By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer
Baylor recently announced a waitlist for the incoming freshman class of fall 2018 due to the strong demand of prospective students and the rate at which deposits are being received.
Jessica King Gereghty, assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions and enrollment, said Baylor has received over 30,000 completed applications for the upcoming freshman class.
Gereghty said for the past three or four years, Baylor has had an incoming class of around 3,300 or 3,400 students and there are still seven more weeks until the May 1 candidacy reply deadline.
“The waitlist is a tool that a lot of schools use to make sure that we’re garnering the list of students that we kind of want to say, ‘We’re interested in you. Are you interested in us? And we’re going to let you know if we have space available as the next couple of weeks unfold,'” Gereghty said.
Gereghty said that according to recent national surveys, Baylor stands out to applicants for three of its core characteristics.
The first core characteristic is the mid-size of the institution, with a little less than 15,000 undergraduates. Gereghty said Baylor is able to offer all the benefits of a large institution, while at the same time offer the intimate class sizes and the personal relationships with faculty and staff that come with small institutions.
Gereghty said the second core characteristic is Baylor’s ability to offer undergraduate research and scholarships.
The third core characteristic is the institution’s Christian heritage and its “unapologetically Christian stance,” Gereghty said.
“High school students are really looking for a place that offers all three of those,” Gereghty said. “We know that there’s a lot of universities where you can have one or two of those — maybe the Christian heritage and the mid-size or maybe the mid-size and the research. But we feel like we really stand out in the ability to offer all three of those opportunities to undergraduates.”
Gereghty said Baylor’s “Where Lights Shine Bright” campaign, which launched in January, has brought a lot of positive momentum.
Jason Cook, vice president for marketing and communications and chief marketing officer, said “Where Lights Shine Bright” is meant to reintroduce the Baylor brand in response to the challenges that the university has faced over the past couple of years.
“We are working hand-in-hand with our colleagues in Admissions to tell the Baylor story in a fun, authentic way using a multitude of strategies,” Cook said.
Cook said the campaign is only one piece of Baylor’s recruitment strategy and the admissions process is a team effort that includes strategies across the university, including advertising, direct mail, campus visits and engagement with faculty and staff.
“Baylor has a distinct value proposition in higher education as a Christian research university,” Cook said. “When we talk about the Baylor family, it is real and evident when prospective students visit our campus.”