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So I get the feeling that NOBODY is applying to Baylor since there isn't even a Waco thread yet. Well I am hoping to go there in the fall and I was wondering if anybody had any information about the university as a student. Also, is there really anything to do in the town?

I am hoping that this thread will actually be able to provide info for me and not just lay quiet as the New York City thread gets 100 posts a day...

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My fiancee went to Baylor for undergrad and I have visited there before and can honestly say there is not crap to do in Waco. Other than the university it is really a poor town and there is some lingering resentment for Baylor students from the townies. Now if you dig small towns this might be the place for you, but if not, stay away.

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So I get the feeling that NOBODY is applying to Baylor since there isn't even a Waco thread yet. Well I am hoping to go there in the fall and I was wondering if anybody had any information about the university as a student. Also, is there really anything to do in the town?

I am hoping that this thread will actually be able to provide info for me and not just lay quiet as the New York City thread gets 100 posts a day...

I did my undergrad at Baylor and I have also applied there for doctoral work. I have lived in Houston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Vancouver and, to be fair, Waco isn't any of those places. But it is not nearly as bad as everyone thinks. Small? It has over 120,000 people which means it has a wide variety of shopping, restaurants, bars, etc. Everything you might need, and even some stuff you want. Even since I graduated ('02) there have been dozens of new restaurants and bars that have been built around the city. Waco has about 15,000 students, so it is not the only thing going on. You'll find quite a bit of money and nice houses near the lake, along with some nice landscapes. Cameron park is a great park near the Brazos river where you'll find unbeatable mountain biking/hiking trails, as well as nice open spaces to play.

The best thing about Waco? The cost of living. Baylor provides generous stipends and many of their graduate students can afford to buy houses. This is not true in most places. Granted, it is not a major metropolis, but it will do. An hour either direction gets you to Dallas or Austin if you want to get away. But 6 years of grad school in a place like Waco means you actually have a chance of saving some money for your next move.

And, for the record, the Branch Davidian compound was well outside the city limits. :)

Let me know if you have any questions!

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I did my undergrad at Baylor and I have also applied there for doctoral work. I have lived in Houston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Vancouver and, to be fair, Waco isn't any of those places. But it is not nearly as bad as everyone thinks. Small? It has over 120,000 people which means it has a wide variety of shopping, restaurants, bars, etc. Everything you might need, and even some stuff you want. Even since I graduated ('02) there have been dozens of new restaurants and bars that have been built around the city. Waco has about 15,000 students, so it is not the only thing going on. You'll find quite a bit of money and nice houses near the lake, along with some nice landscapes. Cameron park is a great park near the Brazos river where you'll find unbeatable mountain biking/hiking trails, as well as nice open spaces to play.

The best thing about Waco? The cost of living. Baylor provides generous stipends and many of their graduate students can afford to buy houses. This is not true in most places. Granted, it is not a major metropolis, but it will do. An hour either direction gets you to Dallas or Austin if you want to get away. But 6 years of grad school in a place like Waco means you actually have a chance of saving some money for your next move.

And, for the record, the Branch Davidian compound was well outside the city limits. :)

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thank you for all the info! I have to reveal that I am slightly skewed towards Waco since I was born there and still have quite a bit of family in the area (Hillsboro, Bellmead) so I wanted to get some other view points. I have never spent more than 2 hours in the city itself (and that was for a campus visit).

I like the location because I would like to stay away from the bigger cities like Dallas/Houston. I know that Baylor provides an on-campus transportation. I don't suppose Waco has something similar or some sort of public transportation, do they? I really wanted to somehow manage to not bring my car with me, but that might not be an option in Waco.

The stipend was actually the first thing that attracted me to Baylor, but they eventually showed me some really impressive facilities. The stipend would give me the opportunity to focus on school and not have to worry about money (and hopefully begin saving for later in life).

Edited by jlloyd87
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  • 1 year later...

For anyone else wondering- Waco does have a public transportation system (I only use the B.U.S. so I don't know the reliability even though they are all run by Waco Transit). If you live on campus you can take the Gold? Route to the small HEB for food. There are better stores farther away but you might have to make a couple bus transfers to get to the DASH and then from there either walk to take another bus to your apartment. However, many people have cars so you can always make friends to get around. That's what I did for 3 years- then I got married and used DH's car when necessary.

Waco is trying to grow in things to do. There's now a fairly decent (from what I hear) farmer's market on U Parks near the river, in the summer they have a concert series at Cameron Park, Cameron Park is pretty awesome as far as recreation goes, Baylor Opera and Baylor Theatre have a couple productions throughout the year, Hollywood Theater in Woodway shows some of the Met's Productions from time to time, and there's always the Rodeo and fair in the fall at the HOT coliseum.

It's definitely not a small town (I grew up in a small town) but it's not as big as DFW or Austin, but they're 1-1.5 hours away on a 4 lane highway so it's not a terrible drive (boring at 2 in the morning though).

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  • 1 year later...

Are there any 2013 Baylor prospective students?! It seems like Waco is growing and making an attempt to get more activities going, like concerts in the park and cultural events.  =) I'd like to hear input from others; i know you guys must be out there somewhere!!

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One of my good friends moved up to Waco for grad school last year. She says it's not bad at all, considering that's it reputation is tied to the Branch Davidian mess in most people's minds around here. I've been to visit her a couple of times while traveling between Austin and Dallas. The city is diverse, the Baylor campus is lovely, and there is a nice riverwalk for outdoor excercise. The cost of living is low and the people seem nice for the most part.

 

It's also a quick trip to Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, or the Texas Hill Country from Waco, so you could do some fun day trips.

 

If you visit, be sure to check out the beautiful courthouse.

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Awesome, thanks for the tips! I noticed that it seems to be pretty central-- it looks like only 2-ish hours to Dallas, Fort worth, or Austin, and even San Antonio seems do-able for a long weekend trip.  (Besides, I will only be in Waco for 3 semesters, so location isn't a HUGE deal for me.)

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I grew up in Waco, attended Baylor for undergrad, and, more recently, worked in the library for a while. I hated it in high school and for much of undergrad, but I grew to really enjoy it. The city is starting to put money into downtown development, and there are now a couple of art initiatives, a farmer's market, and a number of new restaurants and bars in the area. One of the above posters said that living in Waco without a car is doable; I completely disagree. If you plan on leaving campus at all (and you SHOULD!), a car is necessary.

 

Recommendations:

 

- The Dancing Bear Pub is a haven for grad students and professors. They have an excellent beer selection, good food (via a partnership with the restaurant next door), and quite a number of events (Walking Dead Night, board game Saturdays, beer tastings, cookouts, etc.).

 

- A good friend of mine just (re-)opened a bar and music venue downtown called True Love. He has a lot of Austin connections and should start getting some decent bands in town soon.

 

- Kitok is a Korean burger joint tucked away in a less-than-desirable part of town that serves amazing "Oriental fries". Every time I go in, the owner recognizes me (even three years after leaving town) and berates me for not taking my mother out to lunch enough. I love it.

 

- There's a little art gallery downtown called Croft that has had some really great stuff recently. They're quickly becoming a cornerstone of the local art community.

 

- A developer has recently bought a downtown landmark theater called The Hippodrome and plans to fix it up and turn it into a drafthouse-style theater. It's a gorgeous building, so if it opens while you're there, you MUST go! (There are even rumors of Rocky Horror Picture Show productions and the like, if you're into that.)

 

- The local music scene is very small, but very enthusiastic! My friends Johnny's Body always put on a good show.

 

 

There are plenty of other great places around town, and I really hope you get out and find them! Too many students stay in the "Baylor bubble", thinking that there's nothing to do in town. It's a shame, because a lot of my friends are really working hard to make Waco a town worth living in. Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions!

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Wow, thank you! Waco actually sounds like a really fun place to live :D I'm bringing my car, but will most likely opt for housing within walking distance of campus.  I definitely want to have a car to go exploring and shopping, especially during the hot summer months.  

 

This might be pushing it, but are there any/many vegetarian-friendly dining options in Waco? I know college towns  usually have a pretty good variety of food, but I figured it'd be good to have a heads up :) 

 

Also, are there any neighbourhoods to avoid? I heard that if I stay close to campus, it will be safe & mostly students, but I want to make sure I don't end up in a sketchy part of town haha.

 

Thanks!

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It absolutely can be! It definitely doesn't have all the options of a big city, but there are some great people there.

 

There aren't many places for vegetarian/vegan food in Waco. Your best bets would be World Cup Cafe (a little place run by a local charity), Clay Pot (Vietnamese), and Food for Thought. None is solely vegetarian/vegan, but they probably have the most options in town for that sort of thing. I think The Olive Branch also has a couple of choices on their menu.

 

http://wacofork.com/ is a pretty good resource for food in town.

 

It's been quite a while since I lived in that area, so I may not be the most up-to-date on housing over there. In general, anything within walking distance of campus is going to be fairly safe and full of undergrads. I lived in several of the apartment complexes next to campus. They're mostly pretty rundown. You might ask the DGS to put you in touch with current students to find out where most grads live.

Edited by khyleth
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Oooh, thanks for that website link! I am super excited about all of the Mexican food options... I've lived in Phoenix for 20 years, so I would be going through major withdrawals if I had to move too far from the Southwest : P

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow, thank you! Waco actually sounds like a really fun place to live :D I'm bringing my car, but will most likely opt for housing within walking distance of campus.  I definitely want to have a car to go exploring and shopping, especially during the hot summer months.  

 

This might be pushing it, but are there any/many vegetarian-friendly dining options in Waco? I know college towns  usually have a pretty good variety of food, but I figured it'd be good to have a heads up :)

 

Also, are there any neighbourhoods to avoid? I heard that if I stay close to campus, it will be safe & mostly students, but I want to make sure I don't end up in a sketchy part of town haha.

 

Thanks!

I also did my undergrad at Baylor!  Waco's not the most exciting town, but I enjoyed my time there :)

 

Definitely stay close to campus in terms of housing.  There are quite a few options within walking distance of campus and several that are only a few minutes by car.  I don't know what prices are like in Phoenix, but Waco housing is comparatively cheap, which is really nice!  There are a number of gated communities, which are probably some of the safest, if that is a concern.  A word of advice though: avoid a complex called La Mirage!  It's really cheap and super close to campus, but I lived in the complex behind it (called the Village - I really liked my apartment there) and it's super sketchy.  Lots of non-student residents and we saw cops in there multiple times.

 

In terms of restaurants, I would agree with khyleth.  Clay Pot and Food for Thought are really close to campus too.  There's also a McAllister's just across the highway, but you shouldn't have a problem finding vegetarian options.  Yes, Southerners generally love their meat, but there are more restaurants in Waco than most people think!

 

I hope that helps!  Hope you love your time there, and say hi to the bears for me! ;)

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Thanks, steph! I actually just put down a deposit for the village- apparently they have security guards on the premises, which makes me feel safer:)

 

Thanks for the restaurant suggestions. I'll make sure to check those out this summer.

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One of the above posters said that living in Waco without a car is doable; I completely disagree. If you plan on leaving campus at all (and you SHOULD!), a car is necessary.

Um, I did go off campus regularly. DH and I both spent part of our undergrad time without a car (04-07, 08-11), went to church in woodway, dancing in Fort Worth and Austin, friends all over the area... Like I said, you make friends, you use the bus, etc. Is it as predestination friendly as say, DC? No, but it's not inaccessible.

 

 

 

katieliz456, make sure you go to the Mayborn Museum and the Armstrong-Browning Library. Both are free to Baylor students (bring your ID card) and are must-sees (I'm a little biased about the Mayborn). The Mayborn reopened the historic village last year and has demos during the summer, also has free movie nights. If you don't go on a Saturday you can play with the water table without little kids butting in. A-B has the largest collection of secular stained glass (must cooler than it sounds). I also had a friend at the Dr Pepper Museum who recommends it (I never made it, and wish I had). The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame is a little dated in exhibit style but still kind of fun for all the TEXAS-ness, but it is within walking distance of campus.

Some other food rec's: Bangkok Royal on Franklin and U Parks (Thai, closed on Sundays), Cafe Cappuccino, the Olive Branch (both have good brunch, Olive Branch is usually kind of slow and Cafe Cap is the gathering place for religion/Biblical language majors), Baris/Mama Baris (Italian, Valley Mills and Belmead/Woodway), Taqueria #9 (DH's coworkers go there all the time), and I've heard good things about eating up at whatever is at Homestead Heritage (I think Cafe Homestead?) but I've never been.

We're considering moving back next year (DH's company really wants him on site instead of commuting in every few weeks). We joke with friends who have already moved back that it's kind of a black hole so fair warning ;)

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  • 9 months later...

Bumping this post for some new info on Waco.

 

Considering completing my PhD at Baylor. I visited Waco a week ago and, though I was impressed by the university campus (seriously gorgeous), the city terrified me a little bit. Any advice for a single twenty-something female (i.e. safer and quieter areas to live) and any advice about good cafes, places to get locally-owned food, etc?

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Bumping this post for some new info on Waco.

Considering completing my PhD at Baylor. I visited Waco a week ago and, though I was impressed by the university campus (seriously gorgeous), the city terrified me a little bit. Any advice for a single twenty-something female (i.e. safer and quieter areas to live) and any advice about good cafes, places to get locally-owned food, etc?

I'm finishing my undergrad at Baylor, and going on in the fall to get my MBA in Healthcare Administration. There is nothing really to be afraid of, just be smart and use your common sense when going out. Any apartment complexes close

to campus are safe (I live within a 5 minute walk of the business school). No place around campus will be silent, but I've gotten used to it over the years. It's not bad at all! Good cafés would include Dichotomy, Common Grounds, and I recommend Food for Thought for some locally owned restaurant food.

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Bumping this post for some new info on Waco.

 

Considering completing my PhD at Baylor. I visited Waco a week ago and, though I was impressed by the university campus (seriously gorgeous), the city terrified me a little bit. Any advice for a single twenty-something female (i.e. safer and quieter areas to live) and any advice about good cafes, places to get locally-owned food, etc?

DH lived at Rivercrest at the corner of Daughtrey and U Parks for 6 years (I was there for the last year.) It was louder that I was used to coming from a rural town but late at night it was still pretty quiet. I will say, I heard awful things about the on campus grad student housing (the ones next to the Chamber building) so maybe stay away from those.  If you want to live outside of town, I've had friends (professionals and students) rent houses out in Lacy-Lakeview and Belmead and they were very happy. I think if you stay away from the far side of 35 and that congested area* you'll be okay. I would feel comfortable in most of the suburbs.

*No complaints about the apartments themselves but friends at Abbey Glenn did not always feel safe with the area

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Hey ya'll,

 

Possibly starting a PhD in Religion at Baylor this Summer - any idea where a guy and his gal might buy a relatively nice condo/apt.? We're really into lofts, if that's something someone knows about, but we could do anywhere without undergrads. Willing to drive in.

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Hey ya'll,

 

Possibly starting a PhD in Religion at Baylor this Summer - any idea where a guy and his gal might buy a relatively nice condo/apt.? We're really into lofts, if that's something someone knows about, but we could do anywhere without undergrads. Willing to drive in.

There are very convenient lofts near campus - LL Sams but it's a mix of undergrad and grad and I've heard complaints of echoes. There's Waco Loft Living that has 3-4 different properties. If you want no undergrads and just "adults" I would look to the suburbs: Hewitt, Woodway, Lacy-Lakeview, Robinson, etc. I've had friends in all of those areas- though the farther out you go, the more likely you'll get a house instead of an apt/condo for what you'd pay but they're usually older homes or country (though there are some rental home developments in Lacy-Lakeview that are Texas-modern, stained concrete floors and Texas star in the porch flooring).

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  • 2 years later...

Is Waco/Baylor as bad as the news is making it seem? I live in Tampa (alone) without any problems, and I grew up in Charlotte, N.C & Jacksonville, FL so any comparisons to Florida/NC towns would be helpful. I might do my M.A. there but I am trying to get past the idea of a small town with a lot of crime. I am a female in her 20s btw.

 

 

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On 2/6/2017 at 9:25 PM, VitaSineLitterisMorsEst said:

Is Waco/Baylor as bad as the news is making it seem? I live in Tampa (alone) without any problems, and I grew up in Charlotte, N.C & Jacksonville, FL so any comparisons to Florida/NC towns would be helpful. I might do my M.A. there but I am trying to get past the idea of a small town with a lot of crime. I am a female in her 20s btw.

 

 

No, it really isn't. I went to Baylor as an undergrad and I have returned for my doctorate and I haven't had any problems, and I really live living here. Yes, there are some rougher parts of town that I would not recommend going alone at night but that comes with any city. Waco isn't that small--there are over 120,000 people that live here. If you have any specific questions feel free to reach out!

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On 2/6/2017 at 8:25 PM, VitaSineLitterisMorsEst said:

Is Waco/Baylor as bad as the news is making it seem? I live in Tampa (alone) without any problems, and I grew up in Charlotte, N.C & Jacksonville, FL so any comparisons to Florida/NC towns would be helpful. I might do my M.A. there but I am trying to get past the idea of a small town with a lot of crime. I am a female in her 20s btw.

 

 

Waco is not that bad. I've lived here for three years and really haven't had any problems. If you have specific questions, let me know. 

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  • 11 months later...

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