What Does it Really Take to Get into Purdue University—West Lafayette?

Only 57% of Purdue University—West Lafayette applicants are admitted. What does it take to get in?


Founded in 1869, Purdue University—West Lafayette is the Purdue University system’s flagship campus. This Indiana research institution sits on an expansive 2,468 acres and has a total of 32,672 undergraduates.


Purdue’s emphasis on science and engineering, their membership in the Big 10 Conference and their over 200 undergraduate programs make the university a top choice for many talented applicants from Indiana and around the world.


However, with an acceptance rate of 57%, getting into Purdue is no guarantee. If you’re looking to contribute to Purdue’s vibrant community, keep reading for tips on how to craft a successful application.


Applying to Purdue University—West Lafayette: A Quick Review


You can apply to Purdue using The Common Application or the Coalition Application. Purdue notes that they have no particular preference for either application portal. With this in mind, it’s important to choose the one that works best for you—take a look at some of our application guides to determine best fit.



Students may apply by November 1 for Early Action and by January 1 for Regular Decision. Additionally, November 1 is the deadline for scholarships and Honors college consideration as well as the priority deadline for some areas of study. Visit Purdue’s Deadlines and Important Dates page for more information about specific program deadlines.


Keep in mind that there are certain commitment expectations associated with priority deadlines; if you’re unsure about when you should apply, check out our post Early Action vs. Early Decision vs. Restricted Early Action for more insight.    


When applying, be sure to submit the following:


  • A general university application via one of the aforementioned portals
  • Supplemental essay
  • Self-reported high school grades
  • Self-reported ACT or SAT test scores
  • The application fee (or qualified fee waiver)

Purdue University—West Lafayette Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


With an undergraduate admissions rate of 57%, Purdue is moderately selective. In the fall of 2018, 8,357 new freshmen enrolled. The middle 50% of these students earned an SAT score between 1190-1390, an ACT score between 25-32 and a GPA within the range of 3.5-3.9.


Although admissions statistics can be intimidating, the strength of your individual application factors heavily into how your chance of acceptance may skew above or below 57%. Beyond strong grades and test scores, a well crafted application can make all of the difference!

So, How Does One Get Into Purdue University—West Lafayette?


As a research institution with an emphasis on science and engineering, Purdue values applicants who demonstrate an aptitude for success and problem solving. Ultimately, they are looking for students who will thrive within their respective field of study and meaningfully contribute to the greater Purdue community.


Growth and Potential


Purdue wants future innovators with great potential, with that in mind, positive trends in achievement overtime in high school are looked upon favorably.  Additionally, other factors such as coursework rigor and the overall academic context of your your high school is taken into consideration. Remember, how you take advantage of your current resources can give admissions a glimpse into your future success at Purdue.



Academic History


Purdue advises that prospective students meet or exceed the following requirements:


  • Math: 8 semesters
  • English: 8 semesters
  • Lab Science: 6 semesters (Visit Purdue’s High School Course Requirements page for a full breakdown of labs sciences required for specific areas of study.)
  • Social Studies: 6 semesters
  • Foreign Language: 4 semesters



Contribution to Community


With over 30,000 undergraduates, Purdue is a big school with even bigger traditions! Ultimately, admissions officers want to know how your unique perspective will shape the overall culture of Purdue. Use your essays and short responses to craft a narrative that demonstrates your engagement inside and outside of the classroom through your extracurriculars, passions and life experience.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Purdue reviews applicants both individually and holistically with two questions in mind:


  • Is the student academically prepared to succeed in their desired academic program?
  • Is the student a competitive candidate when compared to other candidates applying to the program based on available space.


Here are a few tips on how to make sure that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes:


Demonstrate preparedness. Beyond good grades in your desired field of study, preparedness can also be demonstrated by academic exploration beyond the classroom. Since Purdue is a strong research institution, admissions counselors take note of students who have conducted research or participated in internship programs that exposed them to practical applications of their classroom knowledge. When preparing your application, emphasize extracurriculars that show your desire to learn more about a particular subject.


Don’t Procrastinate—apply early! As mentioned earlier, Purdue has priority deadlines for specific programs such as the Honors College. Seeing that over 50,000 students applied to Purdue last year, it is important to submit your application earlier rather than later to ensure that there is still space in your desired program or field of study.


(A note for Indiana residents: The university encourages students from Indiana to pursue the Academic Honors Diploma while in high school. Although this academic track does not necessarily guarantee admission, it does make for a more competitive applicant.)


What If You Get Rejected?


A little under half of all applicants to Purdue aren’t admitted, so don’t feel discouraged. If you are still set on becoming a Purdue Boilermaker, you can always transfer. Depending on the semester, some programs are closed to transfers—review Purdue’s Closed Programs page before deciding to reapply.


It can be difficult to find contentment in your backup choice after rejection, but our post, Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School, gives great insight on how to maximize your experience at any university.


Getting into Purdue University—West Lafayette is no easy feat, but you can definitely improve your chances by building a strong academic foundation that speaks to your drive and potential.


Each year,CollegeVine helps hundreds of applicants perfect their applications. 75% of students who work with CollegeVine get into one of their top choice schools. If you would like more tailored advice on your admissions profile, our College Applications Program, which helps students navigate the application process alongside a successful mentor from a top school, is a great resource.


For more information on Purdue University—West Lafayette and other similar institutions, take a look at these CollegeVine posts:


How to Write the Purdue University Supplemental Essay 2018-2019

25 Summer Programs for High Schoolers in Indiana

What are the Big 10 Schools?


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Want more college admissions tips?

We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.

Short Bio
Kristen is an alumna of Vanderbilt University, where she earned degrees in English and Medicine Health & Society. In her free time she enjoys writing poetry. She lives in Arlington, Texas and is currently applying to graduate school.

Don't miss out on the best high school & college admissions resources!

Join thousands of students and parents getting exclusive high school, test prep, and college admissions information.