Academics at Baylor are pretty good. We have several great programs. I just changed my major (for the second time) to the Baylor Business Fellows major, which is a pretty cool opportunity where you can blend courses within and without the business school and not have to take a lot of the basic requirements like political science, English, human performance, etc. So now I'll be double-majoring in Finance and Economics with a minor in Statistics. The cool thing about Baylor is that there are a lot of programs to meet individual needs. If you're a motivated student and want more scope in your education than one major, Business Fellows or University Scholars can allow for a more specialized education. Classes are pretty small so professors usually know a lot of names, especially as you get into more specialized classes. I really enjoyed several of my classes, like Great Texts, which has small class size and in-depth discussion that really broadens your mind. I also enjoyed my math classes, and even a computer science course that I thought I would hate. This is a private Baptist University, so are required to take two semesters of chapel and two semesters of religion. Chapel could be pretty interesting, but it could also be deathly boring. As far as religion goes, if you get a good teacher, it'll be interesting. I liked my scriptures class, but usually wanted to gouge my eyes out during my heritage class. In every class, there would always be the students that were super parcipitative and those that would sit in the back and avoid ever speaking. Unfortunately, intellectual conversations outside of class are generally rare. Students are usually pretty bright, although there are some that obviously got in because of connections and money, but there isn't much competition between students, even in the Honors classes. Teachers usually seem very knowledgeable and are helpful most of the time, though there are a few teachers that leave students with a bad taste in their mouths. Overall, I'd say a Baylor education is a great one, especially if you put in hard work. It's a great school to go to for a successful professional career.
The academics at this school are excellent. I have had a few unpleasant experiences regarding unfair professors, but overall, I have enjoyed my learning experience here. Class sizes are small and professors tend to always know your name. The workload is tough (depending on your major) and you can expect to spend a lot of time outside of class studying. Baylor tells you that you should set aside two hours of study for every credit hour you take, but I would bump it up to three hours. Attendance in class is required, but I actually enjoy that aspect because it motivates me to attend and I end up learning a lot more because of that. One thing that I feel is lacking is a liberal arts perspective. When I first toured Baylor, they made it seem like this school was very focused on learning for its own sake, but, after 2 years here, I have realized that the liberal arts education is weak. We spend 12 hours on chapel and religion when I would rather be taking an humanities course. However, that is what you sign up for when you go to a Christian University. Additionally, I feel as if Baylor students are not as intellectually-minded as most private school students. There is a large focus on the fraternity and sorority scene, and having an intellectual debate or discussion outside of class is rare. One thing that I do appreciate is that Baylor is very good about preparing you for the workforce, and the free career counseling services are excellent. After three sessions, I figured out a plan of action to help my dreams come true.
I will give it to academics at Baylor though. For the most part, I love my teachers. If you go in and talk to them, you can tell they truly do care for the students. But at the same time, there are teachers that do not care at all whether or not you are failing their class. The class sizes vary from 10 to 200 people. It depends what school you are in and what types of General Education classes you are signing up for. Chapel is not as bad as everyone says it is. It was the only time I got to see my friends in class, so that was fun. Religion is horrible. Baylor should not require those classes. Waste of my time. Those classes did not help me pursue my faith more, but instead, I ended up dreading those classes and resenting learning about my religion. The Writing Center is amazing. It is free and they help you edit your papers. I would stay at Baylor solely for the Writing Center. Also, OALA helps special students, and I am truly grateful for their services. The human performance requirements are so stupid. If students want to be active, then they will be. This is not supposed to be high school, so do not try to seperate the jocks from the nerds. Oh, and if people tell you that your professors invite you over for dinner, do not believe them. I have never heard of that ACTUALLY happening.
Almost all professors know me by name. My favorite classes have been in the Philosophy department, Psychology and Neuroscience department, and honors classes for the BIC (Baylor Interdisciplinary Core). Class participation is common and you will find the libraries crowded. If you join the BIC, yes, intellectual conversations outside of class are a given. Students are both competitive and cooperative. The most unique class I have taken is Social Philosophy. It is a senior level course that I am taking as a Sophomore and reading Rawls and Sandel has been an incredible enough. If you are looking for an intellectual challenge, I cannot recommend the BIC program enough. I spend a great deal of time outside of class with my professors. It is not mandatory though, but if you enjoy it, I would certainly recommend spending time with professors. It's a great deal of fun. The academic requirements are very flexible depending on the program you decide to pursue. The education is geared toward learning for its own sake, with an emphasis on finding one's calling. Yet, there are many students present whose only objective is to get a degree so they can get a job.
The current professors that I have to know my name, I even had professor come up to me and say hi when they saw me at one of the local malls. So far the best class that I have taken is Classical Mythology. Just the course was fun and the other activites were a blast, the professor also made the course very exciting. The least favorite class that I have taken is my foreign language (french). Student that I have become friends with and know study about maybe 3 to 4 hours some days. Class participation is required for some courses offered at Baylor. So I would say that class participation is some what common. Some students do, I have over heard and been engaged in some very intellectual conversations at the local coffee house (Common Grounds). Baylor academic requirements are a bit regrious, but oridanary students that what to college can graduate from Baylor. Baylor believes that "intellectual understading is a tapestry, interwoven through faith, personal relationships, a supportive environment, character development, learning that endures, individual relfection and the search for excellence."
Baylor academics are among the top in the nation, many polls ranking Baylor in the Top 10 for Business, Top 25 for Biology, and any other of the 170(?) different majors offered here. The teacher to student ratio is pretty low, I'd say the average in my class is about what it was in high school, around 19 per class, which is nice because the professors know you by name, and in fact in my Latin class, our professor knows everyone by name and makes jokes and nicknames for everyone and makes the class much more relaxing and on a more personal level. The Baylor students are some of the brightest in the nation, obviously we have intellectual conversations outside of the classroom. Literally, today at lunch I had a conversation with three other students, who I did not know, about the current economic crisis. The students here are very involved and very interested in the topics they study, and possibly even more so than what they do not study they take up interest in, since they don't hear about it in their classes (for example, I'm a Neuroscience major, but I love discussing politics with others).
The professors at Baylor are in general very good. The classes, even freshman english classes, never reach above 60 students. In these larger classes you need to make a point to introduce yourself to your professor in the first week or two of class. Typically all of your professors will know you by name and by sight; heck you will probably run into them every once in a while at the local HEB to shop for groceries! Baylor does have this cool thing called Living and Learning Centers. I am a part of the Engineering LLC. Within each of these communities you all live together, take similar classes and such. It's good both socailly and academically, as we have free tutors available for a few hours a week. One warning, currently tenure has not been given to ANY of the professors in the Biomedical Engineering field. So I have a feeling this department will soon either turn over for the worse or go away completely. If this is your chosen major, go somewhere else.
In general, professors care about you. They make an effort to not only know your name but learn something about you. Some classes have lots of student participation, in others professors just like to lecture. Class size is usually pretty small but there are some that are bigger freshmen year or for university requirements such as religion. Oh yah, you are required to take two semester of religion classes and attend chapel for two semesters. But don't strike out Baylor just because they make you take religion. Its actually an extremely interesting class where you learn not only about Christianity but other religions as well. Plus, for most students they are an easy GPA booster. Please don't think Baylor will be an easy ride. I don't know as much about other majors, but I am a Biology major and find many classes to be extremely challenging. I know I have learned a lot and feel like my professors have prepared me for my future career.
In large lecture classes, it is difficult to get to know your professors since there is less in class participation. My favorite classes are Intro to Mass Communication and Sight Sound Motion, which are both film classes for my major. Baylor has a great film department that gives many opportunities for students. The professors know what they are talking about and have a lot of experience in various parts of the industry. The Baylor in New York program (BaylorNY.com) allows you to take 12 hrs that include an internship, while in NYC. This has led to many jobs for communication majors. Required classes for a BA degree are pretty easy if you know which professors to take (BUbooks.com has ratings for most Baylor profs) 2 semesters of Religion,which can be a little challenging, are required for everyone as well as 2 semesters of chapel (pass/fail graded on attendance).
Academcs, personally, revolve around the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, a set of classes that give a well-rounded and liberal arts education. All of these courses have a large group setting along with a small group setting. So, while we have some lecture classes, there are many times when we have class discussions with our individual professors. As for my major classes, I've yet to take one, but my minor classes for Sign Interp, are fairly small and generally don't have many students. The Sign Language dept at Baylor isn't large by any means, but they are well-equipped and personable. From friends I've heard the science courses are fairly large, and while some professors are willing to work with you, others are not, but that's at any college. Language classes in general are not large, which is good in order to keep the student's engaged.