I feel like I won’t really be good enough for Baylor. So while I’m still in high school, can anyone give me any advice or tips on what I can do/classes to take to better my chances of getting into Baylor?
Without knowing a baseline of where you are now, it’s difficult to give you an idea of what you can do, what you can do differently, and what you might do to improve your chances.
Here’s some questions for you:
- What year are you in high school now?
- Would you say that you take the most challenging classes that your high school offers; Honors, Pre-AP, AP, IB, Duel enrollment or Dual credit?
- What’s your class rank?
- What’s your GPA (weighted and unweighted, and the scales) - e.g. 3.5/4.0 unweighted, 4.65/5.0 weighted)
- Have you taken the ACT or SAT yet? If not, what is your newest PSAT score?
- How involved are you in your community? Do you volunteer?
- Do you participate in extracurriculars?
- Have you held any leadership positions?
- Have you held a job?
- Do you have any ‘recruitable’ talents or abilities?
Without the answers to these questions, generally speaking:
Take the most challenging classes available to you, and do very well in them. Baylor lists “rigor” as “very important”. Make certain that you have 4 years of English, 4 years of math, 4 years of science (2 lab sciences), and at least 2 years of the same foreign language. You’ll want to be in, at least, the top 25% of your class (rank). About 75% of Baylor admits are in the top 25%, and about 40% are in the top 10%. ← Aim for the top 10%. Baylor lists rank as “very important”.
Baylor’s 50th percentile score for the SAT is about 1270-1280. For the ACT it’s a 29. If Baylor is your target #1 school, you’ll want to target the 75th percentile for scores. Aim for a 1350 SAT (680-690 or above on both math and EBRW subscores), and/or 31 ACT (29+ on all subscores) minimums.
Whether it’s Baylor, or one of the many somewhere elses, colleges & universities want to see applications from the doers. What are you passionate about? What do you love? Get involved, take ownership, and lead. It doesn’t have to be (and I’d make the argument that it shouldn’t just be) something that looks good on a resume. It should be something that you feel strongly about. Something that’s you. Something where you want to make an impact on a life, a cause, your community, or the world. Take your youthful energy and ideas, and find something that matters to you. Be a game changer.
Get involved in your school community too. Why? School is a significant part of a teenager’s life. You spend more time in that community than the average adult spends at work. This is a community where you can not only make a lasting impact, but a community that can support your future applications. Counselors, teachers, coaches, etc… can attest to your work ethic, your character, your level of engagement, your level of commitment, your academic prowess, etc… So, don’t wait and try to do a ‘senior blitz’, too little and too late. Find clubs and activities that you care about care about, and engage. Be a good student, a good person, and a good and productive member of your school community. You don’t have to have varsity athletic skills, and you don’t have to be the class president. Maybe you’re passionate about recycling, and you see an opportunity to work with the administration on a recycling initiative, and you start a zero waste club. Maybe you love volunteering. You could join Kiwanis club, or start your own club. Do you play sports, or an instrument, or dance, or sing, or write, or debate? Do you have targeted academic talents? Participate in academic competitions. Employ those skills in your school community.
Baylor actually considers demonstrated interest. Visit Baylor. Get on their mailing list, and open their emails. Reach out to your regional rep.
Be productive in the summers. Get a job. Play a sport. Volunteer. Go to a camp, or use one of the many free resources to learn a new skill/participate in an activity. Preferably, some multi-combo of the above.
A strong and rigorous high school education will serve you well. Make certain, even if your school isn’t so good at it, that you learn to write, and write well. This is a critical skill that so many people neglect, and that extends to college essays. Baylor ranks the essays as “considered” for admissions. But, don’t let that fool you. Your college essays can be a tipping point. This is one of the key ways that students can truly distinguish themselves from the scores of other ‘average excellent’ students. If you can tell your story, and tie it in to “Why Baylor” at the same time, you’ll be winning.
It is NEVER too early to start building your resume-- the actual resume. Spend some time to put together your high school resume (the document) and keep it updated. Remember, the resume isn’t a map for YOU, it’s a highlight reel with supporting context for prospective colleges, prospective scholarships, prospective employers, etc… You stay true to your passions, and just document as you go along. Don’t forget or discount the things that make a difference in your home and family. Do you help care for siblings or infirm relatives. Do you take on atypical (for your age/stage of development) to support your family?
If you truly want Baylor, work hard, perform well, demonstrate interest, be an involved community members, and apply early! Baylor loves applicants who love them right back, so EA or ED.
Hope this helps.
Obviously it depends on your stats, but Baylor’s admissions rate is pretty high, so focus on improving your GPA and ACT/SAT scores. My understanding is that Baylor will take your GPA as reported by your school, meaning if you get extra points for honors and AP classes, they will use those padded grades in deciding admissions and scholarships. Other schools will give you only partial or sometime no extra credit for taking those harder classes. Baylor also superscores your ACT, so take the tests a bunch of times to get a higher superscore. A 3.5 GPA and 25-ish on your ACT I would think would put you in a very good spot for getting admitted.