Twice this week I’ve put down my pen and the application in front of me and walked downstairs to our auditorium to give an information session, a fifty minute talk about Wake Forest and our application process. During each of these sessions I was greeted almost exclusively by juniors.
Gone were the seniors, applications perhaps already submitted or almost so. Visiting less frequently are those who occasionally contort their faces after I describe the courses we hope to see on a transcript or the fact that, for the most part, competitive applicants will present senior schedules with at least five core academic courses. I feel for these students, I truly do. Their “academic die,” outside of their first semester grades (very important, mind you), is cast by the time they visit us in the late fall and early winter.
Not so for the juniors who will soon visit us in droves. Our information session crowds will pick up quickly around the President’s Day holiday and then swell throughout the Spring Break weeks of March and April. Almost exclusively juniors in high school, you come to us as unfinished works. Many of you will have not yet developed your senior year schedules. Thus, I hope you will take note of the fact that we and many other highly competitive colleges and universities want to see students taking full advantage of the rigorous courses available to you. IB, AP, “400 Level” or “Advanced” – however it is that your school denotes its most rigorous course offerings – we hope to see them on your transcript. These are the courses you will want to sign up for when you meet your high school counselors later this spring.
I implore you to resist that urge to no longer take a foreign language and sign up for a fourth or fifth year of study. Feel you are a weak mathematics student yet are at the level where AP Calculus or AP Statistics is available to you? Stretch yourself. Take an upper level science course. Pop culture, your parents, the media – so many preach that your junior year is the most difficult and important year of high school. I do not doubt that some of you receive pressure to pull back a little. I am here to tell you that they are all wrong. Your senior year is the most important year of high school. Colleges and universities want to see where the previous three years of preparation has led you. Show us that you are prepared for the extraordinary rigor of college study by taking on a challenging senior year curriculum.
As I understand it, many who are slated to visit over the next few days may not make it here at all – there’s a whale of a storm bearing down on much of the northern tier of states with more ice and snow to come. Some of you may already be snowed in with school canceled for the day and perhaps even the week. Sounds like a good time to bundle up with your favorite hot drink and a good book to me. If you are curious about the weather our way, take a look at our Hearn Plaza Webcam and see for yourself what you may be in for when you come down. Information on setting up a campus visit can be found on our Upcoming Admissions Events webpage. We look forward to welcoming you soon.