The Baylor education, although wonderful in itself, serves mainly as a springboard for the next phase of life: college. Higher education decisions of a student body can be reflective of the culture of the high school, and the quality of its college preparation process.
For example, the decision to go out of state for college is a big one. Staying in one’s home state for college has many benefits, including lowered state school tuition, or simply the comfort and familiarity that comes with being close to family. Nationwide studies suggest that only 27 percent of high school students choose to leave their state for college. In comparison, 64 percent of Baylor students leave Tennessee for their college years. That’s a striking contrast. This statistic shows that Baylor students are more willing than most to leave their comfort zones and strike out for college.
In the process of choosing a college, Baylor students tend to prefer public universities, which is in keeping with national trends. Nationally, more than three times the amount of students go to a public university. The divide between public and private is more balanced at Baylor with 59 percent choosing public universities, and benefitting from the lowered tuition, more diverse student body, and large amounts of accessible resources.
Most high school athletes do not believe they will have the opportunity to continue to play their sport at a collegiate level. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the chance of continuing one’s sport at a college level is, on average, 6 percent. Baylor students once again stand out from the national average, with 39 athletes from the class of 2018 (22 percent) continuing their sport as a part of their college experience.
To understand the driving force behind Baylor college decisions, one must look at the quality of the college counseling office and its standards for students. Baylor is unique in how personal the counseling process is. The national average ratio of students to college counselor is 281:1—as opposed to Baylor, where it’s around 50:1. That reduced number allows for students to have so much more guidance, which makes the eventual college decisions all the more impressive. “Early on, we engage all students at developmentally appropriate times in their Baylor career to encourage them to think intentionally about how they can take advantage of all of the doors that open for them at school. Then, as they become upperclassmen, we formalize a closer relationship that is open, honest and supportive with individualized meetings and advice,” said Elizabeth Young, associate director of the College Counseling office.
The strong guidance of the college counselors is also evident in the 14.8 percent of the class of 2018 and 2019 who applied early decision. Nationally, six percent of applications are submitted as early decision. Whether or not to apply early decision is a difficult choice to make, and so Baylor’s increased numbers indicate a confidence that more students than average have found one school they feel is right for them.