If you belong to an underrepresented community in the U.S. and are interested in pursuing a STEM degree in college and improving your test scores, then you should consider Purdue University’s Multiethnic Introduction to Engineering (MITE) Academic Boot Camp.
Summer programs such as these are a great way to understand better what college-level coursework involves and show demonstrated interest in a subject on your college application.
Moreover, through the program, Purdue aims to attract high school students from underrepresented communities in STEM, namely African-American, Native American, and Hispanic-American.
What is Purdue’s MITE program all about?
Founded in 1975, the MITE boot camp is a four-week, two-credit summer program that prepares rising high school seniors for college, focusing on math and engineering. The program pays special attention to improving students’ SAT scores, especially in mathematics. Purdue says they see an average improvement of 90 points across a cohort’s SAT math scores, with a high of 180.
If you choose to attend the program, you get to live on campus, interact with current students and faculty, and be immersed in Purdue’s engineering, chemistry, and mathematics courses. At the end of the program, you must complete and present two engineering design projects.
What can I study at the Purdue MITE program?
The program has dedicated courses for the following topics:
Engineering Research and Design
Mathematics and Chemistry
English Composition and Writing
How much does the program cost?
Indiana residents pay $2,164.70 and non-Indiana resident domestic students pay $3,365. Financial aid is available.
Is the program prestigious?
The program is moderately selective and prestigious. There is no minimum GPA requirement and, with a fee that ranges between $2,100 and $3,400, covers accommodation and is priced lower than some competing summer schools.
Additionally, there is only one cohort every year and Purdue offers financial aid, which would make admissions competitive.
Who is eligible for the program?
To apply, you must be a rising senior in high school. While the program was launched to introduce students from underrepresented communities to STEM, it accepts students from all backgrounds. International students can apply, but Purdue does not sponsor visas.
What are the important dates?
Tentatively, the 2024 program will run from July 8 to August 2. The deadline to submit your application is May 15, 2024, and you will be notified of a decision by May 31. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Here are 8 reasons why Purdue’s MITE is a solid opportunity:
You have a higher chance of getting in if you belong to an underrepresented community in the U.S. The MITE program was founded to introduce African-American, Native American, and Hispanic American communities, who have been historically underrepresented in STEM. Hispanics make up 15% of the STEM workforce in the U.S., African Americans 10%, and Native Americans less than 1%. MITE is committed to increasing interest in STEM among these communities and making opportunities more accessible.
You will likely boost your SAT scores As a rising senior, you will soon sit for the SAT exam, if you haven’t already. The program focuses on improving SAT scores, with dedicated classes for writing and mathematics. Purdue says that, on average, MITE students improve their SAT math scores by 90 points. Additionally, you get a one-year subscription to McGraw Hill’s ALEKS, an AI-based learning system that assesses students’ abilities in mathematics, chemistry, statistics, and accounting.
You will participate in college-level coursework for a solid duration The MITE boot camp introduces you to college-level coursework in mathematics, chemistry, and engineering, which will help you better understand coursework during your freshman undergraduate year and help you make a more informed decision on what to study.
You get to work on and present engineering design projects During the four-week program, you will be supervised and expected to complete two engineering design projects and present them at the end of the course. These projects will be a great way to show prior experience and demonstrated interest if you choose to apply for an engineering degree in college.
You will earn college credits Purdue offers you two college credits if you attend the MITE program, Credits are a great way for you to get a jumpstart on college coursework: you can save time and money and optionally choose other courses to study.
Purdue grants generous financial aid Purdue is committed to improving the representation of minority ethnic communities. To this end, the university offers need-based scholarships that can be used to cover the cost of tuition, housing, books, and other supplies.
The MITE program is more affordable than other STEM summer schools in Indiana The MITE program is cheaper than some other STEM summer courses you could attend in the state of Indiana and elsewhere. For example, the University of Notre Dame charges $4,725 for its two-week Summer Scholars Program. Purdue fees are between $2,164 and $3,365 and the program runs for four weeks.
The program offers rigorous college admission prep The MITE program holds dedicated classes that help students prepare their college applications, conducting seminars on writing effective personal statements and essays.
What do we think of the program?
If you’re from an underrepresented community and are interested in STEM, then we recommend applying for the MITE Academic Boot Camp. Apart from immersing yourself in Purdue college life and studying the university curriculum, you will also receive SAT prep and will likely see a significant improvement in your scores by the end of the program. MITE is reasonably priced with options for financial aid, you earn valuable college credits, and you work on and present engineering design projects, which will not only make you more confident in your abilities but also add great value to your portfolio!
Does Purdue offer underrepresented students any other opportunities?
If you are from an underrepresented community but aren’t yet a rising senior, don’t worry! Purdue offers multiple STEM programs for middle school and high school students:
Pre-Freshman and Cooperative Education (PREFACE) PREFACE is a single-credit, one-week residential program for rising grade 10 and 11 students (i.e., you must have completed/ about to complete grade 9 or 10 at the time of application). This week-long workshop focuses on readying students for college, with an emphasis on engineering and mathematics. Students learn about the minimum requirements expected from freshmen college students, they get to tour university facilities, their test-taking capabilities are measured, and they must complete an engineering project under the guidance of a faculty member or graduate assistant. Purdue also gives students a one-year subscription to McGraw Hill’s ALEKS, an AI learning system that assesses students’ abilities in mathematics, chemistry, statistics, and accounting. The program costs $724.1 for Indiana state residents and $1,324.55 for domestic nonresidents
The Summer Engineering Workshop (SEW) Purdue’s Minority Engineering Program (MEP) offers SEW to rising grade 7,8, and 9 students. This week-long residential program gives students an introduction to engineering and informs them of the 15 engineering majors Purdue offers. During the program, students’ math capabilities will be evaluated and they will complete an engineering project overseen by an undergraduate student or graduate student. Students also receive a year-long ALEKS subscription. The program fees are $900, with financial aid available.
If you are interested in pursuing STEM at Purdue but cannot attend a summer school, then we suggest you check out Purdue's Recruitment of Minorities Interested in the Schools of Engineering (PROMISE) program, a two-day event that invites high school seniors from underrepresented communities to visit the campus and offers them tours, interactions with faculty and students, and introduces them to the engineering curriculum. The program is free, and Purdue covers the costs of lodging, meals, and other activities.
Another program to consider — MIT Introduction to Technology, Science, and Engineering (MITES)
The MITES Summer is a six-week residential program for high school juniors. The program encourages students from African American, Hispanic-American, Native American or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Island communities to apply. The program condenses a semester’s worth of college learning into six weeks; students must take one math course, one life sciences course, one physics course, a humanities course, and one project-based elective course. MITES is highly selective and competitive — it is free of charge and the cohort size is limited to 60-70 students.
Bonus — the Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you are interested in doing university-level research in STEM, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, over 4000 students applied for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.
Kieran Lobo is a freelance writer from India, who currently teaches English in Spain.
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