Wake Forest from a parent

From a parent, we have been disappointed in the lack of diversity of any sort at this school
Admissions, tours will tell you this is a place where there are a mix of people with diverse backgrounds and that Greek life isn’t dominant. Both are not true. Our child came from a liberal high school although we are more moderate politically, wake forest is packed with conservative super wealthy students. They design it this way with their early decision applicants accounting for a great deal of the class (without a guarantee of any financial aid). There is absolutely no diversity in the Greek life, which is very dominant and selective and of course runs a good deal of the social life. I won’t go on there but to say my child is in Greek life so please know I’m not bitter, just mildly disgusted by the process on this campus.

Finally yes it’s an ACC school and athletics are great. However the student body cares more about the tailgate and some rarely even make it into the football game. The other sports are rarely attended and athletes are not treated well on campus snd shunned from fraternity parties etc. Needless to say, not much school spirit and that’s disappointing as well.

Academically this school is good, no doubt. Maybe some of what I wrote seems appealing to prospective students/parents. Had we known we would have encouraged our child to look elsewhere.

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I think reviews like this bear out something another parent poster said: if you want to know what a school is like, go look through unigo instead of a school’s marketing. Kids tend to tell the truth about their school.

BTW, I believe all the privates close to the top of the US News rankings (on both the RU and LAC side) are majority upper-middle class or better off. Some would be more liberal/conservative than others. Some would be more diverse than others (and if that matters to you, the racial breakdown of the student body is pretty easy to find).

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That’s unfortunate that your family was not able to see the “true” atmosphere of Wake forest before your child enrolled. Most of the things you have said about wake are pretty well known to those who live in the cities around it. I always wonder why on CC it is considered a diverse place, when it really isn’t. Although I do know that the school is actively trying to make it more diverse.

Hopefully your child is still having a good time at the school.

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Thank you for sharing your knowledge & experience.

WFU is what it is and does not, in my experience, try to hide the reality beyond standard marketing techniques.

Although not considered to be an overlap school for WFU due to location, SMU in Dallas, Texas is similar in several respects to WFU.

(As an aside: FWIW I have recommended both WFU & SMU to my niece fully aware of the campus culture at both schools.)

@Truthmom : Is your son happy at WFU or is he considering transferring to another school for a more diverse atmosphere ?

Also, FWIW Bucknell, Colgate, TCU, and several others are similar in many respects to WFU.

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Child is happy. We as parents are not knowing what could/should be part of a college atmosphere. It’s not an atmosphere for thoughtful growth. We know about the schools you mentioned being similar but Wake seems to have the majority of the student body in the extreme and these students are not afraid to flaunt what they have without an understanding the rest of the world does not live like them. No one is down to earth or at all looking to make the world a better place. This general culture rubs off on your student after a few years and it’s not want you want to see.

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I understand & I agree.

Long ago, I attended WFU during the summer when Greek life was inactive & the number of students on campus was greatly reduced. It was a wonderful experience, but not a typical WFU experience.

I am recommending WFU for my niece due to the availability of partial scholarships based on talent. Otherwise she will end up at Georgia Tech or the University of Georgia due to many factors including very low cost (Hope Scholarship / Zell Miller for Georgia residents).

She can get “cultural understanding” from her cousin who recently finished his BA/BS and Masters at Duke University as an athlete & frat member.

Will WFU be attractive to her as a Catholic and as a person of mixed race/ethnicity, I do not know, but that is for her and her family to decide if admitted with a partial scholarship. (Probably not as her Dad has his sights set on Oberlin or Sarah Lawrence–both of which are polar opposites of WFU & SMU except for opportunities in the arts. Oberlin & Sarah Lawrence thoughts may come to a screeching halt once this full pay family realizes the total COA for four years will exceed $300,000 at either school.)

I really do understand & agree with your thoughts & message. Thank you for sharing.

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This seems to me to be a very important thing.

I tried to convince my kids, when they were looking at colleges and universities, that I knew better than them what they really needed in a school. Fortunately for them, they ignored my advice! (I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised about that, either.)

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Interesting. In terms of marketing, my HS junior was enthralled by the WF online session and tour; and definitely not because it trumpeted diversity. My son felt welcomed by WF. In contrast, he watched the Duke online sessions and tour and felt Duke was not very interested in someone like him attending. So assuming the OP’s report to be an current reflection of WF culture, we thought the WF marketing was accurate.

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Both Oberlin and Sarah Lawrence give merit scholarships.

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I do not necessarily think Wake shouts out in marketing they are diverse as a calling card or attraction, however be aware the lack of diversity I’m referring to is also economic. My child knows no one on financial aid and most students drive luxury vehicles (Range Rover, Porsche, bmw). One may not think this important but as I stated earlier these students flaunt and certainly do not use their affluence to better the world. It’s a homogeneous environment of conservative rich kids. I’ve seen other schools and have lots of friends’ kids at “similar” schools and all I can say is it just doesn’t compare. Again, maybe this is not a negative thing to some people but I’ve seen over time it’s not a good thing either.

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At some point you need to trust the judgment of your child about the school, and whether it is the right place for him/her. If your child has absorbed the lessons that you have taught over the course of his/her life, then you should have nothing to worry about.

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Marketing is marketing, lets look at the data on the 2020/21 CDS, which is available every year…so it should be known to those who do their research before applying. Common Data Set - Office of Institutional Research

Section B:
Proportion of white students: 69% (total undergrad)
Hispanic - 8%
Black - 6.2%
Asian - 3.6%
International 9.1%

Section H2: Number of undergrad students receiving Financial Aid 27% (so 73% full pay).

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Party school, rich kids, many full pays of whom large numbers are test optional. They have gamed the system to move up in rankings and now is a self-propagating circus. Someone said like SMU, which is not far from the truth except SMU does not attempt to game rankings.

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Eh, they are who they are. It’s a good fit for some. Plenty of schools game the rankings.

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@Truthmom, WFU is a school D22 just recently put on her list when she swithched her interest from strickly neuroscience and chemistry to Business. So we’re back at the drawing board of her college list and still very much at the start of our deep dive into WF. If you had to do it again, what other LACs would you have encouraged your child to look at?

For context D22 is interested in business and neuroscience, committed to volunteer service, and we are chasing merit (low to solid middle middle class, no car and no extra money to give her to help her appear wealthier than she is lol) Thank you.

As a recent Wake alum, I’m sorry to hear this was your experience, but just to say, this was not anywhere near mine. Going in to Wake, I did my research and knew it was very much a PWI, and that the diversity there would be lacking and not what I desired. I knew I’d be in the bottom half family-income wise at the school. I also knew it was more conservative than other schools–and I’m a Bernie supporter. I took that as a chance to engage in debate & activism on campus, got involved with lots of volunteer work. I still joined Greek life, but was a part of one of the more accepting groups (“bottom tier” organizations are usually the best for finding those who care less about $ and looks).

There are some kids there who choose to flaunt their wealth, but in my experience they were easily avoided, not as obnoxious, and not as numerous as you claim–they stick together by joining the same fraternities & sororities and mainly mingling with each other (there are also lots of rich kids who don’t flaunt their $$). Greek life across the board is a system that preys on the insecurities of college freshmen in many ways–most 18-year-olds still care about seeming cool & desirable amongst their peers, so they join groups that they think will benefit them in that regard, even if those groups don’t really represent their true character or beliefs.

Coming out of Wake, I know people who still have their freshman change-the-world spirit, and I can happily say I’m one of them.

I can’t dispute your claims about athletics, and Wake definitely does make it seem like students care more about sports than they really do, which is a shame.

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The chasing merit is a problem at WFU as it’s very doubtful she’ll get any. Just not many do. You may get some need aid as they are generous about that. Among S’ (graduated last yr) friends their were two full ride kids, one merit, and one need. I think the need also influenced the decision on merit as some of those awards sway that way. In fairness though, the kid is brilliant.

Hi, @Truthmom sorry to hear your experience with WFU, but could I ask a question about your comment regarding the financial aid for ED? My understanding is that they are committed to meeting 100% need. So if some kids from lower SES background get admitted into ED, are they not going to meet the full need?

“packed with conservative super wealthy students”

I believe ED can be a challenge for the merely wealthy where $80K is more than they want to spend while the “super wealthy” appear to be able to spend that much without concern.

I’m not @Truthmom but I can try to answer.

Any “meets-need” school will provide need-based aid during any admission round. Just remember that need is as calculated according to them. That is why it is recommended to run the NPC, verify it is affordable with the anticipated need-based aid and keep a copy if applying ED. Then if the ED offer is not as much as expected you have the option of backing out of the ED contract (or negotiating for more aid).

There is on-going discussion about whether applying ED affects any merit aid offer since merit is often used to entice a high stats kid to attend… but if that kid applied ED no enticing is needed.

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