Premiere to host prospective students in person after 4-year hiatus

Returning to campus for the first time since 2019, prospective Baylor students and their families will travel to Waco to experience what life is like as a Baylor Bear. Photo courtesy of Baylor University

By Sarah Gallaher | Staff Writer

Following the pandemic, colleges across the nation removed large-scale admissions events for incoming students. However, Baylor’s Spring Premiere, an open house for prospective and transfer students, will return in person on Saturday.

Jen McCrady, senior director of enrollment marketing, said hosting the event in person will be an exciting opportunity for prospective students and their families to interact with the Baylor community as a whole.

“It’s really one of only very few large-scale open houses that are still happening on college campuses,” McCrady said. “We’re really excited to offer that in person for prospective families.”

Although Baylor hosts a variety of events for incoming students, such as Invitation to Excellence, Line Camp, Orientation and campus tours, Premiere is the largest. The event can accommodate upwards of 5,000 people and showcase some aspects of Baylor not found in other events.

Julia Bales, senior director of undergraduate recruitment, said Premiere is an opportunity to share the “best and brightest aspects of Baylor.”

“Baylor Spring Premiere is focused on being an opportunity for prospective students of sophomore age and up to come and experience Baylor’s campus and interact with various people across campus,” Bales said. “Basically, it’s just a chance for our Baylor family to be on display and to interact with other students who are considering Baylor as a potential college.”

Since the event takes place over the weekend, visitors have access to certain facilities not open to the public during the week. Prospective students and their families can tour model rooms in residence halls and visit the McLane Student Life Center.

Although this is the first in-person Premiere since 2019, fall and spring Premiere sessions have been held virtually for the past few years. Bales said these sessions were helpful to prospective students, but holding the event in person allows for more students to attend and connect with the Baylor community on a personal level.

“One of the driving forces around the decision is the continued demand we see for Baylor,” Bales said. “Because we continue to see that demand increase, we felt it would be best to host an in-person event so we can see a lot of people and give them the opportunity to interact with Baylor all at one time.”

Bringing in-person Premiere back will also come with new opportunities for students. There will be academic sessions in the morning held by each college and school at Baylor, followed by a department social from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The department social is a new addition that allows students to speak directly with faculty and staff after learning more about their possible majors during academic sessions.

The construction of the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center also provides a new space for the Premiere offerings. McCrady said the Hurd Center is designed to show students the best of Baylor and fits the needs of an event of this size.

“Having it in the new Hurd Welcome Center, it will really elevate the experience that we’re able to give families who are visiting campus,” McCrady said.

The Premiere event itinerary is packed with a variety of ways to explore Baylor. Attendees can visit with the cubs, grab a free lunch at the dining halls, share a Dr Pepper float and interact with other incoming students.

“We intentionally give families and guests so many options that we want them to be left wanting more,” Bales said. “We want them to come back and engage with campus again, so we intentionally give them so much to do that there’s no way to fit it into the time frame of the event. We are showcasing so much, from academics to student life.”

Outside of Baylor, Premiere coincides with a variety of events happening in Waco. A Baylor News story announcing the return of Premiere mentioned special events like performances from Parker McCollum and CeeLo Green, as well as the Texas Food Truck Showdown and an eclipse exhibit at the Mayborn Museum Complex.

Bales encouraged current students who encounter prospective students to share their experiences with others. This year, student organizations will table at Vara Martin Daniel Plaza, and some will put on performances for visitors. Bales said this allows prospective students to get a firsthand look at what student life is like at Baylor.