Please Provide Your Opinions Regarding Wake Forest (a/k/a "Work Forest")
My daughter is a high school junior and has an interest in applying to Wake Forest.
Wake rates out well in US News and other rankings but I know little about what students & alums say about their 4 year experience at the school. One post I read on another site called the Wake "Work Forest" because the poster claimed the students at Wake carried a much heavier workload than those at peer institutions & that Wake has no grade inflation with the grade of "C" being the norm.
I would appreciate if students and alums would share their experiences at Wake to assist my daughter as she decides whether to pursue admission to Wake Forest.
I haven't found that C is the average grade at all. While there's not grade inflation in its strictest terms, professors also don't hold their grades to a strict bell curve. I've been in classes (a number of them) where I'm pretty sure that there weren't any grades lower than a B- or C+, not because the the professors were lenient in their grading or because the classes were easy, but because we all worked hard enough for our grades to be that high.
We work hard, there's no doubt about it. Wake doesn't give grades away. That said, the school gets a bad rep. Our professors are amazingly understanding, and the majority of them understand that we're taking a number of classes other than their own, and they're willing to re-work their plans. I've had professors in some of my biology classes say things like "most of you all are in chemistry this semester as well; if I schedule a test for this day, will it coincide with a really big chem assignment?" I feel like that's what sets Wake apart. Our professors do expect a higher standard of work than might be expected elsewhere, but they're willing to accommodate us in order to give us time to give them that higher-quality work.
To be honest, I found Wake Forest much more relaxed than my high school. There is a lot of work but that is something to expect at any college. In comparing my Wake experience with my friends (who go to Ivies, top 25s) it sounds like Wake is less cut-throat. Whenever I find myself stuck I form a study group with friends or I get a tutor (which are FREE). I've NEVER had an experience where I felt like it was impossible to improve. Professors are the best resource ... they WANT to know their students on a 1 on 1 basis.
As for grades, last semester I had no problem getting As but this semester its alittle tougher. It really depends on the professor. After being at Wake for awhile, people pretty much know which professors are more challenging and are harder graders. Wake is called 'work forest' because people here tend to take the more challenging courses. Most people I know who complain about work overload are in Calloway Business or Pre-med.
All I can say is that I was scared of Wake's reputation before I came and now I cannot believe I wasted time in worry. Wake wasn't my first-choice school but if I could go back in time I would have applied early decision. I cannot imagine being anywhere but here.
Last edited by FluffyFluff :); 03-15-2007 at 11:09 AM.
It really depends on what classes you take, especially for freshman because some intro classes are pretty easy. Some kids I know just went on virtual ratings and picked the easiest professors. They didn't have a huge workload and got mostly A's. There is a first-year seminar and a writing seminar that freshman are required to take, both are writing intensive classes. Last semester I didn't take the writing seminar but took the regular British Literature class. This half I have a first-year seminar. The difference is almost scary. Last semester we handed in three papers and had to give two oral presentations. This semester we have 4-5 papers and we get multiple drafts for each one and participation is 30% of the grade. Needless to say I have an A in my first year seminar and got a B- in my british lit class. True, premed is harder, but people who have dropped the premed track (after taking 17 hours with 2 labs) say that the workload is still large regardless. I don't know what classes the other folks are taking, but I know in my classes if I do what I'm supposed to do I get a C. Average GPA is a 2.8, which is roughly a B- which sounds about right.
However, you generally won't get screwed by professors, you just have to work hard, but it does depend on what teachers you take, because intro classes can be very easy or very hard. I took an intro class by the Department head last semester and it was difficult, while a class from a new professor was not quite as hard.
However, I would not let the workload deter you, because it is not like you are doing work 24/7. It is manageable as long as you can manage your time decently.
My mom graduated from Wake Forest and I almost went there myself, if it weren't for the price tag. I liked its intimate campus setting as well as its national exposure, like with the basketball team, though they hit a brick wall the last two years. In general, your daughter will like Wake if she likes smaller universities in terms of size, but not potential, and Wake fulfills these pretty damn well.
As with avg GPA's, I wouldn't let them bother me and they should bother anyone. Graduate schools are aware that some reputable universities are academic boot camps, like Wake (hardly any grade inflation), and if you do well there, bonus points are given.
There are pros and cons at Wake just as there are at any institution. And depending on the individual--those pros and cons will be viewed differently.
I can relate to you just what my son has told me. For him, the strongest pros are the professors (who are very interested in the individual student and are quite accessible), the small class sizes, the convenience of a smaller campus, and a group of students who are interested in their academics.
The difficult parts or cons would include the workload. He is on pre-med track. He spends an exorbitant number of hours studying and doing labs, papers, homework. It does seem much harder and more time consuming than similar courses of his friends who are at other NC institutions (State, UNC, Elon, UNCG). He certainly has not pulled all A's and was very used to that in high school. I can't say what the classes in other areas are like as most of his so far except English and Psych have been pre-med prereqs--he also is finishing up his fourth level foreign language (which again is more than many other schools require for graduation).
he also is finishing up his fourth level foreign language (which again is more than many other schools require for graduation).
Yeah, that is my most difficult requirement--foreign languages. I have heard that they may lessen those requirements in the future, but for my class we have them. It is just really difficult to make really high grades in those classes, especially because I started a new language (something I would not recommend). You don't like to have poor expectations, but I can't even consider getting A's in Italian, I just feel it is unrealistic, and most folks in my class seem to have similar sentiments.
I've heard that they lessened the foreign language requirement along with a lot of the other divisionals for either this year's freshmen or next (I forget what the paper said). I think that you've only got to go through the third level (intermediate) of a language and not the fourth (literature).
And Willmingtonwave, if you're in the Italian class that I think you probably are, it's not as bad as it seems now. If nothing else, future Italian classes will be better than this.
We have friends at Wake and son visited classes twice. No grade inflation but lifetime outcomes from high expectations pay off later. Respected degree in grad schools and in the work force and great work habits. It is also fair to say that come Thursday and Friday, many Wake kids are outdoors playing intramurals or supporting the schools male and female teams. There is a positive mental health outlook and an active student body. Truthfully, you will have to hustle hard for med school recommendations and GPA and grades are not things you can coast along about. Our friend from a mediocre hs system got the MCAT score he needed due to Wake's good instruction and he had to do some remedial work to get the GPA he needed but he will likely be in med school after one year out. If you are already a top tester, you won't have a problem though. I would venture to say that peers at the big state schools we know well don't work as hard for grades. However, their profs don't know their names. Wake profs knew everyone in each class my son observed.
I think Wake Forest does live up to the "Work Forest" expectation, but it depends a lot on the classes you are taking. I have a hard time making A's, and most of my grades are B, B-, or C+. Sometimes I feel like no matter how hard I work, I cannot pull an A.
But then again, I'm heavily involved in music this semester, which I will be dropping out of next semester because it is taking up too much of my time and I definately need that time to study...
time making A's, and most of my grades are B, B-, or C+.
That's exactly how it is for me, maybe a B+ or A- in there. But this is reflected in the Dean's list here which is a 3.0. But for Grad schools a GPA isn't everything. If anything recs are more important and the small setting is more conducive for close relationships with professors.
People get all worked up about that reputation, yet tons of top students go to Wake every year and those graduating go on to great jobs and get into top graduate schools. It will be okay!
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My daughter (2nd semester freshman, Pre-Med) is working her tail off, BUT, she's having a blast. She came from a very small private school, and wanted something bigger, but with the same personal touch as her HS. She's involved in a lot of extracurricular stuff, but had learned the fine art of juggling and time management years ago as the result of doing a sport that required a huge daily time commitment, and a very demanding HS. As her mom, I know she's not getting enough sleep, but she's happy.