Part 1: Introduction

Wake Forest University School of Medicine was founded in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in 1902 as a two-year institution. The medical school slowly grew until it was gifted a $750,000 grant in 1939. With this grant in hand, Wake Forest relocated to Salem-Winston and became a four-year medical school. Since then, Wake Forest University School of Medicine has become a leader in teaching medical students to provide the highest possible quality of care to every patient with whom they cross paths. 

As far as rankings go, U.S. News places Wake Forest at #52 for Best Medical Schools in its Research category and #68 for its Primary Care category. 

Wake Forest University School of Medicine offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to prospective students who want to make an impact in the medical community. If you think Wake Forest is where you want to attend school, then this is the perfect guide for you to read. 

Here at International Medical Aid, we provide useful resources to help you on your medical school application journey. We understand how challenging it can be to navigate the application system, and we want to alleviate as much of your stress as possible. That’s why we offer definitive guides to get into different medical schools. In this guide, we’re going to show you the programs that Wake Forest University School of Medicine offers; the grades and test scores you’ll need to be considered; secondary essay questions with sample answers; and an overview of the interview process. By the end of this guide, you should have a good idea of whether Wake Forest University School of Medicine is right for you. 

Additionally, International Medical Aid offers internships in South America, East Africa and the Caribbean. If you’re looking for experience to put on your AMCAS application or in a secondary essay, consider going on an international trip with us.

Part 2: Programs at Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Wake Forest University School of Medicine offers several different programs for prospective medical students.

  • MD Program
  • MD/PhD
  • MD/Master of Science in Clinical Population and Translational Science
  • MD/Master of Art in Bioethics
  • Physician Assistant (PA) Program

MD Program

A medical student’s experience at Wake Forest is split between the Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education and the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

The MD program focuses on:

  • Utilizing trainings and interactive settings to develop new skills
  • Working in small groups and solving problems together as part of an engaging curriculum
  • Engaging with faculty, advisors and mentors as you work towards becoming a doctor
  • Working hand-in-hand with students from the PA and CRNA programs, as well as graduate students, to develop the skills you’ll use in clinical settings
  • Learning how to be sympathetic, kind and caring in your leadership role as a doctor

On the Wake Forest University School of Medicine website, the school’s goal is clearly stated: outstanding doctors who are ready for residency and who will kindly and effectively treat patients.

MD/PhD Dual Degree Program

The MD/PhD dual degree program has students split their time between the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as they train to become physician-scientists. The MD/PhD program combines the knowledge of a medical doctor with that of a researcher, enabling these doctors to provide unique insights for medical treatment. 

The program takes about seven years to complete. Some of the work that students complete in the MD program also satisfy PhD requirements, meaning that their degree won’t take quite as long. This is great news for prospective students who don’t want to spend a full decade in medical school! 

MD/Master of Science in Clinical Population and Translational Science

The MD/Master of Science in Clinical Population and Translation Science program began in 2008. These students become doctors who are aware of populations, public health and how to work with science to create cures for diseases. Science and medicine go hand-in-hand to improve the quality of life. Wake Forest University School of Medicine is one of the few programs in the United States offering this program, making it highly competitive and selective.

MD/Master of Art in Bioethics

The MD/Master of Art in Bioethics program pairs medicine with the ethics behind it. This degree will prepare you to confidently help patients make tough choices. A bioethics degree would be useful for a doctor working with terminally ill patients.

Physician Assistant (PA) Program

One of the main differences between the MD and PA programs at Wake Forest University is the amount of training required. If you want to treat patients under supervision without the extensive medical training and residency that doctors go through, the Physician Assistant program might be perfect for you. 

You’ll graduate in two years and earn your Master of Medical Sciences degree. The PA program at Wake Forest University began in 1969 and has become one of the best PA programs in the country for its commitment to patient care. PAs are trained to give each patient the same level of care, even if their ability to treat and diagnose isn’t as broad as that of a doctor. Class sizes are ideal with a total of 88 students in the program each year.

As you can see, Wake Forest University School of Medicine has quite a few options for prospective students who want to enter the medical field. Read on to find out how much it costs to attend Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Tuition

Tuition at Wake Forest University School of Medicine costs students $30,600 per semester or $61,200 per year. When you add in books, other university fees, housing and transportation, you’re looking at a little under $90,000 per year. While this is pricey, it’s not as expensive as some of the top-rated Ivy League schools, and Wake Forest University offers scholarships and financial aid. Additionally, almost 80% of students receive some form of help. 

Part 3: The Grades, Numbers and Statistics: Getting into Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Class Statistics

Class of 2024

  • 9,248 applicants
  • 476 invitations to interview
  • 288 accepted
  • 145 new students

This puts Wake Forest University School of Medicine at a 3.1 percent acceptance rate, making it very difficult to be accepted.

Required Grades and Test Scores

The average student at Wake Forest University School of Medicine has an average GPA of 3.71 and an average MCAT score of 512. Students must score 502 or above on the MCAT to be considered. The test may only be taken twice. Students must also have an undergraduate science GPA of 3.2. Applying to Wake Forest University School of Medicine without these minimum scores will result in not being considered for any of the MD programs. In addition to the GPA and MCAT score requirements, prospective students must also take the CASPer test. Developed by McMaster University, this exam measures a student’s interpersonal and professional abilities. It analyzes how well they would work in a healthcare setting. 

Application Timeline

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you’ll think we sound like a broken record when we say this: apply as quickly as possible! There are a few reasons for this.

  1. The sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll know if you’re in, thanks to early admission programs and rolling admissions systems.
  2. If the class fills up before the application deadline, there might not be room for you.
  3. You’ll have more time to prepare to begin. Even if you already plan to start medical school, each school has a different matriculation process.

The next round of American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) applications opens up on May 4, 2021, and closes on October 15, 2021. This gives you plenty of time to submit a shining application. For medical school, two applications are submitted: primary and secondary. Your AMCAS application is your one and only primary application. While you’ll want to submit your AMCAS application as quickly as possible, don’t rush it. This is the application that every medical school will see before they look at your secondary essays. We recommend starting your AMCAS immediately after it opens and submitting it in early June. 

The application you’ll submit directly to Wake Forest University School of Medicine is your secondary application. You’ll submit a secondary application to each medical school to which you’re applying. We recommend submitting your application to Wake Forest University by late July. That way, you’ll be in the first round of applicants who are considered for an interview.

If this confuses you, or if you have any questions, please reach out to us. We offer consulting services to guide you through your application process. We understand how daunting medical school applications can be! 

Part 4: Secondary Essay Prompts with Examples

Secondary essays are important for every medical school application. The beauty is that you can recycle essays by changing up the details and tailoring them to each university. This is especially helpful when you have to submit sevenessays. Wake Forest University School of Medicine asks prospective students a lot of questions to get to know them.

Question #1
We want our students to become doctors who are able to treat patients from a variety of backgrounds. This could include a patient who has very different world views from you. Share an experience that increased your ability to work with patients in this type of setting. (200 words)

There are a few things to note here. 

  1. This isn’t your standard diversity essay. Instead of asking about your background, Wake Forest University School of Medicine is looking for an experience you’ve had. It’s diverse with a unique twist.
  2. Don’t focus on what the differing backgrounds were. Focus on the situation that happened and how you responded to it. Then, describe what you learned.
  3. Don’t worry about a situation that embarrassed you. Showing your growth through what you learned is exactly what Wake Forest University wants.

Here’s an example:
I’ve worked as a CNA at a pediatric office since I was 19. One day I was filling in at the front desk because our receptionist was out sick, and we were slow. A woman brought her daughter, Stella, in for an exam so that she could play soccer. Her mother worked full-time and thought the exam was unnecessary because “Stella clearly looked healthy.” Stella wanted to get through the exam so she could enjoy playing soccer with her friends. While her mother allowed her to (after all, she did bring her!), she started yelling very loudly. She was so loud that she could be heard in the waiting room. Imagine being in a doctor’s office with a mother practically screaming about her child’s care. I could see that the patients in our waiting room were uncomfortable, so I went to talk with the mother. My goal wasn’t to change how she felt, but rather to get her to lower her voice so that she wasn’t disturbing the rest of the office. I was never able to calm her down as much as I wanted to, but the provider told me that I helped.

Two hundred words isn’t a lot of space to describe what happened, which is part of the point. Wake Forest University School of Medicine wants to know how you handled the situation. They don’t need a lot of details to know that. This essay makes the cut at 194 words. 

The essay appropriately answers the question without getting personal. This applicant’s goal wasn’t to change how the mother felt, but rather to control the overall setting of the office for the sake of their other patients. She wasn’t able to completely calm the mother down, but she was able to de-escalate the situation enough that the provider appreciated her efforts. Sometimes, the goal in medicine is to de-escalate a situation without proving any points.

Question #2
Outside of academic settings, tell us about a difficult situation you overcame. (200 words)

Again, you only have 200 words to explain what happened. We recommend finding a situation that challenged you. Then, very briefly describe what happened and how you responded to it. Steer clear of anything school-related to show that you understand how to follow directions.

Here’s an example:

For as long as I can remember, I’d shared a bedroom with my sisters. I have twin sisters, and we grew up in a two-bedroom apartment with our single mother. Even when we moved, there were still only two bedrooms for four people. I desperately wanted my own bedroom because there’s a six-year age gap between me and my sisters. When I turned 16, I “made” my own room. At first, I wanted to use the pantry as my room, but my mother said it was too small to fit my bed. So, I put up a curtain in our room. When the curtain was open, my sisters knew they could play with me. When the curtain was closed, they knew that I was working on homework, chatting with my friends or needing personal space. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it gave me enough personal space to not lose my mind before I graduated from high school.

This response works because it’s a personal story about a very real problem that she worked through. Any teenager would want their personal space, but not every family living situation works in that favor. Her solution wasn’t perfect, but it was enough to get her through the situation until she moved out. This essay is 158 words, so it’s well within the 200-word limit. 

Question #3
Review your answers from the “most meaningful experiences” on your AMCAS application. Pick the one that made you want to become a doctor, and explain why it positively affected you the way it did. (200 words)

While it’s great to be able to pull from your AMCAS application, make sure you follow these steps:

  1. Don’t plagiarize yourself. Don’t just repeat what you wrote on your AMCAS application.
  2. Elaborate on your experience. Put emotion and passion into it. Show the admission committee why this experience was so meaningful for you.

Here’s an example:

During my time volunteering as a CNA at the free clinic in my neighborhood, I met a woman who had broken her arm doing yard work. She was in excruciating pain, so much so that she couldn’t even answer the questions the doctor was asking her. He ultimately instructed me to give her an injection of pain-relieving medication so that he could properly treat her. While I’d given shots before, this woman was in so much pain that I was afraid of somehow making it worse. But after I administered the shot, I witnessed her calm down. Eventually, the tears stopped, and she explained what had happened. She thanked me for the shot and told me she had been in so much pain that she thought she would die. I knew the medication was working! This experience was meaningful to me because it taught me that I could make a difference long before I become a doctor. It gave me the passion I needed to be the best volunteer CNA I could be and to continue working toward medical school. It’s something I will never forget.

This response comes in at 185 words. With 15 words to spare, this student shared how an early experience taught him that he could make an impact sooner than he thought he could. It meets all the requirements and is heartwarming to read.

Question #4
Tell us why you’re applying to Wake Forest University School of Medicine. (200 words)

This is the classic “why us?” question that many college applications have. We can’t express this enough: tailor your essay to Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Look at the school’s history. Pay attention to their values as a school and their goals for their students, and incorporate those elements into your essay. 

Here’s an example:

I was fifteen years old when my grandfather passed away from cancer. The hardest part was seeing the agony my mother went through deciding to turn off the machines. Even though Grandpa had been fighting for the cancer for several years, he had never been able to decide whether he wanted to be kept alive. He said that he wanted to be here for as long as he could to watch his grandchildren grow up, but he didn’t know if God would approve of that. He’d never put his decision in a legal document. 

I want to be an oncologist, so I can help cancer patients like my grandpa. I want to enroll in your MD/MA in Bioethics program so that I can help guide others through the impossible decisions they must make when a loved one can no longer make decisions for themselves. Being a student at Wake Forest University School of Medicine would provide me with the opportunity to reach this goal in an environment where I’ll be pushed to become my best while caring for terminally ill patients. I firmly believe that Wake Forest University School of Medicine can give me this opportunity.

This essay response comes in at 197 words and is basically split in half. The first half details the personal experience that inspired this student’s desire to become a cancer doctor. The second half explains why they want to study at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Question #5
Pretend we’re playing a “get to know each other” type of game. Pick a random fact about yourself that you think would surprise others. (50 words)

We recommend sharing something personal without being vulnerable. Show the fun side of yourself without taking the admissions committee to the bar. Here are a few examples.

  1. When I learned how to do my own laundry, my little sister threw a red hair tie in with my clothes to turn them pink.
  2. I can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, the famous adjective from Mary Poppins.
  3. Both of my parents are chefs. My dad is from Italy while my mom is from Germany. I grew up eating lots of different kinds of foods.

Question #6
If you have received a grade below a C+, please tell us why. (200 words, optional)

If you haven’t received a grade below a C+, you can skip this question. However, if you did, this question is mandatory. We know it can be tough to answer because it shows how human you are, but the admissions committee already knows that. A solid answer will result in them respecting your circumstances.

Here’s an example:

I decided to take a summer biology course after I graduated high school. I wanted a head start. The course lasted for five weeks and was mostly spent in the lab, which is my favorite place to be. When we reached our third week of classes, I had a solid B. For how fast-paced the course was, I was happy with my grade. But on June 18, 2019, my second cousin passed away in a car crash. Even though a second cousin is a more distant relation, we were very close, and this was a loss I had not been expecting. I did my best to finish the five-week course, but my grade slipped down to a C-. I attended my cousin’s funeral and simply could not concentrate on school work. Unfortunately, it was after the course was over when I found out that I could have withdrawn from the class because of a family death and automatically have received an A. In the biology courses I have taken since then, I have earned B+ and higher grades. This gives me the confidence to state that this bad grade was due to bad timing with a family situation.

This essay answers the question in 199 words. It thoroughly explains what happened and what the student learned. They didn’t know they could withdraw from the class, but they have done much better in more recent classes, so they’re confident that their poor grade was a result of personal circumstances. That is a valid essay response that the admissions committee shouldn’t question. Remember, they know you’re human! Near perfection is required to get into some medical schools, but even the brightest student has a personal life that can affect them scholastically.

Question #7 
Please describe any part of your medical school journey that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Only include relevant information, and do not repeat information already shared in any other place on your application. (200 words, optional)

You only need to answer this question if COVID-19 has impacted you and you want the admissions committee to consider this as part of your application. Don’t talk about earning less-than-perfect grades because all classes were held virtually. Focus on having outdated test scores because testing centers weren’t open or not being able to submit your application on time because you relied on library WiFi. Genuine problems like that will be taken into consideration because they were not your fault, nor was there anything you could do about them.  

Part 5: Interviewing at Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Being interviewed at Wake Forest University School of Medicine means that you’re doing everything right. Your grades and test scores are where they need to be, and you wrote great essays. You just have to get through the interview.

Interviewing at Wake Forest University School of Medicine looks a little different right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of going to the university for an in-person interview, you’ll talk with the admissions committee virtually. This means that the traditional Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) Format is temporarily being replaced by the Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA)

To help prepare students for the unique circumstances we face today, Wake Forest University School of Medicine recommends taking the following steps.

  1. Make sure your technology works.
    – Whether you’re participating in the interview via your phone, tablet or computer, make sure that your camera and microphone are working. 
    – Familiarize yourself with the platform being used for your interview. Find the mute and unmute buttons for your microphone.
  2. Find a good place to set up for your interview.
    – Find a quiet place to interview. You don’t want unnecessary background noise.
    – Pick an appropriate background setting. Don’t interview with a messy background.
    – Have good lighting.
  3. Properly position your camera.
    – If your camera is detachable, we recommend placing it at the rim of your monitor.
    – Place your laptop slightly to the left or right for a more natural look.
  4. Dress like you would for an in-person interview.
    – As tempting as it can be, we don’t recommend dressing in a professional top with pajama bottoms. Dress exactly the same way as you would for an in-person interview. This will help it feel like you’re not interviewing in the middle of a pandemic.
  5. Be yourself.
    – Engage with your interviewer like you would if you were sitting across from them. Sit up straight, make eye contact and remain aware of your body language.

These five steps will ensure that the technology you use for your interview won’t negatively affect you.

Conclusion

Wake Forest University School of Medicine is an ideal medical school for students who want to focus on individualized patient care and community service. Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s rigorous curriculum will challenge you and prepare you to practice medicine.  

As you apply to Wake Forest University School of Medicine, we recommend submitting applications to other medical schools, like Georgetown University School of MedicineUCLA Medical SchoolNYU Medical SchoolJohns Hopkins School of Medicine and Brown Medical School. Our list of guides is growing, so be sure to check our blog regularly for more advice on getting into different medical schools. 

We wish you the best as you apply to medical school. Remember that we also offer consulting services. Should you find yourself needing someone to go over your applications or practice interviewing with you, head over to our website to schedule a time to meet with us. Your success is our #1 goal here at International Medical Aid. Good luck!