Indiana, United StatesRanked among top 10 universities in US
Started in 1869, Purdue University is a public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. It is one of the highest-rated universities in the USA, and rightly so. It is involved in very high levels of research, and has some of the best academic programs to offer. Before you read any further, you ought to know that you need an absolutely mind-boggling profile to get into Purdue. An extremely high GPA, some excellent research work, and a couple of international technical papers can give you a chance of making it to Purdue. Note how we say ‘can’ and not ‘will’ – it really is that hard. To get an idea, even IITians with breathtakingly good profiles find it difficult to get in.
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West Lafayette, by itself, is at best a college town. It tends to get pretty boring in the immediate surroundings of Purdue, but fortunately Indianapolis is just 70 or so miles away, and you can drive to Chicago and Cincinnati in a couple of hours.
Purdue University is built on a massive 2500 acre campus, and is arguably one of the best campuses you’ll ever see (that is, of course, if you’re lucky enough to see it). Completely self-sufficient, Purdue has anything and everything a student could possibly ask for, including fifteen (yes, fifteen) massive libraries, a number of coffee shops, convenience stores, and a number of casual hangouts as well.
As for living, most grad students choose to stay off campus, even though on-campus accommodation is very much available. This is probably because of the freedom, luxury and privacy afforded to students by an off-campus house. And, of course, because it seems to turn out cheaper – monthly rentals are about $700-1100, but those get considerably divided if you have roommates. Areas that students normally like staying in are Blackbird Farms, Jefferson Commons and Willowbrook West.
It’s rather awful, to be honest, so if random change of climate doesn’t exactly suit you, you should probably stay away from Purdue. The weather changes on a weekly basis – there could be a snowstorm one week, and it could become warm and humid the next. Summers are warm and winters are terribly cold, but there isn’t much differentiating which comes when.
Students come to Purdue mainly because of the faculty. A number of Nobel laureates teach at the university, and in spite of their high levels of research work, they’re quite approachable and friendly. Professors are more than willing to go out of their way to help, provided students are willing to go out of theirs to learn. Students sometimes complain about professor's accents being a problem, albeit a very minor one, so that really shouldn’t influence your judgment.
Purdue is one of the best centers for research activity in the world, and the pedagogy is understandably centered around a lot of practical and research work, which is a good thing, if you were wondering. All in all, Purdue is absolutely excellent from an academic point of view.
It’s pretty easy to get Teaching and Research Assistantships, but its nigh impossible to get any substantial scholarships, mainly because of the kind of competition you face for it.
Well, it’s Purdue. Graduates from here end up as the top brass in some of the topmost companies of the world. Naturally, placements are fantastic, but if you have a very particular job/company combination that you dream of, then you better make sure your academics merit it, because the quality, if not quantity, of competition you face is frightening.
While you’ll find quite a few ‘Asians’ (Chinese), Indians are few and far between. And even those who you may find would be the typically geeky IITians. But that being said, most of the students at Purdue can probably be categorized under the ‘cool nerd’ tag.
Like we already mentioned, Purdue University is absolutely self-sufficient, having a bowling alley, and an excellent food court of its own. Still, for those who like moving out a bit, Chauncey Hill and The Levee would be nice places to start. Where Else, BW3’s, XXX and Neon Cactus are some of the popular grad hangouts.
The only negative is the weather, and maybe the location, to an extent, if you’re used to a big city. But everything else – and that’s what matters – about Purdue is absolutely fantastic.
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