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An Interview On
Baylor University

Background

Interview Date:October 2019

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2022
High School Experience: Public school in Anaheim Hills, CA with a graduating class of about 600 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Major: Pre-Business and when I’m admitted to the business school I’ll probably choose Marketing or Human Resource Management
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a sorority and I occasionally volunteer at a senior facility.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? 
My sorority definitely does. It helps me manage my time better and it’s a good place to make friends. It’s impacted how I go about my day and everything like that.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Right now, for my major I take one intro to business class, one business calculus class, and one business technology class that focuses on Excel spreadsheets. My exams have been fairly spaced out and the assignments have been pretty light. I’ve had one presentation and it was very simple and straightforward.

Is there anything you feel the pre-business courses do especially well or poorly?
I think the pre-business courses are very straightforward and to the point and give you an idea of the different areas of business. There are a lot of speakers that come in, which I appreciate. In my Business 1101 class, they had speakers come in every Monday to talk about the different areas of business you might want to work in during your life. So, I think helping you find your path is something the pre-business courses do really well.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s competitive because you need to make sure to keep your GPA above 3.0 so that you can get into the business school later on. But, it’s collaborative because we help each other out with exam preparation and there’s never anybody who wants to beat you because the classes aren’t graded on a curve. You just need to make sure that you keep above the 3.0 GPA with everyone else.

How accessible are your professors?
They all offer a convenient range of office hours and if those hours don’t work for you it’s very easy to just reach out to them through their email and make a meeting.

What has been your favorite pre-business class so far?
Business 1305. It’s challenging but it’s something I’ve never learned before. We walk through the different functions of using Microsoft Excel, which is something that I haven’t had to use on a day to day basis before. It’s cool to see all the different formulas you can put in and the processes. It’s required and is a really good course to take.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
So far, I’m pretty happy with it. I was an Elementary Education major first year but realized that it wasn’t my passion and ended up transferring over to the business school with the hope for a wider range of options and future career paths, which I’ve found. We’ve had over ten different companies come in and explain what they do and it’s been really interesting to see how many opportunities are available.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: Collins Hall with one roommate. It is an all-female hall.

Sophomore: Off-campus apartment with three other girls. We each have our own bedroom.

How happy have you been with your living situations so far?
The amenities have been good. We have the pool and the gym right there so it’s nice to have that whenever we have to relax a bit.

How was transitioning from Anaheim Hills, CA to Waco, TX?
It was interesting. Anaheim Hills is the suburbs and a beach city, so everything is 30-minutes away. There were a lot more things to do at home than in Waco. In Waco, you have to get a lot more creative. But, one thing I have noticed is that people are a lot kinder here in Waco so it’s easier to make friends and not hard to find things to do that are entertaining.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Waco is a bit of an impoverished area, so how safe you feel depends on where you are. But, the security at Baylor is really on top of things. We have the blue light system and we get text alerts when something wrong happens on campus. Even though we are right up against the city limits of Waco, I feel very safe on campus. [The poverty rate of Waco, TX is about 27%.]

Pros and cons of being located in Waco, TX?
Pros:
1) You get a small-town vibe. It’s kind of in shambles right now because they are doing a lot of construction. I know it’s small, but I get to live here and it feels like my home.
2) The people in Waco are very nice.
3) You stay on campus so you make good relationships with your professors and friends. You also get to focus on the amazing education you are receiving.

Cons:
1) It’s far away from big cities, so if you want to drive to the airport it takes about an hour and a half.
2) The roads are awful. There are potholes that could wreck the alignment of your car.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
There are a couple of different options. There is a bowling alley on campus that you can use and there are multiple movie theaters around Waco. There are a lot of fun restaurants around and the general Waco attractions like the suspension bridge – but that’s more of a one-time thing. There’s also Smiley’s which is an 18+ country dance bar that’s fun to go to with friends and meet new people. Those are the different things I like to go to.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I work every weekend so there hasn’t been much of an opportunity for me to go to Greek life parties on campus or anything. My sorority has mixers with both fraternities and sororities. We have an event coming up where we’ll mix with another sorority and do a pumpkin painting night and watch movies.

How did your nightlife experience differ before and after you joined Greek life?
If you’re in a sorority, it’s much easier for you to get into a frat party and you also have a lot more knowledge of when the parties will be and where they are because they send out information about parties and events happening. I realized a huge difference between last year and this year because I wasn’t in a sorority last year. [About 20% of undergraduates are involved in Greek life.]

How happy are you with the weekend options at Baylor? Is there anything you would change about them if you could?
We have a lot of options for what we have in Waco and there’s enough so that you can alternate what you do every few weekends and you don’t get tired of what you’re doing.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Two of my best friends lived in my residence hall last year. Another one of my best friends was in the same major as me at the time. We’ve been friends since the first week of school.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Baylor?
Everyone, for the most part, is very welcoming and friendly. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but that’d be anywhere. You don’t ever feel like you’re isolated on campus. You can walk around and make friends in the oddest places. You find that after a while that working in class together and doing homework together feels like a community, so it’s really not that difficult to make connections with people around you. I meet a new girl every time I have an event for my sorority because there’s so many of us and it’s like we’ve known each other forever. I don’t want to say it’s easy, but making friends and having social connections is not hard if you try.

To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I have not personally witnessed any issues with different racial groups not socializing with others, but I do know that there are different fraternities and sororities that are specifically for certain racial groups. So, there are fun functions and groups for different racial groups, but that doesn’t push them aside. We all still socialize together. With sexual orientations, I only know a few people who aren’t heterosexual. I don’t see any discrimination against that on campus, but I don’t know if a lot of people are very public about that here given that it’s a Christian university.

What is the impact of the school’s Christian affiliation on campus?
I have noticed that a lot of people here have different religious backgrounds and that does not impact the education they get I think. Professors will sometimes include it in their lessons, but not in a way where they’re forcing their religion on you. They just want to take their religion and show how the material ties into their faith. We have chapel, which all freshmen are required to go to. It does have its flaws, but I think they try to make sure that it’s very inclusive of all religions without zeroing in on one specific one. I personally am Christian, but I’m not extremely devout – I don’t go to church every Sunday or anything like that – and I don’t feel like I’m constantly surrounded by the pressure of being in the Christian religion.

To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
Two of my roommates are in different sororities and one is in one of the cultural non-Panhellenic sororities. It doesn’t make much of a difference, she just has different events than we have. I was one of the only girls last year in my residence hall that didn’t rush for a sorority last year, and I was still super close with all the girls and it didn’t make much of a difference. The only difference is that sometimes they’re going to be busy when you want to hang out with them because everybody will be at different sorority events. It’s not that they’re not including you, it’s just that they have a lot of things on their schedule that you don’t.

How would you describe the student body?
I think everybody here is very driven for their education. Given how much they’re paying to go here, it makes sense to put as much effort as you can into your classes. People are willing to help each other with work, relate to each other, recommend good professors, and everything like that. We’re very spirited and excited about athletics and all the sports events bring us together. I think it’s really cool because our president and First Gentleman are both very involved in the student community, which I appreciate. Like, last year during finals they sat outside one of the dining halls and gave hugs to all the students coming in because it’s a stressful week. They’re very accommodating and caring in a lot of ways and I think that draws the community together. They’re always making sure that we’re aware that Baylor is a caring community and that we’re all doing this together.

How do you like the size of Baylor in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How was transitioning to a school with [about 14,000] students?
I personally really like the size of the school because it’s not so big where you feel overwhelmed. I like the size of the campus because you can walk from one end to the other in about 30 minutes. With the actual student population, I still manage to see someone I know at least once a day. You still have familiarities when you walk around all day. It’s not like you’re walking around in a strange group of people when you go to class.

If at all, how has Baylor’s issues with sexual assault impacted your experience?
It really hasn’t impacted my personal experience. They have the Title IX office and plenty of resources for us if we ever need to reach out to anybody. They also have Title IX events at the beginning of every year. But, I do think that they struggle to get across what they’re trying to say in a constructive and successful manner. It sometimes comes off as humorous, which is not exactly what we want. It makes you more aware of your surroundings, but I still feel completely safe on campus. [See Tuscon.com article, “Baylor officials open up about extensive Title IX reform” and Baylor Magazine article, “Understanding and Implementing Title IX.”]

Careers

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I have not yet just because I’m just starting my major this year.

Have you learned any computer languages or software that will be helpful to you professionally?
I learned Excel in my Business 1305 class.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? If so, how easy are they to work with?
Yes, I use financial aid. Depending on when you call them or try to reach out, they may be swamped with other students trying to reach them as well. But, they’ve always responded to me in an efficient fashion – maybe three business days, which is impressive for how many students they deal with. I have a couple of scholarships as well as financial aid through them, so they’ve been fairly helpful with that and are good at communicating with students about what they might need to do to pay their tuition.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Baylor before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew ahead of time how developed the business school was so I could have gotten a jump start on that rather than starting out as a different major. The business school has so many resources for students and you don’t feel like you have to fight over those resources with other students.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They tend to take students onto the east side of campus, which is newer and nicer. I would encourage students to wander across the whole campus because the west side is a bit older and it’s really important to see that side of it because it’s not like the whole campus is new. I also personally appreciate the classic old buildings.

What is something a prospective Christian student may want to know about Baylor that we haven’t touched on?
Just because it’s a Christian university doesn’t mean you will feel subjected to be a Christian. They are still welcoming to all people. Also, know that Christianity will be part of some discussions that you go through throughout your day with different professors. Overall, the biggest factor you see from Christianity at Baylor is the community and how everyone is like a big family. Everyone cares about each other, so that really helps with the college experience because sometimes it can be difficult and the community makes it lighter on your shoulders.

Reasons to attend Baylor:
1) The sense of community. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing it on your own.
2) It’s a beautiful campus. It’s green and all the old brick buildings are super beautiful. It takes you back a little bit and makes you feel like you’re isolated in this gorgeous area.
3) There’s a small-town vibe. If you’re from a city, it makes you appreciate the little things like spending time with friends. It makes you have to be creative to entertain yourselves during the weekend.
4) You get a good education and the professors really care about you being successful.

Reasons to not attend Baylor:
1) If you’re the type of person that loves living in the city, don’t come to Baylor because I think that type of person would lose their minds. That’s just not what Waco or Baylor is.
2) If you don’t want to hear anything about Christianity. It’s inclusive, but you will have Christianity sprinkled over different conversations.
3) If you really don’t care about athletics, Baylor is really big on football and basketball and that’s a big part of the experience here.

Notice: Baylor University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Baylor University.

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