- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Psychology
- Gender: F
- High School: Boerne High School
- Transfer Student: N
When students here are asked if they like Baylor, a typical response is "I love Baylor, but I hate Waco." That is probably the one thing I would've liked to know before deciding to come here. Baylor, in a word, is amazing. It's the perfect size - not UT, but not Southwestern. The professors are friendly and approachable, and all are very knowledgeable about their respective fields. The campus itself, in my opinion, is probably one of the most beautiful in this part of the country. Most of the facilities are top-notch; we have an almost-new state of the art science building, a decent-sized recreation/exercise building, and brand new residence halls. Any buildings that aren't new are nostalgic and beautiful, like the Armstrong Browning Library and Old Main. Plus, we have a bear pit where our real Brown Bear mascots live. Aside from the tangible aspects of Baylor, its Baptist heritage plays a big part in student life as well. Baylor's Christian foundations are evident in many ways: we are required to take chapel for two semesters, a Christian Scriptures class, and a Christian Heritage class, not to mention the many, many service projects students put on throughout the year. The best part is that none of this is forced on any of the students. Yes, we are required to take a couple Christian classes in order to graduate, but they are taught from an educational standpoint, rather than an evangelical one. In my experience so far at Baylor, students and their beliefs have always been respected. Now, with all this good, there has to be some bad, and that brings me to the not-so-great city of Waco, Texas. Not only is it famous for housing some grade-A crazies (ahem, Branch Dividians) in the early 90s, but worse yet, THERE IS NOTHING TO DO HERE. Granted, we do have a surprisingly decent zoo, the Dr. Pepper Museum, and a large park along the Brazos River, but those are strictly daytime activities. If you are into big-city nightlife, you'll have to drive an hour and a half either north to Dallas, or south to Austin. This tends to be a given for the weekends, as you can see by the nearly empty parking lots come Friday at 3pm. And THEN, perhaps the very worst part about Waco, and the part that I wish someone had told me, is that it is not a safe city to live in. You know that park I was talking about? Ask ANYone about it, and they'll tell you "Oh yeah it's gorgeous in the daytime. But DON'T go there at night, you WILL be mugged/raped/stabbed." You'd think that such a highly-esteemed university with all kinds of funding would be in a nice little college town that caters to its every need. Sadly, no. Not even close. I hate to say anything bad about my Baylor experience, but it's important, and I'm sure parents would be thankful to know these things ahead of time. If you don't live within the "Baylor bubble" (the 5 mile radius surrounding the campus), then invest in a security system. Seriously. And even if you live close to campus, I'd do it anyway. Safety first!
The classes and professors here are probably one of the best things about Baylor. It's a big enough school that you get a wide range of classes to choose from, but small enough that even in your intro classes, professors will often know you or at least recognize your face. As you start taking more and more major-specific classes, you'll come to really respect the passion and knowledge that Baylor professors possess. There are the few inevitable tenured profs that are too brilliant for their own good and expect you to know everything about the subject because they wrote the book (seriously), but wouldn't you rather have that than profs who don't know what they're talking about? A good handful of my classes have been taught by the type of professor that cares more about your life experiences than the class curriculum, which is really cool. They'll pay no attention to the syllabus and talk more about your thoughts on revolution or the afterlife or religious pluralism or foreign culture or any number of subjects more applicable to life than is the textbook. Those are the classes I enjoyed most.
There's no getting around it, Baylor is made up of predominantly white, republican, upper-middle class Baptist students. At least that might be considered the Baylor poster-child. Excuse the generalization, but the stereotypical Baylor student is the one that does indeed drive the '09 Lexus and has their own house custom built for the four years they are here at Baylor. They are probably a business major, only because that looks respectable but doesn't actually require a huge amount of effort, and they aspire to either get married asap if they are a girl, or if they're a boy, graduate with a bba and promptly continue to put forth exactly zero effort and yet somehow manage to acquire his father's business and subsequently make a couple million so they can put their own children through Baylor (Ok that was a little bit biased.. I happen to be part of the 0.0001% of Baylor students who is getting by on scholarships and student loans). But despite its stereotypical southern Christian demographic, we are not entirely without ethnic and religious diversity. And from what I can tell, non-Christian and Christian students alike benefit from the school's Baptist heritage as a moral foundation and a source of education. If you get here and you're looking for friends that are down to earth, intelligent, and fun, you'll find them. You just might have to look a little harder..
The Best Things
the professors, the campus itself
The Worst Things
the town it's in, the price