College Spotlight: Purdue University

I was taken aback when my tour guide at Purdue, Grace, was a bubbly sales and marketing major in the college of Health Sciences. When I think about Purdue University, engineering automatically come to mind. But she was not an engineer—” I tried to avoid math at all costs,” she said, even as she gushed about Purdue’s Bechtel Innovation Design Center and the fact that all students get a resin allowance for 3D printing. (She printed a replica of her head for fun).

It turns out there’s good reason to associate Purdue with engineering. With 17 undergraduate engineering majors (mechanical engineering is the most popular and multi-disciplinary engineering is the smallest), engineering students make up nearly a third of the 32,000 undergraduates. With a student newspaper called The Exponent, it’s clear that Purdue is a STEM-focused university.

What makes engineering stand out at Purdue is the culture of collaboration that starts freshman year when each student is placed on a team. Students unsure about which engineering major to choose can rest easy. You don’t have to make up your mind about which part of engineering you want to study before you enroll. You can take general engineering courses your first year and if you get a 3.2 GPA or higher your freshman year, you most often get your first choice of engineering major.

Other Notable Academic Colleges

Engineering is just one of the 11 academic colleges at Purdue. Other stand-out colleges include:

The Polytechnic Institute, which houses many engineering majors that are focused more on hands-on application, such as aeronautical engineering technology or robotics engineering technology. Two new majors will be introduced next year, including computer engineering technology and energy engineering technology. Other majors housed in the Polytechnic Institute are Professional Flight, Game Development & Design, Supply Chain Management Technology, and Cybersecurity, to name just a few.

The Krannert School of Management, with 2500 innovative undergraduate students. The Milken Institute ranks Purdue #1 in technology transfer and startup creation in both the Midwest and among U.S. universities without a medical school.

Health and Human Sciences, which  houses the School of Nursing, the most competitive major in that college, as well as an excellent Nutrition/Dietician program in addition to interesting majors such as Financial Counseling & Planning and Family and Consumer Science Education.

The College of Pharmacy, which is a competitive 6-year program (not direct admit) that takes about 55% of Purdue undergraduates who apply during their sophomore year.

Insider’s Admissions Tips

  • When applying to Purdue, you can self-report grades and test scores.

  • When responding to the supplemental essays, James Crawley, assistant director of admissions, says to take an Improv Comedy approach of “Yes, and.” For example, Yes, Purdue is a great school for me because… AND here’s how it will help me.