The mail trucks have just pulled away. The decision letters for the Wake Forest University Class of 2021 have left our office and are now headed via US Mail to addresses across the country and all over the world. We choose to mail decisions so that seniors may enjoy the time-honored tradition of checking the mailbox daily for “the envelope.” We know you are anxious. And we know that the opportunity to attend Wake Forest means a great deal to so many of you. You should receive your decision by April 1.
Over the past few months, we members of the Admissions Committee have spent our time reading and discussing your applications with each other, often late into the evening. We marveled at your academic and extracurricular accomplishments and debated the merits of every application. Our application is writing intensive and we enjoyed your thoughtful responses. We would love to read your autobiographies and see your Hamilton-esque plays.
We read nearly 13,000 applications for the Class of 2021.
Most stunning to us this year was the number of early decision applications we received. At Wake Forest, both Early Decision and Early Decision II are binding – if you apply ED and are admitted, you will enroll. This year, almost 2,000 of our 13,000 applicants told us they would do just that, hundreds more than we have space for in our class of 1,350 students. Almost 1,500 students applied Early Decision, an 8% jump from last year’s previous record total, and just under 500 students applied Early Decision II, the first year we have offered this application plan. This total number of ED applications far exceeded our expectations and was a welcome and affirming surprise.
Our Early Decision applicants came with impressive academic credentials, from diverse backgrounds, and with talents that would enrich our community. We offered admission to 750 Early Decision applicants this year. After enrolling approximately 40% of our class ED the last two years, this year we have enrolled 55% of the class. Is this an anomaly or the beginning of a trend? We don’t know, but we suspect the latter which suggests yet another shift in the topsy-turvy landscape of college admissions.
With over half of the class enrolled before we began consideration of our regular decision applicants, the lens through which we viewed these applications required dramatic adjustment. We have offered admission to only 25% of our regular decision applicants, by far the lowest regular decision acceptance rate in our history. We are delighted with the composition of our admitted class. 54% of the class is made up of women. 34% are students of color. 22% come from North Carolina while 7% are international applicants. Over 100 students have been admitted from each of the following states (in descending order): North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Georgia, New York, California, Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Texas. All fifty states are represented in the admitted class, as well as 48 different countries. 61% of admitted applicants who attend schools that calculate an actual class rank are in the top 5% of their class with 87% within the top 10%.
While we celebrate our newly admitted class, we understand that many accomplished students will be disappointed by our decisions. Students who would have been offered admission in previous years have been invited to remain on our wait list, a process that is explained in the decision letter, or have been denied admission. And that is quite simply the most joyless component of the admissions process for applicants and admissions officers alike.
April is a time of decision and preparation. To our early decision class, we eagerly await your arrival on campus. And to those just admitted, we wish you courage and clarity as you choose your college path and prepare for the exciting chapter ahead. We applaud your talents and sincerely thank you for the privilege of getting to know you through your interview and application.
Martha Blevins Allman, Dean of Admissions