What Does it Really Take to Get into Baylor University?

Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications?

See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.

Show me what areas I need to improve

Only 39% of Baylor University applicants are admitted. What does it take to get in?


Chartered in 1845, Baylor University is a private Christian university and acclaimed research institution located in Waco, Texas near the Brazos River.


This historical university is Texas’ oldest institution of higher learning as well as the largest Baptist university in the world. With this in mind, Baylor has a strong commitment to its heritage as demonstrated by the motto  Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana—For Church, For Texas. Despite its religious affiliation, it is important to note that Baylor University does not make admissions decisions based on an applicant’s faith.


Baylor’s sprawling 1,000 acre campus, their membership in the Big 12 Conference and their dedication to scholarship and research makes this university a top choice for many talented applicants from Texas and around the world.


However, with an acceptance rate of 39%, getting into Baylor is no guarantee. So, if you’re set on being a part of Baylor’s vibrant community, keep reading for tips on how to craft a successful application.


Applying to Baylor University: A Quick Review


You can apply to Baylor using The Baylor Online Application, The Common Application, or ApplyTexas. Since more schools use it, we recommend applying via the Common Application, making it easier to apply to universities outside of Texas. With all of these options, though, it’s important to choose an application portal that works best for you—take a look at some of our application guides to determine best fit.



Students may apply by November 1 for either Early Decision or Early Action and by February 1 for Regular Decision. There are specific commitment expectations associated with priority deadlines; if you’re unsure about when you should apply, check out our post Early Action vs. Early Decision vs. Restricted Early Action for more insight.


When applying, be sure to submit the following:


  • A general university application via one of the aforementioned portal
  • High School Transcript
  • Official/ self-reported SAT or ACT scores
  • CSS Profile and FAFSA
  • Recommended items—these are submitted via your goBAYLOR account after completing the admission application.
    • Resume or ZeeMee Profile
    • 2 Letters of Recommendation
    • Short Answer Response (required for Early Decision applicants)


Transfer applicants have a different set of deadlines and requirements. For more information, visit Baylor’s Transfer Admissions page.


Baylor University Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


With an undergraduate admissions rate of 39%, Baylor is undoubtedly a more selective institution. In the fall of 2018, 3,366 new freshmen enrolled—44% percent of those students were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class. Additionally, this cohort had a mean SAT score of 1277 and mean ACT score of 28.5.


Although admissions statistics can be intimidating, keep in mind that the strength of your individual application factors heavily into how your chance of acceptance may skew above or below 39%. Beyond strong grades and test scores, a well crafted application can make all of the difference! 

So, How Does One Get Into Baylor University?


As a research institution with a strong faith based mission, Baylor values applicants that are committed to innovation, leadership and civic engagement. Ultimately, they are looking for highly driven students who want to maximize their undergraduate experience while positively contributing to the greater Baylor community.


Growth and Potential. There is no definitive grade “cutoff”, but 75% of Baylor’s fall 2018 freshmen were at least in the top quarter of their graduating high school class. Additionally, Baylor stresses the holistic aspect of the admissions review process.  Remember, how you take advantage of your current resources can give admissions a glimpse into your future potential at Baylor.


Academic History. Baylor University recommends that prospective students take the following coursework:


  • English:
    • 4 year-units
  • Foreign Language:
    • 2 year-units (same language)
  • Mathematics:
    • 4 year-units (including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II)
  • Natural Science, laboratory:
    • 4 year-units (including biology and chemistry for students who plan to enter programs in pre dentistry, pre medicine, or nursing)
  • Social Science:
    • 3 year-units (including at least one in history)


Beyond this core outline, there are some major and departmental specific requirements for prospective applicants that can be reviewed on Baylor’s Major Specific Admissions Requirements page.


Community Engagement. Baylor’s new academic strategic plan emphasizes the importance of building upon their legacy of academic excellence and student driven leadership. One of the four pillars of this strategic plan is Transformational Education, which encourages students to truly engage with real world issues related to their fields of study. With this in mind, showcase how you’ve found ways to translate your academic interests into wider community engagement.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Focus on the Singularity of Your Experiences. When applying to selective universities like Baylor, it is important to convey how you and your unique perspective will contribute to the campus’ overall community. A great way to stand out is to ensure that your application has a cohesive theme that highlights both your character and academic interests.


Include recommended materials. Recommended aspects of the application such as résumés, letters of recommendation and short answer responses all factor into Baylor’s holistic admissions process.Although optional, a letter of recommendation is a great way for Baylor to get a more multidimensional understanding of who you are within the context of both your community and classroom.


Be sure to select a recommender who can write a compelling recommendation that attests to your strengths. Don’t be afraid to brief your recommender on key themes within your application that you would like for them to touch upon within their letter!


What If You Get Rejected?


More than half of all applicants to Baylor University aren’t admitted—so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t make the cut. If you are still set on attending Baylor, you always have the option to transfer. The university has a supportive Office of Transfer Student Success that is committed to helping transfers reach their full potential. Do consider, though, that applying to Baylor the second time around is still competitive and admission is no guarantee.


Although it can be difficult to accept rejection from your dream school, there are plenty of other universities with strong core beliefs and a long tradition of academic excellence. Check out the blog post, Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School, for more insight on how to maximize your undergraduate experience at any university.


Each year, CollegeVine helps hundreds of applicants perfect their applications. 75% of students who work with CollegeVine get into one of their top choice schools. If you would like more tailored advice on your admissions profile, our College Applications Program, which helps students navigate the application process alongside a successful mentor from a top school, is a great resource.


For more resources on Baylor University and other similar institutions, take a look at these CollegeVine posts:


How to Write the Baylor University Supplement Essay 2018-2019

A Guide to Religiously Affiliated Colleges

Complete List of NCAA I, II, and III Colleges


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Want more college admissions tips?

We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.

Short Bio
Kristen is an alumna of Vanderbilt University, where she earned degrees in English and Medicine Health & Society. In her free time she enjoys writing poetry. She lives in Arlington, Texas and is currently applying to graduate school.

Don't miss out on the best high school & college admissions resources!

Join thousands of students and parents getting exclusive high school, test prep, and college admissions information.