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2016 August

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