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What You Need to Know About Big 12 Schools

The Big 12 is a group of universities in the central U.S. that belong to the same athletic conference. Despite what its name suggests, the Big 12 conference actually consists of 10 universities. The Big 12 Schools are known for their large student populations, competitive athletic programs, and a wide range of degree offerings. 

See also: What you need to know about the Big 10 schools

What are the Big 12 schools?

Here’s a breakdown of the Big 12 schools, in order of largest student population to smallest: 

1. University of Texas at Austin

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,163
  • Acceptance Rate: 31.8%
  • Tuition: $10,824 (in-state), $38,326 (out-of-state)

UT Austin is one of the largest universities in the nation, and one of the most highly-regarded public institutions. The university is divided into 13 schools and colleges, the largest of which is the College of Liberal Arts. The school offers over 1,000 clubs and organizations, along with a variety of  fraternities and sororities. In terms of athletics, the Longhorns boast the most conference championships out of all the Big 12 schools. 

2. Texas Tech University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,125
  • Acceptance Rate: 68.9%
  • Tuition: $9,300 (in-state), $19,260 (out-of-state)

Based in Lubbock, Texas Tech is a large research university with over 150 undergraduate degrees across 13 schools. Popular majors include business, engineering, and interdisciplinary studies. The university is widely recognized as one of the leaders in higher education when it comes to diversity and inclusion efforts. Texas Tech has a prominent Greek life scene, along with more than 450 student organizations. 

3. Iowa State University

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 28,294
  • Acceptance Rate: 92.1%
  • Tuition: $9,320 (in-state), $24,508 (out-of-state)

Iowa State is known for its beautiful campus, as well as its excellent STEM programs and research opportunities. Engineering is by far the most popular major, while business and agricultural studies rank highly as well. In terms of campus life, there are over 60 fraternities and sororities and more than 850 student organizations. Sports are a big part of the school’s culture as well. 

4. University of Oklahoma 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 21,768
  • Acceptance Rate: 80.4%
  • Tuition: $11,763 (in-state), $27,144 (out-of-state)

The University of Oklahoma is composed of 18 colleges, with popular majors including business and engineering. Despite being a large school, students often describe OU as having a close-knit community. Nearly 45% of classes have fewer than 20 students and the university also has its own honors college. About a quarter of the student population is involved in Greek life at OU. The university’s sports teams are consistently competitive, with its football team being particularly strong. 

5. West Virginia University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 21,086
  • Acceptance Rate: 84.3%
  • Tuition: $8,976 (in-state), $25,320 (out-of-state)

West Virginia University is divided into 15 colleges, with its engineering school being particularly strong. Students have a tremendous amount of school spirit and take a lot of pride in their sports teams. WVU is also known for its Center for Service and Learning, which offers class credit for community service. The university is located in the small city of Morgantown and is within hours of major cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and D.C. 

6. Oklahoma State University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 20,024
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Tuition: $9,019 (in-state), $24,539 (out-of-state)

Oklahoma State University features top programs in agricultural sciences, engineering, and information technology. The school has a strong alumni network that is useful for networking, internship, and employment opportunities. Outside of academics, there’s over 400 organizations and clubs available to students. Sports and Greek life play a big role in campus life as well. OSU also takes pride in its commitment to health, calling itself “America’s Healthiest Campus”

7. University of Kansas

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 19,667
  • Acceptance Rate: 93.1%
  • Tuition: $11,166 (in-state), $28,034 (out-of-state)

Located in the charming college town of Lawrence, the University of Kansas is a top research institution. The school has a strong track record of scientific innovation, and offers an abundance of opportunities for student research. Students can choose from nearly 200 undergraduate degrees across 13 different schools. KU is also known for its excellent career center and study abroad programs. 

8. Kansas State University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 17,210
  • Acceptance Rate: 95.4%
  • Tuition: $10,440 (in-state), $26,316 (out-of-state)

Founded in 1863, K-State is the oldest public university in Kansas. The school offers more than 250 undergraduate degrees, with agricultural sciences being one of the top programs. K-State is home to the Biosecurity Research Institute, where students can train to research infectious diseases. The school is also known for the Landon Lecture Series, which has featured many prominent speakers over the years. 

9. Baylor University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 14,108
  • Acceptance Rate: 45.3%
  • Tuition: $47,364

One of the only two private schools in the Big 12, Baylor is a faith-based, Baptist institution. The school has a deep commitment to community service, with many students volunteering in the local community. In terms of academics, top programs include nursing, biology, and accounting. Class sizes tend to be on the smaller side, which allows for close relationships between students and professors. 

10. Texas Christian University

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,474
  • Acceptance Rate: 47.1%
  • Tuition: $49,250

TCU is the other private Big 12 school, and the biggest university associated with the Christian Church. The school is open to students of all faiths, and offers more than 20 religious organizations for students to join. In total, there are over 200 student organizations and more than 30 fraternities and sororities. Popular majors include business, communications, and health-related studies. 

What do the Big 12 schools have in common? 

Degree Offerings 

If you attend a Big 12 school, you can count on having a wide range of majors to choose from. Most Big 12 universities are divided into separate schools that cover everything from agricultural science and engineering to liberal arts and business.

Large Student Bodies

Big 12 schools are large universities that have student populations in the tens of thousands. For students who want to be part of a big and bustling community, this is an attractive feature. 


As members of an NCAA Division I conference, you can expect Big 12 schools to have big-time athletic programs. And with big-time athletics comes a whole lot of school spirit. If you’re looking for a school with a large emphasis on sports, a Big 12 school won’t disappoint you. 

Greek Life

Most Big 12 schools have a strong Greek life presence. For students interested in joining a fraternity or sorority, this is a big plus. If Greek life does not interest you, most Big 12 schools offer hundreds of other campus clubs and organizations as well. 

Should I attend a Big 12 school? 

That depends on what you want out of your college experience. As we’ve discussed, there are a few things you can expect if you attend a Big 12 school. If you’re excited by the prospect of attending a big school with top-notch athletics and a variety of academic programs and on-campus activities, then a Big 12 school might be right for you. 

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