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Last updated July 11, 2023

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How to Write the Wake Forest Supplemental Essays

Key Takeaway

Applying to Wake Forest involves optional short answer questions that focus on books that intrigued you, texts influencing your worldview, your intellectual curiosity, and a unique Top Ten list. The answers should align with your application narrative and reveal genuine insights about you.

Applying to Wake Forest? You have four optional short answer questions to go along with your Wake Forest application.

As you can see in the prompt below, you can answer whichever ones you want or none at all.

We welcome the opportunity to get to know you beyond the numbers. You are invited to answer any, all, or none of the following optional short-response questions.

1. List five books you've read that intrigued you.

For this question, you don’t get room for explanation, so the books will have to stand on their own. You also have to indicate whether the book was required reading or not.

A good rule of thumb is to mix a few serious titles that relate to your worldview with a few fun, insightful, whacky, etc. ones that showcase your personality. You can include a classic or two, maybe ones from different authors, and a fun one for some interest.

In the name of honesty, these really should all be books that you’ve actually read.

2. Explain how a text you've read – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or literature of any kind – has helped you to understand the world's complexity. (150 words)

Let’s face it. There’s a lot that’s complex in the world. Don’t feel like the work you choose has to touch on every single worldly complexity you’ve ever thought of.

Instead, pick a work that’s influenced your worldview, and analyze how it changed your perspective on a specific part of the world’s complexity.

The kind of text you choose doesn’t matter as much as how you write about it. But because this is a more serious question, it’s probably a good idea to choose a more serious text. If you’re going to choose a less serious one, just be sure that your analysis is good.

It also may be a good idea to choose a part of the world’s complexity that relates to your cohesive application narrative.

A quick note on cliches: it’s probably best to avoid common books like Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go, which will undoubtedly appear in many other applications.

3. Tell us more about the topic that most engages your intellectual curiosity. (150 words)

Like an academic interest essay, this prompt urges you to geek out a little and describe a topic that makes you curious.

The topic can be related to your intended major, but it doesn’t have to be.

Your essay is an opportunity to show the kinds of critical thinking skills and creativity you’d bring to the Wake Forest classroom. It’s a way to demonstrate academic fit and values alignment with Wake Forest.

So think about a topic that suits your application narrative, and get to writing.

4. Give us your Top Ten list.

Wake Forest also gives you space to describe the theme of your list.

The most common Top Ten lists probably include songs, movies, books, TV shows, foods, podcasts, cars—you get it!

If you want to stand out with this question, either your theme or your list should be unique.

Don’t go so over-the-top with uniqueness that your list seems out of place, but try to be creative with how you approach it.

You might list the Top Ten sock brands, for example, or the Top Ten chocolate chip cookie recipes.

Find a theme that aligns with what you have in the rest of your application, then try to be creative but not overly quirky.


Remember: you don’t technically have to answer any of these questions. You can choose to answer one of them, just a couple of them, all of them, or none.

Because they’re optional, you want to make sure that they’re adding great value to your application. Each answer should still reveal something important about you to admissions officers. Think of them each as opportunities to advocate for your admission.

If you need more guidance about writing supplemental essays, check out our giant supplemental essay guide next.

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