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Survey ranks 357 leading colleges

Aug. 31, 2004

By LINDSEY GOMEZ, staff writer

Based on statistics and a survey by The Princeton Review of 110,000 students at 357 of America's leading colleges, students at Baylor are likely to play intramural sports, vote Republican, pray consistently and interact only within their own race and class.

Baylor ranks in the top 10 for colleges that pray on a regular basis.

Jessica Nielson Mitcham, a George W. Truett Seminary student and North Russell Residence Hall chaplain, said students' religious devotion is evident on campus.

According to statistics on Baylor's Information Management and Testing Services Web site, in fall 2003, 92.2 percent of faculty is Christian.

"I went to a big state school for my undergraduate degree and I do see how Baylor is unique," she said. "I think Baylor made the list partially because the teaching staff is Christian."

Baylor also ranks in the top 10 for having little race and class interaction and high intramural sports participation.

LaSteshia Runyon, a Fort Worth sophomore, said stereotypes of Baylor students, such as those generated from surveys like Princeton's, don't necessarily hold true.

"I don't think that's true about the little race and class interaction, because I pretty much get along with everybody," Runyon said. "Everyone here is their own person. They don't just follow one set of rules."

Luz Delgado, a Juarez, Mexico senior, disagrees. She said there's "not outspoken prejudice, but it's prevalent enough to feel it."

Iman Abdeshahian, an Oklahoma City junior who was born in Iran, said she feels that her being of Middle Eastern descent sets her apart from others students at Baylor. People make opinions, she said, based on what they see on television.

The number of married or engaged students also is mentioned in the guide.

"Women reputedly arrive at Baylor husband-hunting, which can be a challenge considering the three to two female to male ratio," the guide said.

Abdeshahian said she thinks parental influence is a factor when it comes to "husband hunting."

"Parents know that smart people are going to come to Baylor and on top of that people that have money are more than likely going to come to Baylor," she said. "So, some parents don't necessarily mind for their children to date at Baylor as opposed to dating just somebody else."

Baylor also came in No. 7 of 20 schools in what the guide calls of "Alternative Lifestyles Not an Alternative."

Only four of the 64 categories in the guide involve institutional data as well as student opinion. These additional list categories include: the toughest colleges to get into, best academic experience for students, and the best bargains for public and private schools.

Eric Olson, senior editor of the guide, said schools that offer a unique academic experience are considered the "best."

The Princeton Review's guide was first published in 1992 and is released every summer. As the amount of colleges across the United States increases, the guide grows, Olsen said.

"When we first published this guide there wasn't a guide based solely on college student opinion," Olson said. "We're looking for the way you might describe campus culture. We try to cover what you can't get from a view book."

Each college's rankings aren't based on The Princeton Review's opinion, but a consensus based on surveys from about 300 students per campus.

"The stereotype of Baylor students is clear: 'pretentious little children who carry the Bible in one hand and daddy's credit card in the other,"' the guide says. But it adds that it's not an absolute reality.

Ashley Carter, a Gatesville senior, said she agrees with the guide's evaluation of Baylor.

"I particularly like the quote about the 'little children who carry the Bible in one hand and Daddy's credit card in the other' because I have noticed that quite a lot," Carter said. "But it's not everybody because my parents don't pay for anything. I'm strictly on loans. I have a job. I even take care of my little sister."

Also, Abdeshahian and Delgado said that they were surprised Baylor didn't make the list rankings for having the best professors.

"Something I've always liked about this campus is that the teachers have so much passion for the subjects that they're learning and that is transmitted to the students," Delgado said.

Jeanne Krier, Publicity Director of Princeton Review Books, said she'd like Baylor students to take part in answering the online survey. Students who wish to participate can view the questionnaire at www.survey.review.com.

The guide, published by Random House, is available in bookstores.