Can Purdue Undergrads Make it to Top Grad Schools ?

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Hi, I am about to enroll at Purdue this fall to begin undergrad
studies in Computer Science. I always wanted to be a computer
scientist ( ever since I read that booklet "Post's Machine" by
V.A.Uspensky when I was 10 or 11. ). I love programming in Python and
I enjoy solving sums on . I happen to enjoy
reading about filesystems as well and was always interested in Storage
devices since my initial linux debugging sessions involved trying to
get around Ubuntu's new libata implementation that refused to work
with my laptop's controller. I wrote an automount script using Python
to get around that. I have lived through some memorable moments trying
to get Linux working on my Acer Travelmate. One issue involving
cooling problems:
I then viewed a few lectures by Professor Harold Abelson ( from the
SICP series ) and loved every minute of it. I really wanted to go to
MIT and study CS as my idols like Prof. Tim Berners Lee, Minsky,
Seymour etc. were there.
Unfortunately, I was rejected by MIT and I am going to Purdue. I would
like to ask what I need to do for the next 4 years so that I have a
good shot at Grad School admissions. Do Purdue Undergrads have a
chance at any of the top CS departments like those at MIT, Stanford,
Berkeley and CMU? I would love to hear what I really need to focus on
such as FOSS projects etc. which would improve my chances of going to
one of the aforementioned places for Grad school.

-- Shriphani Palakodety, April 30, 2008


Hal Abelson is a great lecturer and one of the best arguments for an MIT education. On the other hand, Purdue has a substantially similar CS undergrad program to MIT, Stanford, CMU, et al.

If you want to get into MIT grad school, do a research project at Purdue with a professor who was a grad student at MIT. His or her recommendation will likely get you in. You might be better off at Purdue than at one of the fancier schools because you have more of an opportunity to attract the attention of a faculty member.

There are plenty of grad students at MIT who were undergrads at state universities. The dirty secret of high-priced undergrad institutions is that once you get your graduate degree nobody will ever ask you where you went undergrad.

-- Philip Greenspun, April 30, 2008

Yes indeed! Purdue is one of the top universities in engineering. Many people consider it an IVY league school because of its reputation (especially in California). I am a Purdue grad working in California since 2001. I cannot tell you how many people thought Purdue was an Ivy league when I got here, young and old alike. That's how strong its rep is in engineering.

I know quite a few Purdue undergrads that went on to MIT or Stanford, berkeley, etc. Many MIT, Stanford trained professors teach at Purdue and vice versa.

It's all good.

Do well at Purdue and you will get into your choice school!!

-- jlk jlk, May 12, 2008

even in computer science!!

-- jlk jlk, May 12, 2008

Thanks everyone. I'll be at Purdue this fall studying the greatest subject on the planet.

-- Shriphani Palakodety, May 12, 2008