How to Write the Wake Forest Supplement 2018-2019

Wake Forest is a research university located in North Carolina. Last year, their acceptance rate was 27 percent. In this post, we discuss strategies for completing the unique (and lengthy) Wake Forest supplement.   

List five books you have read that intrigued you. 

The first place a lot of kids jump to is writing down the most “impressive” books they’ve read in the last four years. We think that’s the wrong approach. Consider that these books are supposed to represent five different facets of you. The books don’t need to be required reading. In fact, it’s probably better if most are not. Think of each one as representing a distinct part of your personality.

Many kids are going to go down two paths with this question: their favorites or the most “prestigious” books they’ve ever read. Don’t choose either of those paths.

We’ve put impressive and prestigious in quotations because high schoolers think writing down Old Man and the Sea and Moby Dick will make them seem well-read or smart. The reality is that these books are assigned to you in school. And most books assigned to you in school are not the best options. They’re books most people have assigned and therefore they’re not representative of you and your choices.

Before you get started, make sure you highlight the word INTRIGUED. So, they’re not actually asking for your favorite books. If they were they might have thousands of entries of Harry Potter. They want you to identify books you’d like to discuss with other people. If some of them are a bit cliché, like To Kill a Mockingbird, that’s fine.

One note: these books shouldn’t all be written by dead white men. They need to be interesting choices. There are infinite amounts of books out there for you to read and there are SO many you haven’t heard of. Expand your horizons.

Discuss the work of fiction you have read which has helped you most to understand the complexity of the world. (100 – 300 words)

Pick a complexity of the world and find a work of fiction that fits within it.

In other words, Wake Forest cares more about WHY you choose the book you did than what book you chose. So, start off by picking a complexity (there are many to choose from) and then think about a book you’ve read that somehow addresses said complexity.

1984, Lord of the Flies, the Giver, and Animal Farm are too obvious for this answer. Try not to be too mainstream here. Pick something interesting.

 One note: Notice how Wake Forest has already asked you two whole questions just about books. That’s telling you something about the school.  

What piques your curiosity? (150 words) 

Our favorite type of question. Get creative with this one. Make a list of things. It’s easy to pick one thing that you get deep and heavy with. In a supplement like this where there is a very serious series of questions, many of which are politically-leaning, it’s nice to insert some levity where you can.  

Don’t freak out about being judged. Just make a list of 60 things. Once you get past 25, they’re going to start to get funny and specific. Sometimes people need permission to be themselves and we’re giving you full permission to be your weird, wonderful self with this one.  

Also, if you do decide to just write about one idea, you don’t want to write 150 words about how Obama/Trump voters interest you. It’s more interesting to say the affects climate change will have on crops.

Identify a cultural norm or current political reality with which you disagree. How have you sought or might you seek to change it? (150 words) 

What are you talking about, Wake Forest? Everything is fine.

JK. The world (or at least California) is on fire and universities want to talk about it. For this one, you are going to want to dive into one of your identities. Ground this response in your experience. Wake Forest wants to know what you’ve already done. One of our writers became an ardent environmentalist in high school and while her school had recycling bins, at a point, the city simply stopped picking them up. So, if our writer were crafting this response, perhaps she would talk first about her dismay of the EPA and the Trump Administration’s rollbacks of environmental protections, and then how she organized a group of students to drive all of the school’s recycling to a recycling plant 15 miles away every week. Her car smelled like trash for the rest of high school, but it was worth the effort. 

So, in this one, you should go with how you have sought change, as opposed to how you might in the future. Talk about something you’ve already done. Also, think both big and small. What do we mean by that? Well, thinking big looks like, “rampant sexual misconduct and misogyny have gone on for centuries in this country.” Thinking small looks like, “My neighborhood is being gentrified quickly.”  

Describe an instance in which you observed or exhibited “character.” (150 words)

This school throws a lot of shade. For this question, they want you to prove that you’re a good person, but we don’t fall into the trap of sounding arrogant. Go with the “observed” option here and talk about someone you admire.

Give us your top ten list. 

This one needs to be funny and weird. Like, for example, your top 10 favorite hot Asian soups (Udon, Pho, Ramen, etc.). This should be super niche, nerdy, and highly specific to you. Don’t do books or favorite shows. You could do top 10 favorite episodes of one show. (We might even choose our top 10 favorite episodes of the OC, or something similarly dumb), but listing 10 shows indicates to the admissions committee that you spend a lot of time watching television. Also, DO NOT list your top 10 favorite vacation spots. You’ll just sound snooty.

Pro Humanitate, which means “for humanity,” is Wake Forest’s motto. If you had a personal motto, what would it be? (100 characters)

One note before starting on this one: your response should be 100 characters, not words. You should feel free to either be serious or funny here.

If you go the serious route, you will probably feel like a jerk granted the school is asking you to proclaim your life values, but that’s ok. Much like USC’s hashtag prompt, it’s just a little bit of an awkward question.  

Kendrick Lamar won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music, becoming the first non-classical or jazz musician to win the award. Whom do you believe will be the next person to break boundaries in artistic, scientific or literary accomplishment? (150 words)

This question is pretty zeitgeisty and it’s not going to make or break your application, so don’t panic. This question is a weird one, Wake Forest. It’s kind of like how when you’ve just started dating someone and you’re at that point where you start talking about your favorite books, music, and websites. If you’ve gotten this far, you already like them and learning that their favorite thing to read is the Washington Post is probably not going to be off-putting.  

There’s no wrong answer here. (unless you choose someone who’s too mainstream). Beyoncé and Emma Gonzalez are off-limits. We know, it’s hard. Top 40 music exists for a reason and both Beyoncé and Emma are queens, but pick someone who you feel nerdy for liking, or even knowing. Broaden your horizons.


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