By Harry Rowe | Staff Writer
Baylor continues to grow more diverse and more academically prestigious than ever, as it welcomes in its highest achieving class to date according to Baylor’s Office of Institutional Research and Testing.
The finding, as well as more enrollment statistics, was included in Baylor’s news release on Sept. 6. The release highlights the incoming class’ excellence as well as Baylor’s growing graduation and retention rates.
Jessica King Gereghty, assistant vice president for Baylor’s undergraduate admissions & enrollment, said the statistics reflect positively on the kind of students Baylor attracts into its community.
“It just reflects that still the best and brightest students from around the United States and the world are very attracted to Baylor,” Gereghty said. “We continue to be able to choose brighter and brighter students to be a part of our incoming class.”
Baylor also continues to be increase its diversity; according to the release, the incoming freshman class contains 36.5 percent of minority students with a 35.3 percent minority enrollment overall. Also, a record-breaking 38.6 percent of Baylor’s incoming freshman are from out-of-state, showing Baylor’s continual rise as one of the nation’s most prominent universities. Gereghty said with satellite offices everywhere from California to Chicago, as well as internationally, it shows the powerful message Baylor has.
“It’s a reflection of the demand of Baylor, what a great university it is and really our unique distinction as a research institution that’s still unapologetically Christian,” Gereghty said. “We’re really offering a university experience unlike any other around the globe.”
While Baylor continues to grow its reach and impact, Gereghty said there are no plans to grow Baylor’s student size anytime soon.
“We’re not looking for the overall student population to grow; we really feel like that’s a really great size for Baylor,” said Gereghty. “Being a mid-size institution with about 14,000 undergrad students is really distinctive of our education; it allows our class sizes to remain small, our community really strong, and for staff and faculty to have great relationships with students.”
Baylor realizes recruiting is important, but that educating its students and ensuring their success is a top priority, according to Dr. Sinda Vanderpool, associate vice provost for academic enrollment management. The 2017 to 2018 retention rate for undergraduate students was 91.6 percent, with 88 percent of freshman returning, according to the news release.
Vanderpool said with all of these record breaking numbers, Baylor is beginning to become more and more of a top tier institution.
Vanderpool said competing schools have four year graduation rates around 80 to 90 percent, and she said Baylor’s current goal is at 70 percent for students’ four year graduation rate, which can be realistically achieved in about five years. Baylor’s current four year graduation rate is at 63.5 percent.
“I think we’re very close. It’s very exciting. I feel like we’re kind of pivoting towards becoming a different type of institution,” Vanderpool said.