Purdue University Guide

The Ivy Scholars guide to Purdue University’s culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.

Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

Mascot: Boilermaker Special

Type: Public Research Institution

Population: 49,600 (37,100 undergrads)

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About Purdue

The largest university in Indiana, Purdue was founded as a land-grant school, and sought to differentiate itself from the liberal arts schools on the east coast through a strong focus on engineering and agriculture. With a history of aviation, Purdue has produced more astronauts than any other school. Purdue continues to have one of the largest and strongest engineering programs in the country, and is a top public school.

Purdue Statistics

Year Founded: 1869

4 Year Graduation Rate: 76%

Gender Distribution: 58% male, 42% female

Acceptance Rate: 60%

Residency: 49% in state, 37% out of state, 14% international

Location Type: College Town

Schedule System: Semesters

Student/Faculty Ratio: 13:1

Average Class Size: 31

Demographics: 63% Caucasian, 19% Other or unknown, 9% Asian, 6% Hispanic, 3% Black

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National Rankings

US News Rankings:

  • #8 Most Innovative Schools
  • #10 Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • #17 Top Public Schools
  • #49 National Universities
  • #70 Best Value Schools

Independent Rankings:

  • #7 Best Value Schools per The Wall Street Journal
  • #16 Public Universities per Niche
  • #34 Best Colleges for Engineering per Niche
  • #35 Best Colleges for Business per Niche
  • #48 US Colleges per The Wall Street Journal
  • #105 World Universities per The Wall Street Journal
  • #118 National Colleges per Forbes

Purdue Admissions Information

Application Deadlines:

  • Early Action: November 15th
  • Regular Decision: January 5th
  • Transfer Deadline: July 1st

Notification Dates:

  • Early Action: January 15th
  • Regular Decision: March 31st

Acceptance Rates:

  • Early Action: 60%
  • Regular Decision: 60% 
  • Transfer: 41%

Average Applicant Pool: 55,600

Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 33,000

Average Number Enrolled: 8,300

Application Systems: Common App

Average GPA: 3.69 weighted

SAT Scores: 25th% – 1190, 75th% – 1440

ACT Scores: 25th% – 25, 75th% – 32

*Test mandatory. Writing sections are not required.

Demonstrated Interest:

Purdue does not consider demonstrated interest.

Recommendation Letter Policies:

While letters of recommendation are not required, one letter is accepted.

Purdue Essay Prompts:

  • Common App Personal Statement (650 words)
  • Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (Respond in 250 words or fewer.)
  • How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom? (Respond in 100 words or fewer.)
  • Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (Respond in 100 words or fewer.)
  • Purdue Essay Writing Tips

Special Notes:

  • You must apply EA to be considered for the Honors College. Students applying to Computer Science, Nursing, and Professional Flight Technology are encouraged to apply by this date, as these programs often fill up.
  • Students seeking a scholarship are encouraged to apply by November 1st.
  • Purdue requires all students meet or exceed their minimum high school course requirements.


  • Students should reference this page for information on transferring credits.
  • Students need a minimum of 12 university credits to be eligible to transfer in.
  • Students must choose their major when applying.
  • High school and university transcripts are required. 

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Purdue Academics


Core Requirements:

  • All students are required to take 30 credit-hours of core courses to gain mastery of certain areas. Core classes are required in the following categories: Written Communication (1 course), Information Literacy (1 course), Oral Communication (1 course), Science (2 courses), Science, Technology, and Society (1 course), Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (1 course), Human Cultures: Humanities (1 course), and Human Cultures: Behavioral and Social Sciences (1 course).
  • Comprehensive Degree Requirement Information

Courses of Study: 

  • Majors Offered
  • Option to double major
  • Popular majors include Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Business Administration, and Industrial Engineering
  • Changing a major within a school is simpler, changing between schools is much harder.
  • Minors Offered
  • Course Catalog

AP Credit Policies:

Special Programs

Honors Programs:

  • Honors College: The Honors College allows students from all other colleges to take honors courses, live in specialized honors housing, and receive access to additional enrichment resources. You are required to take honors classes to remain in the honors college. Students must apply by November 1st and complete an additional essay to be considered for the honors college.
  • University Honors (awarded at graduation, based on cumulative GPA)
  • Academic Honors Societies

Research Availability:

Study Abroad: 

Business Options: 

Pre-Med Options:

  • There is no dedicated pre-med major at Purdue, though the school does have a career program, which offers course recommendations, application help, and research and internship guidance for students who want to go to med school.
  • There is a Pre-Medicine Concentration available through the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Pre-Law Options:

Computer Science Options: 

Additional Specialty Programs: 

Programs for High Schoolers:

Student Life at Purdue

Mission and Values:

  • Mission: To introduce and connect all new undergraduate students to Purdue University through student and staff led academic and social programming, both on campus and virtual, in order to prepare them for their Purdue experience.
  • Additional Information
  • Student Testimonials (Niche, Unigo, Grad Reports)

Residential Housing System:

There are 17 dorms on Purdue’s campus, offering both suite and apartment style options. There are three male-only dorms, and two female-only dorms; the rest are co-ed. Many students also live in fraternity or sorority houses. There is also cooperative housing, where students pay a reduced rent, and all work to do chores and cook for the household. Learning communities allow students with specific interests to live together. There is a separate dorm for honors housing.

Housing Statistics:

  • 86.2% of freshmen live on campus
  • 34% of students live in university housing at any given time

Campus & Surrounding Area:  



  • Grand PrixThis 50 mile go-kart race is held anually, with all of the carts made and raced by student organizations.
  • Spring FestAn annual two-day event, Spring Fest is meant for both current students and community members to celebrate Purdue.
  • Old Oaken BucketThe winner of the annual Purdue-Indiana football game is awarded the old oaken bucket for the year, and adds either an I or a P chain link.
  • Fountain Runs Students run through five fountains on campus, as part of a bonding experience during freshman orientation, or spontaneously in celebration or to cool off.

Student-Run Organizations: 


Greek Life: 

  • 20% of students participate in Greek life, including more than 80 fraternities and sororities.


  • The towns of West Lafayette and Lafayette offer a plethora of nightlife options, including bars, restaurants, and music.
  • Purdue is not a major party school, but there are still abundant frat and apartment parties.

Financial Information

Yearly Cost of Attendance:

  • Total: $22,812 / $41,614 / $45,954 (in state, out of state, international)
  • Tuition and Fees: $9,992 / $28,794 / $31,104 (in state, out of state, international)
  • Room & Board: $10,030
  • Books and Supplies: $1,010
  • Transportation: $250 / $2,280 (domestic /international)
  • Personal Expenses: $2,790 / $4,820

Financial Aid:

All students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be eligible for aid from the school. Students who apply by November 1st are automatically considered for Merit-based scholarships. There is a supplemental scholarship application due by December 15th, which some colleges within Purdue use to assess your eligibility for additional financial aid.

Additional Financial Aid & Student Loan Information


There are additional scholarships available for freshmen. These are awarded due to financial need or merit. Some of these are university wide, while others are administered by specific colleges. The Honors program provides additional funding opportunities.

Fun Facts

  • Purdue owns its own airport, the creatively named Purdue University Airport. While it no longer has regularly scheduled commercial flights, due to its training schedule, it is the second busiest airport in Indiana.
  • Amelia Earhart was a flight instructor at Purdue, and the school provided the funding for her plane on her attempted around the world flight.
  • Purdue has the oldest computer science department in the US.
  • 25 astronauts graduated from Purdue, including Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, and Eugene Cernan, last on the moon (thus far).
  • Notable alumni include former presidential candidate Herman Cain, quarterback Drew Brees, and popcorn magnate Orville Reddenbacher.
  • 13 Nobel prize winners have been associated with Purdue.
  • Purdue’s founder is buried on campus.
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