How to Write the Wake Forest University Essays 2021-2022

Wake Forest University has one required short essay prompt and three optional short essays for all applicants. While you aren’t required to submit the additional three essays, we strongly recommend you submit these essays to demonstrate your full interest in the school and help admissions officers get to know you even better.


With thousands of applicants applying to Wake Forest each year with the same GPAs and test scores, admissions officers value what they learn in an applicant’s essay, as it helps them distinguish between students to decide who they want at their school. In this post we’ll share how you can write the best Wake Forest essays possible to boost your chances of admission.


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Wake Forest Supplemental Essay Prompts


All Applicants

Prompt 1: How did you become interested in Wake Forest University? Feel free to tell us about any contact that you had with Wake Forest that was important to you. (150 words, required) 


Prompt 2A: List five books you’ve read that intrigued you. (you’ll need to indicate the title, author, and whether it was required)


Prompt 2B: Explain how a book you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity. (150 words, optional) 


Prompt 3: Tell us more about the topic that most engages your intellectual curiosity. (150 words, optional) 


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. (optional) 


Prompt 1

How did you become interested in Wake Forest University? Feel free to tell us about any contact that you had with Wake Forest that was important to you. (150 words)


This is essentially a “Why This College?” essay, however the prompt also asks about what demonstrated interest you have shown in Wake Forest, so keep that in mind as you write your essay.


You are only given 150 words to express why you want to attend this university, so make the most out of your limited space by being as specific as possible. You want to establish a tangible connection to the university. Examples of tangible connections might be the Theater in Education class you are excited to take because it perfectly combines your passion for theater you developed in high school with your dream to be an English teacher. Another connection could be a beloved campus tradition you are aching to participate in, like Project Pumpkin or Lovefeast. You could also discuss the campus culture you observed when you went for a tour, where you saw students collaborating and helping each other study on Hearn Plaza. (The last connection also answers the part of the prompt asking about contact you’ve had with the school!) 


Keep these tips in mind when you are writing about a tangible connection:


  • Choose reasons that are unique to Wake Forest. Every school has an Introduction to Economics class or study abroad program. However, classes like The Italian Experience in America or Psychology of Memory are less common.
  • You will have more of an impact if you actually establish a connection. If you want to participate in the Wake ‘N Shake dance marathon explain how you planned fundraisers for organizations in high school, and now you want to give back to the Wake Forest community.
  • Don’t name-drop! Probably the most important tip is to elaborate on the connections you make to the university. Explain why you are interested in joining this specific club or how studying with this professor will enhance your college experience.


After you have explained what piqued your interest in Wake Forest, you are asked to include any previous contact you have had with the university that was meaningful. Essentially, this is how admissions officers can gauge your demonstrated interest, which Wake Forest greatly values. Due to the extenuating circumstances of a global pandemic, most colleges don’t expect you to visit campus to demonstrate your interest. Below are a few ways you may have come into contact with Wake Forest:


  • Attending virtual info sessions
  • Watching a virtual campus tour
  • Signing up for their emails
  • Following their social media accounts
  • Participating in a pre-college program
  • Speaking with a current or former student 


Like with the tangible connections to the campus, you want to elaborate on why previous contact with the school was important to you. You can explain how you were fascinated by your professor during the pre-college program and you want to conduct research with them as an undergrad. Maybe you couldn’t get the beautiful campus out of your head for weeks after watching the virtual tour, and the more you learned about the school, the more you fell in love with everything it has to offer. 


Be careful you avoid empty flattery like, “Wake Forest is so prestigious,” and facts from info sessions like, “The low student to faculty ratio is super important to me.” Phrases like these suggest that you don’t have anything substantive or specific to say about the school, which will make your interest in the school less convincing to admissions officers.


Prompt 2 – Option A

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

This prompt 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. 


Prompt 2 – Option B – Optional

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

This optional prompt requires you to elaborate on your previous book 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 3 – Optional

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

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 4 – Optional

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.


Where to Get Your Wake Forest Essays Edited for Free


Do you want feedback on your Wake Forest essays? After reading your essays over and over, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. Since they don’t know you personally, they can be a more objective judge of whether your personality shines through, and whether you’ve fully answered the prompt. 


You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. We highly recommend giving this tool a try!

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