Tag Archives: graduate

Save Money & Time: Take 15 Credits!

28 Apr

Casey Doten, Financial Aid Administrator

One of the best things you can do for yourself in college is keeping yourself on track to graduate on time. Only 3 in 10 students in Indiana finishing their Bachelor’s degree within 4 years and that creates financial challenges for students who fall behind on graduation. Not averaging 15 credits per semester puts you off of a 4 year graduation plan which comes with a host of potential issues.

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First and foremost is the cost of attending one extra year of college. An extra year at Purdue costs an extra $10,002 for in-state tuition ($28,804 for nonresident). Not to mention the costs of housing, food, books and other school supplies, and the cost of travelling home a few times per year. All in all, the estimated cost to be a Purdue student is $23,032 each year ($41,994 for nonresidents). That’s a lot of extra money to spend for the same degree that can be obtained in four years.

Remember: tuition at Purdue is at a flat rate for anyone taking 8 or more credits hours, so whether you’re attending part-time with 8 credits or are registered for 18 credits, the cost is the same!

If the extra tuition expenses isn’t enough of a downside for taking more than 4 years, the extra year lost also gives a couple other undesirable effects:

More time for student loan interest to accrue:
If you had borrowed all the $27,000 available to you in Federal Direct Loans for your first four years your balance on those loans would increase from $1,080 with an extra year of interest to accrue (assuming a 4% interest rate). This isn’t even considering any extra borrowing for the additional time or the interest that accrues during the repayment portion of the loan.

Lost wages and retirement: NerdWallet recently did a study into the impact of taking extra years to graduate. One extra year would result in approximately $46,355 in lost income and $82,074 in lost lifetime retirement savings!

Adding up the tuition paid, lost wages and retirement savings equals an incredible $138,431 for the extra year to get the degree ($157,233 for nonresident). Obviously this is not an ideal situation, so here are some tips to help keep you on track for graduating in four years!

So what can you do?

Take 15 credits every semester! Almost all degree require 120 credits which smoothly divides into eight semesters of 15 credits. While it might be tempting to take less credits your first semester or two, you’ll have to make those up another semester which you may regret when you’re taking those extra credits along with upper-level courses. Plus, students who start out at 15 credits per semester are more likely to graduate.

It may be obvious, but it’s important to pass your classes and earn grades that allow them to count for requirements. Many courses in your major or that you need for pre-reqs require you to earn Cs or higher to count. So contrary to what people may say, Ds do not really get degrees.

If you’ve fallen off the 15 credits per semester average, you can make either make it up during the summer or by taking extra credits in a fall/ spring semester. If the idea of taking 18 credits is a turn off, plan on taking summer courses! You can receive scholarships through both the financial aid office and the Think Summer office if you qualify.

Graduate School Application Checklist

30 Nov

Lee Gordon
Director, Office of Graduate Admissions, Purdue University Graduate School

Special Considerations for Application Deadlines

  • Application deadlines vary! You may need to adjust this timeline to meet the deadlines of the programs you apply to, so be sure to note each program’s application deadline. This timeline is based on a January 1 deadline.
  • If you find more than one deadline for your program of interest, use the earliest deadline to set your timeline; this is most often the one you must meet to be considered for fellowships and other financial assistance.
  • Access more resources at https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/prospective/preparing/

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  • Identify your goals and consider whether or not graduate school is right for you.
  • Write a draft of your personal statement.
  • Research program options and requirements by browsing through graduate program guides (online and hard copy), university websites, and other resources.
  • Research fellowships and other types of financial assistance. Consider government agencies, philanthropic organizations, the schools you apply to, and professional organizations or honor societies as potential sources of funding.
  • Register for required standardized tests.

August-September

  • Meet with faculty members in your department to discuss your personal statement, possible programs to consider, and potential fellowships and other funding sources.
  • Determine the schools to which you will apply.
  • Get organized. Create a file for each school you will apply to and keep all related application information in the appropriate file.
  • Prepare for standardized tests.
  • If your area of interest is STEM, register and attend the Big Ten+ Graduate School Exposition. Hosted annually on the campus of Purdue University, the Grad Expo features educational workshops, an elite graduate school fair, networking receptions, and more!

September-October

  • Take standardized tests and request that your scores be sent to the appropriate schools.
  • Complete your personal statement and have it reviewed at the CCO.
  • Requests letters of recommendation from faculty; provide a copy of your personal statement and résumé/ curriculum vitae to each professor. Give your recommenders the appropriate information to submit their letters. Many recommendation letters can be submitted online and your recommenders will receive an email with instructions when you list them on your online application. If your school requires hard copy letters, give your recommenders the appropriate address.
  • Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions and request official copies be sent directly to the schools to which you are applying.

November

  • Complete application forms. (Do a draft first!)
  • Mail application materials (if not Web-based) one month in advance of the application deadline. Pay close attention to the instructions; all documents may not go to the same address.
  • Remind your recommenders of when they must submit your letters of recommendation (i.e., the application deadline of each program – consider telling them a deadline one to two weeks earlier than the actual deadline in case something falls through at the last minute).
  • Make copies of all application pieces for your records

December

  • Check with schools to verify that your letters of recommendation, test scores, transcripts, and other required documents have arrived to complete your application by the deadline.
  • Remember that many offices will be busy at the end of the semester and over winter break, so do not wait until the last minute.

February-March

  • Schedule campus visits to locations in which you are interested. Some programs may have planned visitations for admitted students; inquire about this.
  • Prepare questions for each school to gain more information about academic programs, student life, and professional development opportunities.
  • Conduct informational interviews with students in the programs to which you have applied to gather their perspective.

April

  • Mail acceptance forms and, if required, deposits.
  • Notify schools that you will not be attending after making your decision.
  • Send thank you letters to the writers of your letters of recommendation. Be sure to let them know where you’re going to school!

Want to join Purdue’s prospective student mailing list to receive additional tips, deadline reminders, and funding information?
Visit www.purdue.edu/grad and click on Request Info.

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