Purdue University: No Chickens Here
By Melanie Juarez
Before walking on the moon, Neil Armstrong walked the halls of Purdue University. He may have even participated in one of Purdue’s famed traditions, Fountain Runs, where the end of classes and exams are marked by students dashing through one of the school’s sculptural fountains. In fact, 22 other astronauts, all graduates of Purdue, may have also participated as well.
Purdue University is a public university located in West Lafayette, Indiana, and is an approximately two hour drive from Chicago. 31,006 undergraduate students study at Purdue. 73% of those students go on to graduate with degrees in anything from agricultural engineering, planetary sciences, or visual effects compositing. Purdue is well-known for its College of Engineering, which houses almost 30% of its undergraduate students, but its School of Management and colleges of education and pharmacy are also well respected. Purdue has a 13:1 student-teacher ratio and an average class size of 31 students.
Purdue University was founded in 1869 as a public land grant institution. According to Mr. Mike Borovsky, Purdue’s Chicago Regional Representative, Purdue is a “major part of the fabric of West Lafayette, and there are many opportunities for students to be involved in their new city.” Although West Lafayette has only 45,000 residents, it is the most densely populated city in Indiana. With a laidback and friendly atmosphere, West Lafayette has a reputation as one of the safest college towns in the United States. Purdue even works with local farms and vendors to host Farmers Market Thursdays, which occur during May to October to promote access to healthy and fresh food in its community.
If you have heard of Purdue, you might have also heard the term “boilermaker.” This word refers to men who built trains in the late 1800s. Purdue got this name from a rival football team in the neighboring town of Crawfordsville; after a crushing defeat, the Crawfordsville team jokingly accused Purdue of hiring West Lafayette’s local and burly boilermakers to play instead of students. Purdue kept the name, and it now serves as the official mascot of the university and a nickname for its students.
In addition, Purdue is renowned for its extensive research initiatives. A unique part of Purdue’s research programs is Discovery Park, a research park with facilities that promote collaborative investigation. In one of its facilities, the Birck Nanotechnology Center, researchers explore the potential for nanosciences to address societal problems. The center is one of the most advanced nanotechnology facilities in the world and is furnished with cutting edge nanofabrication laboratories.
A year at Purdue costs about $42,000 for nonresidents of Indiana, with additional fees of up to $2,000 for programs like Computer Science and Engineering. Purdue offers both merit and need-based scholarships, funded by its $2.4 billion endowment. To maximize one’s opportunity to receive scholarships, Mr. Borovsky recommends that students apply by the early action deadline, Nov. 1, and submit a Supplemental Scholarship Application Form and FAFSA by December 15th. Purdue conducts a holistic review of scholarship applicants, but also pays attention to the applicant’s commitment toward their chosen major. Currently, Purdue is rolling out a new type of student funding: an income share agreement called Back a Boiler. Through this program, the university offers financial support in exchange for a percentage of the student’s yearly income after graduation.
“Purdue’s most attractive feature is the career resources it offers to students,” said Mr. Borovsky. If you check the Purdue Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) website, you can find workshops and events that connect students to potential careers scheduled nearly every day of the month. The CCO also offers open office hours for students to come in and receive counseling on choosing majors, career paths, graduate schools, and part time jobs. “The Career center works really hard to help students through the job search, and meet every individual’s need,” said Mr. Borovsky. One unique resource CCO offers is the Career Closet, which provides students with professional outfits for interviews at no cost.
Programs like the CCO offer support to Purdue’s unique student body, 57% of which is male, and 43% of which is female. Purdue’s American students hail from all fifty states, and its international students - nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate - represent 130 countries. When asked what word would best describe the typical student at Purdue, Mr. Borovsky chose “self motivated. They are driven, and face their rigorous coursework with passion.” Whether you want to be a chemical engineer, art historian, insect biologist, farmer, or astronaut, you might find your new home at Purdue University.
Size: 31,006 students
Male to female ratio: 57% male, 43% female
Teacher to student ratio: 13:1
Price: $42,000 a year
% of students on financial aid: 66%
Endowment: $2.4 billion
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana; rural
Acceptance rate: 59%
Graduation rate: 73%