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The Blog is Quiet, The Office is Busy

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Approximately 900 people have walked through our doors each day this week. 900. High school sophomores and juniors are visiting as prospective applicants while admitted students come to us as prospective future Demon Deacons. Let’s just say we’ve been shaking a whole lot of hands!

Thus the silence on the blog. That said, there really is not much to write about. Admitted students are weighing their options and have until May 1 to pay an admission deposit to the school of their choice. Students on our active wait list know that little will happen on that front until the first week of May at the earliest. Finally, the Admissions Committee has begun to review transfer applications and will begin releasing decisions at the end of the month. We have a savvy and patient applicant pool and for that we are thankful.

If you have visited us over the course of this five to six week period, thank you. For the most part, the weather has been great (Dean Gauthier and I even squeezed in some table tennis during our first Campus Day for admitted students last Friday!). We’ve enjoyed hosting you and look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Our Wait List

20131104library4340An inbox flooded with new messages from students who have been offered a place on our wait list. This is what all of us on the Admissions Committee found this past weekend after our decision letters had been mailed. I spent time responding to many Saturday afternoon and then again Sunday evening, wanting to help relieve the anxiety that comes with an offer to remain on our active wait list. We understand and respect the fact that being a student at Wake Forest is of significant importance to so many of you. Your decision notification included information on how our wait list process works – read it carefully. What follows is some additional advice on things you need to know going forward.

Obviously, you need to mail back your wait list reply card. We will not evaluate your file again without it. A simple but necessary step, send it back soon.

Second, email your regional admissions dean. If you are not sure who that 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 knowing more about recent academic success in the classroom. Feel free to email your representative again as May 1 approaches with additional academic updates.

That’s it – you need not do anything further. We do not offer interviews to students on our wait list. If you are curious as to whether a visit to campus will increase your chances of being admitted, know that it will not. That said, if you wish to visit so that you can know for yourself whether you would say yes should admission be offered, by all means come to campus (information on scheduling a place in our information session and tour can be found on our Visit Wake Forest webpage).

Finally, you do need a strong dose of patience. We will spend the entire month of April monitoring our enrollment. Come May 1, the Admissions Committee will gather to discuss how many, if any, additional applicants we will need to admit. If necessary, we will begin the process of reviewing active wait list applications (as noted on your notification, we do not rank applications on our wait list). The calling of applicants would proceed soon thereafter. While we have admitted students off of our wait list in recent years, it is possible that this year will be different. We will not know our enrollment situation until May 1. In the meantime, you must pay an enrollment deposit to one of the institutions where you were admitted. Whatever you do, please do not risk losing your place there in hopes of being offered one here.

Students, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. I know that being offered a place on our wait list was not the outcome you desired and I do not wish to sugarcoat the situation. Going forward, what we do not want is for confusion about this process to make your personal experience more difficult – reach out and we will do our best to answer your questions.

Our Applicant Pool and Admission Decisions

After sharing the news via Twitter that our decision letters were placed in the mail yesterday, we were met with a number of excited if not nervous responses. We know that the opportunity to attend Wake Forest is very important to so many of you. Four years of rigorous high school coursework, of service in your communities, of participation in symphonic orchestras and in musicals and on debate and athletic teams – you shared with us your hard work and commitment with the hope that we would offer you a place in the class of 2018. Trust me – we understand and appreciate your enthusiasm for this place!

For the third consecutive year, we received over 11,000 applications for a freshman class of 1250 students. We admitted approximately 34% of the applicant pool. 500 students were accepted last fall through our Early Decision process, meaning there were roughly 3250 letters of admission mailed yesterday.

We are thrilled with the composition of our admitted class. 54% of the class is made up of women. 29% are students of color. 5% are international applicants while 23% come from North Carolina. In order, our top six states represented in the applicant pool are North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Georgia. All told, at least one student from every single state will receive an offer of admission. In addition, applications were received from students living in 44 countries. 64% 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%.

With an admission rate of 34%, it goes without saying that many of you will not receive the letter you have been hoping for. Some will be invited to remain on our wait list, a process that is explained with your decision letter. Others will be denied admission. It is our hope that those denied will not see the decision as an indictment on your ability to do strong work at the college level or of your character. To the contrary, the vast majority of our applicant pool is comprised of students who will be fantastic college students and who would do wonderful work here at Wake Forest if given the opportunity. We are fortunate to receive applications from so many accomplished students yet we do not have room for all of you. Our task is to enroll 1250 first year students. To accomplish this, we read and then re-read your applications, including your responses to our seven short answer prompts. We conducted personal interviews with over 6000 students. We met as an Admissions Committee, often late into the evening, and collectively reviewed each and every admissions decision. In doing so, we know that we are not offering admission to so many qualified applicants, a fact that brings us absolutely no joy whatsoever. If you were not offered admission, believe us when we say that you should be proud of the work you have done and of the application you submitted.

Decision Letters Are In The Mail

Decision letters have left the building and are now loaded onto a mail truck, destined for locations across the country and all over the world! As it has always been at Wake Forest, we only notify via mail. We feel confident that applicants will receive their decision letter on or before April 1.

Decision Letters 2014

To all who applied, thank you. Everyone in our office truly appreciates your sincere interest in attending Wake Forest. We know that applying to Wake Forest is an involved process that requires time and thoughtfulness. Thank you for giving our application such effort and for making our process so rewarding.

Fall 2014 Transfer Admissions

20130905residence6026This week, as the Admissions Committee puts the finishing touches on the decisions that will lead to our next class of first year students, my thoughts are beginning to wander to the fall term transfer admissions process. What follows is a basic rundown of how we evaluate transfer applications.

Traditionally, we receive between 300 and 400 applications to transfer. This year, we will enroll approximately 50 transfer students for the fall term. Transfer applications are evaluated on a rolling basis beginning in April with initial decisions mailed out in early May (we only notify via mail). The Admissions Committee may request your final spring semester grades prior to making a decision on your application – this will push notification back to late May/early June. We will continue to accept and evaluate transfer applications throughout the summer until our enrollment needs are met. That said, it is in your best interest to submit your application sooner rather than later (think before May 1, if not before!).

Instructions for applying can be found on our Transfer Applicants information webpage. Transfer applicants are encouraged to apply online utilizing The Common Application or by completing the Wake Forest University “paper” application. Interviews are not offered to transfer applicants. Should any questions arise about your application during review, we will reach out to you to schedule an appointment (on campus or via Skype).

Transfer students are fully eligible for need-based financial aid assistance at Wake Forest. In conjunction with the submission of your application for admission, you must also complete our financial aid application requirements. Please visit our Office of Student Financial Aid webpage for instructions on how to apply.

Transfer students inquiring about admission are quick to ask what it is that we are looking for when evaluating applications. Simple – impressive students. We seek to enroll those who have thrived in the college classroom. Your transcript should reflect strong academic work within a core curriculum of courses similar to those undertaken by our students (you can get an idea of what these requirements are for the class of 2017 by visiting http://newstudents.wfu.edu/curriculum-requirements/). Further, your responses to the essay and short answer prompts in the application should reflect an intellectual thoughtfulness that has grown throughout your college experience. Simply put, transfer applicants are older and therefore presumed wiser – providing evidence of such in your responses will serve you well. Good luck!

Academic News On Campus

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Dean of the College and Reynolds Professor of Computational Biophysics Jacquelyn Fetrow announced earlier this week that Wake Forest is one of twelve universities who are Institutional Award Recipients for the Beckman Scholars Program. This program provides awards “to help stimulate, encourage, and support research activities by exceptionally talented undergraduate students at our nation’s colleges and universities; young people who will ultimately become prominent leaders in their scientific and professional pursuits.” Simply put, this is fantastic news for our undergraduate researchers and for the URECA Center!

Finally, some news for folks visiting campus in the coming weeks. Great Decisions 2014 is upon us! Open to the public, this citizens forum on current foreign policy issues is presented by the Center for Global Programs and Studies and will be held on six consecutive Thursdays at 7pm beginning March 20. Families often visit Wake Forest on Friday mornings – if you arrive in Winston-Salem early enough the night before I encourage you to attend and participate.

Dean Allman Talks Test Optional

A follow-up to the post below on the recently released study of test optional admissions policies: Dean of Admissions Martha Allman recently participated in a Q&A with Maria Henson ’82 of The Deacon Blog. I encourage you to read her thoughts on Wake Forest’s role in the study and what being “test optional” has help us accomplish.

It’s Not The Scores, It’s The Grades

The results of a first of its kind comprehensive study of the academic performance in college of students admitted under test optional admission policies was released today by William Hiss, former dean of admissions at Bates College. In the report, entitled “Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions,” Mr. Hiss notes that what was sought was the answer to the fundamental question related to test optional policies: “Are college admissions decisions reliable for students who are admitted without SAT or ACT scores?”

Unequivocally, the answer is yes. No statistical difference was found in the grade point averages or graduation rates between students who submitted standardized test scores and those who did not. Also interesting, the study found that students with lower scores but strong high school grades performed better in college than students with higher scores but lower grades.  The study tracked the performance of over 120,000 students at 33 colleges and universities over an eight year period.

NPR aired a terrific piece on the study this morning – you can listen to it in its entirety on their webpage. The story notes that, to date, all colleges and universities had was “school specific” or “anecdotal” evidence that students admitted under test optional policies were performing just as well as their submitting peers. Here at Wake Forest, we graduated a higher percentage of students in 2013 – the first graduating class admitted under our test optional policy – with honors (cum laude/magna cum laude/summa cum laude) than we had in over a dozen years. We know so many of our students, submitters and non-submitters alike, are performing exceptionally well.

The study is an affirmation of what our Admissions Committee believes wholeheartedly – an exemplary high school record is a wonderful predictor of success in college. The applications on my desk are full of essays and responses to our seven “In Brief” prompts, interview evaluations, transcripts, and recommendations which describe and summarize your high school experiences. While reading the study, I found myself reflecting on how much work we put into the review of each application to ensure that the students we admit will be successful once here. Assembling our class takes a great deal of effort. Mr. Hiss’s study confirms what we surmised back in 2008 – it is worth it.

Severe Weather, Potential Campus Closing

20090302snow5520As you may be aware, weather forecasts for Winston-Salem and surrounding areas indicate the possibility of heavy snowfall beginning Wednesday, February 12.  Please monitor the university website at www.wfu.edu for weather related closings.  If the Wake Forest University Reynolda campus is closed due to weather, the Admissions Office will also be closed.  If the Admissions Office is closed, all information sessions and tours are canceled.

If you would like to cancel or reschedule your reservation, please refer to the confirmation email for instructions or call the Admissions Office at 336.758.5201.

TEDxWakeForestU 2014

TEDxWakeForestUI have learned from conversations with prospective students that viewing TED and TEDx talks both live and online is common practice for many of you, so this may be right up your alley. The third annual TEDxWakeForestU will be held in Wait Chapel on Saturday, February 22. This year’s theme is “Daring to Endeavor.” For information on how you can attend or view videos of the event online as well as a list of speakers, visit the TEDxWakeForestU official website.