Baylor Sets Overall Enrollment Record for Fall 2012
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As Baylor comes in at No. 77 in latest U.S. News rankings, increase in retention rates, diversity among highlights of enrollment report
WACO, Texas (Sept. 12, 2012) - Baylor University has enrolled 15,364 students in fall 2012, the university's largest overall enrollment in its 167-year history, as well as another high-achieving and near-record freshman class, according to official 12th-day enrollment statistics compiled by the Office of Institutional Research and Testing.
The enrollment report comes as Baylor was ranked No. 77 in the latest "Best Colleges" rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report. The latest survey also included good news for Baylor's undergraduate business and engineering programs, which again were highly rated by U.S. News.
Baylor's previous overall enrollment record was set last fall as 15,029 students attended the university. This is the second time enrollment at Baylor has topped 15,000 students.
Baylor enrolled 3,254 high-achieving freshmen, only five off the record set in 2010, when 3,259 freshmen enrolled at Baylor. Last year's freshman class just topped 3,000 at 3,033 first-year students.
The academic quality of the freshmen class continued to be robust, with the entering class averaging 1234 on the SAT and 26.9 on the ACT. Seventy-two percent of Baylor freshmen were ranked in the top quartile of their high school classes.
Diversity among the entering class remains strong with minority enrollment among Baylor's freshman class at 34 percent, up from 32.5 percent last year and the fifth consecutive fall above 30 percent. Overall, the university's minority enrollment increased to 33.4 percent, up from 32.6 percent in 2011.
Twenty-six percent of the freshman class is from out of state.
In addition, the IRT report showed that the retention rate among Baylor's freshmen from fall 2011 to fall 2012 increased again to a record 86.6 percent, up from 85.4 percent in 2011 and 81.9 percent in 2010.
"To have experienced, for another year in a row, an increase of over one percentage point in retention is outstanding, especially for a university of Baylor's size. But while we are very pleased with a positive trend over the past two years, this news only energizes us to take our student engagement efforts to the next level," said Sinda K. Vanderpool, Ph.D., assistant vice provost for academic enrollment management.
Much of the retention gains, Vanderpool noted, are directly related to the outstanding students from across the nation who are enrolling at Baylor. However, once students are here, she said, the university's commitment to their success is a university-wide effort.
"From administrative associates who greet students in offices to advisors, financial aid counselors, faculty members and administrators, every member of the Baylor faculty and staff works to help new students connect to the Baylor community and matriculate towards completing a degree," Vanderpool said. "The Retention Leadership Team consists of a group of administrators who meet monthly to make this vision a reality with each cohort of incoming students. We are starting to see the fruits of years of labor play out."
Vanderpool pointed to the university's enhanced New Student Experience that creates more intentionally interwoven efforts at each phase of student development within the first year - from Orientation, Line Camp, Welcome Week, Chapel and living on campus to the New Student Experience course. The university also has invested in MAP-Works, a student success platform that will help the university understand more about new students and assist staff in providing support needed for success.
"We are energized by the vision articulated in Pro Futuris to 'create a coherent set of undergraduate learning experiences that foster student success, involvement, and completion' and 'build a robust and coordinated set of activities and programs that help all students navigate the path from matriculation to their initial and future vocations,'" she said.
Overall in fall 2012, Baylor has enrolled:
12,918 undergraduates, a record number of undergraduates at the university,
2,221 students in the Graduate School and professional programs, including Baylor Law School, George W. Truett Theological Seminary and Baylor School of Social Work, and
225 students in Baylor/U.S. Army affiliated graduate degree programs.
In the latest U.S. News rankings, Baylor at No. 77 is the second-ranked university in the Big 12, behind only the University of Texas at Austin at No. 46. 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 TCU at No. 92, Iowa State and Oklahoma at No. 101, Kansas at No. 106, Oklahoma State and Kansas State at No. 139, and Texas Tech and West Virginia at No. 165.
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 Central Texas Technology and Research Park, and the park's first project, the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), in which engineering will be a significant research partner.
Baylor's undergraduate business program in the Hankamer School of Business moved up 13 places in this year's U.S. News rankings to No. 56, tied with 15 other universities. Baylor's entrepreneurship program - which was one of the first of its kind in the country - is rated the 13th among the nation's best entrepreneurship programs.
Baylor also moved up to No. 49 in the High School Counselor Rankings, in which guidance counselors from a nationwide sampling of public high schools in the 2012 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings that were gold, silver, or bronze medal winners, as well as from the largest private independent schools nationwide, reported the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges they think offer the best undergraduate education to their students.
The U.S. News rankings are available at www.usnews.com and on newsstands Sept. 18.
The U.S. News college rankings group schools based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The 2013 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 academic excellence, including peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, class size and student-faculty ratio, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.