What is Purdue Known For? Is Purdue a Good School?

Born out of the passing of the Morrill Land Grant, Purdue University came to age when America was rebuilding itself after the Civil War. 

What began as a smattering of buildings has grown into a multi-campus university – including online – that educates students both nationally and internationally. 

The university boasts a 68.9% admission rate and offers generous need-based aid packages through the Boiler Affordability Grant and the Purdue Promise. These make Purdue’s R1 education accessible to students from all backgrounds. 

Accessibility and excellence in research are top priorities for the university, and a continued commitment to these and other essential initiatives are laid out in Purdue’s strategic plan, Purdue’s Next Moves. 

The university pledges to continue being a leading institution in STEM research, international education, and innovative learning. 

Students need look no further than the recent additions of the Innovation Design Center, a 3-year bachelor’s degree option, and the Active Learning Center to see Purdue is staying on track to meet its strategic goals. 

Students looking to attend a university with well-established history, high-profile alumni, proven research results, and support for all students need to look no further than Purdue. Below is information on what to expect from an education at Purdue University.

What Majors & Academics Are Purdue Known For?

Purdue University
JMoga11, Purdue University from Hawkins Hall, CC BY-SA 4.0

Many students know the Purdue name because of the university’s widely used Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL); But, as the “Boilermaker” nickname implies, the university is also widely known and respected for its engineering program. 

Historically, the university has produced engineering pioneers like Golden Gate engineer Charles Alton Ellis, the “Mother and Father of Modern Management” Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, and rubber aficionado Adel Halasa. 

More recently, the College of Engineering received the distinction of being the number 5 producer of undergraduate female engineers. 

Unique to the Purdue engineering program is the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Ranked the Number 12 aerospace program globally by ShanghaiRanking’s Global, students have access to some of the top facilities and faculty in the world in the field of aeronautics and astronautics. 

Whether students are working in the largest academic propulsion lab in the world or working with AIAA Fellows like Sergey Macheret, they will have access to some of the most innovative minds and research at home and abroad. 

In addition to engineering, students have 11 colleges to pick from that touch on everything from liberal arts to STEM, agriculture to management, and more. 

No matter what students pick, they will be attending one of U.S. World and News Reports’ Top 10 most innovative universities in America. 

Is Purdue a Good School?

It will come as no surprise with Purdue’s engineering expertise that U.S. News and World Report ranks its undergraduate engineering program at number 10 nationally. 

But beyond engineering, Purdue also falls into U.S. News and World Report’s top 50 universities nationally and in the top 17 for public schools.

A large part of Purdue’s reputation comes from being an R1 research university. Over the years, the university has won funding from various federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education. 

This funding has gone towards innovative research projects like the university’s propulsion lab, the creation of supercomputers, the developing of cancer-fighting drugs, and even explorations in crafting a special equine “slicker” designed to detect diseases in horses. 

The individuals who have attended the university have included Pulitzer Prize winners, National Medal of Science recipients, members of Congress, and several Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients. 

Home to alums like astronaut Neil Armstrong, COO of McDonalds Don Thompson, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees, and chemist and women’s advocate Nina Roscher, students who become part of Purdue join a long tradition of leaders and innovators. 

Purdue Traditions

Purdue University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

With an athletic history that stretches back to 1887, students will find that many of the Purdue traditions stem from the rituals and events of the university’s sports teams. 

The “Boilermaker” name is a tradition in itself and came about after an 1891 write-up in the newspaper about the university’s football team. 

Another famous football tradition that avid college football fans will be familiar with is the Old Oaken Bucket trophy. One of the oldest football trophies around, the tradition of adding an I (Indiana) or P (Purdue) link to the chain has been around since 1925! 

Outside of sports, the university also is home to the “Hello Walk”. In a multiple walkway area that intersects around the campus’ central mall, students are encouraged to extend a friendly “Hello” to each person along their way. 

An excellent place to read about Purdue traditions, and itself another long-standing tradition, is the university’s newspaper which was founded in 1889. The Exponent, as it is called, is Indiana’s largest collegiate newspaper and continues to inform Boilermakers old and new of university happenings.

Finally, with all the intense research and learning that the university conducts, they also have a tradition of community, fun, and school spirit. 

Students can catch a break from their studies at the annual Spring-Fest where music, food, and family all come together to create a celebration of new beginnings. 

The festival also features the largest insect festival in the nation, the Bug Bowl. Kids can come and participate in activities that include art projects, insect petting, and even the famous (infamous?) “cricket spitting” contest. 

Prominent Clubs & Extracurricular Activities at Purdue

Greek Life, pre-professional clubs, intramural sports, fellowships, and even a particular club for using 3D printing to create prosthetic limbs are included in the club options for students looking for ways to be involved outside the classroom. 

In addition, the university offers a wide range of centers, art galleries, and lecture series for students to access.

Those who wish to find support, resources, and community should check out one of the university’s five cultural centers. Covering race, ethnicity, and gender/sexuality, these centers offer students spaces to create art, events to celebrate identity, access to exceptional library collections for research, and tours of the university that highlight different marginalized groups’ history on the campus. 

Celebrating art and culture extends to the several art galleries housed at the university. Students can see different art mediums from local, national, and international artists. 

Finally, for students who are looking to add to their learning in the classroom, the university offers an eclectic selection of lectures featuring well-known writers, speakers, academics, and entertainers. 

Lecture guests have included Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, The Economist editor Vijay Vaitheeswaran, and renowned documentarian Ken Burns.

What Sports Are Purdue Known For?

Originator and member of the Big Ten, Purdue has a well-established athletics history that spans 130-plus years. The Division I sports the university offers include football, basketball, baseball, soccer, ice hockey, and volleyball. 

Regularly in competition with rival Indiana University, Purdue remains in the lead for wins in and out of the state of Indiana. 

The annual rivalry football game that results in the winner of the Old Oaken Bucket has Purdue in the lead with the most wins. In addition, the men’s and women’s basketball teams have the distinction of being the winningest teams overall in the Big Ten Championships. 

In addition, the volleyball and soccer teams have seen quite a bit of success in the last few years. In 2021, the soccer team had one of its best ever seasons, making it to the NCAA tournament and being ranked number 24 in the Top 25 United Soccer Coaches poll. 

Similarly, in 2022, volleyball teammate Raven Colin competed with the U.S. Women’s U21 National Team in the Pan American Cup, where the women won for the US for the second time ever. 

Beyond the competition and sport, Purdue is dedicated to student-athletes that excel in the classroom. One of the many ways this is seen is in the many Purdue student-athletes are regularly recognized as Academic All-Big Ten student-athletes. This distinction is offered to students who maintain good grades while playing sports. 

Why Purdue?

Beyond the university’s well-established academic reputation, curious traditions, and winning sports teams, Purdue is a university that students attend because they want an education that aligns with their values. 

With a commitment to inclusion, environmental justice, women in STEM, and many more important issues, students who come to Purdue will find the impact of their education goes far beyond the classroom. 

Being part of the Boilermaker community means being part of the future of space research and travel, contributing to an understanding of how to create more sustainable fuels, exploring how disease develops and how to cure it, and creating innovative technology to improve life. 

Despite the university being over, Purdue creates an educational environment for students open to new ideas and to come up with better ways of living.

Previous articleWhat is Pepperdine Known For? Is Pepperdine a Good School?
Next articleUVA Out-of-State Acceptance Rate & Requirements