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Everything About Purdue University

Everything About Purdue University

Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,672

Institutional Type: Public

Curricular Flexibility: Somewhat Flexible

Academic Rating: 3.5

Top Programs




Computer and Information Technology

Computer Science




Who Recruits

1. Cognex Corporation

2. Endress + Hauser

3. Lockheed Martin

4. General Motors

5. General Electric

Notable Internships

1. Caterpillar

2. Qualcomm

3. PepsiCo

Top Industries

1. Business

2. Engineering

3. Operations

4. Education

5. Sales

Top Employers

1. Amazon

2. Microsoft

3. IBM

4. Google

5. Apple

Where Alumni Work

1. Indianapolis

2. Lafayette, IN

3. Chicago

4. San Francisco

5. New York City

Median Earnings

College Scorecard (Early Career): $55,100

EOP (Early Career): $48,800

PayScale (Mid-Career): $110,000

Inside the Classroom

After dominating Wabash College in an 1892 football contest, a newspaper reporter labeled the brutes from Purdue University as “burly boiler makers.” It was intended to be derogatory—a dig at an engineering and agricultural education—but it was almost immediately embraced by not only the football team but the entire university. As the twenty-first century has progressed, Purdue University, the public STEM university in Indiana, has grown to where it now educates roughly 33,000 undergraduates and another 10,000 graduate students and draws bright techie teens from well beyond the Hoosier State’s ninety-two counties. Indiana residents comprise only 52 percent of the total undergraduate population at Purdue while 34 percent hail from out of state, and 14 percent are international students.

Waves of new students crash onto Purdue’s West Lafayette campus each year filling up ten discipline-specific colleges in the pursuit of 200+ undergraduate majors. Yet, whether you are a member of the College of Engineering or the College of Education, you’ll have to complete the same core curriculum, a thirty-credit concoction that lists among its ingredients written communication, information literacy, oral communication, science, quantitative reasoning, human behavior, and human cultures. The school’s renowned Honors College welcomes 700 freshmen each fall and offers small class sizes, honors housing, and special leadership opportunities.

But class sizes are reasonable for all students, not only those in the Honors College. For a school of immense size, Purdue offers a strong 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio that leads to 38 percent of course sections having an enrollment of nineteen or fewer. You can also expect a balance of larger lectures as 20 percent of courses enroll more than fifty students. Undergraduate research opportunities are afforded to around 2,000 students per year. Undergrads can connect with professors on research projects during the academic year or apply to participate in a Summer Research Fellowship. A similar number, 2,400 students per year, elect to study abroad at one of 400 programs in sixty countries.

Engineering and engineering technologies majors earn 33 percent of the degrees conferred by the university. It makes sense that so many take advantage. After all, Purdue’s College of Engineering cracks the top ten on almost every list of best engineering schools. The Krannert School of Management is also well regarded by employers around the country; 16 percent of degrees conferred are in business. Other popular majors include computer science (8 percent), agriculture (6 percent)—both are incredibly strong.

Outside the Classroom

Male-heavy to the tune of 57 percent (a typical STEM disproportionality), two-fifths of the Purdue undergraduate student body lives on campus. Freshman housing is only guaranteed to those who sign a housing contract by early May; 94 percent of first- year students follow through. There are over ninety fraternity and sorority houses, and 18percent of men and 20 percent of women partake in Greek life. Nearly 1,000 clubs and activities are available, and among those who participate, 66 percent cited their involvement as one of the major reasons they remain at the university. A hard-to- fathom 18,000 students participate in one of forty intramural sports— there are 300 flag football teams alone. There is also no shortage of big-time sports to consume as a fan. A top-ranked marching band helps cheer on the eighteen NCAA Division I squads that compete in the Big Ten Conference. Purdue has sent thirty players to the NBA, and the football team has appeared in eighteen post-season bowl games. Campus food receives favorable reviews as does the sprawling 2,000-acre campus and its proximity to traditional college town fare and basic entertainment. In addition, Indianapolis can be reached within about an hour by car, and Chicago is a nice weekend destination that is only a two-hour drive away.

Career Services

There are twenty-one professional staff members (not counting administrative assistants) occupying the offices of Purdue University’s Center for Career Opportunities & Pre-Professional Advising (CCO). The majority have the title of career services consultant while others specialize in pre-professional advising. The university’s overall 1,556:1 student to-counselor ratio is high compared to most other schools profiled in this guidebook. Fortunately, the center is adept at organizing large-scale events, connecting with industry leaders, and facilitating experiential learning and networking opportunities for its undergraduate students.

The Industry Roundtable, held every September, is the largest student-run career fair in the United States, drawing 400companies and 12,000+ students. A business-specific career fair attracts another 2,000 students, the Agricultural Career Fair brings one hundred companies to campus, and Purdue also offers fairs for aviation, civil engineering, hospitality/tourism, aerospace, and construction management. This robust operation brings a total of 1,400 employers to campus each year for recruiting and/or on- campus interviews. Internship numbers are equally impressive—81percent engage in at least one internship experience during their four years of study, 28 percent complete two experiences, and 24 percent engage in three or more. Catering to the career services needs of nearly 33,000undergraduates with limited staff may be a logistical battle, but it is one that Purdue’s CCO is managing to win. What it lacks in the ability to hand-hold, it makes up for in the scope of offerings and the positive career results for graduates.

Professional Outcomes

Shortly after receiving their diplomas, 70 percent of members of the last year's Class were headed to the world of employment, 21 percent were continuing their educational journey in graduate/professional school, and a mere 3.5percent were still seeking employment. The top industries entered by Purdue grads were (1) health care, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices; (2) finance, insurance, and consulting; (3) higher education; and (4) airline, aviation, and aerospace. Companies employing the greatest number of graduates included General Motors (31),Amazon (24), PepsiCo (22), Lockheed Martin (19), and Boeing (19). The average starting salary was an exceptional$59,500 across all degree programs. Liberal arts and education majors earned an average salary in the neighborhood of $40k while engineering students brought home $68k. The majority of alumni remain in Indiana with Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and DC rounding out the five next most common destinations.

Purdue enjoys professional school acceptance rates that are “slightly above” the national averages. Last year, the school saw 163 of its seniors apply to medical school, and many went on to attend the Indiana University School of Medicine and other Midwestern institutions including the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois. Given the academic concentrations of many undergrads, law school is not an immensely popular choice. Looking at all grad school applicants, 346 graduates in last year's Class who continued their education did so in state. Illinois, New York, and California all attracted fifty+ graduate/professional students including top institutions like NYU, UC Berkeley, and the University of Chicago.

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