Wake Forest University

The veranda of the Student Center overlooks “Magnolia Plaza,” the lower quad.

About 4600 undergraduates call Wake Forest University home, with another ~2500 graduate students in advanced programs in medicine, business, law and divinity.  Winston-Salem is a medium-sized city, with about a quarter million residents, and 2 million in the greater area – 20,000 college students, including Wake students, and those from three other local schools.

Founded in 1834 in Raleigh, Wake Forest University was moved to Winston-Salem in 1956 by the Reynolds family, of RJ Reynolds fame.  It’s North Carolina – you have to get used to things being named after the Reynolds family [the library at Wake is the Z. Smith Reynolds Library].

Wake Forest is test-optional [although a good number of students do submit test scores], and places significant emphasis on the personal interview in the admissions process. “You cannot be admitted to Wake Forest for doing well on a single Saturday,” says Assistant Dean of Admission Arron Marlowe-Rogers [who grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended Palos Verdes High School].  “We want to see that you’ve done well for four years.”  Fourteen of the fifteen members of the Admissions Committee are Wake Forest alumni who personally know the faculty and staff.  They know which applicants make the strongest Wake Forest candidates.  Applicants are asked to respond to unique supplemental essays, and some of these questions are also discussed in the interview, which can be done by video call if you can’t come to campus

Although you don’t have to be a sports fan to come to Wake Forest, students here show strong school spirit when it comes to supporting their Division I Demon Deacons.  This is a school for “face painters,” according to Marlowe-Rogers; Wake Forest makes regular appearances in basketball’s March Madness tournament.

Wake Forest was founded as a Baptist institution but is no longer affiliated with a church.

Winston-Salem is also a huge arts town – it has the oldest civic arts council in the United States.  Music performance, studio art and theatre are major and minor options for students, who can also minor in dance or music as well.  The core curriculum requires students to complete one arts course during their time here; the undergraduate college offers a liberal art education that will require students to take a broad spectrum of classes.  A complete list of majors and minors is here.

Community service is an important theme here; the college motto is “Pro Humanitates,” for humanity.  Many of the 200 student organizations do community service-related work.  Over sixty percent of students study abroad, and Wake Forest has residential facilities in Venice, London, Vienna and Washington DC, and coordinates with other colleges’ study abroad programs.

There is a three-year on-campus residency requirement but most seniors choose to stay on campus as well.  About a third of students join a Greek organization.

Evelyn visited Wake Forest University in 2014; Michelle visited in 2022.  You can scroll through all of our photos from Wake Forest University below.

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