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'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Wake Forest creates Early Action application for first-generation students

Wake Forest is the first top-30 national university to create such a policy
Wake Forest’s new, non-binding early action option for first-generation students will take effect this year (Henry Bonilla/Old Gold & Black Archives)

First-generation undergraduate applicants to Wake Forest now have an application option available only to them — non-binding Early Action. 

Launching this fall, this application will allow first-generation students to apply to Wake Forest by Nov. 15 and hear back by Jan. 15, all while retaining their ability to consider other schools. Previously, any student who wanted the option to consider other schools had to apply Regular Decision and wait until April 1 for a decision. 

Wake Forest President Susan Wente said this initiative is a way to make the path to Wake Forest “clearer” for first-generation college students, who, she says, do not often take advantage of early admission programs to the same degree as students from college-educated families do.

“Great universities like Wake Forest are called to be catalysts for good in society,” Wente said. “This means lowering barriers to accessing the extraordinary educational opportunities we offer here.” 

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Wake Forest is the first top-30 national university to offer an Early Action option specifically for first-generation students. 

Wake Forest’s other application options include:  

  1. Early Decision 1, a binding option which allows students to apply early in the fall and receive a decision on a rolling basis. 
  2. Early Decision 2, a binding option for those who missed the first deadline. Students receive decisions by Feb. 15. 
  3. Regular Decision, a non-binding option. Students receive decisions by April 1. 

First-generation students can still apply through the Early Decision or Regular Decision routes. 

Wake Forest defines a first-generation student as: “a student whose parents did not graduate from a four-year accredited college or university. First generation can also include the children of parents who earned a degree in another country, immigrated to the United States and are underemployed in the U.S.”

This announcement comes about a month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action in college admissions is unconstitutional. The Early Action option will help not only first-generation students but also low-income students and students of color, because of the overlap of these identities. The U.S. Department of Education reports that first-generation college students are more likely to come from a lower socioeconomic status and that just over half of first-generation students are racial or ethnic minorities. 

This isn’t Wake Forest’s first change in its admissions policy to create a more inclusive student body. More than a decade ago, Wake Forest became the first top-30 national university to adopt a test-optional policy after realizing that a test score didn’t tell an applicant’s entire story. In the 10 years after becoming test-optional, ethnic diversity at Wake Forest increased by 68%. In a 2014 interview with Wake Forest Magazine, former Dean of Admissions Martha Allman said that Wake Forest admitted more students eligible for Pell Grants, more first-generation students and more racial minorities. After the pandemic, many other universities across the country adopted a similar policy. 

“Wake Forest recognized early that not requiring standardized tests could open the door wider for those who may not have applied to selective colleges and universities,” Provost Michele Gillespie said. “The University continues to lead the way in removing barriers for students and establishing pathways of opportunity.”

Applications for Fall 2024 admission are now available. Students can apply through the Common Application, Coalition Application or the Wake Forest Application. More information on admissions can be found here

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About the Contributor
Christa Dutton
Christa Dutton, Editor-in-Chief
Christa is a junior from Raleigh, North Carolina, majoring English and minoring in journalism and communication. She spends her free time reading, running while listening to podcasts, watching "Survivor" and grabbing coffee with her friends.

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