Wake Forest Acceptance Rate: What Does It Take to Get In?
Want personalized (and free) advice while applying to college?
We’re building a free college guidance platform for high school students like you! This means we’ll let you know exactly what and when you should be focusing on things like extracurriculars, college essays, standardized tests, and more. Sign up now to get early access to our platform and get guidance applying to college!
Wake Forest University, a private university located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a popular choice for academically strong students. It’s currently ranked #27 in the country according to the popular U.S. News and World Reports rankings, and it’s one of the best-regarded universities in the southeastern U.S.
U.S. News also ranks Wake Forest #5 in the U.S. for the quality of its undergraduate teaching— higher than many bigger and more famous schools. This strength in academics is paired with a dedication to serving the world and a thoughtful and adventurous educational philosophy, demonstrated through its embrace of new ideas like testing-optional admissions policies.
Interested in applying to Wake Forest? Let’s get started with the basics: Wake Forest’s acceptance rate, its admissions requirements and application procedures, and the special features you need to keep in mind as you put together your Wake Forest application.
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.
Applying to Wake Forest: A Quick Overview
The first step to getting admitted to Wake Forest is filling out all the required component of its application. To apply to Wake Forest, you’ll need to submit the following:
- Application form (choose between several options)
- High school transcript
- Secondary School Report and Midyear Report (once available)
- One teacher recommendation
- Interview on campus or via Skype (strongly recommended)
- $65 application fee or fee waiver
Under certain circumstances, you might need to submit other materials along with your application. For instance, there are additional requirements for international applicants and for applicants who would like to be considered for need-based financial aid. You might also choose to submit materials that demonstrate an exceptional talent you possess, such as audio or visual samples of your work.
A particularly notable item on this list is your interview. Interviews are strongly recommended at Wake Forest, and they’re only held on campus or via Skype between June 1 and November 30, so students frequently interview before actually submitting their applications. This is different from the interview process at many other colleges, so you’ll need to plan ahead to fit your interview in.
Wake Forest maintains three different admissions timelines: Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. Both ED programs are binding and single-choice. The ED I deadline is November 15, and the ED II and RD programs share a final deadline of January 1, though all applicants who wish to be considered for Wake Forest’s merit-based scholarships must apply by December 1.
Wake Forest Acceptance Rate: How Difficult is it to Get In?
According to the most recent data, Wake Forest’s acceptance rate is currently around 28%. This means that less than one in every three students who applies is accepted.
Wake Forest’s acceptance rate places it among the more selective colleges in the U.S., even though it’s not quite as competitive as the Ivies and some other top-tier schools. Other colleges and universities whose acceptance rates are similar to Wake Forest’s include Boston University, Northeastern University, Oberlin College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia (main campus), and Vassar College.
So, How Does One Get Into Wake Forest?
With its low acceptance rate, Wake Forest expects more of its applicants than simply filling out all the required forms. Successful applicants are those who demonstrate academic prowess as well as talents outside the classroom. They also show the potential to both enrich and be enriched by Wake Forest’s particular academic philosophy, which emphasizes initiative, self-motivation, and a “sense of adventure” in exploring new topics and interests.
A strong academic record is an essential component of a successful Wake Forest application, according to a letter from the Dean of Admissions posted on the admissions website. While the university doesn’t provide a specific cutoff for high school GPA or class rank, they do note that 61% of successful applicants are in the top 5% of their high school classes, and 87% rank in the top 10%.
The rest of your application matters too, particularly your extracurricular activities. Wake Forest tends to prize depth over breadth when it comes to extracurriculars, so showing a long-term, highly involved commitment to a particular activity (or set of related activities) is typically more attractive to them than a long list of short-term activities.
One item that’s not on the list of requirements will probably stand out to you, and that’s standardized test scores. Since 2008, Wake Forest has maintained a testing-optional admissions policy, meaning that you can choose whether or not to submit your scores for the SAT, ACT, SAT II subject tests, AP tests, and any other standardized exams.
If you choose not to submit scores, you won’t be penalized, and your application will be evaluated on its other merits. On the other hand, if you believe your test scores strengthen your application and wish to submit them, you’re welcome to do so, and they’ll be considered as part of your application package. It’s entirely up to you.
Another thing you don’t need to worry about is which version of the application is best to use. We’ve noted above that Wake Forest offers several different options for its basic application form. In addition to an institutional form that can be completed online or by mail, you can apply to Wake Forest via the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or the College Foundation of North Carolina application system.
Fortunately, the university has no preference as to which form you use, so you can use whichever option is most convenient for you. If you choose to apply to Wake Forest through one of the multi-college systems we’ve mentioned, just make sure you complete all the pertinent supplemental questions. (For more details, check out our post on Wake Forest’s 2018-2019 supplemental and essay questions.)
How to Make Your Application Stand Out
Every competitive college cares about your academic performance and your other activities during your high-school years, but each individual school has certain factors that it considers especially important. Here’s some advice for navigating the application process in light of Wake Forest’s particular preferences and priorities.
Do your research.
Make full use of all the resources you can find. Check out the Wake Forest admissions website at admissions.wfu.edu. Consult guidance counselors, teachers, and parents. Talk to current and former students to get a more personal perspective on life at Wake Forest. The better informed you are, the more you can use your application to demonstrate that Wake Forest will be a good fit for you, and vice versa.
Show your (intellectually) adventurous side.
As an institution, Wake Forest prizes students who are willing to dive right into new intellectual interests and challenge themselves while maintaining “a sense of balance”. In your essays, interview, and other application components, don’t forget to mention how you’ve experienced and used this philosophy in your own life.
Demonstrate how you contribute to your community and the world.
Wake Forest’s motto, Pro Humanitate (For Humanity), reflects the university’s commitment to serving humanity as a whole. Show that you’ve thought about how you want to impact others, whether that’s through your career field, volunteer work, solving important problems, or expanding the scope of human understanding.
Make Wake Forest’s test-optional policy work for you.
You don’t have to send in your test scores if those scores aren’t as high as you would like, but if your scores are particularly impressive, it might benefit your application to include them. Either way, consider carefully which approach will make your personal application look stronger.
Plan ahead for your interview.
Interviews are particularly important at Wake Forest, and the interview deadline is relatively early. If you’re considering applying, schedule your interview early—you don’t want to find yourself rushing unprepared into an interview in order to complete it by the deadline. (It’s fine to interview even if you aren’t sure you’re going to submit the rest of the application.)
Consider working with an admissions consultant at CollegeVine.
Our mentors have developed their insight into what makes a great college application through personal experience with elite college admissions, special training in assisting current applicants, and access to CollegeVine’s exclusive research and analysis. To find out more about our services, visit our College Application Guidance Program on our website.
For more perspectives from CollegeVine on applying to Wake Forest, check out these posts:
Want more college admissions tips?
We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.