Wake Forest University
BackgroundInterview Date:August 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Middle Eastern
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: I went to a private all-girls school in Mclean, VA, which is outside of Washington, D.C. with a graduating class of 70 students. There was a very strong culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Minors: Spanish and Global Trade and Commerce Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a sorority, I am part of the Finance Club, I’m a mentor for CHARGE, which is our emerging leadership program out of the Student Engagement office.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Being part of a sorority definitely has. I was the type of person who didn’t really know if wanted to go through the whole process, but in the end, I knew would regret not going through the recruitment process, especially when all my hallmates freshman year were going through it. A great thing about Wake is we do spring rush, so first semester freshman year no one is in Greek life so you can get to know everyone, and then afterward you go through recruitment. You come in early after winter break and go through recruitment. For me, that gave perspective in who my friends really were because I was really close with my hall first semester, and I wasn’t really friends with them after joining Greek life and going through sophomore year. I branched out and made new friends. Then another thing is it was so much easier to meet upperclassmen, I had this whole group of new people that I can instantly have a connection with. Also, because of the sorority, I’m able to do other activities on campus, like philanthropy events like our 12-hour dance marathon. It’s been such a great impact on me and I never thought I’d get that out of Greek life.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
I’ve only had one Finance class because Wake Forest business school is mostly junior and senior year. You have to apply your sophomore year in January into one of the four majors. So, you don’t really get into your core classes besides some of the pre-requisites and intro classes.
[Based on] my intro finance classes and the other core business requirements, because you do take classes within accounting and other business management operation classes, I would say it depends on the professor. I had professors do case studies at the end plus little mini quizzes throughout the semester. For Finance, I had two exams and online homework that was pretty easy because you had unlimited tries. It depends on the professor because I’ve heard other people in those classes have different coursework.
Is there anything you feel the business school does especially well or especially poorly?
I think Wake Forest really emphasizes career options after graduating from college for business students. A lot of our career fairs and a lot of our resources, especially our extra resources, comes from being in the business school. We have our own career center in the undergraduate business school. I’ve had friends who are pre-med tell me that the career fairs are all geared towards business. I think the school, in general, is really geared towards that. Not to say that they can’t help you with other opportunities, it’s just a plus for me as a business school.
That’s also a downside for people who are not going into business. It might be hard to find career advice options and exit opportunities because, from what I’ve seen, not a lot of companies come for information sessions for other than business.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I don’t think it’s particularly competitive. I think everyone’s pretty smart. I would say it’s pretty collaborative. The small classroom environment is something that’s really easy to be collaborative in. I think everyone at Wake Forest is willing to help each other. We all study together and help each other. Even when we are competing for the same career options it’s collaborative. I’ve seen that carry on after school, I’ve talked to so many alumni because in my email it says I’m from Wake Forest. The tight-knit community is something that really attracted me when I was looking for colleges.
What has been your favorite class so far?
Besides core business and finance, you have liberal arts core requirements. In the first two years everyone does a liberal arts core classes program. My favorite is not even in the business school, it was my Introduction to Film and Media Aesthetics class. We had to watch two movies every week. It was a nice break from my math-oriented schedule.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
I took Astronomy. I personally don’t like science classes, but I had to take that class for my science requirement. I ended up with a horrible professor and it wasn’t really interesting how he taught. I think if it was with a different professor I would have enjoyed it.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: All freshmen live in an area called South Campus. I lived in Babcock with one roommate. Babcock is unique in that everyone has a sink in their room, which is really nice.
Sophomore: I lived on the quad in Kitchin with one roommate. We lived in a converted single, but it was fine.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
In a general perspective, safety on campus is pretty good. Nothing really happens on campus. Things more so happen around campus. We get a lot of emails about things that happen outside of campus. When I walk out of campus I feel secure despite all of that. When I go downtown or to Stratford Road, I feel safe.
How was transitioning from a Washington, D.C. suburb to Winston-Salem?
Because I lived in a suburb area around a lot of trees, I didn’t really see a difference in that aspect. I thought North Carolina was pretty similar to the area outside of D.C. where I lived. I lived closer to a big city than I do now in Winston-Salem because it’s an hour and a half from Raleigh and Charlotte. Overall, it was a pretty smooth transition.
Pros and Cons of being in Winston-Salem, NC?
Pros: (1) We’re pretty close to a lot of places to hike if you have a car. We’re about 30 minutes from Pilot Mountain and about an hour from Hanging Rock. I know a lot of people who like to go there to go hiking.
(2) Everyone is pretty active and healthy in the general sense. You go to the gym and everyone is there. Everyone works out and wants to be healthy. That mentally carries over to everyone throughout campus.
(3) When the weather is nice everyone likes to be outside and we get a lot of nice weather.
Cons: (1) You can’t walk to the downtown area. There are only a couple of places you can walk to.
(2) Being far away from a big city. We’re about an hour and a half away from Raleigh and Charlotte.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
It’s definitely changed since freshman year. Freshmen tend to go to frat parties off-campus, including myself, so a lot of times I would go off campus to frat parties. I went out the most first semester of freshman year.
Now [I like] more of a kickback environment. I haven’t really gone off campus much. I would sometimes go on campus to some of the lounge parties. [Lounge parties are when a fraternity throws a party in a lounge in a dorm.] A lot of the fraternities have lounge parties and parties at their off-campus houses and they switch whether they’re going to have a party on or off campus. The on-campus parties are more chill and laid back. I’ll also get a group of friends together in an apartment and hang out or my sorority will do a movie night. If we do a date function or something off campus that’s something I also like to do. I like those activities more than constantly going to the same party every weekend.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I always try to tell people who are interested in Wake Forest that Greek life tends to dominate the social life on campus. [After Greek life rush in the spring, about 60% of women and 34% of men are in Greek life.] Statistically, a lot more girls join sororities than boys, but the ironic thing is that for girls it’s not really that impactful because they’re girls and they can go anywhere.
For guys, it’s much more impactful. I’ve had guy friends who have been disappointed with the fact that Greek life dominated everyone’s social life. They try to find other ways to be socially involved on campus because to them it’s just not enough. But, I’ve had two really good friends who are not in fraternities at all and they’re still happy on campus by being involved in other things. If having that social life is really important to you but you’re not really willing to be in Greek life, I don’t think Wake Forest is the place for you. [See Old Gold and Black article, “Wake Forest Does Not Offer Enough Alternatives to Greek Life” and article, “Greek Life Wields Too Much Power.”]
How did you meet your closest friends?
Pretty much all of them were in my freshman dorm, not necessarily my hall. Two of my best friends lived on different floors of my dorm. Then over time I met some of my really good friends through my sorority.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
Very work hard play hard, and for some people, it’s work hard play harder. I think everyone likes to socialize. Everyone likes to do things every single weekend. There are people who like to go out every night, and they have that opportunity to go out every night, and there are also people who like to socialize every once in a while and make sure they study.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
First, I would say that we’re a pretty White dominated school. About 70% of students are White, so the ethnic diversity is pretty low in that respect. In my opinion, even when that diversity shows, everyone is pretty accepting. I think everyone mixes together really well.
How would you describe the student body?
Mostly white students. Even though we’re in the South, we’re a Northeast dominated, preppy school. [In 2017, about 26% of undergraduates came from the Northeast]. Other than North Carolina, a lot of people are from New York, New Jersey, and Florida. That brings in a lot of different cultures and mixtures with that. It’s very interesting in that respect. We’re not as southern as the [big SEC schools].
Have you used the career office much? If so, how helpful were they?
I’ve used the regular career office for all undergraduates and I’ve also used the recruiting center of the business school and the one that all undergraduates have access to are really good for doing quick looks at your resume. They have walk-in appointments for 15-minute resume and cover letter reviews. They have career coaches you can meet with about internship searches and starting from the beginning. I used the recruiting center at the business school a lot when people came in for interviews on campus or I would reserve rooms for video interviews or private phone calls when I wanted to be in a low distraction quiet zone.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Wake Forest before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew how much of an impact Greek life has on the student body. That’s why I emphasize to people who are interested in Wake that it is a big deal and it does dominate the social life if you let it do that.
What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
There is an area of dorms in North Campus that I didn’t see on my tour that I think is worth knowing about because you find it later and you’re like, “What’s that?” They don’t show it because no freshmen live there, but I think it’s worth seeing to see what could be your opportunities in the future.
Reasons to attend Wake Forest:
1) If you really like studying abroad, Wake Forest is really great. The study abroad office is amazing and a lot of people go abroad their fall semester of junior year. They’re really good about finding the right program for you. [In the 2015-2016 academic year, 63% of students received credit for studying abroad.]
2) If you’re very service oriented, the school is very service oriented. That was something that I was really attracted to in Wake Forest.
3) If you’re someone who isn’t sure what they want to study, Wake Forest is great because we are a liberal arts school and you take a bunch of core classes. I have had friends who have changed majors and minors because they take a certain divisional and fell in love with a subject. It’s a great way to experiment for two years what you want to do because you don’t declare until second semester of sophomore year.
4) If you’re someone who likes a small environment and one on one interactions with professors, that’s something that’s really great about Wake Forest.
5) It’s also great that we have a small environment but we are in the ACC and have big sports teams. Being in that conference brings up the morale of the campus.
Reasons to not attend Wake Forest:
1) If you really don’t like Greek life, definitely do not come to Wake Forest. I know someone who transferred who loved the school but Greek life was too much.
2) As a business student, business school students have a lot of classes to take. Within a certain amount of credit hours, it’s hard to take other classes after your core requirements are done. That’s something I wish I had more room for in my schedule.