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- How Hard Is It to Get Into Wake Forest
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Wake Forest Students
- What is Wake Forest Looking For
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Wake Forest
- How to Apply to Wake Forest
Many have heard of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, the famed collegiate football team. But Wake Forest University is acclaimed for more than its athletic programs.
Founded in 1834, Wake Forest offers a liberal arts curriculum housed in a cutting-edge research university. The larger university is comprised of six colleges.
Now a top-30 institution, Wake Forest is highly selective and attracts students from around the world. So, how do you get in?
How Hard Is It to Get Into Wake Forest?
For the 2020–2021 admissions cycle, 11,959 students applied to Wake Forest, and 3,825 were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 32%.
Although Wake Forest is selective, your personal chances of admission depend on your unique profile. Check out CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator, which will use your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more to estimate your odds of admission. You’ll also receive tips on how to improve your profile.
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Wake Forest Students
While Wake Forest doesn’t report the GPAs of their accepted students, you should aim for a high GPA consistent with other top schools.
Fifty percent of matriculating students in the class of 2025 submitted SAT scores, and 45% submitted ACT scores. The middle 50% ranges were 1300-1460 and 30-33 respectively.
Of those submitting class rank, 73% were in the top 10% of their high school classes, and 92% were in the top 25%.
What is Wake Forest Looking for?
Wake Forest seeks intellectually curious, motivated students, as evidenced by their Open Curriculum option, in which students may create their own curriculum under the guidance of an advisor.
As an early adopter of a test-optional policy—the university became test-optional in 2008—Wake Forest prioritizes factors like extracurricular engagement and diversity over raw numbers. While academics and your coursework are no doubt important, WFU wants to see engagement beyond the classroom, too.
“Candidates for admission must furnish evidence of maturity and educational achievement, plus evidence of character and motivation for study,” Wake Forest says, noting that “high school curriculum and classroom performance, combined with the student’s writing ability, extracurricular activities, and evidence of character and talent, are the most important criteria for admission.”
How Wake Forest Evaluates Applications
According to its 2020–2021 Common Data Set, Wake Forest ranks the following factors “very important” in the admissions process:
- Rigor of secondary school record
- Class rank
- Academic GPA
- Application Essay
- Character/personal qualities
Meanwhile, these factors are “important”:
- Extracurricular activities
These are “considered”:
- Standardized test scores (if submitted)
- First generation
- Alumni/ae relation
- Geographical residence
- State residency
- Religious affiliation/commitment
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Level of applicant’s interest
This is “not considered”:
- Work experience
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Wake Forest
1. Achieve a high GPA while taking the most challenging classes available.
An excellent GPA is, of course, important—it’s pretty much a prerequisite for admission to a school like Wake Forest. Many selective schools use the Academic Index, a metric that includes your GPA and test scores, to ensure students meet their academic standards before even considering qualitative factors.
In addition to earning high grades, you should be taking the most challenging curriculum available to you, including APs and honors courses. (Here’s how many APs to aim for).
If your GPA is lower, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
2. Aim for a 1460 SAT and 33 ACT.
Wake Forest was test-optional long before the pandemic, when numerous colleges and universities adopted COVID-19 test-optional policies. However, that doesn’t mean standardized testing doesn’t matter.
At most schools, students are admitted at higher rates when they do submit scores. So, if you’re able to do so, we suggest taking the SAT or ACT and submitting your scores if they fall at or above the 25th percentile at Wake Forest—1300 for the SAT and 33 for the ACT.
Learn whether you should submit your scores using our free Chancing Engine.
Wake Forest superscores, so you can take the tests multiple times, and the university will only consider your best scores from each section.
To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”).
Wake Forest seeks students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity both in and outside the classroom. The 4 Tiers of Extracurriculars are a system of evaluating activities, with Tier 1 representing the most exceptional and unique activities and Tier 4 representing the most commonly-seen activities. You should have at least one or two Tier 1-2 activities, along with a handful of Tier 3-4 activities.
For example, participation on a sports team could be a Tier 4 activity, while being a nationally-ranked athlete would qualify as a Tier 1 activity.
Bear in mind that specialization around a couple areas will strengthen your profile. Selective schools like Wake Forest want to see that you’re passionate about particular topics and not spreading yourself too thin.
4. Write engaging essays.
Wake Forest considers essays an important part of the admissions process, a means of getting to know you as a person, not just as a student. This year, the university has the following prompts:
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)
These prompts demonstrate that Wake Forest seeks students who are intellectually curious and able to pinpoint their passions. They’re a chance for you to share your real personality and voice. Although three of the prompts are optional, including these will demonstrate your commitment to the school and provide admissions officers with more insight as to who you are.
Read our blog post for more information on how to write the Wake Forest essays.
5. Apply Early Decision.
While Wake Forest doesn’t publish its Early Decision acceptance rate, in most cases, ED admission rates are higher than the overall admission rate for the school. WFU offers two ED plans, ED I and ED II, so candidates have two opportunities to apply under the plan.
While this does offer a number of advantages, it’s important to be cognizant of the limitations of applying ED. For example, you will be committing to attending Wake Forest if you’re admitted and you can’t leverage and compare financial aid offers.
6. Request an interview.
While interviews are an optional part of the admissions process, Wake Forest does consider them important. A 25-minute virtual-interview conversation is an opportunity to share your personality and character. Request an interview early, if possible, to help ensure that you secure one.
This year, the university is also encouraging students to submit a “Your World” Video, addressing the question:
There’s a lot going on in the world right now. What has caught your attention, and why?
We look forward to hearing from you! Please know that we invite, but by no means require, a video submission in the admissions process. If you choose not to submit a video, that’s okay.
Wake Forest notes that this video should not be professionally filmed—a selfie will do. However, you should still make sure you come across as poised and professional. Find a quiet place with minimal distractions and ambient noise so you can shine in your video.
Here are additional tips for interviewing.
How to Apply to Wake Forest
Early Decision I
Early Decision II
- Wake Forest Application, Common Application, or Coalition Application
- $85 application free
- Secondary School Report Form
- Teacher Recommendation Form
- Official high school transcript
- SAT/ACT scores (optional)
Learn more about Wake Forest
- What Is Wake Forest University Known For?
- Wake Forest University Student Panel