Most of my professors this semester know my name, and in the past, the majority has known my name as well. My favorite class was last semester- Human Physiology. It was so interesting because you sit there and think, "that's all going on inside of me right now!" My least favorite is Philosophy 112 because it's very complex and difficult to understand. Students study every single day. Class participation is common and expected. Students sometimes do have intellectual conversations outside of class, with some of these conversations even straying from talking about a certain class. Students are extremely competitive, yet willing to help eachother. The most unique class I've taken is Anatomy because we get to work with cadavers. I am a Health and Exercise Major on a pre-medical course. It's very difficult and demanding, but interesting. My HES classes have been my favorite classes thus far and the faculty in the department is phenomenal. I have started seeing professors outside of class during office hours, and spend about an hour a week outside of class with one professor with whom I'm doing an independent study. Wake's academic requirements are strenuous and tedious, but do make for a well-rounded liberal arts student. When someone comes in to Wake knowing what they want to study, the divisional requirements seem annoying. However, these required classes allow students to think in different ways than they might be used to. I think the education at Wake is geared toward getting a job when you get into upper level classes. It's hard to see how Biology 112 will prepare you for a job. I want to go to medical school, so I'm not really thinking about getting a job! The divisional classes (if they are outside of your major) are geared toward learning for its own sake because you can develop critical thinking skills and can have a small taste of the various departments on campus.
All of my professors know my name, as well as how I'm doing in their class. If they feel as though I need a little extra help before a test, they will come to me to ask if I'd like to meet. I feel as though my teachers truly care about my success in their class. My favorite class is my english class. We have been able to choose between different books to read so that the class is always enjoying what we are reading. The class is also only about 11 students, so it is a very discussion based environment. The amount that students study varies from person to person. Some people are the type that seem to be naturally smart. They can read their notes over once and memorize it. Other students, such as myself, need to study at least 4 or 5 hours a day to keep up with my work. Students are very competetive here. In fraternities and sororities, everyone wants to keep the sorority's overall gpa up, so they tend to help each other out. Other than that, though, it's all about getting a better grade than the kid next to you so that you can be helped by the curve. The most unique class I have taken at Wake was my anthropology class. Most of my other divisional classes were ones that I had already taken in high school (math, science, english, foreign language). My anthropology class was so interesting because it pertained to cultures that I had never learned about before. Aside from office hours, students tend to stay separate from their professors. I think Wake's academic requirements are way too much. I will be taking divisional classes until I graduate because I don't have enough time to focus on both my major and my divisionals. There is also a great deal of grade deflation making it nearly impossible to get A's. Education at Wake is geared toward getting a job, by means of "weeding out" the students who can not achieve the highest grades.
Students here often call the school by its endearing nickname, "Work Forest". Yes, the academics at Wake Forest are intense. Yes, you will have a lot of work in a lot of your classes. Yes, you will be stressed sometimes. But in my opinion, the workload is entirely manageable if you practice good time management skills and-this is important-become familiar with your professors! Wake professors are all so helpful to their students. Every professor I have had is completely willing to meet with students to provide help on assignments, give advice, or just talk. I have even had a few professors who have invited students to their houses for casual dinners. The professors here know that Wake Forest students are intelligent, so they don't baby us. The work they assign is challenging, but they are never unwilling to provide their services in the forms of clarification or just support. Students here are very involved in their schoolwork. Students study a lot and do very well in their classes, but unlike some other schools known for high academic achievement, I feel that Wake students know when to relax and the importance of relieving stress by having a good time. Every department has amazing professors and staff (but personally, being a Psychology and English double major, I may be a little biased towards those departments!). Generally, Wake demands a lot of its students academically, but in the end it is to the student's benefit. I have learned so much during my time here, and no amount of stress that I have felt over the years can sway me to bemoan the rigor with which professors teach their students or the greatness that the professors expect of the students.
Wake's academics are definitely demanding. You can't float through and expect to do well. Wake kids are really dedicated to their work and the library is always packed. On the same token though, Wake kids still find time to go out! Intellectual conversations may happen out of class, but I think because we are so overloaded during the week, when we get the chance to hang out it is the last thing we'd want to talk about. Students are competitive but usually you have friends in other departments because of the liberal arts curriculum, so I think that eases competition a bit. I am an English major and I really love the department. The teachers are friendly and brilliant. They always know your name. The department also hosts some great events. I am a Journalism minor, which falls in the English department, and there is a lot to be desired in the department. We have some great professors but not many classes are offered each semester. Professors are extremely available. Office hours are constant and they usually have no problem making an appointment outside of office hours. Many in the English department are willing to go over papers with you and work through your rewrites in order to help you become a better writer. Relationships last past one semester--I am still in contact with professors I had over a year ago. I think the business program at Wake is overly geared toward getting a job that it really detracts students from enjoying their education. The liberal arts are much more geared toward the process of learning as a whole. Wake really needs to improve on its career services department, since it mostly helps out only business students.
Academics here are excellent. My professors all know my name, even in my giant chemistry lectures (giant being about 50 people). In general I like my classes. Any class I've taken from a head of department has been excellent. A warning though: don't come here if you don't want to be challenged. We call this place Work Forest for a reason. For the science majors and premeds, though, there are abundant opportunities to do real research (not just washing glassware) for your professors and even up at the medical school. The summer research grants aren't that hard to get and most professors are receptive to having undergraduates work for them. Premeds do tend to be pretty cut throat, but not quite to the extent of pencil-kicking: the aggression stays passive. The main problem with a Wake Forest education is that, for such an large investment, I don't know if the return (i.e. your job after school) will be so lucrative. Most kids plan to go to graduate or professional school before the go to work. It's pretty funny when I tell them to travel abroad, though. A semester here costs more than all of college in Latin America, for example, and they ask, so what will you do when you get out? Will you make lots of money? And I say, ummmm....no, I kinda have to pay some more and go to school some more.
Every professor I've had at Wake knew my name. I've loved every single class in my department but some of the pre-recs have been a little iffy. My favorite class was most likely a class called "Gandhi" in which our final prohect was to enact Gandhian method somewhere to ignite some change anywhere in the world. My least favorite class was theater. Classes like theater definitely have been wastes of my time but other pre-recs like Astronomy can be pleasant surprises. This situation will improve though, as the school has drastically decreased pre-rec requirements. Classes are very much a give and take between students and professors and students are expected to provide insights regularly. Wake students are very intellectually involved and are constantly talking about thought provoking lectures, articles, or speakers. Wake doesn't feel competitive at all. In the political science department I am constantly shooting the breeze with professors outside of class and encountering them at community political events. The professors at Wake, despite their mind blowing resumes, are some of the most humble, kind people you will meet in your life. Sometimes other students are more worried about careers after school and less about intellectual exploration at Wake.
All of my classes are really small--the biggest class I've had yet was 40 students and the smallest was 15. Unfortunately, the professors do learn your name and they notice if you skip class. But it's nice, too, because the professors are always available to help you out. As a freshman, I really appreciated my first semester Spanish professor. I was struggling in the class and she made a point of meeting with me once a week until I understood the material better. I think Wake tries to make classes about learning for the sake of learning, which is why we have the liberal arts divisional curriculum. But students seem driven to get good jobs when they graduate, which is why a lot of students are pre-med, pre-law, or business majors. Students don't really compete with each other but they do tend to compete with themselves over their grades and work really hard to be academically successful. My favorite class last semester was Introduction to Asian Religions. It has nothing to do with any major or minor I'm interested in, but I thought it sounded like it would be an interesting class, so I took it. It was fascinating and I looked forward to going every day. It wasn't easy, but it was really interesting.
Wake students are driven individuals and the work load at Wake reflects that. All majors are rigorous and require a lot of work outside of class. It's not unusual for the ZSR library to be completely filled most nights. Most students would agree that if you work, you get a B. A's are much harder to come by. Luckily, Wake has a great faculty that, for the most part, is willing to meet outside of class to help students. As an English major, most of my professors have even required scheduling a meeting with them once or twice throughout the semester. Class sizes are small and strictly lecture style classes are rare. In my experience, professors are interested in facilitating class discussion and participation is almost always an important part of my final grade. Also, since Wake is a liberal arts school, students are required to complete a series of divisional courses that extend to all the major areas of study provided at Wake. Sometimes this can be a little frustrating when it requires an English major, like me, to take classes like statistics and physics, but I think it also requires you to be more well-rounded, which in turn makes you more eligible in job markets.
My least favorite class was Calculus 112. I got a five on the AP Calculus AB exam (somehow) and in return received four credit hours and was placed into the higher level calculus when I got here. My adviser recommended that I go ahead and take the class, but when I did I had a terrible teacher. He hardly taught and had incredibly confusing exams. I ended up failing the class. In class participation is extremely stressed. Most of my classes include participation as a large portion of the grade and nearly all of them have attendance policies. For older students Wake has required a ridiculous amount of core classes. The students just coming in don't have to take nearly as many, but also don't receive credit for their AP's anymore. I personally would have rather not received hours for AP exams and had less core classes to take. That being said, most majors and hours are not hard to attain, nor are they very restricting. I'm a communications major and while there are concentrations, you can pretty much do what you want with it. The ones that really want to kill themselves are the business majors.