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What it Takes

Since dropping the SAT requirement, Wake Forest relies more on interviews and written materials to evaluate prospective students.

By Kerry M. King ('85) Wake Forest Magazine

Applicants to Wake Forest today submit an essay and answer seven short-answer questions ranging from “What outrages you?” to “Give us your Top 10 list.” We asked students who gained admission to Wake Forest to share excerpts from their answers and invited alumni to chime in.

 

 

What should we know about you that we haven’t yet learned?

I read “Lord of the Rings” at least once a year. In my experience, organization is relative. Bagels are my favorite food; I have one almost every day. I am a “Star Wars” fan and a Trekkie. I start singing Christmas carols before Thanksgiving. When my friends come over, we make humorous physics videos. I have an 11.5-pound keychain collection. I was born in the Midwest, but I love living in the South. I started doing science experiments when I was 6. … I tried to teach myself chemistry in middle school. I read Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” in 7th grade. In my astronomy class I took during the summer in Cambridge, my teacher snuck us into the math building to find Stephen Hawking’s office. I have pictures.

Andrew M. Camp (’15)
Brown Summit, N.C.


Describe the culture in which you grew up. What are its strengths and weaknesses?

Homemade Georgia O’Keeffe murals cover the kitchen table. Painted a decade ago by our palm-sized hands, the sage green lilies reflect the drifting sunlight. As Friday night approaches, the white embroidered tablecloth coats the table to welcome Shabbat. The whole family gathers around this table as we tear Challah (twisted ceremonial bread) and share the blessings of the week to come. … The kitchen table, filled with vibrant colors, is where my family’s quirky, artsy, Jewish, philanthropic culture comes alive.

Shoshanna N. Goldin (’15)
Allentown, Pa.


Give us your “Top 10 list.”

1.  The possibility of better
2.  Learning the unexpected
3.  Giving gifts, inspiration
4.  New people and places
5.  Lovely books on lazy days
6.  Equally matched debates
7.  An empty ballet studio
8.  Success in all areas
9.  Unplanned surprises
10.  Chocolate with fruit

Kimberly R. Quick (’14)
Chesterfield, Va.


Nothing bores me more than…

People who aren’t passionate about anything.

Olivia C. Campbell (’14)
Greensboro, N.C.


When did the arts change the way you perceive the world?

Throughout my childhood, my musician father and his band, Zaranda, held nightly rehearsals. I was lulled to sleep with the sounds of Venezuelan folklore music: the cuatro, the mandolin and the guitar weaving seamlessly with each other to produce euphonious melody. The Latino soul and rhythm from the music began to pulse through my veins like a call to my culture. Subconsciously, my view upon the cadence and music of life changed absolutely. The world now communicated with me through rhythm. The words ‘Latino, latino’ created a beat within me. My ties to my homeland became closer and stronger. I became me.

Carlos Daniel (Danny) Siso (’14)
Winston-Salem, N.C.


Define “cool.”

Dr. Seuss once urged, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Kenneth (Ken) A. Meyer (’13)
Randolph, N.J.


Provide us with the title of a course that you could teach your peers.

How to Win Dinner-Table Arguments: The Use of Ethical Principles in Debate

Lee Larson (’16)
Falmouth, Maine


What question should we ask of next year’s applicants?

Write a short letter to your 17-year-old-self, as your 80-year-old-self.

Mankaprr R. Conteh (’16)
Bear, Del.


 

 

Nothing bores me more than…

People who say they’re bored. I don’t think I’ve been bored a minute in my life. There are too many books I haven’t read, always a Wake Forest game of some kind to attend here in Winston-Salem, always a sports page I need to find, too many questions I want to ask! Boredom equals no curiosity.

Gray T. Boyette (’56, MD ’60)
Retired internist
Winston-Salem, N.C.


Describe the culture in which you grew up. What are its strengths and weaknesses?

I grew up in a very innocent time in a typical small mountain town in North Carolina. We were free to come and go without having to worry about crime. That was a strength of the times and also of a small community. We were community. Places have lost that innocence today because of the changes in society. Things developed slower in the ’40s and ’50s, and people had time to adjust to the changes. Now, things, especially technology, change almost at an exponential rate. People don’t have time to adjust to one thing before something else is developed.

Rebecca (Becky) Hoover Haney (’66)
Retired high school teacher
Winston-Salem, N.C.


Nothing bores me more than…

My old friend Margaret Tyler, who was one of the most interesting people in the universe, once said to me, ‘At this point in life, nothing bores me more than bad company.’ I agree. I want to cut and run when trapped in a social situation with someone who has nothing to contribute to a conversation, or wants the conversation to be all about them, or is hung up on their brand of politics, or is rude or vulgar. I believe bad company is best diluted. So if I simply must be around ‘bad company’ or have bad company over, I make sure there is a group so some of the pain is inflicted on others.

Carroll Leggett (JD ’68)
Public Relations/Public Affairs Professional
Winston-Salem, NC


Think of things that fascinated you when you were 10 years old — what has endured?

As a 10 year old, I was really involved in Cub Scouts and all the opportunities for learning about the outdoors that it provides young guys. I became an Eagle Scout at age 13. With two young sons, I became a Cub Scout den leader and Pack committee chair. Later, as a Boy Scout leader, our two sons become Eagle Scouts and I went with them and their friends on about a dozen two-week back packing trips. Scouting provides a safe environment for guys to get in touch with whom they are called to be in life by demonstrating to them many subjects and activities they would not experience otherwise. Great place to develop self-confidence in your capabilities!

John Rosser (’72)
Greensboro, N.C.


Think of things that fascinated you when you were 10 years old — what has endured?

I was and still remain fascinated by the beauty of the outdoors. Growing up in the Piedmont of North Carolina, my family backpacked the Appalachian Trail on many family camping adventures. Such experiences led me to enjoy backpacking in the mountains and to become an avid snow skier as a teenager. While I now live and work in Florida, our family’s vacations over the years have continued to focus on outdoor adventures. From skiing in Colorado or Utah, to canoeing the Saco River in Maine, to white water rafting in the Patagonia Mountains of Argentina, to hiking in the mountains of Alaska, Glacier National Park or the Austrian Alps, spending relaxing time outdoors remains a therapeutic passion.

Carol Stefany (’80, P ’09, ’13)
Technology Director, St. Mary’s Episcopal Day School
Tampa, Fla.


Think of things that fascinated you when you were 10 years old — what has endured?

When I was 10 years old I lived in a world that was varying degrees of reality and fantasy. This world was powered and seamlessly navigated by my imagination. I would be Mickey Mantle striding the base path of Yankee Stadium and in a moment’s notice be in the trenches in a Marine firefight — complete with a fully concocted enemy. To my memory, reality played, at best, the supporting role; chores, homework and other distractions such as sitting down to dinner being requisite. The balance of power between reality and fantasy has shifted over the years, reality assuming the leading role. However, my imagination has continued to serve as my compass and is largely responsible for my success as a businessperson.

Bradley Nix (’81)
Founder, Black Pearl Intelligence
Windemere, Fla.


When did the arts change the way you perceive the world?

I grew up in the theatre, with my father a designer and director and my mother an actress. We listened to opera; we were at plays or in plays; we built chainmail armor from pull-tops on cans. I was always reading or hearing stories. That creativity, drive and imagination made me curious and open to learning. I was an English major, but at Wake Forest I indulged my curiosity in archaeology and anthropology, biology, journalism, history, psychology and so much more because the arts opened me up to myriad possibilities.

Deirdre Parker Smith (’83)
Continuous news editor, Salisbury Post
Salisbury, N.C.


Nothing bores me more than…

people who equivocate. I am so bored when engaging with people who cannot, do not take a stand for what they believe! Be bold and brave enough to enroll others in one’s stance! I have always believed that if one stands for nothing, that they will fall for anything. Even when I do not agree with a person’s stance, I appreciate and value the backbone of conviction. I would rather know where one stands and for what one supports than a politically correct, wishy-washy wet noodle of a position.

Rod Webb (’92)
Raleigh City Executive and Senior Vice President, NewBridge Bank
Raleigh, N.C.


Think of things that fascinated you when you were 10 years old — what has endured?

When I was 10, I became fascinated with photography. In fifth grade, we made pinhole cameras made of Quaker Oats boxes. Last month, I bought a new digital SLR, although my iPhone tends to get the most use — Instagram, anyone? My favorite camera is my 25-year-old film Nikon 2002. The art of photography requires an ability to take what IS and “see” it differently. In my various work settings, I continue to look at what exists in a process, see it differently and redesign the process. I guess the real question is did photography teach me this? Or was I drawn to it naturally?

Nancy Rodwell Tuohy (’92)
Director of Admissions, Summit School
Winston-Salem, N.C.