Baylor Welcomes Another High-Achieving, Diverse Freshman Class

August 22, 2008

Baylor University has welcomed to campus its second-largest and most diverse freshman class in university history, as more than 3,000 students moved into university residence halls Aug. 20-21. The Class of 2012 will take part in Welcome Week activities before classes get under way on Monday, Aug. 25.

The latest class also arrived on campus at the same time that U.S.News & World Report released its 2009 rankings of "America's Best Colleges." (Baylor's overall ranking and those of the university's undergraduate business and engineering programs are below.)

Although enrollment isn't official until the 12th class day, just under 3,100 freshmen are set to attend Baylor, only the second time ever that freshman enrollment has topped 3,000. The largest freshman class came in 2005, when a record 3,168 first-year students enrolled at Baylor.

The class continues the university's trend of attracting high-achieving students to Baylor. The students' average SAT score of 1210 represents the third consecutive year that incoming Baylor freshmen have averaged more than 1200 on their test scores.

But what has pleased university and admissions officials is the continued improvement in diversity among Baylor freshmen. Minority enrollment among this year's class stands at a record 31 percent. Over a three-year period, Baylor's minority freshman enrollment increased 30 percent. During the same period, enrollment among Hispanic students has increased 40 percent.

Overall, Baylor officials expect the total undergraduate population at Baylor to top 12,000 for the first time since 2001, when 12,190 undergraduates were enrolled. Total fall enrollment could top 14,000 for the third straight fall. Baylor's record fall enrollment was 14,221 in 2001. Its second-largest overall enrollment was 14,174 in 2007.

Record Campus Living

As Baylor freshmen moved to campus this week, moving into residence halls has become an overall trend among Baylor students. Officials said that more than 40 percent of Baylor's undergraduate student population will be living on campus this fall. The total number of students who will be living on campus - an estimated 4,750 students - will be the most ever to reside on campus at Baylor.

This includes more than 1,700 upper-division students, an increase of 26 percent over last year's number of sophomores, juniors and seniors who lived on campus and the fifth straight year that number has risen. Of those 1,700 students, 1,200 are connected to a living-learning community or residential college.

As students return for the fall semester, Baylor continues to make substantial progress on many of its academic goals.

Latest Rankings

The latest U.S.News & World Report rankings, released on Aug. 22, placed Baylor at No. 76 - only one point from tying five other universities at No. 71 - among the nation's top national doctoral-granting universities. The ranking in the magazine's 2009 edition of "America's Best Colleges" represents Baylor's second-highest ever overall U.S. News ranking, just behind last year's ranking at No. 75. The magazine evaluated more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools.

Universities in the state of Texas continue to lead the Big 12 Conference among the U.S. News "Best National Universities." Among Big 12 schools, Baylor is the third highest-ranked university, behind only the University of Texas-Austin at No. 47 and Texas A&M at No. 64.

Baylor and the Texas universities are ahead of University of Colorado-Boulder at No. 77; Iowa State, University of Kansas and University of Nebraska-Lincoln at No. 89; University of Missouri-Columbia at No. 96; University of Oklahoma at No. 108; and Kansas State at No. 130. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are both in the third tier.

Baylor is the fifth highest-rated university in Texas, behind Rice at No. 17, UT-Austin, Texas A&M and SMU at No. 66. TCU, at No. 113, is the only other Texas school ranked in the magazine's top 130.

Business, Engineering

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

Baylor's Hankamer School of Business tied with eight other universities at No. 65 in this year's top undergraduate business program rankings. Baylor's entrepreneurship program - which was one of the first of its kind in the country - was ranked 14th among the nation's best entrepreneurship programs.

Baylor's engineering program continues to be highly ranked, this year rated 21st with five other universities with the "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs." The category is for schools whose highest engineering degree offered is a bachelor's or master's.

U.S. News relies on several factors for its university survey, including "indicators of academic quality" gathered from each school; assessment by administrators at peer institutions; student retention; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; alumni giving; class size; student/faculty ratio; and graduation rate performance.

Highlights of the college rankings are scheduled for publication in the Sept. 1-8 edition of U.S.News & World Report magazine, available for newsstand purchase on Aug. 25. The "America's Best Colleges" guidebook goes on sale Aug. 26.

The rankings can be accessed online at