Prospective Students FAQ
The "best" major is the one that is the "best" for you.
- Which major sparks your curiosity the most?
- Which one will you excel in? (Grades matter for admission to professional school)
- Which one provides you a parallel plan? (Another career option that excites you?)
This is the "best" major for you.
For healthcare fields there are some majors that include more of the required courses than others, but that does not mean you must go into one of these majors. Typically you can still fit in the necessary courses.
The only caveat we have to this discussion is that nursing is not a good pathway to medicine and veterinary nursing is not a good pathway veterinary medicine. The reasons are that both of these areas have very packed curricula that include a lot of clinical hours. This does not leave a lot of time to take the additional laboratory classes needed to apply to medical school/veterinary school. You are also taking a spot from someone who really wants to be in a nursing role. We need those people. For these reasons, we don't encourage students to go into nursing programs if their end goal is to be a physician or veterinarian.
Check out the Academics website to see the variety of Majors and Minors at Purdue.
First, know that it is totally ok to be undecided when you start college.
Second, if you are pre-law you have time as you don't have prerequisite courses you have to take. If you are pre-health, you generally do have prerequisite courses you have to take. Ideally you would start on these during your first year of college. You can do this even if you are undecided about your major and undecided about your career field.
If you are pre-health (whether you know which field or not), here is how it works.
After being admitted to Purdue you come for orientation and registration during the summer--something we call STAR. During STAR, you would tell your academic advisor that you are a pre-health student. Your advisor will start you in some general courses based on your probable interests and probably some biology and/or some chemistry to move you along in your pre-health interests.
At the beginning, the pre-health prerequisite courses are very similar.
You can find our Career Guides with all of the prerequisite courses listed for each field in the Careers section of this website.
Information on visiting campus, exploring options with Purdue's Office of Admissions, and touring the Veterinary Medical Hospital (Vet Hospital tours are not currently available) are all explained in the Learning Center.
Sadly, for right now, most "visiting" will be virtual.
Choosing a college is a very personal decision. Sometimes it comes down to sense of where you feel at home. Other times it is a specific program that draws you to a school or the scholarship money or the school's reputation.
You need to talk to a lot a people from across campus when making this decision. This what we can tell you from the pre-professional perspective:
- Purdue has all the courses you need to prepare for professional school. These courses will challenge you--in a good way. Professional school is not easy. You need to be ready for professional school by taking challenging coursework that teaches you how to think critically and be an active learner.
- Purdue has professors who are actively engaged in research AND in teaching. They are available in office hours so that you can speak with about questions and give them an opportunity to get to know you. This is something you should get in the habit of doing. Eventually you will need letters of recommendation when you apply to professional programs, so developing these relationships is important.
- Support for your coursework is available should you need it. Struggling with a class? Help is available. Many of these student assistance programs have peer tutoring programs which provide a great way of making money and learning important communication skills as you move through your degree.
- Very cool research happens at Purdue. This means that you have many opportunities to be involved in cutting edge research as an undergraduate student. Purdue is particularly known for its research on Cancer, a number of zoonotic diseases, and all things engineering (of course). Purdue even has an Office of Undergraduate Research and a Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research.
- Be more than "just" a student. Purdue has amazing musical organizations (PMO and Purdue Bands, an awesome ROTC program, great opportunities to study abroad, and nearly 1000 student organizations. You have no excuse for being bored at Purdue!
- Professionals in health and law fields are increasingly facing mental health issues. We encourage students to develop skills for understanding their own mental health, what helps them to relax, and how to build their own resilience and to help others. Purdue has developed an innovative program called Steps2Leaps to help students with this.
- Families from Indiana often wonder if they are better off choosing a program with school colors that are red because so many of the professional programs are at IU. Professional programs admit students from all undergraduate institutions and do not favor any of those institutions. As an example, Purdue has a campus of IU School of Medicine just as Bloomington does. Everyone actually applies through the Indianapolis campus. Many of our students end up being admitted to IU School of Medicine and attending classes at sights across the state.
- Purdue is a big campus, but it doesn't feel like a big school. Once you get here you will find that with only a little effort this big campus can quickly feel like a small place. It is very walkable though you can ride the buses for free. There is always a lot going on. People are very friendly and helpful.
- Pre-Professional Students at Purdue have 2 levels of advising--an academic advisor in their major and they have access to our centralized Pre-Professional Advising office as well. Our 3 Pre-Professional Advisors all have years of experience in the field and are members of the National Association of Advisors of the Health Professions, Central Association of Advisors of the Health Professions, Pre-Law Advisors National Council and the Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors. We attend the national and regional conferences of these organizations and participate in regular training efforts provided by these organizations and individual professional programs. Considering that application to professional school is a nearly 15 month process, it is a good idea to look for people on any campus you are considering who are trained to help you through this process.
Basically you need to determine 2 things: Can you? and Should you?
The can you question is answered for you on the Admissions website with their database that explains the credit you receive depending on the score you earn on the AP exams.
The should you use your AP credit question is more complex to answer depending on what field you want to enter and what kind of credit you have. We have more on AP, IB, and CLEP credits here.