How to Write the Wake Forest University Essays 2020-2021

Wake Forest University is a private university located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina that is known for its emphasis on a premier liberal arts education for its students. With an undergraduate enrollment of just over 5,000 students, and an average class size of 20 students or fewer, Wake Forest is dedicated to its students.

 

Currently ranked #27 in the nation, the selective university admits 29% of its applicants. The university maintains accomplished programs in the social sciences, business, and a variety of other fields. Wake Forest also holds a unique status as a prestigious liberal arts school with a robust research focus.

 

For the 2020-2021 cycle, Wake Forest does not require applicants to send any test scores with their application if they do not wish to do so, therefore a crucial part of a student’s application is their essays. In addition to the required Common App essay, students have to submit four additional supplemental essays. 

 

With this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the tools necessary to tackle the Wake Forest application essays. Want to know your chances at Wake Forest? Calculate your chances for free right now.

 

Want to learn what Wake Forest University will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Wake Forest University needs to know.

Wake Forest Supplemental Essay Prompts

Prompt 1: 

 

  • Part A: List five books you’ve read that intrigued you. (you’ll need to indicate the title, author, and whether it was required)
  • Part B: Explain how a work of fiction you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity. (150 words)

 

Prompt 2: Tell us more about the topic that most engages your intellectual curiosity. (150 words)

 

Prompt 3: Describe a community that is important to you. How has that community prepared you to engage with, change, or even build the Wake Forest community? (150 words)

 

Prompt 4: Give us your Top Ten list. There is a space to name the Theme of the list, and 10 separate lines for each item, with a character limit of 100 each.

Prompt 1

  • Part A: List five books you’ve read that intrigued you. (you’ll need to indicate the title, author, and whether it was required)

  • Part B: Explain how a work of fiction you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity. (150 words)

Part A

 

The first prompt Wake Forest requires is made up of two parts and gives the admissions officers insight into your interests and perspectives through literature. 

 

Before you list the first five books that pop into your head, take some time to consider the importance of choosing the right books. This is an easy way for you to express your personality—simply by picking books that show you are an experienced reader with intellectual drive, passions, and specific interests—to help you stand apart from other applicants. So picking the books you were required to read in your AP Literature class might not accomplish everything you want. 

 

The prompt asks you to pick books that have intrigued you. So what does this mean? Well you could pick a book you read that sparked your interest in the topic you want to major in. Perhaps you read a book about bioengineering that influenced your decision to pursue a career in that field. Or maybe you read Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s autobiography and that motivated you to become a public servant. Choosing books that tie into your interests and aspirations demonstrates your personality, the types of people you look up to, and what kind of person you might become.

 

You don’t just have to pick books that are over 500 pages long and seem “impressive” for a high school student to have read. Don’t put down War and Peace if you struggled to get through the book and didn’t enjoy it. Consider including books that are meaningful to you and hold a special place in your heart. Maybe Green Eggs and Ham was the first book you ever read by yourself and it was the reason you started reading. If there is a book you used to read with your parents every night when you were little, you can also include that in your list.

 

When you are compiling the list of five books, the most important thing to remember is that each book should reveal something about your personality. If you don’t feel a book is an accurate representation, try picking a different one. 

 

Part B

 

Once you have your five books, you can go onto the second part of this prompt which requires you to elaborate on your choices. Since the prompt asks for any work of fiction, you don’t necessarily have to write about one of your five books—especially if you chose five nonfiction books.

 

The process of writing this essay is very similar to your thought process for picking the previous books. You only have 150 words to convey your attachment and this book’s significance to you so don’t spend too much time discussing the plot of the book. Instead, jump right into the essay with an anecdote or maybe even your favorite quote from the book. The point of this essay is to show the admissions committee your ability to process and analyze books, and how your analysis of books helps you confront the world.

 

While “understanding the world’s complexity” might sound confusing, think about any example from a book that you think about in your daily life and use to cope with reality. If there is a certain character who faced similar challenges to yourself and found a way to persevere, you could write a personal story about how that character inspires you. Or maybe you read a dystopian novel like the Hunger Games or 1984 that helped you see parallels between a fictional society and your own.

 

Just be careful and remember that if you choose a mainstream, pop-culture book, your essay has to be very personal to show how the book affected you in a way different from anyone else. For example, anyone can say that Katniss from the Hunger Games helped you understand the importance of standing up for what is right. Instead, you could consider talking about how her rebellion against the government made you look into injustices in your own country, and after seeing what she was able to accomplish, you found the courage in yourself to reach out to local officials, or start a club in your school to demand change.

Prompt 2

Tell us more about the topic that most engages your intellectual curiosity. (150 words)

This supplemental question is designed to give the admissions officers more insight into you and how you think. They want to hear about your intellectual curiosity, or more simply put: why you like to learn. Every university is looking to admit engaged students who are generally intrigued by learning, so it’s very important that your voice and excitement come through in this essay.

 

You aren’t limited to only discussing a subject in school you enjoy. Here are a few different approaches to this essay you could take:

 

  • Interest
  • Hobby
  • Person
  • Philosophical concept
  • Piece of art
  • Mathematical enigma

 

Think about what interests you, something you could talk about for hours on end, or something you desperately want to find the answer to. Asking yourself these questions will help you come up with a topic that you can delve deeper into. You want to be sure your topic is not only exciting for you, but also can be connected to something more personal and intellectual.

 

For instance, a student who is fascinated by Latin American culture could discuss her interest in the Carnival celebrations of Brazil and how learning about these celebrations have helped her to connect with her Brazilian roots, as well as the world history surrounding those roots.

 

Alternatively, a student could use this essay as an opportunity to discuss his favorite hobby. For example, a student who loves to collect coins could discuss how the sheer volume of coins produced fascinates him, how he’s gotten to meet people across the country because of his collection, and that coins have helped him to develop a deeper understanding of the financial underpinnings of America.

 

Whatever route you decide to take in this essay, make sure that you truly express the nuances of your fascination with the topic. As long as you can show how the topic sparked your desire to continue learning, whether that be about yourself or the world, you will be in good shape.

Prompt 3

Describe a community that is important to you. How has that community prepared you to engage with, change, or even build the Wake Forest community? (150 words)

This next prompt is a chance for you to build on your involvement in something that is meaningful to you. A community can be justified in a multitude of ways, so feel free to get creative and pick a community that expresses your passions, involvement, dedication, and leadership.

 

There are two important aspects to this prompt. The first is describing a community you are currently engaged in and why you value that community. The second, and arguably more important part, is to translate your involvement in your community to the Wake Forest community. Especially since Wake Forest is not requiring students to write a “Why Wake Forest” essay this year, we strongly recommend you use this essay to communicate your interest in the school.

 

So how do you go about doing that?

 

One approach you can take is to talk about your involvement in a community you notice might be lacking on Wake Forest’s campus and discuss your interest in introducing your fellow students to this community. For example, if a student was a part of a rap group in his hometown, he might see that Wake Forest doesn’t have any student organizations specifically dedicated to rapping. He might choose to focus his essay on the creative outlet rap provided him and how he learned to observe injustices in the world and express his feelings through rap. He could then transition his essay to describe his plan to start a club on campus so other students can share their hardships and perspectives in this community that has helped him grow over the past few years.

 

Another student might wish to talk about an intellectual community they were a part of that they wish to continue their involvement in at Wake Forest. For this essay, a student could describe working at a neurobiology lab and explain experiences she had that provided her with an insight to the field and more hypotheses she wants to pursue. She would then mention her desire to continue her research with the faculty at Wake Forest, possibly discussing current projects that she is intrigued by on campus.

 

Other students may focus on ethnic or religious communities that shaped who they are as a person, thus allowing them to be a unique and active member of the Wake Forest community. This choice is a little more traditional, so if you do choose to go this route, be careful not to get caught up in cliches. Rather than talking about the general importance of family you learned from your Latino community, tell a specific story about the time you helped your neighbor because there are certain ideals that are the pillars of your community. Don’t simply say you want to continue to uphold these values on campus, but describe how you intend to extend your community’s values to your new peers who might be unfamiliar with them. 

 

As you write this essay, keep the idea that you have to show how you fit into the campus community in the back of your mind. Everything you write in this essay should prove to the admissions officers you are a dedicated and passionate community member who would be an asset to the Wake Forest community!


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Your GPA and SAT don’t tell the full admissions story

 

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Prompt 4

Give us your Top Ten list. (There is a space to name the Theme of the list, and 10 separate lines for each item, with a character limit of 100 each).

The final prompt is where students get to use all their creativity, so don’t hold back! Like the first prompt, this one asks students to make their top 10 list. Unlike the first one however, they don’t provide any specifications as to what the list should include.

 

The first few things that come to your head will probably be generic: favorite movies, bucket list destinations, favorite singers, favorite foods. However, we urge you to give this prompt some thought and come up with a really creative list that is distinctively you.

 

  • Instead of your favorite movies try top 10 scenes you rewatch
  • Instead of bucket list destinations try top 10 places to watch the sunset
  • Instead of your favorite singers try top 10 songs about the summer
  • Instead of you favorite foods try top 10 best kitchen utensils

 

You might also consider something even more personal, such as:

 

  • Top 10 ways that people have misspelled your name
  • Top 10 moments that you knew you were the middle child
  • Top 10 phrases you say all the time
  • Top 10 times you cried while watching a movie

 

While these examples are fun and more creative, the bottom line is that this question is all about you and your personality. Just be cautious that you don’t pick things that require more than a few words because you are only allotted 100 characters per response. Picking your top 10 quotes might be a cool idea but you might not have the space for it.

 

At the end of the day, admissions officers are using this question to see how creative you are and what interests you, so make sure, whatever you choose, your personality shines through.

 

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