Academics at an Independent School

Hero Treatment Container

One constant in Baylor's 125-year history has been to provide a college preparatory program that engages, challenges, and inspires students to achieve their greatest academic potential both at Baylor and beyond...

As an independent school, Baylor is able to uphold important values and foster a positive learning environment where students can thrive.

Academic Excellence


Students from the Class of 2019 have enrolled at different colleges and universities around the world, including Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and 13 Public Ivies.


The average GPA of the Class of 2019.


The Class of 2019 received 238 acceptances to colleges and universities around the world.


acceptance rate to four-year colleges and universities.

What Is an Independent School?

An independent school is a type of private school. All private schools are funded and managed by non-government entities. What distinguishes independent schools from other private schools is that they are run by a board of trustees and are not associated with an outside organization. This differs from private schools that are run by a particular church, diocese or organization.

While some private schools are run by a for-profit company, independent schools are always non-profit in nature. They are primarily funded by tuition, charitable contributions and endowments. As the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) points out, independent schools are also each characterized by their own personalized philosophy and mission.

An independent school is distinct in that it shares many similarities with a private university. Students enjoy a thriving community with faculty and peers that is centered on shared values and a shared motivation to make the most of their middle or upper school years.

The Independent School Advantage

Independent schools should stand out to parents and students as a uniquely beneficial schooling option. That's because an independent school is better positioned than most public and private schools to offer a quality education, both academically and holistically. Baylor students benefit from all these important advantages they may not experience in another school:

  • Unique mission and values: Because independent schools are not associated with a specific organization, they must develop their own guiding mission and principles. Each independent school will determine their own philosophy of education, and that philosophy will permeate the culture and curriculum in the school. This allows parents and students to find an independent school that aligns with their own goals and values.
  • Exceptional teachers: Independent schools are able to maintain especially high standards for the instructors they hire. For example, more than 70% of Baylor faculty members hold advanced degrees. Additionally, independent school teachers typically only teach courses that fall within their specialization, whereas public school teachers are commonly given teaching responsibilities outside of their area of expertise.
  • Greater freedom for teachers: Independent school teachers are given the latitude to develop their courses and utilize curriculum that will help their students succeed. They are not bound to state requirements that dictate the curriculum and testing that public-schooled students receive. As with many college courses, this can lead to classes that are more engaging and teachers who are more passionate about the content and format of their classes.
  • Small class sizes: Independent schools share a commitment to small class sizes that allow teachers to give individualized attention to each of their students and find the best ways to help them succeed. According to recent data from NAIS, the median student-teacher ratio in independent schools is 8.5 to 1. Baylor's student-teacher ratio is even lower than that impressive statistic at 8 students to every teacher.
  • Motivated peers: At a public school, there is typically a wide range of levels of academic potential and motivation among students. At an independent school, students are more likely to be surrounded by other highly motivated, college-bound peers. This makes for a rigorous learning environment that can spur students on to achieve their goals rather than settle for mediocrity. It also allows students to form strong friendships with like-minded peers.
  • Diverse student body: Independent school students may share a commitment to their academic success, but that doesn't mean they are all the same. On the contrary, independent schools immerse students in a more diverse community, with students from a wide range of geographical areas and backgrounds. At Baylor, this diversity also includes international students from several countries.
  • Holistic approach to education: Independent schools, such as Baylor, typically recognize the importance of educating the whole student. In other words, an independent school education extends beyond pure academics to imparting values, developing social skills and encouraging students to grow into civically responsible adults. Independent schools also offer extracurricular opportunities to help students hone artistic or athletic skills.

At Baylor you can...

What Makes Baylor Unique Among Other Independent Schools?

As an independent school, Baylor offers students all the advantages above. Even compared to other independent schools, Baylor distinguishes itself as a unique school that can be an ideal fit for many students and families. If you're comparing independent schools, you'll notice that Baylor is characterized by the following:

1. Selective and Competitive Admission

Students who apply to Baylor must make it through a selective and competitive admissions process, involving an evaluation of their academic performance and test scores and an interview with an admissions counselor.

If you are invited to attend Baylor, it is a major accomplishment and an incredible opportunity. It also means you will be surrounded by other bright, high-achieving students who appreciate the opportunity to attend Baylor and to realize their potential. As college preparatory school attendees, the students at Baylor share common goals to continue their education and go on to enjoy successful careers.

2. An Elite Reputation

Baylor was founded in 1893, and current Baylor students benefit from the long, rich history and tradition of our school. Our Honor Code has been in effect since 1916, so Baylor students today continue to live out the values that Baylor students of generations past did.

Over the years, Baylor has developed a strong reputation as an elite school, which means that when universities see an applicant attended Baylor, it strengthens their application. Our students regularly go on to attend Ivy League universities and be admitted into highly selective programs.

3. A Mission in Action

At Baylor, our mission to motivate and equip students to make a positive difference in the world is more than just a nice thought or a line on our website. We take actionable steps to fulfill our mission every day. Our academic program, school traditions, activities and overall philosophy support our mission and help students internalize important values like honesty, respect, spirituality, leadership, academics, character and individuality. We help students grow as individuals, not just as academics, so they can give back to their communities and lead others with excellence.

4. Spectacular Campus and Classrooms

If you visit our campus, you may not want to leave. The Baylor campus is picturesque, with beautiful brick buildings surrounded by sparkling waters, walking trails, picnic areas, sports fields and majestic shade trees. We're also surrounded by lovely Chattanooga neighborhoods like Hixson and Signal Mountain.

A recent addition to our campus is the Scotty Probasco Academic Center. The $14 million building opened in September 2018 as the new hub for English and history classes. The wide and open hallways, expansive windows in every classroom, spacious common areas and balconies invite students and faculty to interact. The roomy classrooms and modern furniture allow for flexibility in configuration, comfort and usage. The technology is state-of-the-art but no more inspiring than the spectacular vistas of the beautiful Baylor campus and surrounding Tennessee landscape seen from every angle.

5. Impressive Student Achievements

The summation of our impressive teachers, learning environment and mission is that Baylor students achieve great things. The Baylor class of 2019 graduated with an average GPA of 3.5. Students receive a quality education in a diverse range of subjects, including computer science, fine arts, mathematics, world languages and much more. Our students also benefit from college counseling services that help them prepare for the next important stage of their education.

Experience the Independent School Advantage at Baylor

If your student has big plans for their future, Baylor can serve as an effective launching pad. To take the next step, request more information or apply now.

The Scotty Probasco Academic Center

The $14 million Scotty Probasco Academic Center opened in September 2018 as the new hub for English and history classes. The wide and open hallways, expansive windows in every classroom, the spacious common areas, and even the balconies invite students and faculty to interact. The roomy classrooms and the modern furniture allow for flexibility in configuration, comfort, and usage. The technology is state-of-the-art, but no more inspiring than the spectacular vistas of the beautiful Baylor campus and surrounding Tennessee landscape seen from every angle.

Discover more about our learning center, below.

VIDEOS About Academics at baylor

What Classes are You Interested In?

In addition to core curriculum courses required to meet graduation requirements, you have the opportunity to take courses that match your interests while developing the skills you will need to succeed in college and beyond.