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Baylor University

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What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

The advice I would give to seniors knowing what I now know would be to use your best efforts to find a suitable roommate before attending college. While it might not always be possible, if you are able to find an appropriate roommate, it will greatly ease your transition to college. College presents many new responsibilities and challenges. Having a roommate with whom you can share daily experiences, voice frustrations and concerns and receive an empathetic response, eat meals together and simply attend functions together is very helpful when faced with so many new situations and challenges. Of course over time you will both make new friends and may drift apart, but that initial security of having a person with whom you can find companionship is very helpful. It may be obvious, but finding a person who has similar ideas about studying, attending classes and social functions is crucial. Also important are factors such as when the student will be studying. Differing study habits can lead to friction and result in failure since sleep deprivation may result in exhaustion and inability to function if a roommate is awakened or unable to sleep when faced with a noisy night owl.

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While being a high school senior, it never occurred to me that building a strong educational foundation would help lead to my success in college. During senior year I took many electives as opposed to the necessary classes for my major. I only took one Advanced Placement class and one science class necessary for my original major. Starting high school, I wanted to be a Crime Scene Investigator therefore the classes that I took were forensic science classes. While filling out college applications I realized that I wanted to pursue a degree in Bioengineering. After starting community college I realized that I should have taken many more Advanced Placement math and science classes that would have benefitted me in getting my associates degree. If I had planned my high school schedule out better, I would not have had to take many summer classes to finish my associates’ degree in two years. Also I would have a smoother transition from a two-year institution to a four-year institution. If I were given a second chance at high school, I would take more math and science classes and would strive to understand the concepts in those classes important for future studies.

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Danielle, All of those late nights you spend doing homework for Advanced Placement classes will be worth it. Pay closer attention in Spanish, though. You will become fluent, but you could have also become conversational in French. Also, start reading the newspaper; it will pay off eventually. Listen to your mom and take piano. She is right - you will wish you would have stayed in it. Actually, listen to your mom about everything. She is always right. On a personal note, remain strong in your beliefs. What seems to be socially important to you now will be laughably insignificant in your future. Your friends will not invite you to events because you do not drink, and your boyfriend will go with someone else to prom because you are still a virgin. You will cry. But you will eventually realize that these will be the best things that will ever happen to you. Because of these experiences you will have humility, awareness of others, and a gentle, beautiful spirit that will touch those around you. You will, also, avoid the addictions, pregnancies, and STDs many of your former friends fell victim to. PS - your college experience will be amazing! Be patient!

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First, I would advise students to find a college that was conducive to the environement in which they are most capable of learning. For example, if a student learns better in a smaller classroom, then they should look for colleges that enforce a smaller student to professor ratio in their courses. I would also advise students and parents to set up dates to attend each potential college. It will reveal much about the environment at that college. Also, read reviews about each college, both those that are considered "official" and "unofficial." I recommend both because it illuminates the good, the bad, and the ugly about the college. Alos, read reveiws that talk about numerous things for each college: academics, environment, social functions, etc. I would also recommend that you look at what the college boasts about. A few important things to look for is to see if the college boasts about the accesssibility of its professors and the variety of services provided to students (such as tutoring). You may not think you will need this at first, but you may find that you do use it. Finally, never be afraid to ask questions about anything. You can find the answer.

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The 4 years of college are a very important phase in your life. The academic aspect is important but I would say that the social environment is even more important. My advice is to pick a school that has a great academic reputation and also a great sports tradition. College sports are big and schools with successfull football or basketball programs have a great following of students, alumni, and other fans. This creates a lot of school pride that becomes pervasive in everything associated with the school. College is a place where you will make friends for life and you will continue to root for your alma mater, no matter what happens to their teams. So you can spend the time researching the academic ranking of the business school (for example), and calculate the cost of attending and compare that against the chance of getting some financial aid. In the end, however, you also need to determine the social networking value of the schools, which in my opinion is very important. Most people find jobs after college, not based on their GPA but based on the networking opportunities and interpersonal skills that are resulting from their college experience.

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During my 3 years here at Baylor University, I have learned what it means to create goals for myself, how to strive to reach those goals, but at the same time realize the importance of life outside of college as well. Attending numerous classes on campus, I have constantly been challenged by my professors to stretch my boundaries, and have conducted my own research experiments, written countless research papers, and spent hours in the library learning how to learn. However, though academically I have learned a significant amount of information, being in a poverty stricken community such as Waco has also taught me a separate set of values as well. I am co-director of a mentor program called Baylor Buddies. Through this program, Baylor students are matched up with children in the surrounding schools who are considered “at risk”. Baylor students visit their buddies for an hour each week, mentoring these children who are at severe risk for dropping out of school early on in life. These types of opportunities I have found in college have taught me what it means to care for one’s community and the impact we, as college students, can have outside our campuses.

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"Senioritis - noun. A colloquial term used in the United States to describe the decreased motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their high school careers." Used in a sentence: Brooke Bonorden's senior year of high school was plagued by the lazy and carefree attitudes characteristic of senioritis. That pretty much sums up my senior year in a nut shell. Procrastination. Minimal Study. Fun takes priority. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't borderline pass/fail or anything in high school. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I was Valedictorian. Despite my academic achievements, however, I too fell victim to the cliches of senior year. If I could change anything about my senior year of high school, I would have prepared myself for the massive amount of reading college was about to bombard me with. Thirty, fifty, even a hundred pages sometimes for one class - in ONE NIGHT! It takes stamina I definately did not have in high school, and I think that is where most college kids make their first mistake. They become overwhelmed and give up on the reading. My advice to myself in retrospect: perservere. It is key.

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In my opinion, the true reason for attending college is more than just continuing ones education for another four years. I belive that the university we chose is part of how we identify ourselves and also how we plan to grow for the four years that we will spend there. That being said, parents and their children should consider not only the academic record of the college but most importantly, the culture of the campus that they plan to attend. This culture inlcudes how differences are viewes on campus and to what extent success in encouraged as opposed to just "graduating." Also important is finding a college that will be compatible with some of the backround that the student might possess in order help with some of the shock and instability that can occur when starting something new . Having at least something that the students can fall back on as a support when they feel entirerly alone, be it a religious group or an orentation group that stays in contact with them, can sometimes make the difference in how they continue their next four years of college: either connected with their peers or as merely another graduate of "x" university.

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My experiences at Baylor have taught me the necessity of promoting sustainability programs to keep the environment green and healthy as we continue in a world of progress. I have learned to be responsible in my environmental decisions as I further my career in the realm of scientific research. Not only has Baylor emphasized the economic and natural health benefits of a cleaner world, Baylor has emphasized that it is imperative that men and women of faith remain concious of environmental issues, as a parallel aspect of our faith. Second, my experiences at Baylor have brought me a greater awareness of cultural diversity. Baylor has one of the largest percentages of international students among universities, and from this I have had the privilege to become good friends with individuals from Japan, Korea, China, Germany, England, and even Brazil. With each person I meet, I continue to broaden my worldview by learning about his or her family background, traditions, beliefs, and practices. This has shaped how I view myself in relation to the world, by providing me with a broader appreciation for the beauty of the entire human race.

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Armed with the vast wealth of experience I have gained in one year at Baylor University I feel enlightened enough to share my knowledge with friends still in High School. If I could go back and talk to myself as a High School Senior I would say seize life, inhale the knowledge around you, enrich your soul with volunteer opportunities, start early with college and scholarship applications, and have fun; savor your Senior year because it will fly by at the speed of light. Looking back I wish that I had known that scholarship searches can and should be started early, preferably in your junior year. AP and Dual-Credit courses are important and will affect your college GPA; so if you are going to take them, take them seriously. Grades do matter so if you’re tempted to slack off your senior year remember you will be competing against the best and brightest students in the country; so you need a GPA as close to 4.0 as possible and a high class rank. Work experience, volunteer involvement, and participation in extracurricular activities make High School more fun and increase your value when applying for college admittance and scholarships.

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