We have school-specific prompt guides for almost 100 schools.
The Requirements: 2 lists, 2 essays of 150 words, 1 essay of 300 words
The Wake Forest supplement always gives students a run for their money and the 2023-24 application is no exception. That’s why we made you a guide that explains the purpose of each of these thought-provoking prompts and how to answer them in a way that presents a varied and comprehensive package to admissions.
This is a short version of the Why Essay, a mini Why, if you will. Wake Forest wants to make sure you are psyched for the full college experience at their school, and the secret to a successful Why Essay is research. Take some time to explore the school website or even visit campus and get to know all that Wake Forest and the town of Winston-Salem have to offer. Jot down everything that excites you! When you have a solid list in hand, consider how each club, professor, or program connects to your own interests and goals. Locate specific opportunities within your department and related programs that really make your heart sing with excitement. Perhaps you started a home baking business and Wake Forest’s business program would offer you exactly the right skills to build your future entrepreneurial career. Just remember that the goal is to offer deeper insight into your interests and vision, not to just rattle off a list of facts about the school! In fact, there shouldn’t be a single sentence that only lists a feature of the school without any connection back to you or what that it means to you. For example, if admissions could read a sentence and say “Yeah, we know,” it’s time to go back and rework it. Talk about your passions, goals, and dreams so admissions can understand what a Wake Forest education will mean to you.
The name of the game with prompts like this one is variety. Each of these books is an opportunity for you to reveal an interest or passion of yours to admissions, and you don’t want to come off as one-note. Did Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel series Sandman blow your mind? Were you horrified by Jon Ronson’s revelations about social media in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed? Admissions is giving you the option of checking “required” or “not required” for a reason – they want to understand what interests you both in a formal academic setting and on your own. So make sure you’re not just listing To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet and 1984. They’re all works of art, but everyone’s read them, so what will they really say about you? When you only choose one or two of those oft-assigned classics, admissions gets a chance to see what from the modern English (or other!) curriculum really resonated with you.
This is a classic short-answer essay: a broad, pithy question that demands a specific, personal response. This prompt isn’t just about your academic interests, so try to come up with a few specific examples of projects or activities that grabbed your attention and refused to let go. When was the last time you went down an internet rabbit hole trying to research something? When were you extremely motivated to solve a problem or create something new? What was the last fact or skill you learned outside of school that truly captured your imagination? Which book or poem altered the way you think about your place in the world? The bottom line here is to discuss an example of what truly fascinates you while also reflecting on what your selection says about your personality traits, interests, or learning style.
This prompt choice is glorious in its infinite potential. It’s no secret that Dr. Maya Angelou had a way with words, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to explore her work yet, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Maybe you connect with a line from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or a passage from one of her essay collections. Perhaps you have a soft spot for her children’s book, Mrs. Flowers: A Moment of Friendship, since you and your mom would read it together when you were young. Dr. Angelou’s body of work explores a wide range of topics, so take your time to choose a quote that resonates with you, then dig into the core of the prompt: how you relate to the quote and/or how Dr. Angelou’s words relate to your vision for contributing to the Wake Forest community. Your response should offer admissions insight into your values, passions, and worldview.
This is one of our all-time favorite short-answer questions. It’s also one students dread initially, because they don’t know how to approach it. Like many of the other questions on this list, think about what you do or what you are interested in that might also be of interest to admissions. What else about who you are and what you do have you not yet revealed about yourself? Our Founder always jokes that she would list her favorite kinds of pasta in order (because she is an actual pasta addict). Maybe she would make a list of the top ten pasta meals of her life and who she ate them with, to showcase how much pasta is a part of her social life and how she connects with others (it truly is the centerpiece of her world). Think about how you can add dimension to your list and take a collection of favorite movies or music beyond the ordinary. If someone else could submit your list, it’s not specific or creative enough and probably won’t tell admissions anything they really want or need to know.