Baylor Sets Overall Enrollment Record With More Than 15,000 Students

Sept. 13, 2011

As Baylor moves up in latest U.S. News rankings, enrollment report strong in freshman academic achievement, retention rates, minority enrollment

WACO, Texas (Sept. 13, 2011) -- Baylor University has enrolled 15,029 students - the university's largest overall enrollment - as well as the most academically prepared freshman class in Baylor's 166-year history, according to official 12th-day enrollment statistics compiled by the Office of Institutional Research and Testing.

The enrollment report comes as Baylor moved up four places to No. 75 in the latest "Best Colleges" rankings released today by U.S.News & World Report.

Baylor's previous overall enrollment record was set last fall as 14,900 students attended the university. This is the first time enrollment has topped 15,000 students.

Baylor enrolled 3,033 high-achieving freshmen, who were among nearly 39,000 students applying to attend Baylor.

The academic quality of the freshmen also set records, with the entering class averaging 1236 on the SAT and 27 on the ACT. Seventy-four percent of Baylor freshmen finished in the top quartile of their high school classes. Diversity among the entering class remains strong with minority enrollment at 32.5 percent, the fourth consecutive fall above 30 percent.

In addition, the IRT report showed that the retention rate among Baylor's freshmen from fall 2010 to fall 2011 jumped from 81.9 percent to 85.4 percent.

"It is unusual for a university to increase retention in one year by even 1 percentage point. Our 3.5 percentage point increase is phenomenal," said Sinda K. Vanderpool, Ph.D., assistant vice provost for enrollment management.

Vanderpool attributed the increase, in part, to a concerted university effort, beginning with the first contact point with an Admissions counselor, to help new students work towards graduation.

"At Baylor, we believe that every square inch of our campus is a classroom. We have challenging academic programs, yet we provide engaging experiences and excellent support. The 2010 cohort of students was also academically very well prepared so that is certainly a contributing factor for retention," she said.

"We organized a retention leadership team to make sure that retention was at the forefront of everyone's minds and to collaborate in our efforts, and I think that's what got us to where we are," said Brandon B. Miller, assistant vice president for student success at Baylor's Paul L. Foster Success Center. "It was the entire institution coming together to say if we admit these students, we want them to be here, and we'll help them find more resources, give them the right direction to help them find the academic support that they need and help them find financial support and social support."

Overall in fall 2011, Baylor has enrolled:

    • 12,575 undergraduates, a record number of undergraduates at the university,

    • 2,241 students in the Graduate School and professional programs, including Baylor Law School, George W. Truett Theological Seminary and Baylor School of Social Work, and

    • 213 students in Baylor/U.S. Army affiliated graduate degree programs.

In addition, Baylor enrolled one of its largest, most academically prepared and diverse groups of transfer students, with more than 40 percent coming to Baylor from four-year colleges and universities from across the United States. They also represent 15 countries.

Baylor moves up in latest U.S. News rankings

In the U.S. News rankings, Baylor at No. 75 is the third-ranked university in the Big 12, behind only the University of Texas at Austin at No. 45 and Texas A&M University at No. 58. Baylor is the fifth-ranked university in Texas, behind Rice University, UT-Austin, Texas A&M and SMU. Other Big 12 universities that were ranked included Missouri at No. 90, Iowa State at No. 97, Kansas and Oklahoma at No. 101, Oklahoma State at No. 132, Kansas State at No. 143 and Texas Tech at No. 160.

U.S. News also gave high marks to Baylor's engineering and business undergraduate programs.

Baylor's engineering program continues to be highly ranked at No. 13 among universities with the "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs." The category is for schools whose highest engineering degree offered is a bachelor's or master's degree. However, Baylor will soon begin offering a research-oriented Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering.

During the past decade, the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Baylor has added four master's degree programs and doubled the size of its faculty. The new doctoral program will provide a significant boost to the university's collaborative and interdisciplinary research base, as well as the level of externally generated research funding. This reflects the university's commitment to the newly established Central Texas Technology and Research Park, and the park's first project, the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), of which engineering will be a significant player.

Baylor's undergraduate business program in the Hankamer School of Business is tied with 11 other universities at No. 69 in this year's rankings by U.S. News. Baylor's entrepreneurship program - which was one of the first of its kind in the country - jumped to No. 11 among the nation's best entrepreneurship programs.

Baylor also was ranked #51 in the High School Counselor Rankings, in which guidance counselors from all the high schools in U.S. News's 2010 Best High Schools rankings, as well as from the largest private independent schools nationwide, were surveyed about which national universities and national liberal arts colleges they think offer the best undergraduate education to their students.

The U.S. News rankings, which include ratings of more than 1,500 schools nationwide, are available at www.usnews.com and on newsstands Sept. 20.

The U.S. News college rankings group schools based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The 2012 Best Colleges rankings provide the most thorough examination of how more than 1,500 accredited four-year schools compare on a set of up to 16 widely-accepted indicators of excellence: peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and, for National Universities and National Liberal Art Colleges, "graduation rate performance" and high school counselor ratings of colleges.

The record-setting enrollment report capped off several weeks of national recognition for Baylor's academic rigor and its campus experience:

    • This month, Baylor was one of only 19 universities nationwide to receive an "A" from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in a new report that gauges an institution's commitment to a strong core curriculum.

    • The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine lists Baylor in the top 100 colleges awarding degrees to Hispanic students.

    • For the sixth straight year, the best-selling Fiske Guide for college-bound students and their parents has named Baylor University a "Best Buy."

    • Baylor joined an elite group of universities when it was named to The Chronicle of Higher Education's 2011 Honor Roll as one of the country's "Great Colleges to Work For."

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