Purdue University—West Lafayette, IN
Close-knit family on a big campus
What it Feels Like to Go Here
Located in the semi-small town of West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University makes guys and gals feel like they’re living in a lonely world. But don’t let its reputation make you think you’ll be shipped to some podunk town in Indiana. This flagship campus offers more to do and see than meets the eye, so “boiler up” because this Big Ten conference school is nationally recognized for its academics and athletics that reach the moon—literally. Known as the “cradle of astronauts,” Purdue sent 23 alumni into space including the very first man to the moon. But if you’re interested in reaching for a different set of stars, choose from Purdue’s more than 200 majors, including a top-ranked engineering program. And if you get sick of the big campus scene, check out one of Purdue’s 400 plus study abroad programs to travel somewhere far away like Madagascar or even somewhere closer to home like Canada.
Most Americans know him as the man who first walked on the moon, but to Purdue students, he’s an alumnus who once walked up University Avenue. Neil Armstrong enrolled at Purdue in 1947, after receiving a naval scholarship to pursue Aeronautical Engineering. Called to active duty in 1949, Armstrong returned to campus to complete his degree in 1952, graduating three years later in 1955. If you pop popcorn in your roommate’s cheap dorm room microwave, chances are you tasted another Purdue alumnus’ success. Commonly recognized by his classic bowtie, suspenders and wayfarer glasses, Orville Redenbacher was a hipster before even hipsters were hipster. A snazzy entrepreneur, Redenbacher graduated from Purdue with a degree in Agronomy and ran a fertilizer company. His dedication to cultivating the perfect popcorn kernel led to the production of the popular popcorn adorning his name. A Boilermaker before a Saint, Drew Brees certainly seemed like a saint during his college years of playing football at Purdue. Leading Purdue to a Big Ten championship win and a trip to the Rose Bowl, Brees hails as the record holder for several Purdue football records and is also a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Oh, and he’s also sitting pretty with the Super Bowl XLIV MVP trophy next to all his other trophies and accolades.
Where We Hang
If you want to be hot like all the other Boilermakers, then you’ve got to pick up some steam and chug your way to where the cool kids go. While living in a town like West Lafayette may make you think there’s nothing to do, stay caffeinated at one of the numerous coffee shops during the day and hit the bar scene with the 21 and over crowd at night. Hit up Harry’s bar on the weekend, or just go Greek and see what the popular frats on campus are up to. But if you’re not a heavy caffeine or alcohol drinker, don’t be remissed because plenty of places cater to nondrinkers. Check out the student union for some grub and take center stage on karaoke night. “There are always nights where more partying goes on than others and amongst different groups of people. There is always something going on not related to drinking, so there is something to do for everyone,” freshman Leilanie M. Ribera-Fores said. “My favorite non-drinking activity would be attending Open Mic Night at the Union.”
1. How much are students partying?
“Most students party Thursday [night] to Sunday morning. The Greek Life is known for partying a lot [on campus].” — Bryan Borowitz, Mechanical Engineer major, Class of 2015
2. What will you get in trouble for at your school?
“[Bad grades] and plagiarism/cheating. Most cops are just there to make sure nothing goes too crazy and everyone is relatively safe.” — Austin Zitelli , Civil Engineer major, Class of 2018
3. How much sex are students having?
“Probably a lot, it’s college (haha). I have a lot of friends that do.” — Kirsten Andersson, Animal Sciences major, Class of 2017
4. What would you tell incoming freshman about your school?
“It’s a given that you probably will have mental breakdowns from time to time and feel like giving up, but always try your hardest and make sure you reach out when you need the help. We were all there at one point and having that help got us through potentially the best and most rewarding years of our lives.” —Holly Maize, Pharmaceutical Sciences major, Class of 2018
5. What’s one thing that should be on every Boilermaker’s bucket list?
“Eat at each dining hall. Visit every library…Go to Harry’s on your 21st birthday. Get a Den Pop just to say you got one. Run in the fountains regardless of the weird stares you may receive.” — Erin Markle, Biology major, Class of 2014
“Being accepted and going to Purdue was such a great achievement for me…I had never been so excited and determined to prove that I could not only get into college but to succeed at a college with the great reputation that Purdue upholds. It was and is an amazing feeling.” — Erin Markle, Biology major, Class of 2014
“Being that I’m not from the United States it feels very surreal to be studying in a large college campus. It feels very serene, but at the same time full of life and activities.” — Leilanie M. Rivera-Fores, Professional Pharmacy, Class of 2020
“It’s been a total mix of Hell on Earth and the greatest time of your life.” — Bryan Borowitz, Mechanical Engineer major, Class of 2015
“Being a Boilermaker is very special to me. The classes are incredibly difficult but immersing yourself with great friends from all majors and enjoying every minute of the journey is well worth it in the end despite all the times you feel like dropping out. The classes and the resources/people here prepare you for your future career paths and they provide everything from an amazing internship to your dream professional school advice.” — Holly Maize, Pharmaceutical Sciences major, Class of 2018
“Being a boilermaker is probably one of the things that makes me the [proudest]. It is exceedingly difficult and classes really make you work for your grades, but going here has taught me how to overcome so much and how to be successful for vet school. It also is a great community coming from out of state. I feel at home here.” — Kirsten Andersson, Animal Sciences major, Class of 2017
Top 3 Majors:
2. Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services
3. Liberal Arts and Sciences
Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations
1. Purdue Student Union Board (PSUB) aims to serve and entertain. With a variety of committees, students get involved in different hands-on experiences outside of the classroom. “Purdue Student Union Board is a popular organization on campus, it comes up with fun activities for students to partake in on campus if they want to stay away from alcohol. They do a lot of really cool stuff,” PSUB member Kirsten Andersson said. Students choose to get involved in multiple events from concerts, cultural events, fine arts, films, homecoming events and recreational events. Students also develop new skills outside of event planning like budget management, leadership development and public speaking.
2. Boiler Gold Rush (BGR) allows students to meet new friends, find their classes and even have fun at laser light raves on their journies to becoming a successful Boilermaker. You can really boiler up with this student organization as it provides students the chance to participate in Purdue traditions, leadership development and learn about other students’ experiences at Purdue. “Specific students get to become team leaders or supervisors for incoming freshman activities. It has a very large following, and is composed of very cheery Purdue loving students,” BGR participant Leilanie M. Rivera-Fores said.
3. Purdue University Dance Marathon (PUDM) offers students the opportunity to get their groove on and make a difference by raising awareness for Riley Hospital for children year round. Through events like PUDM’s 18-hour dance marathon, club members and volunteers help those in the Boilermaker community by participating in a dance marathon to raise money toward the Cancer Center and Camp Riley. In addition, you’ll feel inspired to succeed as you help some of the toughest fighters out there. “There are so many things that everyone should do…[but] I also recommend that everyone does PUDM once,” PUDM member Austin Zitelli said.
Though Purdue has an acceptance rate of 60 percent, the school recently became more selective in its acceptance of students. While a rumor circulates that most students from Indiana are easily accepted, incoming freshman applicants, transfer students and international students have to meet specific criteria, whether they’re from Indiana or not. Students apply to Purdue using the Common App, and application are evaluated holistically. So everything about an application is taken into account before Purdue determines whether one ends up a Boilermaker or not. Many current and former students advise applicants to expand their resume to be more well-balanced than just having a higher GPA or ACT and SAT scores.
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Tuition & Fees: Indiana Residents- $10,002 Non-Residents- $28,804
Total Cost on Campus: Indiana Residents: $23,032 Non-Residents: $41,994
Undergrads Enrolled: 29,497
Grads Enrolled: 9,912
Total Enrolled: 39,409
Acceptance percentage: 60%
Percent Admitted who Enroll: 34%
Percentage of Male Students: 57 %
Percentage of Female Students: 43%
Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 66%
Percentage Receiving Federal Grants: 50%
Percentage Receiving Federal Loans: 39%