How to Get Into Wake Forest University: Admission Guide

Happy student accepted into Wake Forest University
September 26, 2023
10 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 09/26/23

Wake Forest University consistently ranks as one of the best universities in the nation. Read on to learn more about this esteemed school.

Winston-Salem, NC

With the motto Pro Humanitate, which translates to “For Humanity,” Wake Forest University is dedicated to using its students' and faculty’s knowledge, talents, and compassion to better the lives of others. It encourages all its students to pursue their best selves and leave the world a better place than they found it!

If this human-centered mission aligns with your own values, this guide will go into further detail about how to get into Wake Forest University, its important admission details and deadlines, and tips on how to maximize your chances of acceptance!

Wake Forest Acceptance Rate

Wake Forest’s acceptance rate sits at around 20%, making it moderately selective. You’ll need a strong application to be considered for admission. It never hurts to apply early, either, as the Wake Forest early decision acceptance rate is 30.6%

If you’re looking to transfer, you may be deterred by the Wake Forest University transfer acceptance rate, which is extremely competitive! The Wake Forest transfer acceptance rate is 5.26%. This is a much more selective rate than many schools, but with a strong application, you can boost your chances. 

The Wake Forest out-of-state acceptance rate is unavailable, but out-of-state students (excluding international) make up about 80% of the student body. 

Wake Forest Yield Rate

The yield rate for Wake Forest University is roughly 38%. The yield rate is also known as the enrollment rate and indicates the amount of students who accept their admission to a university. 

Wake Forest Admission Requirements

To help you navigate the overwhelming process of applying to Wake Forest University, here are all of the application materials you’ll need to submit to be eligible for consideration. 

High School Transcripts

In order to assess your academic potential, Wake Forest reviews your high school transcript to determine your GPA and how challenging your high school courses were. 

Wake Forest requires its prospective students to complete the following 16 high school credits:

  • Four units in English
  • Three units in mathematics
  • Two units in history and social sciences
  • Two units in one foreign language
  • One unit in the natural sciences

The majority of successful candidates also pursue Advanced Placement (AP) curriculums or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses

Wake Forest GPA Requirements 

While Wake Forest has no set GPA requirement, they do strongly emphasize academic performance. The Wake Forest average GPA is 3.85

Previously admitted candidates also had GPAs of 3.6 and above, with the majority of students having a 3.8-4.0. Students should aim for a 4.0 GPA, or at least a GPA within this higher range, to increase their chances of acceptance. 

So, if you were wondering, “how hard is it to get into Wake Forest University?” the answer is it’ll be difficult without a high GPA! 

Wake Forest SAT Requirements 

Wake Forest University implemented a test-optional policy several years ago. Students are not required to write the ACT or SAT as part of the Wake Forest University admissions process, but they can if they believe it will strengthen their application. 

If you write your test several times, your scores will be superscored, meaning only your highest scores in each section will be considered. Your Wake Forest SAT scores should be as high as possible, so consider using an SAT test guide

The Wake Forest SAT range is fairly wide. If you choose to write the SAT, aim for a score between 1380-1510, which is the Wake Forest average SAT range. 

Wake Forest ACT Requirements

The test-optional policy also applies to the ACT test, but again, you may choose to write the ACT anyway. If you do, you should aim for a score between 31 and 34, as that range encapsulates the Wake Forest average ACT scores. 

Teacher Recommendation Form

To gain insight into the kind of student you are and the impression you leave on your mentors, Wake Forest requires you to submit a teacher recommendation form as part of your application.

Unlike regular letters of evaluation, this form will ask your teacher to judge certain traits of yours on a scale of weak to strong. You will be judged on traits such as your motivation, integrity, love of learning, reaction to setbacks, and more.

Your teacher will also be asked to include additional information about you on the form, where they can share any other skills or accomplishments they feel make you an excellent candidate for Wake Forest University.

Counselor Recommendation 

A recommendation from your high school counselor is not required for admission to Wake Forest, but it is highly recommended. This is an opportunity for Wake Forest to get another professional, trustworthy opinion of your academic prowess. 

Asking for recommendation letters may seem intimidating, but it’s a necessary part of applying to university. Your counselor will surely be happy to provide you with a glowing review. 

Personal Statement and Supplemental Essays

Depending on the application you use to apply to Wake Forest, you’ll have to write a personal statement and at least one supplemental essay. Wake Forest also has specific essay prompts for students to respond to on their application. 

Secondary School Report

The secondary school report is a form that summarizes your academic performance in high school. Wake Forest’s form has a short section that you will need to fill out, as well as an evaluation section to be filled out by your principal or high school counselor. 

Application Fee

Wake Forest University requires applicants to submit an $85 application fee along with the rest of their materials. 

Early Decision Agreement

If Wake Forest is your first choice and you’re applying Early Decision, you’ll need to fill out this agreement form. This certifies that if you’re accepted, you’ll withdraw all other applications to other schools and commit to Wake Forest. 

Transfer Student Requirements

Students hoping to transfer to Wake Forest will have to submit the same materials in their application as first-year incoming students. In addition to these materials, transfer applicants will also have to submit: 

  • College transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Dean’s Statement for Transfer Students from each college attended

You should also note that Wake Forest does not offer interviews to transfer applicants, so be sure that your application is strong enough! 

Transfer students need to apply by November 1 for the spring term. Decisions will be released by mid-December. For the fall term, the deadline to apply is March 15, and decisions will be released by mid-May. 

International Student Requirements

International applicants will also need to submit the same materials as incoming students with a few additions. Wake Forest also requires certified transcripts from each school attended, both secondary and post-secondary. If necessary, these transcripts should be translated into English. 

Non-native English speakers will also need to submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or DET (Duolingo English Test) score, which may be self-reported. SAT and ACT scores may also be self-reported, but international students are not required to submit standardized test scores.

Wake Forest Application Process and Deadlines

Students can apply by the Wake Forest application deadline through the Common Application, Wake Forest’s online portal, or Coalition. Regardless of the portal you use, here are some important dates to keep in mind: 

Deadline What’s Due
August 1 Applications open
November 15 Early decision I and early action applications due
Rolling basis Early decision I applicants receive decision notifications
January 15 Early action applicants receive decision notifications
January 1 Early decision II and regular decision applications due
February 15 Early II applicants receive decision notifications
April 1 Regular applicants receive decision notifications

Source: Wake Forest University

Wake Forest accepts students on a rolling basis, meaning you may receive a notification after the Wake Forest decision date specified above. To ensure you receive a decision as early as possible, apply by the suggested deadlines.

Wake Forest Essay Prompts with Examples 

As stated, Wake Forest has several essay prompts prospective students can respond to on their application. The first one is mandatory for all students to respond to:

Why have you decided to apply to Wake Forest? Share with us anything that has made you interested in our institution.

This is a variation of the classic “Why Us” essay that many colleges require. This question is asked because colleges want to see that your decision to apply isn’t thoughtless. They want to see your passion for the institution and how it can help you realize your dreams. 

For inspiration, check out this sample “Why Us” essay written for Cornell: 

"As the sun emerges from behind the mountains, my grandfather and I remain fixated on the onigiri atop the dining table. We aren’t engrossed in the onigiri, per se, but rather their wrappers–the canvas where we sketch gadget designs.
Grandpa inspires me to follow his footsteps by designing contraptions to benefit humanity. We both place a large emphasis on the importance of transportation to the environment’s well-being. His patent for a [PRODUCT] was the biggest project I’ve contributed to. Consequently, I aspire to work with Dr. Francis M. Vanek, whose research interests involve the environmental impact of transportation systems. I imagine working together on a shared passion, alternative energy-powered cars (and maybe even convincing my family to buy them in the process).
Cornell’s engineering program places a significant emphasis on building a conscious future. Understanding the intricacies of societies and the demands of global warming is a key component of becoming an environmental engineer. Professor Zinda’s Environmental Sociology course educates students to engineer solutions with an astute understanding of the communities involved, not just knowledge of principles. When reflecting on two communities I’ve experienced intimately–[COUNTRY] and [STATE]–I understand the nuanced scenarios brought upon by different environmental concerns. I always seek to be sensitive and aware in my approach to projects.
My grandfather’s humanitarian mindset defines my own engineering process. Learning from Cornell faculty with aligned ideologies would be a dream come true. At Cornell, I believe I can carry on my grandfather’s legacy with a holistic engineering viewpoint."

This essay works because it has a strong, descriptive opening, and it begins with a personal story. The writer then connects the story to their own passions and talks about how their background has shaped them into who they are now. 

Then, it leads into how the writer believes they can achieve their dreams and follow their passions at Cornell. The essay ends “full-circle,” calling back to the meaningful and personal opening about their grandfather.

In your essay for Wake Forest, you will likely need to use fewer words, but this is a good framework to start with. Pay attention to what makes this essay work and try to integrate it into your own writing.  

The next few Wake Forest essay prompts are optional:

Supplemental Prompt 1: “List five books you’ve read that intrigued you (title and author).”  

The books that you read say a lot about your passions and interests. For this question, it’s best to be genuine and list the books that you truly enjoyed. If you can, try to include more non-required readings than required ones. This shows an authentic passion for learning. 

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some great books for college that you can read. A variety of genres in this list will demonstrate your open-mindedness. 

Here’s an example of what your list might look like: 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, required
Educated by Tara Westover, not required
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, not required
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, not required
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, not required

Supplemental Prompt 2: “Tell us what piques your intellectual curiosity or has helped you understand the world’s complexity. This can include a work you’ve read, a project you’ve completed for a class, and even co-curricular activities in which you have been involved. (Limit 150 words)”

This question is an opportunity for you to dive deep into what you’ve learned that has fascinated you. Make sure you choose a topic that you are truly interested in, not a topic that you think will impress the admissions officer. 

Take some time to reflect on your experiences in school so far and pay attention to what stands out. Maybe you were fascinated by a novel you had to read for class or by a unit in history class. You can look at some Wake Forest essay examples to get inspired.

Here is an example of a Harvard supplemental essay responding to a similar prompt: 

“Volunteering for [ORGANIZATION NAME], an organization that provides care for children with special needs, I’m met with a new challenge every Thursday. Whether it’s from building the world’s best obstacle course or communicating with a child who’s nonverbal, I always leave feeling fulfilled. My heart warms when the triplets say, “You’re the best buddy we’ve ever had,” and when parents tell me how their daughters can’t stop talking about all the new things they learned. What the girls don’t know, however, is that they have taught me more than I could ever teach them. Seeing these children wholeheartedly embrace their disabilities has proven to me the value of expressing our differences and being ourselves. Hearing the intellect behind their thoughts not only challenged my misconceptions but showed me that no obstacle, whether it’s the diagnosis of autism or navigating through a sea of foam blocks, is too large to overcome.”

Check out another sample essay from MIT: 

“Biological engineering’s flexibility frees my mathematical mind, the complexities of which can only really be adequately comprehended through interdisciplinary lenses like those of bioengineering. To me, the mystery and mystique of the cell is paralleled only by the multi-faceted methodology of mathematics itself. As with biology, I’m drawn to math because it’s ubiquitous and there are multifarious pathways to the same answer, just as there are in life. As for my pathway, I’m still paving it but undoubtedly the most formidable foundation for learning about life would be studying bioengineering at the Mass mecca of modern mathematics and science: MIT.”

Supplemental Prompt 3: “Dr. Maya Angelou, renowned author, poet, civil-rights activist, and former Wake Forest University Reynolds Professor of American Studies, inspired others to celebrate their identities and to honor each person’s dignity. Choose one of Dr. Angelou’s powerful quotes. How does this quote relate to your lived experience or reflect how you plan to contribute to the Wake Forest community? (Limit 300 words)”

Source: Time Magazine 

Quote-related essays can be tricky. It’s helpful to look up the full context for the quote you’re responding to so that you can better understand the meaning. 

It’s also important to remember that the university wants to know about you and what these words mean to you personally. Don’t just gush about Maya Angelou; talk about how her words have impacted your personal life and future aspirations at Wake Forest. Don’t be afraid to dig into your past and get vulnerable. 

Here are some Maya Angelou quotes to get you thinking: 

  • “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. 
  • Nothing will work unless you do. 
  • People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. 
  • If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.
  • It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” 

This powerful Dartmouth example essay may be helpful. Their prompt asks students to respond to a James Baldwin quote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced”:

“POP! POP! POP! I’m reminded of a childhood vacation in Aruba with kids around me tossing firecrackers, but the hand pushing me firmly from behind told me these weren’t firecrackers. The authoritative voice of one of our [CONFERENCE NAME] members telling us to “Run!” confirmed that these were gunshots and that we were in imminent danger in the heart of [CITY]. 
POP! POP! In a blur, something caught my foot, and I dropped. This is it, I thought. I’m dead. A few harrowing moments later, I pulled my shell-shocked self up off the ground, realized I wasn’t shot, and kept running back toward the hotel, back to safety. But even safety didn’t feel safe anymore. In the soft, cozy light of the hotel lobby, all I wanted was to go home. But I’d come here for my presentation the following day, so I didn’t want to shirk my responsibility. I presented anyway, though it did nothing to address the bigger picture of gun violence sweeping our nation’s schools and cities, and it won’t until we, as a society, face this issue.
Holding a metaphorical mirror up to society’s face obviates this issue’s root causes: an addiction to both firearms and violence that’s woven into the American flag’s fabric. Until we face and detangle this addiction to guns and aggression from our collective zeitgeist, nothing will change and children will continue returning scarred from field trips like veterans from war. Or worse, they won’t return at all…”

Supplemental Prompt 4: “Give us your Top Ten list (theme chosen by applicant).”

This prompt is open-ended, but that’s part of the fun! You can choose a theme that demonstrates your passion and your academic interests. Picking a theme related to your desired major is also a good idea! 

You can feel free to get creative and even funny with this one, as you have a few characters to play with when elaborating on each point. But remember to stay professional. Keep the focus on you and why you love this topic. 

Here are some example themes for inspiration: 

  • Top 10 Ancient Roman Inventions
  • Top 10 Human Psychology Facts 
  • Top 10 Van Gogh Paintings

Wake Forest University Interview

Prospective students are also given the option to complete a virtual interview with the admissions committee or submit a video interview. The virtual interview will take 25 minutes to complete and will be used to assess your academics and intellectual curiosity.

To prepare for the interview, the committee suggests you brainstorm aspects of your life you want them to know about. Think about what you’re most proud of, what interests you the most, and what you’re looking forward to in the future. 

Alternatively, students may submit video interviews answering one of the following prompts:

  • “If you could solve one problem happening in the world, what would it be, and why?
  • Pro Humanitate is our university motto. What does this motto mean to you, and how would you put it into action as a student at Wake Forest?
  • Share something important to you or about you that isn’t already part of your application.”

Your response should be around two to three minutes long and must be sent in within five days of your application submission. The committee urges you not to memorize your answer to your chosen prompt but to instead pretend you’re sharing ideas with your class. Your answer should come naturally and should not sound like a speech.

Wake Forest Tuition and Fees

A crucial aspect to consider when discussing how to get into Wake Forest University is its costs.

Students can expect to pay $64,758 a year for tuition and fees. With other expenses, such as books, board, and transportation, the total estimated cost of attending Wake Forest University is $87,556 a year. Wake Forest offers several grants and scholarships to students to help pay for these high costs.

Financial Aids and Scholarships 

Wake Forest offers a variety of financial aid options to help you afford your tuition and fees. You can apply for need-based aid, which includes grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. There are also need-based scholarships available. 

You can also apply for Wake Forest merit scholarships, university scholarships, and even some outside scholarships. 

Tips for Getting Into Wake Forest University

To ensure you wow the admissions committee, implement the following suggestions into your application:

Complete the Optional Application Materials

You aren’t required to interview with Wake Forest or answer all of the supplemental essays. However, you should anyway to demonstrate your interest in the school and help the committee get to know you better.

If regular interviews make you nervous, consider submitting a video interview! You already know the prompts you’ll be expected to answer, so you can prepare beforehand and eliminate the stress of having an admissions member on the other side of the screen.

Keep the Wake Forest Motto in Mind

Wake Forest University crest

Source: Wake Forest University

Wake Forest prides itself on its mission to contribute to the world and make it a better place. Do your research on the various projects Wake Forest has undertaken, their accomplishments, and hopes for the future. Incorporate your findings into your essays and interviews to prove your dedication to Wake Forest.

Focus on Gaining Significant Volunteer Experience 

One way to prove your commitment to service is to gain significant volunteer experience throughout high school. You don’t have to participate in a new activity each year, but you should dedicate your time to at least one volunteer organization for a few months or years. 

Choose an organization you feel passionate about and share more about it during your interview. Show your enthusiasm for service and talk about the major contributions you made to the organization. Mention how you plan on continuing your service work at Wake Forest as well!

FAQs: Getting Into Wake Forest University

Below, you’ll find the answers to common questions about how to get into Wake Forest University.

1. How Hard Is It to Get Into Wake Forest University?

While Wake Forest University is only moderately competitive, with an acceptance rate of 25%, students must still maintain high GPAs to meet the committee’s expectations. They’re also encouraged to pursue the most challenging courses their school offers to prove their academic merit.

2. How Do I Increase My Chances of Getting Into Wake Forest?

To increase your chances of admission to Wake Forest, you should give the committee as much information about you as possible! Ensure they have a comprehensive picture of who you are, what you value, and what you hope to contribute to their school. 

To do this, you should participate in any optional application materials, like essays or interviews. You should also prove you’re as committed to the motto Pro Humanitate as Wake Forest is!

3. What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Wake Forest?

There is no specific required GPA for Wake Forest. However, students should maintain GPAs as close to 4.0 as possible to maximize their chances of getting in.

4. What Is Wake Forest Looking for in a Student?

Wake Forest looks for students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, strong writing skills, and a commitment to others.

5. How Much Does Wake Forest Tuition Cost?

Wake Forest’s tuition and fees cost around $62,000 a year. However, including other expenses, it costs just over $87,000 to attend Wake Forest. 

6. Where Is Wake Forest University Located?

Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

7. How Does Wake Forest Notify You of Acceptance? 

You will receive an email from Wake Forest on the decision date with the details of your acceptance! 

Final Thoughts

“Dear old Wake Forest, Thine is a noble name; Thine is a glorious fame, Constant and true.” So begins this university's 1892 Alma Mater that proves its long history of nobility, success, and integrity that has only grown over time! 

Now that you’ve learned how to get into Wake Forest, you can get started on your application! To be part of this esteemed university’s promising future, ensure you submit a stellar application following the tips shared in this guide!

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