Undergraduate Admissions updates class of 2027 numbers, future enrollment plans

Assoah Ndomo and his parents after his acceptance to Baylor University. Photo courtesy of Assoah Ndomo.

By Luke Lattanzi | Staff Writer

As Baylor continues to send out acceptance letters to the incoming 2027 freshman class, Undergraduate Admissions has an update on the current state of the admissions process and the university’s future enrollment plans.

According to Baylor’s Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, the university intends for the class of 2027 to be within the 3,400-3,500 range, which is part of a larger effort to decrease the total undergraduate population to approximately 14,500 students.

“Coming off two large COVID-19 classes in 2020 and 2021 and with increasing retention rates, this year’s class will be slightly smaller,” Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman said via email. “Interest in a Baylor education remains very strong with more than 33,000 completed applications and deposits up significantly year over year for the Fall 2023 freshman class.”

The university’s acceptance rate has followed an overall downward trend in recent years, according to Mary Herridge, associate vice president for enrollment management.

“It has been falling over the past several years,” Herridge said. “It does depend on the overall size of your pool that year, so there is kind of a fluctuation from year to year just based on how many students are applying and what your strategy is in terms of what goals you are trying to reach for class size.”

According to the university’s strategic enrollment management plan executive summary, Baylor intends to increase the academic quality of completed applications from 39% high-ability applicants in 2022 to 42% high-ability applicants by 2027.

The strategic enrollment management plan defines highability students as “test-optional applicants with an academic index of 166 or above and test-required applicants with an ACT score of 29 or above or an SAT score of 1340 or above.”

Ross VanDyke, assistant vice president for enrollment management and marketing and recruitment, said the average college student applies to far more schools than in the past, which can make predicting where prospective students will attend college more difficult.

“In the early 2000s, the average student applied to three schools and now the average student applies to 10 schools,” VanDyke said. “Essentially you have a lot more shift in the market. You’re trying to predict the mind of a 17 and 18-year-old and where they’re going to end up enrolling. Just because you accept 3400 students doesn’t mean that 3400 students are going to attend your university.”

VanDyke also emphasized the importance of campus visits for the university’s future enrollment plans.

“Right now, the stat is one out of every three students that steps foot on campus ends up enrolling in the university,” VanDyke said. “We have some preliminary data that would lead us to believe that it might even be greater than that, about 38%. It’s something that really excites us.”

VanDyke also said the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center is the latest addition to Baylor’s effort to attract prospective students, which is supposed to improve the university’s overall accessibility to newcomers.

“It’s gonna be a true front door to the university,” VanDyke said. “It’s something that I’m incredibly excited about. The Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center is truly going to be a state of the art facility in several ways. I think it’s gonna truly set the stage for what they’re gonna see on the rest of their tour as it relates to campus.”

VanDyke also said it is important to choose the right students and make sure those who do decide to enroll are able to enjoy their college experience and be academically successful.

“We wanna make sure that we recruit the right students,” VanDyke said. “We wanna make sure that a student is gonna be able to come to Baylor, that they’re gonna be successful and that they’re gonna be able to graduate. And so we want to tell them all the perks and benefits of what it would be like at a D1, R1 Christian institution, and hope that that lines up with what they’re looking for in a college.”