What follows is an informative piece written by Dean of Admissions Martha Allman on our interview policy. Are you nervous about scheduling an interview? Do you have an interview scheduled yet are considering missing your flight or claiming your internet connection is down? Take a deep breath and read Dean Allman’s thoughts below. I think you will learn you have little to be nervous about.

Insights on college interviews

By MARTHA ALLMAN, Dean of Admissions

Martha Allman, Wake Forest Director of Admissions

As high school students apply to college this fall, we strongly encourage our applicants to interview with us, either on campus, via webcam through Skype or if all else fails, through an on-line interview format. The interviews have proven invaluable as we evaluate applicants and have sometimes been so revealing that we have questioned how we ever made admissions decisions before the interview!

It’s important to note that the admissions officers who conduct interviews are not all the same. Some of us are fresh from the commencement line while others have just sent our own children away to college. We are musicians, historians, science geeks and bibliophiles. Some of us are the first in our families to have graduated from college. Others have descended from generations of academics. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, our faces resemble those of the community around us. It is our happy task to spend thirty minutes with prospective students and in that time to draw from them information to help us decide whether or no they are a “fit” for our institution.

Do we have a common set of questions that can be rehearsed and prepared for? No. Do we often delve into areas of current events, high school classes, reading, or extra-curricular talents? Yes. Are there expected responses that we hope each question will elicit? Absolutely not. We like to be surprised. What we hope for most of all with the interview is insight into who the applicant really is at age 17, what ideas interest her, what experiences have shaped him, what are her hopes for the future and his concerns about the present. How open is her mind, how curious is his spirit? Is there kindness and humanity somewhere in there?

We seek a class of debaters and dancers, African drummers, mathematicians, zoologists and poets. The questions that we ask of our prospective students are thus broad and provocative. “Who are you?” asked with a warm smile is often how I begin my interview. ‘How do you hope your college years will be different from high school?” “What’s the best class you’ve ever taken?” “If you had a ‘do over button’ when would you have used it?”” Do you think your life will be easier than your parents’?” “Tell me about a book that everyone should read.” “If you had a day all to yourself, how would you spend it?” “Where do you get your news and what news has been most concerning to you of late?” Depending on the student the conversation can drift into European politics, techno music, sustainability, or conflicted teenage vampires. I love the drift. Just in case I have missed something critical I always conclude with, “Is there something which you hoped I would ask you that I have not?”

We are admissions officers because we love college, we love college-aged people and we love conversation. We don’t expect interviewees to be professional conversationalists, or mini-50 year olds, we want to talk with fresh, edgy, interesting teenagers. Theirs is the energy that makes a college campus a crucible of ideas. Come as you are to the interview and be ready to share. That’s how the match is made.

What’s It Like?

VIP Diversity Pic

Curious about diversity at Wake Forest? We offer several opportunities to explore our diverse community. If you are interested in learning more about multicultural life, join us for one of our prospective student diversity recruitment events:

Wake Forest VIP Program – Meet us in your backyard, or close to it! Each fall, Wake Forest University hosts diversity recruitment events during our travel season. The VIP diversity recruitment programs take place off-campus in cities along the east coast. VIP is open to high school seniors and their families. For more information about locations and to request your space in the program, please visit our VIP Program website.

Wake Forest Visions Program – Visit us at the Forest! Visions is our on-campus diversity overnight event. The program is open to prospective seniors and families. Visions will take place October 13-14 and November 10-11 this year.  Students must apply to attend the Visions overnight program. For program and application information, please visit our Visions Program website.

We look forward to seeing you!

Hattie L. Mukombe ’04, MA ’11

Travel Tuesday

Starting today, we will summarize the Admission Committee’s weekly travels in our Travel Tuesday posts. From quick rundowns of where we will be this week and next to interesting tidbits we have learned on the road, we will share them here with you. Note that many of the visits will take place in surrounding communities of the cities listed below. If your school hosts college visits during the school day or is holding a college night, check with your guidance or college counselor to see whether we will be in attendance. We look forward to meeting with you!

This Week: Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Asheville, NC

Next Week: Ecuador; Portland, OR; Seattle and Tacoma, WA; Philadelphia, PA; Columbia, SC; Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Burlington, Fayetteville and Charlotte, NC; Western North Carolina

Early September in the Porter Byrum Welcome Center

From the first of June through the end of August, over 5600 students attended an information session here at Wake Forest while another 2500 rising seniors conducted an interview either on campus or via Skype. Phew! Needless to say, unless we were away with our family and friends there was no “summer vacation” in our office this year. And yet, we loved every minute of it! Thanks to all of you who took the time to visit and to those of you who allowed us to learn more about your academic passions and intellectual curiosities.

Our crowds dwindle a bit during these first two weeks of September as students head back to school and we are taking advantage of this time to catch up on various other tasks. We are busy finalizing fall travel plans which will take us everywhere from Chicago to China, San Antonio to Seattle, Ecuador to England and dozens of other locations worldwide. Members of the Admissions Committee continue to deliberate on Early Decision applications as part of our rolling ED policy – sixteen students have already enrolled in the Class of 2018! We are also busy planning special admissions events that will take place throughout the fall for prospective students who come to campus during the fall visit season – we encourage you to join us.

Carolina Chocolate DropsSeptember is an excellent time to remind all of us in the office why we enjoy the time we get to spend at Wake Forest. From a highly anticipated visit by the Carolina Chocolate Drops as part of our Secrest Artist Series next week to enjoying a late summer evening at Spry Stadium watching our nationally ranked men’s and  women’s soccer teams, campus comes to life in September. As you finalize your plans for a visit to campus this fall, be sure to check out our Events calendar so you can make the most of your time “In the Forest.”

Welcome to our admissions blog: ‘From the Forest’

This is the first of many posts on everything admissions-related at Wake Forest. From the value of a campus visit to the importance of interviewing to application deadlines and requirements, we will cover the nuts and bolts right here for you while shedding light on some of the nuances of our process. In addition, we will continue to highlight national stories on admissions-related issues many have enjoyed reading on our policy-based Rethinking Admissions blog (Rethinking will no longer be updated). Finally, expect the occasional note on events taking place here on campus — our students and faculty are remarkable and often give us reason to celebrate!

We take seriously our responsibility to be accessible to you, thus please continue to call or email with questions and to follow us on Twitter (@wfuadmissions) for up-to-the-minute admissions news. Use From the Forest as a resource to navigating our admissions process. We promise to be informative and helpful with the occasional dose of humor and humanity mixed in. We look forward to sharing our thoughts with you — thank you for reading.