Hey guys, recently came across this website and remembered how obsessed with it I was during my college admissions process. I thought it would be helpful to some people if I gave a review of my experience (1 and a half semesters) at Wake Forest so far.
Wake Forest was my dream school ever since Junior year of high school. I am a White male from an affluent area in Northern New Jersey, and I loved the idea of going to a university away from home (not a fan of the cold weather!). I also was very picky about the type of school I wanted to attend. It had to be a school that I knew would prepare me well for my future academically, but also give me a fun and social college experience. I was always pretty social in high school and did partake in drinking and partying during that time, so I felt really strong about going to a school with a major Greek Life presence as I liked the house party scene more than the bar/city nightlife scene (familiar with both as in high school we sometimes went to clubs/bars in NYC).
I had experience at a private school my freshman year of high school, and public school for my remaining years in high school. Most other first year students I met were from private school backgrounds. The courses at Wake Forest are demanding, but from my experience I have not been overwhelmed by anything yet. The Liberal Arts curriculum is actually refreshing, because it enforces students to fulfill divisional requirements, and these courses from my experience have been great complements to my pre requisite business courses. They are not easy divisional courses, but as long as you do your research and avoid some teachers with reputations of being over-the-top strict graders you should be fine. I have taken Calculus and intro to Economics for my pre-business track, as well as intro to Sociology, FYS (Required first year Seminar based writing course), Writing 111 (Required first year writing course, unless you have AP credit), Philosophy, Health and Exercise Science, Library Science, and two semesters of Italian. This equaled out to roughly 31.5 credits over two semesters. I am on track for around a 3.3 GPA and although I have managed to get strong grades in my divisional courses, I have had some trouble with calculus and economics which are two focal points for my admission into the business school (Everyone applies during sophomore year). I do feel that as long as I step it up in my Accounting 111 course next semester I will still have a strong application, but this is probably the most stressful part from my experience at Wake Forest so far. If I did not get into the business school I would have to consider other majors, which I never have put in much thought into before.
Wake Forest’s campus is amazing. It is very aesthetically pleasing to look at during a sunny day, and even more so at night when Wait Chapel is lit up. I always knew I wanted to go to a closed campus, and this is exactly what I got. I could not be more happy with the location and facility. All of my classes were 5 minutes walking distance from my dorm room, and the campus feels like a second home. Winston Salem is not the same as the bubble Wake’s campus is. It is definitely what you would expect from a smaller city. My only experiences going downtown, have been to sorority date functions (they rent out venues for those) and going out to eat with friends. There are many great restaurants to go to (Camel City BBQ >>>), and as long as you are not just roaming the streets of downtown Winston Salem super late at night, there shouldn’t be any feeling of danger. All the people of Winston Salem that I have met have been very authentic and nice. Most students uber to downtown, and other popular off campus spots like Target, Chipotle, and the Hanes Mall. Having a car is not necessary, but definitely has its benefits.
Wake Forest’s Greek Life is even more dominant than advertised. All of the frat houses are pretty much right across the street from the main entrance to Wake Forest, on the other side of the highway. So yes they are technically off campus, but they are less than a mile away. It can be very cutthroat and intense with a lot of these fraternities, in terms of getting onto their rush list. The way it works pretty much is that all of the parties during syllabus week are usually open, and that is the key time to meet brothers of the fraternities and make an early impression. Usually if a conversation ends well with a brother at a party, he will ask for an email to put on their “email list”. Its pretty crucial to get on these email lists during this week, as after syllabus week, most parties require an email of an invitation to the party (which are sent out to the email list) to get in. Getting onto an email list of a top frat is near impossible halfway through a semester, but there are definitely frats for everyone and some of the coolest guys I have met chose to rush some of the “lower tiered” ones. The email lists get shortened and shortened throughout the semester with people getting cut from them (this can be stressful as it happens randomly and is out of your control), until the first week of second semester where everyone pretty much knows where they are rushing (you like the frat the most, and are still on their email list). That is just for guys. Girls can freely go to any parties they want to. Parties are usually thrown on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. I definitely went to as many as I could in the first couple of weeks to make an impression on the frats I liked, but partying this often does get boring. Some of my favorite memories have actually just been hanging out in dorms with kids who live on my hall that I probably would have net have met otherwise. While my friend group consisted of guys all rushing, my friends who lived on my hall was nice change of pace and I developed some really strong friendships with guys I probably wouldn’t have been friends with if I wasn’t living with them and had gotten to know them.
For the most part, Wake Forest does not feel very diverse and inclusive to everyone socially . The athletes stick together. The International Students stick together. The African American students not in greek life stick together. The preppy frat kids stick together. Part of this probably has to do with greek life and its presence on campus. Those who are not involved, find friend groups in other forms and through clubs and extracurriculurs. Greek Life has even more of a presence than the athletics, as you’ll often see students leaving a game a quarter of the way through to get ready to go to a party. Although, people tend to stick to their cliches, this usually dissolves when most people go abroad (usually first semester junior year) and interact with each other and realize that there are some really great people they haven’t met yet. I would definitely say that although it can be clichey, it is not detrimental to anyone’s experience and everyone gets along fine with each other as everyone is understanding of everyone’s feelings and importance.
That is pretty much it, but feel free to comment or PM me for any other questions! I assume there are some confusing parts in what I wrote, and I can re-elaborate anything as well.