The size of the student population is very nice. At around ten thousand or so undergrads, it is a good fit for most everyone I've heard talk about it has said. Most people who ask where I go to school seem very impressed when the answer is Baylor. And, with the improvements in the overall campus structure (better athletic teams, new buildings, ect), as well as the continually increasing standards for entering students, I believe Baylor is becoming more prestigious every year. I have found school pride (at least in reference to athletics) to be much lower than most other schools. I think the combination of disappointing past athletics and the many timid students here has led to a much lower school pride than say Texas Tech, Texas, and Texas A&M. I believe one of the primary obstacles in getting students to come to Baylor is the "Waco Problem". Baylor is a school of mostly upper middle class students surrounded by one of the most poverty ridden towns in the U.S. Not only is there little in the area of scenic views, but there is also little night life available for students. The one promising aspect for Waco is the revamping of downtown, which lies about a mile from campus.
Baylor is a medium sized private school with an emphasis on professor-student relations. It has a very strong overriding christian attitude that many times supersedes academic curriculums. It currently has a high rating, and many great academic departments, but professors are steadily becoming discontent with the administration, and Baylor itself said it will sacrifice academics for Christianity. However, it still maintains a good reputation. I've had a lot of great professor experiences. They really will get to know you if you want to. The administration is run informally by reagents and other donators, who want to keep Baylor Baptist. This is causing a lot of problems with cirriculums, and there have been several social incidents where gays were openly discriminated against, despite protests of many students. Also, in the last tenure review, 40% of applicants were denied. I fear these decisions will come to haunt Baylor in the future. If it does not conform to what is now seen as standard national practices in respect to progressive issues AND acadmeics, then Baylor's rating and reputation will start to decrease.
The best thing about Baylor is that I feel at home here. I love the campus-it is so beautiful, like you are walking around in a big park. The school gives you the feel of a big campus, with the intimacy and relational atmosphere of a smaller school. You really get to meet a lot of amazing people here and I love it! I would change the apathy of the students. I really feel that as a Christian school, it would be nice to outreach into our community more, get active, aware, and not just stay in the "Baylor bubble." Honoring God by serving him faithfully as a student, but also as a college student that has a lot of time on our hands to make a difference in the lives of our fellow students, the people in Waco, state or even nationwide. Waco is a dinky city, but it grows on you and you learn to love it and its people-if you choose to get out of campus. There's not a lot to do, but I'm not much of a guy to party or "have a night on the town", but there's plenty of stuff for me to do on campus with extracurriculars, ministries, activism, homework..., etc.
The one thing that made Baylor stick out from all of the other colleges I visted was the people. Everyone is so nice here and it's very community oriented. Baylor is unique in that it is a very freshman oriented school. There are so many activities and events going on for freshmen throughout the year! Then, as upperclassmen, you remember how fun those events were and you get involved on campus in order to give back to the incoming freshmen. Personally, I think Baylor is the perfect size. It's big enough for a lot of variety, but Baylor makes it a goal (and they are very successful!) for there to be a small feel at the same time. The campus is beautiful, full of giant trees that have swings and are fun for climbing. My favorite memories of Baylor so far are being out on campus at night with a group of friends. There are swings everywhere and the campus is rich in fun and mischievous opportunities.
Baylor's got about 14,000 undergrad students. It's a good size, especially given the small size of the campus. It's not overcrowded, but it's always busy. I guess, even though it's a small campus, it feels like a larger school. It's pretty well-respected, though, especially in the south. Most people will recognize your academic achievements if you tell them you're a Baylor student or graduate. The administration isn't a hassle- they're pretty ambivalent towards students. The main administrative controversy is a tenure issue that has staff members upset. The only real complaint that's pretty widespread is that of the mandatory religion classes. Every student is required to take two semesters of Christian Scriptures and Heritage, as well as two semesters of Chapel. However, most students get those out of the way during freshman year and continue their college career without complaint.
The school is great. At first I was a little concerned about my choice because I never visited and I had never been to Texas until I matriculated at Baylor. The campus is gorgeous, everyone is caring and kind, and the teachers are around and are excellent resources for scholarship recommendations or anything else. Also, we have so many amazing and diverse clubs and shows and talents. There is always something to do on campus. It is important to find your niche on campus though because Waco itself is quite awful. Everyone goes home over the weekends and campus is deserted. But, if you personally branch out then you will be so much happier with your experience here. In addition, I would recommend bringing a car. Parking is limited, you have to buy a student pass, and there is a shuttle service, but I am always having to bum rides off of my friends.
At Baylor, you have to find your niche, but once you do everything is fine. Getting involved in extracurricular activies definately helps your social life. Waco is not exactly a college town, but it does come with all the basic stores and some. Most people only live their freshman year on campus, and then move to one of the surrounding apartment complexs. Baylor is expensive and a lot of the stuff Baylor provides is therefore also expensive. The important thing about Baylor is even though some things you might not like, there are double the things you will like. The administration in my mind is not the best and could do a lot better of a job, but my professors are great and I wouldn't trade them for the world.
From what I have so far experienced as a transfer student, I am still looking forward to my time at Baylor. I have experienced some setbacks, but hopefully I can overcome these. Some of my setbacks were based on the fact that according to Baylor, I am considered an International Student. Even though I have resided in Texas for over 10 years, I was still forced to undergo Medical Exams, many other forms, and was denied a couple of scholarships over the fact that I'm an "International Student." In summary, I sort of feel a little discriminated on. In my honest opinion, I like the school, but, as a Hispanic liberal, I sometimes wonder if this is the school for me.
Baylor is apparently the oldest University in the state of Texas, and there's a great deal of pride and tradition that comes from that--but they continue to strive to be one of the top learning institutions while maintaining a Christian mindset. That may not be for some people--if it were a huge issue, they wouldn't apply to go to Baylor. Still, Baylor isn't completely filled with the "typical Christian"--and if you go to Baylor and take your school seriously, you'll get a great education regardless. If you're looking for a party school where you can get a degree and blow off your education, Baylor would probably be a stupid choice... seeing as it costs so much.
Baylor is the perfect size. It's a place where you meet new people every day, but you can see your friends on campus all the time. I love walking across campus and having familiar faces to make your day that much better. Due to its size, the faculty can even become friends. I have had a number of professors that stop and talk to me when I see them on campus and that I have created genuine relationships with. The campus is absolutely beautiful and I could spend every day walking through it or just sitting and observing God's beauty. There are many days I walk to class and as weird as it sounds since I'm going to class, I thank God for his beautiful creation.