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Decisions Released for Class of 2021 Applicants

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

Happy Holidays and Final Application Instructions

December 22 is the final day the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will be open in 2016. We will officially reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Collectively, we are all looking forward to spending extended time with our families before the application review season begins. 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. Spend time with family and friends. Go outside! Get away from any and all monitors (from handheld to computer to television). We know that 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. You are going to get into college and that school will undoubtedly be a terrific place to learn and grow. So take a deep breath and relax this holiday season. You’ve earned it.

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What follows are some things to keep in mind relating to our process as you work to finalize your application:

  • If January 1 comes and goes and you find that your application was officially submitted after midnight, please do not panic. We fully expect that the Common Application, the Coalition application, and our own online application portal will be especially busy all day on Sunday, January 1. Give yourself ample time but do not worry if technical difficulties hamper your ability to submit prior to midnight (remember – you do have all day on 1/1/17 to work on your application!).
  • Review our December 2 blog post on how we will be informing you of your application status this year. We will be communicating status via email only this year (not by portal or online checklist).
    • You will not receive an email from us acknowledging receipt of your application (again, see our December 2 blog post).
    • Please give us until February 1 for news of your application status. We are (still!) an Admissions Committee that reads “on paper.” This means that every application, transcript, report, and essay must be printed (because almost every document is submitted online), filed, and then manually checked before your application is cleared for review. It will take a few weeks for applications, regardless of whether they were submitted online or via mail, to be processed and entered into our system.
    • Application status updates will be emailed to the address you provided on your application.
    • We do not track the receipt of supplementary materials (documents or items that are not required as part of our process). Trust that if you or someone on your behalf submits to us additional information beyond that which is required, it will successfully be added to your application. That said, understand that items beyond your application, school report, transcript, and teacher recommendation will play a small role (if any) in how your application is evaluated.
  • On interviews – interviewing has concluded for the year. 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 are grounded, locked in our offices reading your responses, evaluating your transcripts, reviewing your recommendations. Full concentration required!
  • Early Decision II applicants – everything above applies to you as well! ED II decisions will be mailed no later than February 15 (unlike with our Early Decision plan, our ED II and Regular Decision admission plans are not rolling).
  • It is not too late to apply for financial aid at Wake Forest under any admission option, though you should apply as soon as possible. For complete application instructions, visit financialaid.wfu.edu.

That is all for now. We wish you great luck going forward and Happy New Year.

“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 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 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 Subject Test or AP test results. Fear not – we will still review the SAT Subject Test or AP scores that you may have disclosed to us on your application as these may be self-reported.

Application Status Updates For Fall 2017 Applicants

With December here now is the time when many of you are finalizing and submitting your applications for admission. In an age where we receive a notification from online stores seconds after clicking “purchase,” it is understandable that you quickly want to know whether your application was received. We get it and wish we could provide this for you … but we can’t.

We are currently in the process of implementing new admissions software. While we will not burden anyone with the details of this change, know that it involves shutting down one system and turning on another. As luck would have it, this “on/off” maneuver is taking place right now. Many of you have utilized our “Window To Wake Forest” online portal to both track your application status and learn more about Wake Forest. This portal will soon disappear.

In its place, Fall 2017 applicants will receive periodic emails from our office with an update on their application status. We will send emails reminding students of what is still required in order to complete the application and ready it for review. We will also send an email to applicants once the application is complete. Because we still process all applications by hand, printing and reviewing everything on paper, we do not send an initial notification indicating that the application has been received.

Some 2500 applications have arrived the last two days and it will take some time to get them all printed and processed. Initial email updates will go out prior to our closing for the holidays on December 22. We will send additional updates in January and February and will continue our practice of only mailing final decisions. Our emailed updates will be sent to the address you provided on your application. Be sure to check your spam and social/promotions folders as our messages may end up there rather than your inbox.

Fall 2017 students will enjoy a lot of new opportunities at Wake Forest – programs at our new Wake Downtown campus, the opportunity to spend the first year in Copenhagen as part of our Global AWAKEnings program, even a new dorm and new recreation facilities. We appreciate you bearing with us as we work through this change which will benefit applicants for years to come.

The Presidential Scholarship: Putting the “Arts” in Liberal Arts

We get a lot of questions here in the Admissions Office. Questions on a whole wide range of topics. Academics. Sports. Professional development opportunities. Campus life. Toilet paper in the trees (so many about the toilet paper in the trees). One such area is the arts and opportunities relating to the arts here at Wake Forest. While it would take far too much time to tell you everything artistic happening on our campus, we do want to highlight one particular opportunity for incoming students.

The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate both excellent academics as well as a continued talent and dedication to an artistic medium: dance, debate, music, theatre, or visual art. The scholarship is valued at $8,000 per semester, renewable over eight semesters (four full years of college) pending the meeting of certain requirements.  Before we get to a few frequently asked questions, here is a link to the application website (including the application itself):

http://financialaid.wfu.edu/merit-based-scholarships/presidential-scholarships-for-distinguished-achievement/

Applications generally require submission of a portfolio detailing your involvement in a particular area. We encourage all students to have both their Presidential Application and their College Application (they are distinct – you need to fill out both) submitted by November 15.

Now on to your questions…

Philip Kayser and the Wake Forest Theatre performs the final dress rehearsal of Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, on the Main Stage Theatre on Thursday, September 17, 2015.

Philip Kayser and the Wake Forest Theatre performs the final dress rehearsal of Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, on the Main Stage Theatre on Thursday, September 17, 2015.

Q: Wait, hold on. What do you mean by “certain requirements?” Am I signing over my right to do pre-med or be a business major?

A: Not at all! Requirements vary by program. Generally speaking, the various departments want you to remain involved both academically (i.e., taking classes) and extracurricular-ly (being involved in department events). However, you are free to major in whatever you want. Other requirements include maintaining a 2.0 cumulative GPA while making progress towards your degree, submitting an apologia detailing your involvement in the program at the end of every spring term, living in on-campus housing, and hosting prospective students from time to time. Again, the details vary for each discipline, so feel free to reach out to us if you have questions.

Q: Okay, good. What if I am talented in multiple disciplines? Can I apply for a Presidential in more than one area?

A: Yes you can! Although we do recommend students focus on their strongest area, as the involvement required can be quite high at times, you are free to apply in as many areas as you wish.

Q: So what’s the deal with the separate application? I thought Wake Forest was going to consider me for merit scholarships because I interviewed and submitted my application for admission before the December 1 deadline.

A: We do require a separate application for the Presidential Scholarship, and frankly, this is in your best interest. We have some talented people in the Admissions Office, but none of us have a doctoral degree in art or dance or theatre. We may know the difference between Bach and Brahms, but when it comes to the finer details of evaluation in these areas, we choose to let the experts handle it! Thus, we share your application with members of our faculty who in turn provide to us their professional evaluation of your abilities.

You will also be eligible for consideration for our other merit-based scholarships because you are submitting your application before the December 1 deadline.

Q: What if I have specific questions about my application? Who should I reach out to?

A: You should always feel free to reach out to us with questions. Please contact Lowell Tillett at tilletlt@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-7438 – I will happily answer any questions you may have.

Q: Okay, one more. What IS the deal with the toilet paper in the trees, anyway?

A: You’ll just have to come visit and take a tour to find out!

Thank you and good luck!

Lowell Tillett
Assistant Dean of Admissions and Merit-Based Scholarships

Interview Availability – Fall Update (Updated November 4 – All Interviews Scheduled)

November 4 Update: All interviews (on campus or via webcam) have been booked for the Fall 2017 term. We are leaving this October 27 post up as it contains good information for students who were unable to schedule an appointment with us.


As many of you have discovered, we recently announced on our Personal Interviews webpage that all webcam appointments are booked through the remainder of our interview season and that requests for interviews via Skype will no longer be scheduled. Although Tuesday, November 15 is the last day to request an on-campus interview appointment with us, there are but a few openings remaining and those too are going fast. On-campus interview requests are scheduled in the order they are received and dozens are submitted daily – it is likely we will run out of availability very soon.

Going forward, requests for interviews on campus for a date listed as available will receive a response (either positive or negative depending on availability) through November 15 or until we announce that there are no remaining openings. We frequently receive requests for interviews by email and telephone – such requests cannot be accommodated. There is not a “waiting list” for interview appointments. Finally, we do not offer regional alumni interviews.

All of this is, to many of you, not news you wanted to hear. Allow us to try and help you feel better about our process going forward!

Repeat after me: “Even though I was unable to schedule an interview, I can still be admitted.” We know that we will not meet with every applicant and will necessarily be offering admission to a great number of students who have not interviewed. We were able to schedule almost every single interview request that we received from June 1 through early October, yet continuing to do so proved difficult as demand increased earlier in the fall than ever before. I assure you that we do not judge you on your failure to schedule an interview – we respect that your interest in Wake Forest may be a recent development. Unfortunately, with the early decision review season here and reading season dawning we necessarily must stop interviewing soon.

“So what can I do now?” This is a question we hear often. Of course, there is your essay, the one you will likely prepare for every school that you apply to. We like your essays and look forward to reading them. However, we also offer other opportunities – eight, in fact! – for you to show us a different side of yourself. Our eight short response prompts represent questions that our Wake Forest community wants us to ask you so that we can better understand what you might bring to our campus. They are uniquely Wake Forest and thus afford you the opportunity to show us what is “uniquely you.” So, when preparing your essay and your answers to these prompts take advantage of the opportunity to give us a glimpse into what drives you intellectually. Tell us what you’ve read, what you’ve done, what you think. About what? About any and everything that is important to you. Collectively, the Wake Forest Admissions Committee has over 100 years of experience reviewing applications – we are good at evaluating your stories and seeing all you have to offer. Seek to be as thoughtful with your responses as you believe you would be to questions in an interview. We look forward to learning more about you during application review. Good luck!

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.