Let’s start with an analogy. Imagine you’re an artist. Picasso, O’Keefe, Van Gogh—you pick.

There are many different ways of painting a work of art, but here are two:

  1. You can paint in broad strokes, using a big brush, a single tool,  to fill your canvas as much as possible. It’s abstract. Not quite a picture of reality but an approximation of it.

  2. You can get more detailed, using a bunch of small brushes. It might take more time, but you also end up with a painting that maybe shows off a little more artistic skill. It’s less of an abstraction. More like reality.

A lot of colleges have essay prompts that fall into category #1. They offer one or two prompts with a huge word count and ask you to paint a picture of yourself in broad strokes.

If you’re writing the Wake Forest supplements, you may want to put on your painter #2 beret. The Wake Forest essay prompts revel in details, details, details. With a variety of specific prompts and smaller word counts, this is a school that’s interested in understanding you at a more minute level. 

Not quite ready for a reality check? We’re here to help you get your painting started.

Want to get a better sense of what Wake Forest is looking for before starting to write? You’ll find an extensive, by-the-numbers look at its offerings, from enrollment and tuition statistics to student life and financial aid information, on its Common Data Set. For deep insights into how this private research university envisions student success (and how it wants to grow and evolve), read its strategic priorities. Reading through this will give you a strong idea of Wake Forest’s values.