By Daniel C. Houston
University administrators reported Wednesday they had received more applications from prospective students than by this point last year, reflecting a growing number of high school students expressing interest in a Baylor education.
More than 40,000 applications have been filed — an increase of 6 percent from last year’s April number — which is already more than the total number of applicants for last year’s class, said Jessica King Gereghty, director of admissions counseling.
Gereghty said the 6 percent increase is roughly the same as last year’s percentage increase at this time.
“We have been trending upward in the number of applications and the quality of our classes,” Gereghty said, “so we’ve already been on a trajectory of bringing in great students and meeting our enrollment goals.”
This total number of applications is still growing as more are submitted, since prospective students are not subject to a hard deadline.
The final number of applications for next year’s class will be determined early in the fall semester as part of the university’s official enrollment report, Gereghty said.
The number of Baylor applicants has increased every year since 2002, with the exception of 2008, which saw a decline of 113 applications from 2007’s mark, according to a report by Baylor’s Office of Institutional Research and Testing.
Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, said she attributes the consistent increases in applicants to Baylor’s Christian mission and the degree to which Baylor professors involve students in their research, among other factors.
She also said — and Gereghty confirmed — Baylor’s applicant numbers are benefiting from the increased ease of applying to multiple schools, now that Baylor’s application is done electronically.
“It is true — and this is true of every university — because of online applications, you do have students that apply to multiple schools, so that may be one of the reasons for an increase in applications,” Fogleman said. “But we have continued an upward trend of more students expressing interest in Baylor University, and that’s very exciting and very challenging at the same time.”
Fogleman said she believes Baylor’s recent success in athletics could be one of many factors bringing the attention of more prospective students to the university.
However, Gereghty said the admissions department has no evidence it is the most influential factor.
“For these seniors who have been looking at Baylor for several years, their final decisions are not determined by Baylor’s athletic success,” Gereghty said. “I think there could be an indirect correlation, but we don’t have evidence of students applying right now just because of athletics.”
Fogleman also gave credit to the admissions department for presenting Baylor as a good fit for prospective students.
“Our admissions staff works very hard to recruit students who would feel that this is their home and a place where they could earn a degree and be very proud of their university,” Fogleman said.