Any list of the top colleges in the U.S. South will typically start with names like Duke, Vanderbilt, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the University of Virginia. Somewhat hidden toward the end of this generally-accepted “top-tier” is a mid-size, private university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina that was founded in 1834—Wake Forest University, the home of the Demon Deacons. Exceptional both academically and athletically, the WFU student body has always been constructed via a competitive admissions process. However, the 45%+ acceptance rates of the early 2000s are long gone. Today, the university attracts more than twice as many applicants and sports acceptance rates under the 25% mark. This makes the issue of how to get into Wake Forest a lot more complicated.

Considering this increase in selectivity, the intent of this article is to give those applying to Wake Forest University a full understanding of:

  • Wake Forest’s ED acceptance rate
  • Wake Forest’s Class of 2026 acceptance rate
  • SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted Wake Forest applicants
  • Admissions trends from the Class of 2026
  • A look at the demographics of Wake Forest undergraduates
  • The percent of accepted students that attend the university (yield rate)
  • How Wake Forest evaluates applicants
  • Tips for applying to Wake Forest
  • Do I have a chance to get into Wake Forest?

Students applying to Wake Forest may also find the following blogs to be of interest:

How to Get Into:

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

Wake Forest: Early Decision Acceptance Rate

Wake Forest offers applicants and ED I round with a November 15th deadline and an ED II round with a January 1st deadline. They have yet to report their Class of 2025 or Class of 2026 ED acceptance rates, but we do know that they accepted 773 of 2,241 ED applicants into the Class of 2024. This 34% ED acceptance rate was only a touch higher than the 31% acceptance rate for regular decision applicants that same year. Still, our own student data suggests that small differences between ED and RD could be attributed to the fact that the ED pool includes a relatively large percentage of non-competitive applicants. In other words, these statistical differences could be underestimating the advantage that competitive applicants to Wake gain from applying ED.

Wake Forest Acceptance Rate – Class of 2026

There were 15,156 applicants for place in the Demon Deacon Class of 2025—only 3,816 were accepted. This calculates to an acceptance rate of 25%.  While Wake Forest has yet to release official Class of 2026 admissions data, we do know that the number of applicants increased to almost 18,000. Therefore, we can project that the Wake Forest Class of 2026 acceptance rate may fall as low as 21%.

Wake Forest Admissions – SAT, ACT and Class Rank

According to the most recent official statistics available (Class of 2025), the mid-50% SAT range for enrolled freshman was 1380-1480; the ACT the range was 30-33. It is important to note that Wake Forest has been a test-optional institution since way back in 2008, but 23% of accepted students did submit SAT scores to go along with 32% who submitted ACT results. On the class rank front, 69% of freshmen had earned a place in the top 10% of their high school class and 91% were in the top quartile.

Admissions Trends & Notes – (Class of 2026)

  • The number of applications received for the Class of 2026 rose roughly 19%.
  • WFU aims to create a 2022-23 freshman class of 1,400 students.
  • 57% of freshmen in 2021-22 were female.
  • Class of 2025 students included representatives from 42 U.S. states and 23 countries.
  • Lastly, almost one-quarter identified as African American, Asian American, Latinx, Native American, or multiple racial backgrounds.

Who Gets Into Wake Forest?

Let’s now turn our attention to the demographics of the Wake Forest undergraduate student body.

Geography- National

Geographically, the ten states from which the most undergraduates hail from are:

  1. North Carolina
  2. New York
  3. Florida
  4. New Jersey
  5. Georgia
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Virginia
  8. Pennsylvania
  9.  Maryland
  10. Connecticut

As at any highly-selective school, Wake Forest is seeking geographic diversity.  If you hail from a less-populated state like Wyoming (3 students), Idaho (3 students), or South Dakota (1 student), your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances than if you live in a state with a flood of applicants every year (like the ten listed above).

Geography- International

Foreign students make up 9.2% of the undergraduate population at Wake Forest. Forty-nine countries are represented. The international student population has risen in the last decade—7 years ago, international students only made up 7.5% of the campus population.

Ethnicity

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of the Wake Forest student body is as follows:

  • White: 69%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Hispanic: 8%
  • African American: 6%
  • Two or more races: 4%

Religious Preference

When it comes to their religious/spiritual identity, students most often identify in the following ways:

  • Catholic: 24%
  • Presbyterian: 7%
  • Christian: 6%
  • Baptist: 6%
  • Methodist: 6%
  • Jewish: 5%
  • No Preference: 17%
  • Other/Unknown: 6%

Wake Forest’s Yield Rate

Wake Forest University’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is 37%. This ranks behind other elite private schools in the same region like Duke (61%) Vanderbilt (40%), and Tulane (45%). This means that the majority of accepted students ultimately elect to attend a different institution.

How Wake Forest Evaluates Applicants

Wake Forest ranks the following five categories as being “very important” to the admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, class rank, GPA, application essays, and character/personal qualities. Recommendations, an interview, extracurricular activities, and talent/ability are rated as “important.”

As the Dean of Admissions once explained, “…a holistic and careful process allows us to consider each candidate individually. We seek students who have excelled academically, exhibited intellectual curiosity and creativity, and who have demonstrated character and concern for those around them. We thoughtfully review the skills, talents and experiences that each student would bring to the Wake Forest community.”

Being an athletic recruit can also be a massive boost to your admissions prospects. Wake Forest’s 16 varsity sports teams suit up 470+ undergraduates every year. For advice about how to stand out on the extracurricular front, check out our previous blog entitled How Many Extracurricular Activities Do I Need for College?

Tips for Applying to Wake Forest

If you plan on joining the 12,000+ Wake Forest hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  1. For starters, Wake Forest does strongly recommend signing up for an interview with the admissions staff, but it is not required. Each interview lasts roughly 25 minutes and they are evaluative in nature. During the pandemic, these interviews have been conducted virtually. The school does not offer alumni interviews. For advice on what types of questions you should be prepared to answer/ask visit our blog—College Interview Tips.
  2. WFU does factor legacy status into the admissions process. Therefore, those with a parent who is a Wake Forest alum will receive a boost to their admissions prospects.
  3. Wake Forest does consider “demonstrated interest” so, you should connect with the school via social media, make contact with an admissions officer, and, if possible—visit campus, take an official tour, or connect with admission staff at a college fair near you.
  4. Lastly, be sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essays and short answers required by Wake Forest. In the 2021-22 cycle, they were as follows:

Essay Prompts

  • Prompt 1: How did you become interested in Wake Forest University? Feel free to tell us about any contact that you had with Wake Forest that was important to you. (150 words, required)
  • Prompt 2A: List five books you’ve read that intrigued you. (you’ll need to indicate the title, author, and whether it was required)
  • Prompt 2B: Explain how a book you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity. (150 words, optional)
  • Prompt 3: Tell us more about the topic that most engages your intellectual curiosity. (150 words, optional)
  • Prompt 4: Give us your Top Ten list. There is a space to name the Theme of the list, and 10 separate lines for each item, with a character limit of 100 each. (optional)

These essays are EXTREMELY important in the admissions process. Wake Forest genuinely wants to know a great deal about each student offered a place in their freshman class. One thing is for sure—Wake’s supplemental prompts are unique, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to modify content already written for other schools to which you are applying.

In the words of the admissions staff: “Our short-response prompts represent questions that are uniquely Wake Forest and thus afford you the opportunity to show us what is “uniquely you.” So, when preparing your essay and your answers to these prompts, take advantage of the opportunity to give us a glimpse into what drives you intellectually. Tell us what you’ve read, what you’ve done, what you think. About what? About anything and everything that is important to you.”

Should I Apply to Wake Forest?

If you are academically qualified, there is no harm in filling out a Wake Forest application as long as you have the $65 to spare, but, excellent grades in a rigorous high school curriculum (AP/IB) is pretty much a prerequisite for admission. Star students who may have underperformed on standardized tests can greatly benefit from the school’s long-held test-optional policy. Still, even applicants with above-average qualifications (relative to other WFU applicants) should still have an array of “Target” and “Safety” schools selected. For more on this, consult our blog—How to Create the Perfect College List.