Wake Forest University is a small liberal arts college in North Carolina. It is currently ranked number 27 on USA Today’s college rankings for 2018.
After watching home videos with my two sisters this past summer, it became clear that I was destined to go to Wake Forest. At age five, my dad gave me his old Wake Forest hat and I began wearing it around the house (often backwards, because I used to be cool). Multiple home videos show me dancing around in the backwards hat, wearing a Wake Forest shirt, shorts, and giant cowboy boots.
My dad attended Wake for law school in 1994 and fell in love with the beautiful campus and prestigious faculty. He continued to follow and support Wake Forest after he left, and took my sister and me to campus almost every summer. I attended the Wake Forest soccer camp growing up and I like to think we were a ‘Wake Forest Family’ throughout my childhood and adolescence. Thus when my older sister decided last second to do early decision to Duke, you can understand that it came as a shock to all of us. My parents were extremely proud of her when she got in, however I knew that one of us had to continue the Wigington legacy.
I applied to Wake Forest one week after the early decision application was released and was admitted three weeks later. I did not apply to any other schools, nor did I want to. The following four tips helped me get into the university I have always loved, and I hope they help you maximize your chances!
1. Show Interest Early
Many people claim that attending college camps while in grades 1-12 will increase your chances of getting into competitive schools. Our research and counselor admissions advice at Empowerly tells us that this claim is blatantly false. These camps do, however, provide content for your essays when applying to these colleges. The Wake Forest application is extremely long and thorough, and asks you many difficult questions that need to be answered creatively. Luckily, for one of these essays I was able to discuss my experiences with the beauty of language barriers and international friends at Wake soccer camps. I talked about how although I couldn’t communicate directly with my new camp buddies, the soccer camp gave us a platform to communicate on the pitch. By doing so, I was able to show the university that I had been invested in them from an early age and more importantly, that their program helped me grow as a person.
2. Nail your Interview
Wake Forest strongly encourages their applicants to have an interview, either online or in person. I was fortunate enough to be near Wake the summer before my senior year, and drove down to campus with my dad to have it in person. A few weeks leading up to my interview, my dad and I began practicing interview etiquette, questions, and answering strategies. He would ask me difficult mock questions in the car and I would try to give a well thought out answer. If he could think of any improvements or advice, he would give me feedback. If you don’t have a parent to help you with interview practice, I suggest going online to find common questions, writing down your answers, and then practicing them in front of a mirror. The Wake Forest interviewers will not ask you anything insanely difficult, they simply want to get to know you and have an engaging conversation. Practicing your interview will give you the confidence to nail it when the time comes!
3. Have an Original ‘Top Ten’
The Wake Forest application is most famous for its signature prompt, “Give us your top ten list”. This top ten can be literally anything. Lots of people put their top ten books, math equations, or songs. I am here to tell you that those people do not stand out to admissions officers. Your application reviewer is likely to disagree with your top ten songs, and think that you are just like the last 100 applicants who also listed ‘Perfect’, by Ed Sheeran, as their number one song of all time. I encourage you to use this unorthodox prompt as a way to show the admissions team that you are different from everyone else. I wrote about the ‘Top Ten Manchester United Center Defensive Midfielders of all Time’ for my list. Find something that intersects what you are passionate about with something that is unique to you. If you have any ideas for what you want to or what you did write about, feel free to leave it in the comments section!
4. Take Advantage of their Test-Optional Policy
Wake Forest was one of the first top-tier Universities to make standardized test scores an optional part of their application in 2008. A Test-Optional Policy is advantageous for both students who do poorly on the SAT and ACT, and for students who accel at these tests. If you struggle with standardized tests, but are a great essay writer and have good grades, I highly suggest you apply to Wake Forest without sending in your scores. On the other hand, if you exceed the average SAT or ACT at Wake by a good amount, you should apply and send your test scores with the application! The school has this policy in place to benefit every kind of student, therefore evaluate your situation before you decide to send your scores or to hold them.
I love Wake Forest University. The campus is beautiful, the facilities are new, the students are friendly, and the education is outstanding. Go Deacs!!!