How to Get Into Purdue University: Admissions Data and Strategies
More than 10,100 freshman students entered Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus in the fall of 2021, the largest first-year class in school history by nearly 1,200 students. This followed an admissions cycle where Purdue received 59,000+ applications, also a school record. While the overall acceptance rate hovering above 60% in recent years it’s quite easy to underestimate just how selective a school Purdue University truly is. In reality, getting into the university’s top-ranked engineering and computer science programs is a far more challenging endeavor, and Indiana residents tend to fare better than out-of-staters or international students.
With so many high quality students lining up to become Boilermakers, it’s important for applicants to possess a full understanding of what they are up against. To help, the College Transitions team will present:
- A deep-dive into just how selective the Purdue admissions process truly is.
- How admissions standards vary by school/college/program within Purdue.
- How the Purdue admissions committee operates and what they look for in a successful candidate.
To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:
- Purdue’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, class rank, and GPAs of Purdue applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2025
- The demographics of current Purdue undergraduates
- Purdue’s yield rate
- How Purdue’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
- Tips for applying to Purdue University
- How to assess whether applying to Purdue is even worth the $60 application fee (for you)
Other Colleges to Consider
Many students applying to Purdue University may also find the following blogs to be of interest:
- How to Get Into the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
- How to Get Into Ohio State University
- How to Get Into Georgia Tech
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
Purdue University: Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025
The 2021-22 incoming first-year class consisted of 10,191 students who were chosen from 59,173 applicants. However, Purdue has not yet released an official acceptance rate for the Class of 2025.
The Class of 2024 saw a 67% acceptance rate with in-state applicants enjoying a five point advantage in the admissions process. The Class of 2023 acceptance rate was a more selective 60%.
However, it is important to note that the academic standards for gaining acceptance into various colleges within Purdue University vary greatly. While the school does not report exact acceptance rate figures by college, we do know the following about their more competitive programs:
Purdue College of Engineering
- The average accepted engineering applicant has an unweighted 3.82 GPA.
- The average SAT score for an accepted engineering student is above 1430; on the ACT, it is a 32.
- A couple of years ago, the reported acceptance rate for engineering applicants was around 40%; this is likely lower in 2022.
- While the school doesn’t offer any official figures, the CS acceptance rate is believed to be as low as a touch under 10% or as high as 15%, depending on the year.
- The number of accepted internal CS transfer applicants has dwindled each year as Computer Science has become Purdue’s most popular major.
Purdue Admissions – SAT, ACT, GPA, and Class Rank
Among those enrolled in the Class of 2025, the mid-50% GPA was 3.5-3.9, the SAT range was 1190-1410 and the ACT range 26-33. The previous year, 48% were in the top decile of their high school class, 79% were in the top quartile, and 97% were in the top half.
Admissions Trends & Notes – Class of 2025
- Purdue is test-flexible for students applying for the 2023-24 school year. They prefer that applicants take the SAT or ACT but recognize that this may not be possible for everyone.
- The number of Indiana residents entering the Class of 2025 was 4,647, up from 4,418 the previous year.
- The number of out-of-state students entering the Class of 2025 was 4,643, up from 3,643 the previous year.
- The overall number of applications increased from 57,279 for the Class of 2024 to 59,173 for the Class of 2025.
- Purdue saw more than 750 international students join the 2021-22 freshman cohort.
Who Gets Into Purdue University—West Lafayette?
Let’s look at the demographics of Purdue undergraduates:
Purdue Class of 2025 members hailed in fairly equal numbers from the state of Indiana and other states in the U.S.:
- From Indiana: 4,511
- Out-of-State: 4,827
Looking at ethnic identity among the current Boilermaker undergraduate student body, the breakdown is as follows:
- Asian American: 11%
- Hispanic: 6%
- African American: 3%
- International: 12%
- White: 63%
- Two or more races: 4%
International students hail from 115 countries with the greatest representation from the following nations:
- South Korea
The breakdown by gender of the Class of 2025 shows a heavier concentration of male students:
- Male: 58%
- Female: 42%
With so many more male students at Purdue, female applicants do enjoy an advantage in the admissions process. For the Class of 2024 applicants, women were admitted at a 74% clip compared to a 63% figure for men.
Purdue’s Yield Rate
Purdue’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted was 23% for the Class of 2024. This is lower than some other popular public institutions, UT-Austin has a 46% yield, Georgia Tech comes in at 38%, and Ohio State’s is 30%.
How Purdue Rates Applicants
- There are only three factors that Purdue ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process and those are: an applicant’s GPA, standardized test scores, and the rigor of one’s secondary school record. Five factors are designated as “important” to the Purdue evaluation process. Those are: recommendations, essays, extracurricular activities, first-generation status, and character/personal qualities.
In the admissions office’s own words:
- “Admission to Purdue is based on a holistic evaluation of each student’s application in the context of the overall applicant pool for a particular Purdue college or specific major. For example, admission to nursing is highly competitive because it is a small program with a large applicant pool.”
- “You can use our Freshman Class Profile Page to see “middle 50%” ranges for GPAs and SAT or ACT tests. However, these ranges represent the entire freshman class – the middle 50% for individual majors may be higher or lower based on space availability or the rigor of the program’s curriculum.”
Tips for Applying to Purdue University—West Lafayette
If you plan on joining the 59,000+ Boilermaker hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- Purdue does not offer interviews. Therefore, the best way to personalize the admissions process is through your essays and recommendations.
- Purdue considers “demonstrated interest” in the admissions process. This means you may gain an advantage by visiting campus, connecting through social media, emailing an admissions officer, etc.
- You can apply by November 1 to meet the Early Action Deadline. The Regular Decision deadline is January 15.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the (up to) three short answer prompts that you may need to address. They are as follows:
- How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom? (100 words)
- Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (100 words)
- Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (250 words)
Should I Apply to Purdue University?
Purdue students generally sport A-/B+ averages in a rigorous high school program and possess average standardized test scores above the 90th percentile of all test-takers. For prospective engineering/CS students, virtually all A’s and standardized test scores above the 95th percentile are recommended.
All college-bound high school students should formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. This can be done in collaboration with an admissions professional who is aware of the latest trends and strategies associated with your prospective colleges.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).