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Old 09-12-2015, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Patrolling The Wasteland
397 posts, read 335,502 times
Reputation: 1181

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Hello everyone,

I am considering attending graduate school at Baylor and wanted some opinions/advice on both the area and the school. Currently I live in Raleigh, NC, and I have every intention of visiting all of the cities that I am considering, but Baylor more than any other is giving me pause.

What are people's opinions of Baylor, especially among Texans? I know it doesn't have the the luster of UT-Austin, Rice, or Texas A&M (none of these schools have my program), but I am curious as to the perception of the university. I am already aware of the religious side to Baylor, and having lived in central NC, though not religious myself, I feel like I am prepared.

More importantly, though, what is the reality with Waco? I have seen very few positive opinions on the city and area in general, which is off-putting. I have been told the Baylor campus is beautiful, but Waco not so much.

Are there any areas specifically to avoid? Should my wife and I look to live in an area outside of Waco and drive in? And what is the job market like? My wife is a speech pathologist, which is a field in high demand, but we want to make sure it won't be a struggle to find positions.

Thanks for any advice or opinions you can give!
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Willowbend/Houston
13,402 posts, read 22,431,827 times
Reputation: 10433
Waco isn't that bad. If you compare Waco to its pier cities in Texas, I'd actually say it offers the most of the bunch. There's a pretty good selection of bars and restaurants given its size. It's no Houston, Dallas, or Austin, but it's a lot smaller than those.

Waco does have a problem with poverty and can be perceived as "ghetto", but that isn't the whole city. I would avoid East, North, and South Waco. Stick to Central Waco, or West Waco.

Waco has som nice burbs out to the West of town as well if you prefer that.
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
7,191 posts, read 11,379,628 times
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If I had to pick 10 places to live in Texas Waco probably wouldn't even make the top 20. As Peter said it's better to the west and south, but the rest of the town is ghetto fab, and Baylor is right next to it.

Waco's population is under 200,000, but it has crime and drug problems akin to cities two to three times its size. Plus it's in the middle of freakin' nowhere roughly halfway between Dallas and Austin, and the main road, I-35, is frequently a gnarly congested mess.
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:11 AM
 
Location: The Bayou City
3,222 posts, read 3,960,802 times
Reputation: 1459
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxtheRoadWarrior View Post
Hello everyone,

I am considering attending graduate school at Baylor and wanted some opinions/advice on both the area and the school. Currently I live in Raleigh, NC, and I have every intention of visiting all of the cities that I am considering, but Baylor more than any other is giving me pause.

What are people's opinions of Baylor, especially among Texans? I know it doesn't have the the luster of UT-Austin, Rice, or Texas A&M (none of these schools have my program), but I am curious as to the perception of the university. I am already aware of the religious side to Baylor, and having lived in central NC, though not religious myself, I feel like I am prepared.

More importantly, though, what is the reality with Waco? I have seen very few positive opinions on the city and area in general, which is off-putting. I have been told the Baylor campus is beautiful, but Waco not so much.

Are there any areas specifically to avoid? Should my wife and I look to live in an area outside of Waco and drive in? And what is the job market like? My wife is a speech pathologist, which is a field in high demand, but we want to make sure it won't be a struggle to find positions.

Thanks for any advice or opinions you can give!
Baylor is a fantastic school. It actually ranks at #72 nationally, while A&M is tied for #70, so any additional "luster" A&M might appear to have over Baylor is probably due to the larger school/program.

Definitely try to get down to Waco to check it out for yourself. Stop by Cameron Park while you're there. I spent a lot of my free time out there enjoying the scenery and mountain biking the trails. The zoo is surprisingly decent too, but that might not be your thing. If you enjoy the water there is Lake Waco, which is pretty large and has good fishing and water recreational opportunities. And of course if you have a boat you can go "sailgating" on gamedays on the Brazos River and dock it in the marina at McLane Stadium and hang out with the other boating Baylor fans.

As for places to live, Peter is pretty spot on. Central Waco, and West near the lake will be the better places to live in the city. Of course you can choose to live in Woodway or China Springs if you want to commute/plan on having children and settling here (they have the better public schools from what i hear). I lived in a couple lofts downtown and absolutely loved it. I came from a small suburb outside of Houston so I never got to live the "urban lifestyle" back home and it was really neat living in old converted loft buildings with personality that werent your average cookie cutter apartment, and being able to walk to the bars and restaurants nearby. There were some homeless people in the area but they didn't cause much trouble (the only instance i can recall is my roommate getting into the habit of parking his car in a sketchy dark alley behind our building and it got broken into once).

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlemonjello View Post
Waco isn't that bad. If you compare Waco to its pier cities in Texas, I'd actually say it offers the most of the bunch. There's a pretty good selection of bars and restaurants given its size. It's no Houston, Dallas, or Austin, but it's a lot smaller than those.

Waco does have a problem with poverty and can be perceived as "ghetto", but that isn't the whole city. I would avoid East, North, and South Waco. Stick to Central Waco, or West Waco.

Waco has som nice burbs out to the West of town as well if you prefer that.
Great assessment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluescreen73 View Post
If I had to pick 10 places to live in Texas Waco probably wouldn't even make the top 20. As Peter said it's better to the west and south, but the rest of the town is ghetto fab, and Baylor is right next to it.

Waco's population is under 200,000, but it has crime and drug problems akin to cities two to three times its size. Plus it's in the middle of freakin' nowhere roughly halfway between Dallas and Austin, and the main road, I-35, is frequently a gnarly congested mess.
Peter said nothing of the south being "better"..

That "middle of nowhere" location is actually a great selling point for Waco. Its just a short drive from two major metropolitan areas if you want to get away for the weekend. When/where have you seen I-35 being a "gnarly congested mess" through Waco? One of my favorite parts about living in Waco was the big city feel when driving on the interstate and multi-stack interchanges, but still retaining the small city traffic and being able to cruise up and down the highway blaring my favorite songs to relieve stress from school. Heh..
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Old 09-12-2015, 02:00 PM
 
Location: WA
3,893 posts, read 4,901,040 times
Reputation: 5058
I live in Waco with my wife and family. We moved here about 10 years ago from the west coast for her career and ended up staying, although will likely be moving on next year due to another career change. So we've been here long enough to know the place well but aren't from here and have lived many other places like Portland and Seattle so have some perspective.

Baylor itself is quite a nice university. For the past 10-15 years there has been a struggle at Baylor between the retrograde conservative Baptist forces that want to keep the place a nice safe straight-laced regional Baptist university, and the booster types who want to turn Baylor into a national academic and athletic powerhouse....the "Baptist Notre Dame" if you will. The booster types have basically won that fight as the football and basketball teams are perennial top 25 teams and they are coming on in other sports too. Academically they are also pouring a lot of money into new programs and there are new buildings all over campus. In the past they really took seriously the idea of recruiting good Baptist professors. Now it's more a wink and a nod sort of thing and they just recruit the best they can get. It has become a popular school for upper middle class suburban families from the DFW and Houston areas who want a safe reputable 2nd choice private college to send their precious kids to when they can't get them into Vanderbilt or Duke. So the student body is less Baptist every year and more just typical upper middle class suburban kids from mainly the south. Within Texas you have the two big flagship state schools in UT and A&M and then there is Rice down in Houston that is an national academic powerhouse but a small school. After that the 3 big private universities are Baylor, SMU, and TCU. Baylor is by far the biggest of the three and probably the most popular at the moment. SMU is more "old Dallas money" and TCU is and a little newer to the scene.

As for Waco. The city has grown a lot and improved a lot in the 10 years that we've lived here. All kinds of new things are happening downtown and it is slowly developing into more of an urban core with new loft apartments and such going up every year. But the bulk of the development is really happening in the south end of town. Most of the new commercial development is happening at the crossroads of I-35 and Highway 6 where there is a new hospital and all kinds of shops and restaurants going up. It's typical suburban sprawl development, nothing different from anyplace else in the US but it is all new. The bulk of the new residential development is going up in the Hewitt and Woodway areas (suburbs on the south end of Waco) and along US-84 between Woodway and McGregor. That's where you'll see endless new subdivisions going up and the bulk of the higher end newer housing.

As other have noted, the poorer parts of Waco on the north end and what they call East Waco which is really north of the river (the directions are all weird and the streets run diagonal) are pretty run down and what people would call "ghetto." This is a southern city from the old Confederacy with a legacy of slavery followed by segregation so there are large areas of the city that struggle with poverty. Parts of the city are as run down and crime ridden as anywhere. But there are other parts that are being revitalized. Watch the show on the HGTV channel called "Fixer Upper" to get a sense about Waco neighborhoods. The show is set in Waco and all the houses they do are from around town. And there are plenty of cookie cutter suburban areas that are light years away from anything resembling urban blight. Crime is pretty much a non-issue if you live in the suburbs and commute which most do, and because the city is small with a good highway web the commutes are never more than 10-20 minutes at most. Waco has a major university, two large hospitals, and several large aerospace and technology firms so there are thousands and thousand of upper middle class professional types here...doctors, professors, engineers, and so forth. Definitely plenty of professional types to support lots of nice neighborhoods and schools that are mostly in the southern end of town.

Definitely come visit before pulling the trigger on a relocation. This isn't some upscale destination college town like Boulder where everything is over the top wealthy and polished. There are definitely lots of rough edges to Waco. But for an ordinary small city in Texas it is a fairly decent place to live. The location is really central to all the urban areas in the state. the DFW area and Austin are both 1.5 hours away so easy reached on weekends. We drive up to DFW or down to Austin for games or shopping all the time. Houston and San Antonio are both 3 hours away so a bit farther but still easy weekend drives.

I expect your wife will have no difficulty finding work. The unemployment rate is quite low here. The school districts are always hiring but I'm not sure exactly what kind of work she would be looking for.

Last edited by texasdiver; 09-12-2015 at 02:28 PM..
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Old 09-12-2015, 02:38 PM
 
3,491 posts, read 6,054,448 times
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I like Waco and Baylor seems like a good school.I have a friend who goes there and he really likes it.I like their football team quite a bit.
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Old 09-12-2015, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Austin
1,795 posts, read 2,735,776 times
Reputation: 1232
Waco isn't that bad. There are area's that are "ghetto". But the overall city is nice. Like others said Waco is transforming itself with several urban renewal projects taking place including a new farmers market which is hosted by HGTV, as well as infilling with a bunch of new townhowns, hotels, and retail centers taking place. Waco is sort of like a mini "Austin" if you will, but without the hype, hippies, and high cost of living.
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Old 09-12-2015, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Patrolling The Wasteland
397 posts, read 335,502 times
Reputation: 1181
Thank you all so much for your replies! For whatever reason I have really been leaning towards Baylor, because they offer a lot in terms of a university; it was Waco that was causing some reservations. I am glad to hear that it is not as bad as many are making it seem online!
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Old 09-12-2015, 06:54 PM
 
2,927 posts, read 4,057,326 times
Reputation: 1763
Yes, I wonder what happened to all the haters. There have been many ongoing threads on - Waco hatters, I guess you just can't beat success in sports, football in particular, just hard to overcome sport success on a national scale, lol. Makes all things look better, life.... lol
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:10 PM
 
3,491 posts, read 6,054,448 times
Reputation: 1705
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxtheRoadWarrior View Post
Thank you all so much for your replies! For whatever reason I have really been leaning towards Baylor, because they offer a lot in terms of a university; it was Waco that was causing some reservations. I am glad to hear that it is not as bad as many are making it seem online!
Anytime bud
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