written by
Laura Frustaci

Wake Forest Supplemental Essays Guide: 2021-2022

Essay Guides essay guide Admissions Tips 12 min read

Not sure how to approach the Wake Forest essay prompts? With tips from an Ivy League graduate, CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the Wake Forest supplemental essays will show you exactly how to write engaging essays for your Wake Forest application and maximize your chances in the Wake Forest admissions process.

Want help crafting your Wake Forest supplemental essays? Create your free account or schedule your no-cost advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

Wake Forest Essay Guide Quick Facts:

  • The Wake Forest University acceptance rate is 32%—U.S. News ranks Wake Forest as a competitive school.
  • We recommend answering all Wake Forest supplemental essays comprehensively and thoughtfully.

Does Wake Forest University have essays?

Yes. In addition to the Common App Personal Statement, there are several Wake Forest supplemental essay questions. Most of the Wake Forest essay prompts are optional, with only one supplement “required” for your Wake Forest application. However, given the low Wake Forest University acceptance rate, we recommend that you answer all Wake Forest essay prompts to maximize your Wake Forest admissions odds.

Need tips on writing your Common App essay? Check out our blog article.

What is the acceptance rate at Wake Forest?

The Wake Forest acceptance rate is 32%. In comparison with the Wake Forest University acceptance rate, the national average for college acceptance rates is 68%.

What does the Wake Forest acceptance rate mean? Well, a few things. First, when you’re building your college list, you should keep the Wake Forest acceptance rate in mind. Overall, it’s important to apply to a combination of “reach,” “target,” and “safety” schools. If most of the schools on your list share a rate similar to the current Wake Forest acceptance rate, then you’ll want to consider adding a few less competitive “safety” schools to your list.

Want to learn more about how to use data like the Wake Forest University acceptance rate in building a college list? Check out our blog articles on acceptance rates, college rankings, and building a college list.

Another way to use the Wake Forest acceptance rate? Think of it as an incentive to write the best essays possible. To submit the strongest Wake Forest application, you should respond to all Wake Forest supplemental essays. The Wake Forest application process is competitive, and while the Wake Forest acceptance rate is lower than the national average, it shouldn’t discourage you from applying.

With that in mind, don’t let the low Wake Forest University acceptance rate scare you. If you follow the steps in this guide, you'll be able to write essays that stand out to the admissions team.

Is Wake Forest difficult to get into?

While the Wake Forest acceptance rate isn’t as low as schools like Harvard, which hovers around 4%, it’s still much lower than the 68% national average referenced above. What this means is that Wake Forest will have many qualified applicants, but fewer open spaces to admit them. This makes the Wake Forest application process more competitive.

You should ensure your Wake Forest application is as strong as possible by responding to all Wake Forest essay prompts. This will make the best impression on the Wake Forest admissions officers when they read your Wake Forest application.

What is Wake Forest University known for?

According to their website, Wake Forest values three core strengths: “faculty-student interaction and mentoring, leadership in the field of intercultural competence and study abroad programming, and innovation as a nimble mid-sized liberal arts university.” If these pillars of education appeal to you, you should consider submitting a Wake Forest application. Wake Forest is also the only college in the history of U.S. News rankings to move from being classified as a Regional University to one of the Top 30 in the nation.

Located in Winston Salem, NC, Wake Forest is known for its highly ranked programs in business, medicine, and law.

With a low faculty-to-student ratio of 1:11, and over 250 student clubs and organizations, most students are able to find their niche both inside and outside of the classroom. Thinking of applying? Continue reading for a breakdown of the Wake Forest essay prompts.

How many essays does Wake Forest have?

The Wake Forest application has one required supplemental essay and three optional Wake Forest essay prompts. Although most of the Wake Forest supplemental essays are optional, we recommend you respond to all Wake Forest essay prompts to make your Wake Forest application as strong as possible.

With the competitive Wake Forest acceptance rate, your responses to the Wake Forest essay prompts will be an important part of your Wake Forest application. Remember, your Wake Forest supplemental essays are your chance to show the admissions team what makes you unique. By completing all four Wake Forest essay prompts, you can maximize every opportunity the Wake Forest supplemental essays offer.

Wake Forest Supplemental Essays—Prompt 1 (required)

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 maximum)

How do I write an essay for Wake Forest?

You’ll want to make your Wake Forest application as strong as possible in order to contend with the lower Wake Forest University acceptance rate. This first question is the only required prompt pf the four Wake Forest supplemental essays. However, we recommend you answer all four Wake Forest essay prompts in order to engage Wake Forest admissions officers.

This is the classic supplemental essay question—all colleges want to know what makes them special to you. The Wake Forest supplemental essays are no exception. Use this prompt to showcase any research you have done about Wake Forest while you’ve been writing your Wake Forest supplemental essays or as you’ve been completing the rest of the Wake Forest application.

Avoid general statements like “Wake Forest’s campus is beautiful” or “I just feel like I belong there.” Instead, offer concrete examples of why you belong there. Dig into the specific opportunities available at Wake Forest and describe what they would mean to you. Colleges can tell when you swap out their name for another school and submit the same “Why here?” answer. Your Wake Forest application will be stronger if you foreground exactly why you belong at Wake Forest.

You should especially consider the latter part of the prompt, which asks about what contact you've had with Wake Forest. You might include an anecdote about reaching out to a professor, attending a tour, or sitting in on a class in order to describe why Wake Forest stands out to you. Because of the lower Wake Forest acceptance rate, your responses to the Wake Forest essay prompts, especially this required essay, will be an important part of your Wake Forest application.

Wake Forest Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • Do you prove that you’ve done research on the school?
  • Do you explain what unique opportunities Wake Forest would provide you that you could not get anywhere else?
  • Does your draft discuss a meaningful interaction with the Wake Forest community?

Wake Forest Supplemental Essays—Prompt 2 (optional)

Part One: List five books you've read that intrigued you.
Part Two: Explain how a book you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity. (150 words maximum)

The second of the Wake Forest supplemental essays is optional in name only. With the Wake Forest acceptance rate at 32%, each of the Wake Forest essay prompts makes a difference in your Wake Forest application. You want to start off on the right foot in the Wake Forest admissions process by answering each of the Wake Forest essay prompts. This shows the Wake Forest admissions officers that you're invested in their school and willing to do the work to showcase yourself as a worthy applicant. Each of the Wake Forest supplemental essays is a great opportunity to demonstrate something new about yourself, so take advantage of them!

Begin with a list

Part one of this question asks you to make a list. This seems easy enough, but you will want to avoid certain mistakes in order to present the strongest essay in the Wake Forest admissions process. Avoid listing five books of the same exact genre, and try not to list only sappy romance novels (although they’re enjoyable for pleasure reading, you’ll have a hard time justifying them to the Wake Forest admissions officers). You don’t have to pack in literary classics like Crime and Punishment and Plato’s Symposium (unless you have coincidentally read both of those recently and enjoyed them); just try to provide examples that will be useful when responding to Part Two of this question. At the end of the day, your book list should give the Wake Forest admissions team a genuine glimpse into who you are.

There are two main qualifications for books you put on the list for your Wake Forest supplemental essays. First, make sure that you have fully read them in the past year or so. Second, ensure that you can compellingly explain how one of these books impacts your understanding of the world. The second part of this essay is where you must expand on your thinking and demonstrate the importance of a book on your list. Specifically, how did this book alter your perspective, provide you a new understanding of your surroundings, change your mind in some way, or teach you something impactful?

You only have 150 words for each of the Wake Forest supplemental essays. Therefore, you should use concise and precise language to make the most of this part of your Wake Forest application. This will help you stand out to Wake Forest admissions officers and contend with the lower Wake Forest University acceptance rate.

Wake Forest Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • Does your list vary in theme and genre?
  • Do you include both books assigned in school and books you read on your own?
  • Does your list include books that enhance the content of your Wake Forest application?

Wake Forest Supplemental Essays—Prompt 3 (optional)

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

Once again, while the third of the Wake Forest supplemental essays might technically be optional, you should complete it. With the Wake Forest University acceptance rate below 35%, the school is competitive. You’ll want your Wake Forest application to be as strong as possible.

Begin this essay by listing 3-5 topics that really excite you. Then, think about specific anecdotes for each topic. What got you interested in this activity? How do you pursue it? With whom do you engage when doing it? Once you write down these topics and details, choose the topic which you can address the most comprehensively and passionately for this essay.

Once again, the best Wake Forest supplemental essays will be specific. Rather than just writing about how much you like to read, for example, describe a specific aspect of reading that you love. Maybe it’s absurdist modern fiction; maybe it’s the nonfiction personal essay. Whatever topic you write about, describe what exactly you like about it. Given the lower Wake Forest acceptance rate, your responses to the Wake Forest essay prompts should be engaging and unique in order to captivate Wake Forest admissions officers.

In your Wake Forest supplemental essays, pay attention to your descriptive language. You don’t want to use more words than necessary to describe the topic; rather, you want to focus on how much the topic means to you and why. With the low Wake Forest University acceptance rate, these optional Wake Forest supplemental essays are particularly important!

Wake Forest Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • Does your draft clearly communicate the topic which inspires you intellectually?
  • Do you articulate why your topic activity matters to you and how it has influenced your growth and identity?
  • Does your supplement provide information not present in the rest of your Wake Forest application?

Wake Forest Supplemental Essays—Prompt 4 (optional)

Give us your Top Ten list.

This question seems the simplest of the Wake Forest supplemental essays. However, don’t let the casual format deceive you. You might want to vary your media: don’t just list ten young adult fiction books. While you are welcome to include one or two novels, you should provide variety in your top ten to show Wake Forest admissions officers that you are multi-faceted. Again, the Wake Forest acceptance rate makes each supplemental essay all the more important.

Listing out your ten favorite unsolved crime podcasts might not be the strongest answer in your Wake Forest application. However, you could list an unsolved crime podcast, along with the best Sherlock Holmes book in your opinion, a nonfiction sociology novel on criminal justice, the political speech that inspires you, your favorite contemporary mystery novel, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, the play 12 Angry Men, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, a scholarly journal article on the philosophy of crime, and a classic mystery film. The theme of this list might be “Crime and Punishment.” It shows the consumption of a wide and varying set of media that will impress Wake Forest admissions officers, and it indicates a deep interest in criminology, mystery, and criminal justice.

In your list, be careful not to lean too heavily on one niche subject matter, topic, or media form. Wake Forest admissions officers will be looking for a bit of diversity in this list; this helps them get a full perspective on who you are.

Wake Forest Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • Does this list complement other aspects of your Wake Forest application?
  • Does your list cover a diverse range of subjects, or does it focus on one particular subject in-depth?
  • Do you provide a strong unifying theme for the list?

Wake Forest Supplemental Essays—Final Thoughts

Completing these Wake Forest essay prompts can seem daunting, especially in light of the low Wake Forest University acceptance rate. However, don’t let that discourage you from applying. The Wake Forest supplemental essays are a great opportunity to demonstrate who you are for Wake Forest admissions officers reading your Wake Forest application.

Given the low Wake Forest acceptance rate, these essays can boost your Wake Forest application if you have a lower than average GPA or SAT score. Use this guide as a step-by-step aid when approaching the Wake Forest supplemental essays, and start earlier than you think you should. Each of the Wake Forest supplemental essays is vital to your Wake Forest application. Remember to complete the "optional" Wake Forest essay prompts; some applicants might ignore this part of the Wake Forest admissions process, which means writing them will strengthen your Wake Forest application and contend with the low Wake Forest acceptance rate. Don’t be afraid to ask for revisions from someone; it’s helpful to have another set of eyes checking your Wake Forest supplemental essays for grammatical errors, tone, and clarity in light of the Wake Forest University acceptance rate. Good luck!


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This essay guide on WFU was written by Laura Frustaci, Harvard ‘21. For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources on Wake Forest, click here. Want help crafting your Wake Forest supplemental essays? Create your free account or schedule a no-cost advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

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