Question about Waco, Texas

Has anyone been there or lived there? I’m considering attending Baylor University. I’m a.) half-Yankee/half-Canadian b.) Ethnically Indian c.) Hindu and d.) on the socially liberal side. Essentially, I’m really worried about fitting in because I’ve heard that it’s very Baptist. Are there a lot of racial issues? I’ve heard murmurings in some books that the minority population at Baylor feels very isolated. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated-it’s one of my top choice schools but I don’t want to be miserable for 3 years. Better yet, if there are any Baylor grads out there (i’m applying to the law school) I would love to hear from you. Thanks in advance.

I should note that I’m not very religious, don’t stand out in dress blah blah blah…I’m just very uncomfortable around excessive prosletyzing and nasty commentary about other faiths (cow-worshipper etc.).

A couple of my friends moved to Waco recently because one of them got a job at the daily paper. They’re both about as liberal and educated as anyone I know, and if you e-mail me I’ll ask them for you if Waco’s really that bad. In my own experience, though, I think you’d be okay as long as you really like the Baylor law school and Dr. Pepper. I lived 100 miles from Waco for a long time, and my impression of it is that it’s somewhat better than your typical small town.

I went to school at TSTI just north of Waco more years ago then I will admit, but Waco didn’t seem too bad at the time. I go through there on the interstate all the time and it seems like the town is doing well. It’s clean and has had a lot of growth over the last twenty years. Everyones has acted normally enough on the times I have had business dealing in the area. I’d say go for it. If you need more, Austin is always just a hour and a half drive to the south.

My father is a professor there(part time…Hes a retired graduate school prof). He drives down from Fort Worthless every week to teach a class.

Its not all that bad. It is a baptist college, but not all baptists are pushy.

Hey, curry girl! You stay away from our cowboys with your liberal ways. You should try Washington, DC for those 3 years. Find a nice congressman.

Just kidding! Hi, anu! :wink:

While you may find that you stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the caucasian Baptists, I think you’ll find out that they are monstly harmless. Waco is a quiet college town, so don’t go expecting to find a lot of excitement.

Baylor does have a fun side. They have this sort of anti-fratenity called the NoSe Brotherz that’s been around for ages (I assume they still exist; my contact with them is from the mid-80’s). The Brotherz publish a hilarious parody of BU’s newspaper “The Lariat” called “The Rope.” They also have UnRush, where they unpledge new prospects. All good, clean fun. Oh, and they wear nose glasses in all their photos.

At least Waco is only a short drive to both Austin and Houston, so if you get bored with whitebread America, you can head out to the big city for some fun. Both Austin and Houston are packed with clubs, restaurants, and other attractions dedicated to keeping college students such as yourself from achieving a 4.0 GPA.

I grew up in Marlin, Texas which is about 30 miles SE of Waco. I lived in Waco briefly and have a couple of neices that went to Baylor. Both Baylor and Waco are quite unexceptional. There is a conservative “flavor” to the town and the school but nothing wierd despite the occasional efforts by some school and community leaders to make it so.

I probably did more partying the few months I lived there than I ever did before or since. Despite the Baptist influence the town is not dry by any means.

Baylor is a classy school and the Law School has a solid reputation.

I think you’ll like it just fine. And Austin is less than two hours away.

So it’s OK to assume that Baptists are racist but not OK to assume that Hindu’s are “cow-worshippers”? If that is any indication of your world view, anu, you’re likely to have problems anywhere you go. Please tell me that this was just a poor choice of words.

If you go make sure you visit George’s Bar and drink a big O for me.

my best friend in the whole world goes there… she is half mexican half irish and a catholic. she has had no problem with the religious climate on campus and enjoys free dr. pepper days!

Hello.

Former Waco resident here!

And I’m actually still a student at Baylor, although I live ~500 miles away now. I moved to Waco in August 1997 and left in June 1999; spent nearly two years in Waco at Baylor getting my PhD classwork and residency requirements out of the way and I’ve been a long-distance student trying to finish the PhD there ever since. I still travel back frequently.

(In other words, until a Waco native or Baylor undergrad shows up to best me, I think I might be able to help you.)

The school is admistered by the BGCT (Baptist General Convention of Texas), not the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention). This might not mean much to a non-Baptist, but the BGCT is generally viewed by the very conservative SBC as the haven for the poor, misguided “moderate” Baptists that still allow women to be ministers and tolerate dancing. Many of the Baptist churches in Waco, in fact, have recently severed ties with the SBC.

Only about 40% of Baylor students describe themselves as Baptist, with Catholics running a fairly close second. (Sorry, no cite.) This is actually pretty close, probably, to the demographics for the entire population of Texas. (Baylor is very much more a Texas university run by Baptists than just a Baptist university in Texas.) There is no shortage of conservative Christian frat boys at Baylor, but there is also a very large and diverse liberal not-necessarily-Christian student population, too, that you can easily fall into. Shoot, there’s even a secret society that lampoons Baylor that you could aspire to join if you come to love to hate Baylor! (Check 'em out at http://www.thenoze.com ).

The town is fine and the cost of living is low. As I try and convince people: “Waco ain’t so bad.” The town is much less conservative than Baylor and has an absolutely fantastic H.E.B.

Baylor’s got a fantastic law school which has produced the likes of former Govs. Ann Richards and Mark White and other notables. Plus, those law school bastards even have their own parking lot!

Also, BU has the worst record in Big 12 football, but the highest graduation rate for football players… coincidence?

Anyway, if I can help with anything else, just ask! (Heck, I’m wearing a BU Geology t-shirt and drinking from a BU coffee cup RIGHT NOW!)

Wow, hello all you Wacoans and Central Texans!

anu-la1979, I was born in Waco, went there for undergrad and returned 9 years later to get a masters. Ditto on everything the other folks said above.

Waco’s a somewhat boring town but that’s good for a serious student. Plenty of restaurants, theatres and nightlife for weeknights and Austin, Dallas and Ft. Worth are all about 100 miles away when you’re ready to cut loose on a weekend.

I’ve had probably 75 to 80 friends go through Law School there. For the most part they’re all doing quite nicely now.

The campus is one of the friendliest you’ll ever find. EVERYBODY says hello to EVERYONE else, are helpful in assisting you set up your schedule or find a class and I’m sure you’d make some lifelong friends there.

Ethnic diversity is no big deal. It’s a very tolerant attitude that’s embraced, although you’ll likely at some point have someone encourage you to go to church with them.

The only concern I’d have is if you only plan on dating someone with your exact same beliefs or heritage. Being a private university, it’s rather small (part of the reason they get their asses kicked in football) and your dating “pool” will be a bit shallow.

Email me if you need specific questions answered and let us all know of your decision.
And… best of luck with your studies!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I did my undergraduate work at Baylor. It’s a fine school. I assume that the comments which follow aren’t totally out of date.

Socially, there are the “uber-Baptist” types, but they aren’t necessarily the most visible group. That distinction would probably go to the fraternity/sorority crowd (full disclosure: I was in a frat). The two most prominent groups are probably religious Baptists (who come because it’s the largest Baptist school in the world) and the offspring of wealthy Texans (who come because it’s an old, private school). There was a T-Shirt when I was there that read “Bears, Baptists, and BMWs…only at Baylor,” which I thing sums things up nicely.

Yes, there are parties there, some of them really big, but there’s no alcohol on campus. Almost all of the drinking and dancing takes place off-campus (I understand that they now allow dancing on campus – they didn’t when I was there because some old, rich alumnus put up the money for Collins Hall with the stipulation that there be no dancing). But booze is still a no-no with the powers that be, as is, ahem, close contact with the opposite sex – the dorms have amazingly restrictive visitation policies; while it’s possible to sneak a paramour in, it’s a lot easier to just live off-campus.

I second the advice to have a “Big O” at George’s.

As to the OP, while there aren’t very many minorities at Baylor, I don’t think there are any especially bad racial problems there.

As far as the law school goes, be careful. Baylor Law is known as a litigator’s school – if you don’t want to be in court, I’d recommend against it. On the other hand, if you do want to litigate (though as a corporate lawyer, I wonder why anyone would want to do that to themselves. :smiley: ), it’s a good choice. For example, they have a mandatory mock trial program that is necessary to graduate that is widely respected.

It’s also a local school; there isn’t a lot of hiring by non-Texas firms (or firms from not-nearby states). If you want to be in another part of the country, I’d look elsewhere (I went to the University of Texas Law School and landed a job in NYC, f’rinstance). Baylor is, however, a fine law school given the caveats above.

I’m not sure “fantastic law school” and “produced Ann Richards and Mark White” belong in the same sentence. :smiley:

And, just to be my obnoxious self, I would like to point out that ALL minorities ANYWHERE feel isolated…that’s why they are not called majorities.

hey niwroc-i’m more likely to exact my revenge by going to USD or USC and hunting you down and harassing you. :slight_smile:

For that dude that was so rude…jeez, take a chill pill. What the hell do you know about me anyway? I’ve had a parochial school experience, I’ve had the prosletyzing experience and I’ve had the racism experience all in one lump sum. Yeah, it was Canada but when I hear “school affiliated with X church” then I automatically put my hands over my ears and start screaming “PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME MARY, MOTHER OF JESUS IN THE SCHOOL PLAY AGAIN AND THEN DRAG ME BEHIND THE STAGE AND PAINT A RED DOT ON MY HEAD.” Okay, I’ll rephrase since there is evidently something lodged way up your ass-

Has anyone had any negative experiences at Baylor University or in the town of Waco being either an ethnic minority or a person of exotic religious descent? Are there a lot of racial tensions at the school or within the town? Yankee-Canadian slightly apprehensive about total and utter culture shock.

Oh, and thanks for all your replies-it sounds nice if uneventful. Yay!!

Dewey…that is so cool…are you from Texas? UT, UHouston and Baylor are probably my top three choices. I have a great LSAT score and pretty decent grades (think someone that took to standardised testing more than studying in undergrad) but UHouston and Baylor send me crap like every other day whereas Texas deigned to send me their little book and nothing else. Essentially, b/c it’s a state school and b/c it’s a damn fine one at that with all those seats reserved for in-staters…not too much interest. Baylor seems more amenable to giving me money too. Question-if I went there for a year, would it be easy to transfer in to UT if Waco and/or Baylor got to me?

I don’t think the national/local thing bothers me-I would rather not trounce about the country. But I would want to settle down somewhere more diverse and hopping than Waco.

Hey, whoever pointed out that minorities feel alone anywhere. Dude, are you a minority? If so then you’ve been living in the wrong places. There are places where you can feel relatively comfortable and places where you just stick out like a sore f.ucking thumb and need to leave pronto. If you’ve seen/done both as a minority then you’ll get the gist of what I’m saying. Some places just have a bad vibe that you can’t put your finger on. I’ll nominate my former home of Kokomo, IN as being one of those places with a dingy vibe. “Be gone” it said to me, so I left.

bear with me for replying to ten things with a number of different posts.

*Okay, for whoever I delivered that snarky response to. I wasn’t assuming the Baptist-ness as causing the racism-it was more of an assumption that people in the South are kind of racist. I’m sorry-I KNOW people HATE THAT assumption, esp. Southerners. I have tons of friends from the South and they totally begrudge my nervousness about going south of the mason-dixon even though I totally love everything about the South and am constantly talking about how much I hate Boston. Don’t take it in an “she has attitude way.” Honest-to-god my dad just acts like he fears for his life when he has to travel south and when you grow up in Tax-a-chusetts the South just seems to be portrayed as a Haven for the Klan and Lynchings and whatnot and then you hear about people being dragged by cars in Texas in the twentieth century and it fills people’s hearts with cold dread that they’re going to go somewhere to be all friendly-like and learn about football only to be cruelly rejected. M’kay?

*The dating thing has me kind of scared because I have a taste for men-although I recently dated a total hayseed-lapsed Baptist from Oklahoma so I shouldn’t have assumptions about that either I guess. Religion/race whatnot don’t bother me…I just don’t want it to bother the men. Again, an assumption…SORRY. Is it so horrible to just not want to be miserable like you were when you did live in a terribly backwards situation? In Canada, no less?

Since you’re also considering UH, I’ll point out that it was ranked second in diversity of student body among major universities in US News, behind only UC-Riverside. When I was there, the student phone directory had five columns of Smith, and seven columns of Nguyen. The Law School is probably a little more white-bread than the rest of the campus.