Purdue University Admissions Essay


Purdue is a Big Ten school that provides "a world class education" with a name "that is known all over the world and not just the state of Indiana." The university is especially "known for being a great engineering school," but has a bevy of amazing programs including "a great nursing program," "a great Pharmacy program" and a "speech pathology program [that] is one of the best." "I knew that I would receive an unparalleled education here," an Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering major says. Purdue, "cradle of engineers and quarterbacks alike," is known for its athletics as well as its academics. There is "great school spirit exhibited in student organizations and athletic events." Yet despite the "big campus atmosphere," the school still maintains "small-school feel within its individual colleges." The "knowledgeable and helpful" professors are "very excited about their topic of teaching" and "the classes are excellent and stimulating." "Many of my professors have at least ten years under their belts with PhD's," one student boasts. Students are not going to find easy classes here. Purdue has teachers that "expect the most out of you." However, "the difficult and rigorous curriculum" is a bonding experience that "increases out of the classroom skills such as communication and collaboration." Some students did worry that "many things (such as Industrial Roundtable) are focused almost exclusively on engineers, which leaves some other majors out in the cold." "The dining services are immaculate" at Purdue, and students love how the school "promotes green technology." One Biology major explains the Purdue appeal: "It has everything a college kid could want: sports, academics, clubs, and delicious food." Purdue provides an educational experience that students will remember the rest of their lives. As one student puts it: "Once a Boilermaker, always a Boilermaker."

Student Body

Located in Indiana, Purdue has a student body that is largely "white and from the Midwest" with "conservative political views." That said, one student points out that "West Lafayette is a pretty progressive town and usually ends up going Democratic if you check election records." A fair number of students say the school needs to work to bring "better diversity." "Most students are really down to earth" and "students can all find their niche here and get along well." Students tend to bond "within their majors" which "helps create a small-school feel within a huge university," although "it is not unheard of for people involved in different things to be with different people." There is a fair amount of animosity between majors since "science and engineering majors DO look down on other majors" and tend to think that non-technical majors "are a 'joke' to the point that people are arrogant, obnoxious, and rude." Still, most students "fit in well" and at the end of the day "we take all kinds here and turn everyone into Boilermakers."

Campus Life

Life at Purdue involves a lot of "time management" and "a typical student has a hard time completing all three S's (sleep, study, socialize) but has fun trying." As a Big Ten university, athletics make up a large part of campus life. "We have RossAde Brigade and Paint Crew, student clubs for cheering on the athletic teams, and they're fairly large," one Biology major explains. "Partying and hard alcohol [are] common," but seem to divide the student body. Some wish the administration put "more control on partying and drinking" while others wish it was "less strict on alcohol/drug policies." "Sometimes there isn't a lot to do in West Lafayette besides drink," and "students typically spend their time partying hard on Thursday nights at the Cactus and cramming on Sunday nights." "Greek life is huge at Purdue" although "not essential." West Lafayette is "close to Chicago and Indy" for weekend trips, and "students stay on campus most of the time, so it's not a huge deal that the town around us sucks." There is "always something fun to do on campus" too, such as "a club meeting, a social event/recreational event, or just plain studying." "Most people unwind and have fun by joining a club or organization" and everyone seems to find a place to fit in. Even quiet students blossom at Purdue as "the atmosphere on campus coaxes most out of their shell sooner or later."

Below are essay prompts for the 2018 Common Application and the Coalition Application. Both first-time college students (future freshmen) and transfer students use either the Common Application or the Coalition Application to apply to Purdue. For 2018 enrollment, these applications will be available in early August 2017. 

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

  • Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. 

  • Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. 

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