Texas is home to various well-regarded universities in the United States. There are all types of colleges for people of different backgrounds. But with so many options to choose from, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to make the right choice.
And that begs the question, is Baylor University a good school?
In short, Baylor meets the criteria to be considered a good university, as it has a solid reputation in fields like Nursing, Biology, and Communication. Furthermore, the school registers high student satisfaction levels and keeps going up in the rankings.
However, there are many different factors that come into play when choosing a college. In order to determine if Baylor is a good fit for you, it is important to be well informed and carefully evaluate every single variable.
And that’s what we are about to do in this article. We’ll start off by taking a quick overview of this college. After that, we’ll analyze the 5 key factors that may influence your decision, which are reputation, student satisfaction, class size, student expenses, and even the salaries that graduates are likely to earn.
So if that sounds interesting to you, let’s dive right in!
Overview of Baylor University.
Founded in 1845, Baylor is the oldest continuously operating university in the state of Texas. This higher education institution is known for being quite dynamic in the fields of volunteering and community service.
Nowadays Baylor owns a 1000-acre campus, which makes it the largest Baptist university in the world. In addition, it offers a wide variety of bachelor’s and graduate degrees across the following schools and colleges:
- College of Arts & Sciences.
- Louise Herrington School of Nursing.
- School of Engineering & Computer Science.
- Hankamer School of Business.
- School of Education.
- Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.
- Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.
- George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
- School of Music.
- Honors College.
- Baylor Law School.
- Graduate School.
Popular majors include disciplines like Nursing and Biology. But there are many other options in fields as varied as Business, Engineering, Music, and Computer Science.
Attending this university could be beneficial if you are interested in volunteering. According to Forbes, Baylor students and faculty members volunteer for over 150,000 hours every year. Furthermore, the school’s Global Missions can send students abroad to participate in community service projects.
1. Prestige and Rankings.
When it comes to reputation, we can get an idea of how Baylor has performed by checking out the latest college rankings, which are published on a yearly basis.
Rankings are a useful tool if you want to take a glance at a school’s prestige. And while your choice shouldn’t be based entirely on these numbers, they are still a good starting point in the decision-making process.
In the following table you can see which position Baylor holds in 2022, according to the most reliable publications:
|Times Higher Education||170|
However, looking at these simple numbers is not really that helpful. They only show you the school’s performance at this moment, causing you to miss the forest for the trees.
Besides, rankings tend to vary depending on the methodology used by the company, meaning that a school that does well in one ranking may have a very different result in another one.
In fact, that’s exactly the problem here. There is a difference of almost 100 spots between both rankings!
So in order to address this issue, we’ll take the average of the last years and visualize the historical trend. The main goal is to evaluate the school from a more unbiased point of view.
Below is a graph with the average rank for Baylor University over time:
Now you have a wider view of what’s going on. Every chart tells you a story. And what we can see here is that Baylor University has been slowly climbing spots in the national rankings.
Back in 2017, this university was standing at an average position of 130. However, it gradually climbed towards spot 122.5 in 2022. In other words, it gained 7.5 positions over a 5-year period.
Even though this wasn’t a big change, it is especially positive to see that the university is showing an upward trajectory and improving its average rank over time.
By tracking Baylor’s position in the national rankings we were able to see how it has improved as the years go by. And even though U.S. News and Times Higher Education give very different ratings, we managed to get a more accurate view by plotting the average position and analyzing it.
What we just did is a more effective approach to evaluating a school’s performance over a given period.
In the next part of the post, we’ll use a similar method to assess how satisfied students are at Baylor University. So keep reading because this will be important.
2. Student Satisfaction.
If you’ve been doing your research for a while, chances are you’ve visited other sites to read reviews from other students. And while internet reviews may be useful at first glance, the truth is that they are often contradictory and you might end up more confused after reading many of them.
Besides, there are several disadvantages to this approach. Just to name a few:
- There is no way to verify that online reviews were written by actual students.
- Fake reviews are a common practice and they are often hard to detect.
- Star ratings can be easily manipulated to artificially improve or damage a school’s reputation.
The above mentioned are just some of the reasons why you should take reviews with a big grain of salt.
But don’t worry. If you’re wondering if there is a more reliable way to gauge student satisfaction, the answer is yes. We achieve that by analyzing retention rates, and that’s what we are going to do in this section!
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let me give you some context on retention rates and their importance.
Retention Rates: What Are They and Why Should You Care?
A retention rate is simply the percentage of first-time students who remained at the same school for their sophomore year. It is one of the most accurate parameters to measure student satisfaction because of the following reasons:
- It’s calculated with actual data from real students.
- The data is reported to the National Center for Education Statistics and it’s hard to manipulate. Any attempt to falsify this information could have serious consequences for the school.
Even if this is the first time you hear about this concept, there are solid arguments why you should pay close attention to it.
A student will be more encouraged to keep studying at the same university if his freshman experience was positive. Accordingly, the higher the retention rate is, the better expectations you can have for your first college year.
On the other hand, a bad first-year experience will induce more students to drop out or transfer to another college, causing the retention rate to decrease. Therefore, this is something to keep in mind before you make your final decision.
There are, of course, other factors that may lead students to drop out, such as personal problems or lack of money. However, colleges that take good care of their freshmen indeed hold high retention rates throughout the years.
Retention Rate at Baylor University.
As of 2020, Baylor University reported a retention rate of 90.64%.
The following chart illustrates how retention rates have varied over the years at this institution. I want you to take a look at it carefully. What can you notice?
First of all, it is a fact that this parameter has remained incredibly high. Maintaining a retention rate above 88% is not an easy task. But besides remaining at such a high level, we can also see that it has a tendency to increase gradually over time.
In 2013, Baylor had an 88.25% retention rate. Over the next years it didn’t show any remarkable change. But now it’s standing at 90.64%, which is its highest-ever value.
The data for 2021 has not been released yet, but it could be above 90% once again.
This is a clear and undeniable indicator that new undergraduate students are highly satisfied with their experience at Baylor University. The odds of dropping out after the first year are low, and freshmen find a good environment to keep studying at this university.
Graduation Rates: What You Need to Know.
In the previous section, we analyzed how satisfied students are after their freshman year.
But now it’s time to answer an equally important question: how many undergrads actually finish their studies?
We can find the answer to that question by simply looking at the graduation rate of the school, which is the percentage of students who completed their program.
A high graduation rate is a very positive signal, as it reveals that all the time, effort, and resources you spend at this school will be probably worth it.
On the contrary, low graduation rates may suggest that students don’t get academic support along the way or they just feel disappointed over time. So this is also something that you’ll want to take into account.
Graduation Rate at Baylor University.
According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Baylor University registered the following graduation rates:
In the following plot you’ll visualize the 6-year graduation rate over time. In other words, the proportion of students who completed their program within 6 years after enrolling:
This graph clearly illustrates that this parameter has been going up over the last years.
As of 2015, Baylor had a 71.59% graduation rate. Some years later, it showed some growth before going down to 70.4%. Nonetheless it experienced a quick recovery and now it’s standing at 79.03%, which is the highest value it registered.
In summary, the 6-year graduation rate at this university increased by 8.63 percent points between 2017 and 2020. And it will probably get closer to 80% in 2022.
This dramatic change in a relatively short period indicates that Baylor University provides the right conditions for students to advance and graduate within a reasonable time.
Outcomes 8 Years After Attending.
We can dive a little bit deeper and find out the proportion of students that dropped out or transferred from Baylor University. For this purpose, take a look at the following doughnut chart:
From this chart, you can tell that within 8 years of entry, 76% of the students had already graduated, while 21% transferred to another college. Probably the most interesting fact is that only 3% of the students dropped out, which is a very small proportion of the entering class.
Note: College Scorecard usually reports older data. For this reason, you might see a slightly different graduation rate in this chart. Nonetheless the information is still reliable since it comes from the U.S. Department of Education.
3. Class Size / Student-to-Faculty-Ratio.
Class size is another factor that could define whether or not this school is a good fit for you. If you prioritize being able to interact with your professors regularly and receiving more personal attention, you’ll want to find a college with a low student-to-faculty ratio.
This parameter tells you how many students there are at a college for every faculty member. Thus, a lower value typically indicates that classes are more reduced and personalized.
On the other hand, a higher student-to-faculty ratio isn’t necessarily something negative. It all boils down to the type of experience you are looking for. Some people feel comfortable in larger classes, while some others don’t.
What Is the Student-to-Faculty Ratio at Baylor?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Baylor University has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1, meaning that there are 15 students for every faculty member.
This number has not changed significantly in recent years, as shown in the following table:
|2020 – 2021||15:1|
|2019 – 2020||13:1|
|2018 – 2019||14:1|
|2017 – 2018||14:1|
It is important to point out that you should not take this parameter literally. In other words, a 15:1 ratio doesn’t mean that every single class at Baylor will have exactly 15 students.
In fact, Baylor University reports an average class size of 28 students. The reason for this difference is that a great part of the faculty members dedicate their time to non-teaching duties. And this is quite common at colleges with high research activity.
Keep in mind that class size is not set in stone, and it does vary across different courses and majors.
4. Estimated Student Expenses.
Paying for college is one of the main concerns that will have an impact on your final choice. So in order to make an informed decision, the first step is to get familiar with the expenses you’ll have to cover.
The following table contains the reported Cost of attendance (COA) for Baylor University. The COA is a quick estimation of the amounts you would spend annually without receiving any kind of aid. This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and other expenses:
|Tuition and fees||$47,364|
|Room and board||$12,992|
|Books and supplies||$1,264|
|Total cost of attendance||$64,880|
This cost can be significantly lower if you are awarded financial aid. For that reason, we’ll dedicate this whole section to take an in-depth look into the questions that matter to you.
Is the school getting more expensive? What’s the average amount that students receive in grants or scholarships?
These are some of the key questions that we will respond in the next paragraphs. So stay tuned.
Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid.
In this part of the post, we will see how the amount of aid compares to the cost of attendance. Ideally, if the cost of attendance is going up, we want the amount of aid to be growing at the same or even at a higher rate.
But before we get in more detail, I want to make something clear:
This section is only intended to provide a general picture of how the cost and the amount of aid have performed.
All of the numbers presented here are estimates reported by the school. However, every person has a different background, and in case you are eligible for financial aid, the amount will strongly vary depending on your circumstances.
If you need a more accurate estimation based on your personal case, please refer to Baylor’s net price calculator.
Having said that, let’s take a look at the chart:
As the graph shows, the cost of attendance is going up steadily.
Part of this increase is already expectable, as inflation consistently drives up prices. Nonetheless, there are many factors that define the cost of attendance. Consequently, the change in price from one year to another can easily be above inflation.
During the period we are analyzing, the cost of attendance grew by 20.24%, going from $53,960 to $64,880 in 5 years.
On the other hand, the average amount of grant aid for freshmen increased at a faster pace over the same period. In 2014-2015 it was standing at $19,478, and after five years it went to $25,122, which is an increase of 28.98%.
The fact that the amount of aid experienced faster growth is a highly positive signal. However, we still need to know more details before we can draw any conclusion. And that’s the topic of our next section.
Percentage of First-Year Students Receiving Grant or Scholarship Aid.
So far, we know how the annual cost and financial aid have varied over the last years at Baylor. But now it’s time to find out if there are enough freshmen receiving this benefit.
In the chart below, you’ll see the percentage of new students that have been awarded aid during the last cycles. What can you notice?
Despite having a slight decrease in recent years, it is a fact that a great proportion of Baylor students are receiving grant or scholarship aid.
Back in the 2013-2014 cycle, 95.01% of the entering class at Baylor received this benefit. And after a few years, this variable reached its peak at 97.11%.
As of 2019-2020, which is the last cycle reported, 93.25% of new students received grant or scholarship aid. This is a slight drop of 1.75 points over a 6-year period.
Nonetheless, this percentage is still above 93%, a very high value. Furthermore, it seems to be leveling off at that point. So the odds of being awarded aid as a new student are still good. But remember, if you need an estimation based on your situation, head over to Baylor’s net price calculator.
To summarize, in this section we analyzed the environment that students face when it comes to paying for college. Our key findings are listed below:
- Firstly, the cost of attendance at Baylor is going up steadily.
- Secondly, the average amount of grant or scholarship aid has increased at a faster rate in the last 5 years.
- And last but not least, the percentage of students receiving this type of aid seems to be leveling off at around 93%.
5. Expected Salaries.
Now we are getting to the final part of our analysis. And we cannot end this post without talking about about salaries. Even though people usually find it hard to bring up this topic, it is something you are probably interested in.
Hence the next question is, how much can you expect to earn after graduation?
The answer to this question is variable, as it depends on the major you selected, as well as the job offers available when you graduate. But the good news is that the U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of the typical salaries that graduates earn in the third year after graduation.
This piece of information is highly valuable for the following reasons:
- It is calculated using data from actual Baylor graduates.
- It corresponds to the early stage of their career. At this point, you probably care more about your starting salary than you do about your late career income.
There are other sites like Payscale or Glassdoor that upload their own estimates. And while that information may be reliable as well, it is not as in-depth as the data that the government provides.
The table below contains the median annual income for Baylor alumni 3 years within graduation, according to the U.S. Department of Education:
|Child and Family Studies||$40,923|
|Communication Sciences and Disorders||$45,525|
|Electrical and Computer Engineering||$82,751|
|Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation||$65,068|
|Management Information Systems||$82,203|
As the table shows, electrical engineers and computer scientists are the top earners during the first stage of their career, with a median income of $82,751 and $82,525, respectively.
Meghanical engineers are also among the highest-payed professionals from Baylor. Their median salary is $74,883.
Other disciplines like Management Information Systems, Business Administration, Accounting, and Finance have also seen competitive annual earnings.
If your program doesn’t appear on the list, you can visit Baylor’s page on College Scorecard to check if the information is available.
So there you have it. Needless to say, this post was meant to be strongly data-driven. Rather than relying on other people’s opinions, we took a logical approach intended to provide a more accurate picture of the school.
After analyzing the most important variables, a story emerged from the data and we managed to evaluate the school’s performance from different angles.
The following are some of our key takeaways:
- Baylor University is gradually climbing in the national rankings.
- First-year students are highly satisfied, as we could tell by tracking the retention rate over time.
- The university keeps improving its graduation rate. Meaning that more students are finding the right environment to advance and complete their program.
- Only 3% of the students dropped out.
- The average amount of aid has increased at a faster rate than the cost of attendance.
- The proportion of students reveiving financial aid had a slight decrease, but it’s still around 93%.
- Overall Baylor University satisfied the criteria to be considered a good university. In addition it has a tendency to get better as the years go by.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Baylor is known for being quite active in the fields of volunteering and community service. Founded in 1845, it is also the oldest continuously operating university in the state of Texas and the largest Baptist university in the world.
Baylor University does not fall under the definition of a party school. As a Baptist institution, its main focus is entirely on education and community service. Therefore, people interested in a vibrant party scene may be better served at another university.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the most popular majors by the number of graduates are Nursing (267), Biology (225), Communication (152), Health Science Studies (144), Accounting (137), Finance (123), and Psychology (120)
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Baylor has a population of 19,297 students, out of which 14,399 are undergrads, while 4,898 are pursuing graduate studies.
Baylor University is part of the Big 12 Conference in the NCAA Division I. The Baylor Bears represent the school in a wide variety of D-I sports, including baseball, basketball, football, tennis, soccer, volleyball, and others.