Should I Go To Purdue University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Angela specializes in Spanish tutoring and ESL tutoring in Los Angeles. She graduated from Purdue University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Education. Read on for her thoughts on Purdue University:

VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Angela: Purdue University is in the town of West Lafayette, Indiana, which is a medium-sized, friendly, welcoming, and smart town. I was able to walk everywhere I needed to go. Everything on campus is very accessible and easy to get to. The only time I needed a car was when I would go home over breaks. The bus system on campus is amazing; there are buses that go everywhere you would need to go. And the best part? The buses are always free to students, whether you are on campus or going into West Lafayette/Lafayette. The town also has a lot of bike paths, so if you want to go biking, you do not have to bike on the main roads.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Angela: I found that the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants were very accessible. About halfway through my freshman year, I started working with one of my Spanish professors on a community outreach tutoring program and research program. I was able to stay with that program for all four years of college. I was surprised that my professors would let freshman help them with their research, but at Purdue University, the professors want their students to get as many research, internship, teaching, and learning opportunities as possible.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Angela: The majority of the students at Purdue University live in residence halls during their first two years on campus. That is what I did, and I loved it. The residence halls were a great place to meet new friends, form study groups, and meet people who were all going through the same general experiences. As a freshman, you will live on a floor with other freshmen—therefore, you can all be excited, nervous, and hopeful about this new college experience together. There are four main dining courts for all the residence halls, and they are all-you-care-to-eat buffet style. I can honestly say the food in the dining courts was one of the things I missed the most when I moved out of the residence halls. Purdue University also has over 1,000 clubs and organizations, so there is something for everyone. The hardest part is working up the courage to go to the meetings. 

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Angela: Purdue University is mostly known for its Engineering major, and most people do not even realize that Purdue University has many other programs that are just as nationally recognized. I chose to study Education while at Purdue University. I chose to major in Education because Purdue University has a very well regarded program, and it lets students get real classroom and teaching experience from their first semester of freshman year on. My particular area of study, Spanish Education, was small, with less than 15 students in my major.  This allowed us to get more experience and more contact with our professors. I was able to establish really great relationships with a lot of my professors because my class sizes were so small, and I know these professors will be my colleagues and mentors for a very long time.

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Angela: This was one of my biggest concerns before going to college, and I think it is a big concern for many incoming freshmen. I came from a fairly small town and high school, and I had been friends with the same people since kindergarten. I was happily surprised, however, to realize how welcoming and inviting everyone at Purdue University was. I also highly recommend getting involved in an activity or two. I chose the choirs at Purdue University. After getting involved with the choirs, I quickly became involved in other organizations, and I made fast but life-long friends. Greek life does not play a very significant role on campus—only about 18%, or almost one fifth, of the university is involved in Greek life. There are definitely social opportunities for everyone on campus.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

Angela: The university has a great Career Center that hosts many career fairs. These career fairs are for everyone, not just seniors who are looking for full-time jobs. I know many people who have gotten summer internships from these career fairs, even for the summer after freshman year. The Career Center is also available to all Purdue University alumni anytime they need it. Because Purdue University has so many renowned programs, many companies and employers come to campus solely to recruit Purdue University students. They know that the university produces high-caliber graduates who will do very well in the workforce. 

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Angela: Purdue University has multiple libraries on campus, and each library is subject-specific. This way, each college has its own reference center. The libraries all have common study areas, individual study areas, and quiet study areas, so there is a space for everyone. Purdue University also has a student union, which was my favorite place to do homework in. The union is not as quiet, but it has lots of study tables for students to meet with each other and study, or to do group projects. All throughout campus, different buildings have study rooms too, and there are computer labs in nearly every building on campus. There is definitely enough room for everyone to find their own little study niche.

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus? 

Angela: The towns of West Lafayette and Lafayette are very welcoming toward Purdue University students. There are a lot of things to do throughout the towns.  For example, Lafayette has a really cool downtown with lots of shops and restaurants. West Lafayette is also only an hour drive from Indianapolis, which is the capital of Indiana. A lot of students choose to go to Indianapolis for the day to go see a show, go shopping, explore the downtown area, or go to one of the many city festivals. Another fun thing to do is to take the train to Chicago, which leaves every morning. Although West Lafayette is a small-to-medium sized town, there is still a lot to do and lots of easy ways to get to bigger cities.

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Angela: There are about 40,000 people overall at the university, with about 30,000 undergraduate students. This was a bit daunting for me, because I graduated from high school with about 115 students in my class. However, I was surprised at how small the university felt. I was able to walk from one end of the campus to the other in 10 minutes, although my classes were usually held in the Education buildings, which were right next to each other. I only ever had one large lecture throughout my time at Purdue University, and my average class sizes were around 20 people. However, my smallest class was four people. I love that I was able to get small class sizes, but still be at a bigger university with all the opportunities that it offered. 

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Angela: My most memorable experience with a professor occurred during my freshman year at Purdue University. During the second month of classes, a professor came to talk to my Spanish 201 class. She was discussing a tutoring and research opportunity that she was offering to all students. She was looking for students to help her with her community outreach tutoring program, while also helping her research other topics. I jumped at the chance to do this, because I was profoundly interested in how people learn a second language. I continued with this program for all four years of school, and I know it is something that has helped me immensely—with school, with research, and with helping me decide on a career.

Check out Angela’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.