Why Should I Be Involved on Campus?

Brad IIE Blog

Being involved is an important and fun part of being a college student. When you’re applying to colleges, you always hear admissions counselors telling you to be a well-rounded student involved in extra-curricular activities and clubs because it looks better and shows that you can balance a busy schedule. While this is definitely true, I’ve come to realize that one of the reasons they encourage this has to do with something totally different. They’re pushing you to be prepared for college, where being involved on campus can truly mean success both in and outside of the class room.

During my 4 years here on Purdue’s campus, I’ve been involved in a number of student organizations. Most noticeably I’ve been a large part of both The Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity. Both of these groups mix the professional aspects of a club as well as the social aspects and I’m going to talk a bit about both sides of any group you might join on campus.

Each semester, clubs will hold “call-outs,” which are usually short presentations showing what the club does on campus (and sometimes have free food!) In any given semester at Purdue, I’ve been invited to more club callouts than I can count, so it’s hard to know where to start. I simplified things by finding a handful of clubs that sounded interesting and made it a point to attend their call-outs. I remember walking into the IIE callout and instantly being excited by the number of people in the club that I already knew from my classes and major. I was nervous going into the first meeting as they started explaining all of the events I would be required to attend and wondering how I would handle it all, but luckily I didn’t try and walk out or give-up on the idea.

I spent the semester attending a plethora of events from Luncheons with the Faculty,  a career fair with 10 different companies, and one-on-one presentations from companies like Pepsico, FedEx, and Disney (yes Disney World!) These events were not only a great chance to network and gain experience talking to companies, and even getting to know some of my Professors in a more relaxed setting, but they also gave me the chance to make some great friends with the club members that I saw at every event.

It may not sound like much fun going to a ton of networking events but they actually did end up being a good time. On top of the networking events, IIE hosted even more fun social events throughout the semester! They had different fun things going on every couple of weeks throughout the semester which would range from things like going to a corn maze during the fall, renting out the Purdue Memorial Union bowling alley one night, or even sometimes just a get together at someone’s apartment where would all go and hang out to blow off some steam.

I think the biggest thing to be taken away from my experiences in IIE is that the true benefits of joining almost any group are usually intangible. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade anything for the great times I had nor do I under-appreciate all the help I’ve received in searching for internships and eventually full time jobs. However, the intangible benefit comes into effect when you walk into a class at the beginning of semester and you know over half of the people in it. From this first day, the opportunities for study sessions with friends, homework help, and once again just the opportunity to come together as a group and have fun becomes limitless.

I would encourage anyone reading this to really take the chance to become involved on campus at every turn in their college career. It can be tough and sometimes scary to attend callouts and try to impress the current club members enough into being invited to join. But the huge payout potential of putting yourself out there really is worth it! I always use the motto that “It doesn’t hurt to try something new at least once.” The worst that could happen is that you won’t enjoy it and you’ll move on, so go out there and get involved!

The Magic of Purdue

Let’s be honest guys: the weather right now is clearly not the greatest – at all. Currently, it is all of FIVE degrees Fahrenheit in West Lafayette. In Alaska, it’s more like 18 degrees. How about that? We are officially colder than Alaska. And then you factor in the wind chill and it’s pretty cold. But, even though it’s cold, and it has been cold on this campus for a pretty long time now, there’s something about this college, something warm, something that makes these cold days worthwhile.

Take it from someone who’s been here. I’ve watched this campus change over the course of twelve and a half years. That’s right, I’ve been coming to this campus for 12 and a half years; thankfully, only two and a half of them have been as a student myself. The rest are thanks to my brother. He also went to this school as a Mechanical Engineer, and then we just kept coming back to this wonderful place.

The surface of Purdue is wonderful to start with – just the physical look to the school. All of the buildings in some way incorporate brick into their design, and it’s amazing. The continuity of buildings, of every part of this campus, has not changed one bit since this school first opened in 1869. Let me say that again, in the almost 150 years Purdue has been, the campus remains one integrated campus – there is no “old” part nor a “new” part. This just adds to the History here. In every building you go into, there are things, reminders from times past right next to modern technology. Take the Mechanical Engineering building – there is a beautiful hand-wound clock, taller than me (and I’m 5’6″) which was lost in storage for at least 40 years. There are so many other little things like this at Purdue, pictures of graduating classes from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, in all of these wonderful buildings.

Buildings along don’t make a campus – it’s the people here too. I had some amazing friends in high school, several of whom I miss dearly. But here? I’ve got a family here, a group of people who enrich my life like never before. They have directly influenced my life in the best ways possible; if I didn’t know them, I’d feel that there was something lacking in my life. They’re the crazy kids who I want to work with, the ones I want to have at all the major moments in my life, the ones who I don’t know how to say good-bye for, even if it’s just a couple months.

The Magic of Purdue comes from all the quiet moments this campus has to offer. Staying up working on homework with friends, going down to the Landing for a night out, moving some weight in the CoRec, just taking in the campus during a walk to class, all of the simple moments we don’t think much of. They are the Magic of Purdue – and they are everywhere you look on this campus.  They are what makes this campus so worthwhile, despite the frigid winters. So come, find them when you visit, and imagine what it would be like to live for four years on this wonderful campus.

Newly Admitted Students

Hey guys!

Some of you might be wondering - “I got accepted to Purdue Engineering, (woohoo congratulations!) but what do I do next?”

1. Take a deep breath – You just made it into an awesome university and you’ve been working all of high school to achieve this. Pat yourself on the back, and then go post it to Facebook for some likes.

2. Consider your options – We know Purdue isn’t the only school you’ve applied to, but we’re hoping it’s the one you see yourself at the most. So sign up for a webinar, come to a “Purdue’s For Me” day, email the Purdue Student Engineering Foundation with some questions for current students, and read more of this blog! Immerse yourself in Purdue and start to understand how much we have to offer!

3. Accept your Offer - If you click on this link, it will take you to the admissions site that lays it out very clearly. You simply need to…set up your online career account and accept your offer through myPurdue. After this, there is a May 1st deadline for guaranteed on-campus housing. I’d recommend looking into a Learning Community as well.  It’s a way for you to live with like-minded engineers!

4. Schedule Your STAR day! – STAR is one day over the summer that you come to see campus and schedule for your first semester. It’s nice because you’ll get to meet with an advisor to help you make the best decisions for what classes to take.

5. Sign up for BGR! – BGR is our freshman orientation program. You should ABSOLUTELY do it! You come to campus one week before school starts and explore. You get put on team of 10-12 (not only engineers but any major) and you go to a ton of events.  You’ll do a fountain run, get a den pop, and walk your schedule. So join us for BGR :)

Hope to see you soon!

Molly

 

 

Do I Need a Car?

Hello Future Engineers!

I get this question all the time on tours, “Can I bring a car freshman year? Do I need one?”

Technically you are allowed to bring a car after October Break freshman year (October Break is just a  Monday and Tuesday they graciously give us off in October to catch up or take a breather from school).  That being said, you do not need one. There are bus loops that run all over campus and through the city of Lafayette. You can get to the mall or Walmart using public transportation if you need to go there. But on campus there is a grocery store, a CVS, restaurants, book stores, an eye glasses place, multiple Starbucks, cafes, and more. Campus is pretty self-sustaining.

If you need to fly home at the end of the semester, there are bus services that can pick you up on campus and take you straight to the airports for a small fee (i.e. Lafayette Limo).

Hope to see you all on campus soon :)

Molly

Purdue Inside Scoop

UNIVERSAL SETUP

Hello there potential Boilermaker!

Please feel free to email future-engineers@purdue.edu with any questions you might still have after this post!

1. How hard is it? Like really hard? Or really really hard?

It really comes down to time management. Your professors will never give you something they know you can’t handle. While some classes are harder than others, resources exist for all of them. Between office hours, help rooms, supplementary instruction classes, teammates, and most importantly YouTube, you’ll all do great! There is plenty of time for clubs and socializing, just plan your days ahead of time and don’t waste hours on reddit.

2. Is it better for engineering than other schools in the area?

It really comes down to what you’re looking for. Purdue is a large university with a lot of potential. With over 80,000 alumni, there are lots of people in industry looking to hire people from their own alma mater. This is HUGELY advantageous when you’re looking for a job. Purdue’s reputation for teaching engineering well is known worldwide.

3. What’s a co-op and why should that make me want to go to Purdue?

A co-op is like an ongoing internship. You toggle back and forth between going to school and working for a company (always the same company). This does extend your graduation date, but it means by the time you graduate, you will have 2 years of experience working for a company. The whole time you’re working you’re making money – and good money at that (somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 per work term). That kind of experience with a company will make you more attractive to them when it comes time for graduation. If you choose to change industries, it will also make you look more appealing to other companies. Purdue’s program is well developed with companies that come every February to hire more Purdue engineers into their programs. Below is an image that explains how the terms work.

coop

4. Are the classes so big you can’t learn? Exactly what are the class sizes like?

Some of the lectures in your freshman year can get up to 300 people. That being said, those large classes will always be paired with a smaller recitation class. These classes are led by graduate TA’s that know the material very well and only have 20-30 students in them. Recitation is a great time to ask any lingering questions as you practice the material learned in lecture. As you get older, class sizes do get smaller too.

5. Do you feel like a number?

Yes and no. I know my student ID like the back of my hand, but as long as you put in the effort to get to know your teachers, they’ll know you. Especially when you get to senior year, when class sizes have gotten smaller. A friend of mine once said on a tour, “It’s easy to make a big school feel smaller, but hard to make a small school feel bigger.” So it’s really all about perspective.

6. Is it too cold there?

It’s sure cold, but we have warm hearts. The key is in the layers.

7. What’s the graduation rate?

In engineering, 90% of students successfully transition from freshman to sophomore year. From freshman year to graduation there is a 60% retention rate, which is higher than the national average! Woohoo boiler up!

8. Can I start out at a Mechanical Engineer right away?

All engineers here start out as First Year Engineers. This is great because it gives you a year to change your mind without committing to anything. I changed my theoretical major 4 times freshman year. Trust me, it’s an advantage. You still can test out of classes required for your freshman year, with AP’s and IB classes (there’s a database online if you google it), but those first two semesters, you’ll still be a freshman engineer.

9. What AP classes transfer?

Here is the link I mentioned above!

http://www.admissions.purdue.edu/transfercredit/collegeboardap.php

My recommendation (note the word opinion) is that you should always take the credit when you can. Some advisors will tell you that you should retake classes you could skip because you already know the material and that it’ll make your semester easier. No – it will probably make you complacent in that class since you “already know”. And that class here is probably harder than the one in high school.

10. What do Purdue Engineers do for fun?

We do lots of things! With over 1000 clubs on campus, we are never bored. Run Club, intramural sports, Dr. Who Club, Boiler Steam (tour guides), band, Society of Women in Engineering, FYESAC (first year engineering student advisory council), GroupX and many many more.

On top of clubs, there’s a lot to do in the area. A movie theater is within walking distance, Indianapolis is a short drive, and Chicago is a long drive. The city of Lafayette itself has lots of cute restaurants and shops.

 

 

Have more questions? Follow this link for some more answers or email future-engineers@purdue.edu!

Why Purdue?

Love Purdue

“I chose Purdue because of the placement rate after graduation. 94% of students are placed within 6 months of graduation. There are over 80,000 alumni all over the world, so your network is already huge.” - Sam Mitchell, Engineering student

“I chose Purdue because of it’s history of making leaders. Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart, Eugene Cernan, and Don Thompson are all Boilermakers. Engineering is a great way to become a leader of a company one day, and Purdue is a great place to start.” – Molly Chamberlin, Senior in Chemical Engineering

“I chose Purdue engineering because of its programs allowing undergraduates to be exposed to research opportunities early on in their schooling. I know I want to go to graduate school so being exposed to such prospects as early as possible really made Purdue stand out. ” -Kyle Aitken, Graduate Student in Electrical Engineering

“Coming from California, I really focused on the academics to make it worth going out of state. I chose Purdue Engineering because the Industrial Engineering curriculum was broad enough to let me find what I liked most in engineering but also specializes to gain depth. I liked that I would have the option to do undergraduate research because it was a large, research school while also have small classes with personalized attention in my major specific courses.” - Karen Rockwell, Senior in Indistrial Engineering

“I chose Purdue engineering because of its excellent history of preparing students for the workforce.” – Connor Stehr, Senior in Mechanical Engineering

“I chose Purdue engineering because of its reputable standing and because of the inspiration demonstrated by the professors and students. While on the east coast, people ask me about “Perdue Chicken,” I look back proudly on my decision to pursue higher education here in West Lafayette, Indiana.” – Penelope Seagrave, Senior in Industrial Engineering

 

What Companies Look For

So you’ve made it into Purdue Engineering and now you want to make your resume undeniable to companies. How do you do that?

  • Keep that GPA up.

A+

Many companies have a minimum GPA requirement for internships and full time positions. Often it’s a 3.0, but for competitive industries such as oil and gas, it can be as high as a 3.7

  • Join a club and get a leadership position

Leadership Position

Companies want to hire leaders. It’s all fine and dandy that you joined the American Society of Chemical Engineers, but did you do anything there to leave your mark? By the end of senior year, the answer to that should be yes. It doesn’t matter the club, just make sure you’re involved.

  • Get industry experience.

plant

This is THE MOST IMPORTANT one. Companies want people who have worked in the real world before, preferably in their industry. Do whatever it takes to get an internship in your field of engineering before you graduate. Some companies say that you need internship experience to get an internship with them, and no that doesn’t make sense because that’s exactly what you’re trying to do, but trudge on. Make yourself undeniable. Work in a research lab in the evenings, join a project club, network with your parents and their friends – get an in somewhere.

  • Have fun while you’re here!

Companies want well rounded people. A good rule of thumb is you should have 3 hobbies; one to keep you healthy, one to make you money, and one to keep you creative (Hint: the one to make you money should be your major).

Tips for Interviews

- Prepare questions from the perspective of “I have the job, now what do I want to know?”

-Have 5 good stories ready that you can adapt to most questions they might ask.

-Dress to impress, spend a little extra money now to secure a job that will pay you much for in the future.

-When you introduce yourself, slow down on your name, they need to remember it.

-Always always always act excited when they ask you why you want to work for the company. This means smiling and maybe even some hand gestures.

-Don’t be arrogant, but know they’d be lucky hire you. You’re a Purdue Engineer that has worked very very hard the past few years. Don’t beg for the job, show them you’re confident that you could complete any task they would assign you.

-Practice handshaking with everyone you know beforehand.

-Google “100 most common interview questions” and practice answers in your head.

Why I’m Thankful for Purdue

Happy Thanksgiving! Here at Purdue the fall semester is winding down. After we get back from break we’ll have one week of classes, dead week, and then….finals.

Dead Week is the week before finals week every semester. Teachers won’t give exams or quizzes for the most part and you hopefully shouldn’t be assigned homework. It’s one week where you can solely focus on studying for finals.

But before that madness, I thought I’d leave you with 8 reasons why I am Thankful for Purdue….

1. My friends – Purdue makes it easy to meet other engineers. From the first week of classes you’re put on team with other like minded individuals. Then if you join engineering student orgs – EVEN MORE FRIENDS. I do all of my homework in a computer lab in Forney (the chemical engineering building) with the best friends a person could ask for – they’re family.

2. My opportunities – there are a lot of Purdue alumni out there, and they love hiring other Purdue engineers. We are a family that transcends graduation date.  Once a boilermaker, always a boilermaker. Once I got a job offer from a company because the reciter and I bonded over a student organization we were both in here at Purdue.

3. The Organizations – There are over 1000 here at Purdue. Organizations are where you find your place at a big university. I have a little brother in high school right now and the one piece of advice I would give him is to JOIN AN ORGANIZATION right away. You don’t have to be one person in a lecture hall of 300. You can be a big part of an organization right away. It helps you acclimate to campus and feel at home right off the bat.

4. Proximity to Indianapolis – It’s only an hour away! This has been so much help when flying off to job interviews. Last weekend my friends and I decided we needed to get off campus for a few hours to destress after the last round of exams so we just drove to the outlet mall in Indy. It was an easy trip to make and my favorite day of the semester.

5. Breakfast club – it’s where you dress up in costume the morning of a home football game and go to the bars (21+). I’m thankful to go to a school with such a fun and lighthearted tradition. My roommates and I have been beanie babies, sesame street, Peter Pan characters, and fairy princesses. I’ve made some of my favorite memories at 6 am on Chauncey Hill.

6. The dorms – although I don’t live there anymore, I still have so many friends I made while living there. The friends you make freshman year have a special bond with you. They struggled to get used to college in the same place as you, and you were there for each other. I can’t ever imagine going back to sharing a bedroom with another college student, but I am thankful that I spent time living in Earhart and Windsor.

7. My landlord – our oven is significantly sub-pare and all it took was an email to him for him to come fix it. He didn’t even try to blame it on us. Thanks George – best landlord ever!

8. My roommates – I am a huge proponent of roommates in college. Heck, I always want to have a roommate. They’re always there to talk to you, they cook with you from time to time, and you learn so much about yourself just from living with them. You have to self monitor yourself as to not upset them. I have so much love for my roommates, especially now that our house has been Christmafyed (Friendsgiving was over okay….).

 

ROTC and Engineering at Purdue

Sometimes you’ll see us walking around on campus in our uniforms. Sometimes you’ll hear us chanting our running cadences in the early hours of the morning. Most people can recognize us from the way our hair is cut, how we walk, talk, and hold ourselves. It’s hard not to notice the 340+ ROTC cadets and midshipmen walking around campus…and if you were a male coming to Purdue between 1888 -1964, we’d be standing in formation together

ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corp, and its ties to Purdue are almost as old as the university itself. What is now known as ROTC started as “The Corp” at Purdue in 1888, and up until 1964, all males were required to join. Purdue ROTC today is quite different that it was in 1888, but it continues to be one of the best college military training programs offered in the country.

Here’s how it works: you go to college whilst simultaneously receiving military training for four years through one of the four services – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force (for the military buffs out there…yes, I know that Navy and Marines are the same branch, but good luck getting a Marine to admit that). You are both college student and a military officer in training. When you graduate Purdue, you’ll also commission as an officer in one of those branches. In exchange for the military helping you out with college expenses through scholarships, living stipends, and/or tuition assistance, you owe that branch anywhere from four to ten years active duty service. Not a bad deal, but of course after four years of Air Force ROTC myself, you can imagine I am rather biased at this point.

Purdue has one of the best Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC programs in the nation (see my previous statement). Couple that with one of the best engineering schools in the country, and you’ve got a pretty formidable combination. Over half of the 340 Purdue ROTC cadets and midshipmen I mentioned before are engineering students, myself included.

Now, it’s no secret that Purdue’s engineering curriculum can be quite rigorous. Add to that physical training three times a week before the sun is up, an academic course one to two times a week, a two-hour Leadership Lab once a week, and various ROTC-related extracurriculars, and you’ve got one heck of a schedule. Welcome to the life of a Purdue ROTC engineering student.

If you catch an engineering ROTC student and ask them about their experiences and their degree choice, they’re likely to say that their choice of major has assisted them in their ROTC responsibilities and vice versa in several ways:

Time management—I’d bet that nearly every engineering student will tell you time management is critical to have a healthy college experience (let’s take healthy to mean decent grades, a social life, and sleep…we can ignore our late night eating habits for now). Engineering students have to practice time management every day. That practice comes in handy for ROTC students when they are juggling ROTC responsibilities on top of their academic ones – learning time management through one program helps you manage your responsibilities in the other.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving– Applying critical thinking to problem solving… ROTC or Engineering? If you answered both, you’re getting the point already. Much of our ROTC training is dedicated to learning how to critically think and make smart decisions under pressure (a skill I imagine faithful taxpayers want in the leaders of their military). Conveniently, getting a bachelor’s degree in engineering is essentially a four to five year-long course in critical thinking and problem solving. While the problems in engineering vs. ROTC might be different, the fundamentals of critical thinking stay the same. Practice in one helps you in the other.

Public Speaking & Presentations –Part of our academic ROTC curriculum includes learning how to construct and practicing how to give good briefings…sometimes a little too often (Death by PowerPoint is a hazard for us in the military). ROTC students are usually very comfortable–and if not comfortable, they are at least practiced in hiding it—with getting up in front of peers to give presentations. That comes in handy when it comes time to present your engineering project to your peers and professors.

Leadership –This is one area that I feel where ROTC engineering students get a slight advantage over non-ROTC engineering students. Don’t get me wrong, there are a TON of other places/clubs/organizations at Purdue that provide leadership development to rival ROTC. However, the driving purpose and ultimate objective of ROTC is to mold cadets and midshipmen into leaders. The Air Force ROTC’s mission is very literal about this, stating, “Develop quality leaders for the Air Force.” It’s hard to find a student organization like it anywhere else on campus. We learn the principals, ethics, morality, and legality of leadership, we do leadership studies, and we practice it among our peers. Having someone with that kind of experience can come in handy in a project team and in a project management setting as an engineer.

So, will being in ROTC automatically make you a better engineering student or vice versa? Nope. But the skills you practice and learn in one of those programs can transfer well over to the other if you know where to apply them. The funny thing is, the majority of cadets and midshipmen will not be engineers in the military when they graduate. So why do engineering and ROTC? Well, some do it for the scholarship opportunities…others just really really (really) like to take classes that sound like they’re out of Star Trek—“Transonic Aerodynamics” is an actual class (AAE 513). The truth may be somewhere in between. Regardless of why we chose Purdue ROTC and engineering, there’s no better place to do it than Purdue University.

 

 

Office of Future Engineers Blog