will update everyone here and via Twitter when letters have left the building. A reminder – we do not release decisions over the phone and you will not be able to view your decision on your Window to Wake Forest account page. Students with US mailing addresses will receive their decision via mail from the USPS. Students residing outside of the United States should check their email for decision information. If April 1 comes and goes and you have not received a decision from us, please reach out.

We know that so many of you are waiting on pins and needles for your letters and we truly appreciate your sincere interest in attending Wake Forest. We’ll be in touch soon!

Need-Based Financial Aid Application Deadline Is Monday, February 15

Quick reminder – February 15 is the deadline to apply for need-based financial aid at Wake Forest. Specific instructions on how to complete the application process can be found on our First Year Student Financial Aid Instructions webpage. Please be sure to finalize your documentation this weekend and submit it by Monday. Thank you!

Admissions Office Is Closing For 2015 – Final Notes On Applying

December 22 is the final day the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will be open in 2015. Though most high schools have also closed for the year, I’ve interviewed a handful of folks who will be in class through Wednesday – you’ve almost made it! The Admissions Committee here knows that so many of you are finalizing applications and preparing submissions before the January 1 application deadline. Some things to keep in mind relating to our process are as follows:

  • Review the previous three blog posts – information on everything from how to track the status of your application to how we process your materials and everything in between is covered!
  • On interviews – interviewing concludes on the December 22. There are no additional appointments available. We do not offer interviews with local alums. There are no exceptions to this rule simply because we must now move on to the task of reviewing applications.
  • Because we begin reviewing applications in earnest when we return in January, we are unable to meet individually with applicants who visit campus in the winter months. We’d like to (trust me!) – but we’re grounded, locked in our offices reading your responses, evaluating your transcripts, reviewing your recommendations. Full concentration required!
  • You will not receive an email from us acknowledging receipt of your application, but …
  • You may track your own application status through your Window to Wake Forest account page (instructions for doing so are included in the previous post). It is important to remember that items submitted will not instantly appear on your Window. Please give us until February before contacting us regarding your application status. In the meantime, check your Window periodically – items will populate as received and processed throughout the month (we cover the timing of when applications will be processed here). You will receive an email from our office once your application is complete and ready for review.
  • If January 1 comes and goes and you find that your application was officially submitted after midnight, do not panic. We fully expect that both the Common Application and our own online application portal will be especially busy all day on Friday, January 1. Give yourself ample time but do not worry if technical difficulties hamper your ability to submit prior to midnight.
  • Review the previous three blog posts again! We think they contain information worth knowing!

While applying to college is necessary and a touch stressful, we hope that you are able to find the time these final days of the year to clear your head and wander about for a bit. Go for a nice long walk (and leave your device at home!). Indeed, your application is important and we respect that this process means so much to you. That said, it is just one of many vital tasks you will complete over the course of your life. Keep things in perspective. Have belief that come April you will have terrific options to consider. There are literally hundreds of wonderful colleges and universities out there. You’ll undoubtedly find yourself somewhere you love come August. We wish you great luck going forward and Happy New Year.


Logging Into Your Window To Wake Forest Account

WtWFWant to check the status of your application? Even if doing so for the very first time, logging into your Window to Wake Forest account page is simple. If you know your user name and password, enter each and proceed. If you have never accessed your WtWF account, click “reset password” and enter in the same email address as that which you included on your application. Login instructions with a temporary password will be emailed to that address.

A checklist of application items received and processed can be found on the top left side of the page. Be sure to read our “Message from Admissions” on the top right side for important information and updates. Please also review our previous posts carefully as they include detailed information on how we process applications. Thanks!

“Submitting Standardized Test Scores” – What It Means On Our Application

TestAn important question on our application asks whether or not you wish for your test scores to be considered during application review. This question pertains to SAT – Reasoning Test and ACT results only. If you wish for us to consider these scores, you must request that they be sent to us directly from the College Board or ACT. We do not accept self-reported SAT – Reasoning Test or ACT results. If you checked “consider” and have yet to request that your scores be sent to us, your application will sit at incomplete until they have been received and processed.

You should not check “consider scores” if you want us to evaluate your SAT II or AP test results. Fear not – we will still review the SAT II or AP scores that you may have disclosed to us on your application as these may be self-reported.