I'm going to second HNL747s opinion that Purdue is a school to look into. As I enter my junior year in the Purdue flight program, I can honestly say that I made the right choice, that I have never regretted choosing Purdue, and that I am getting the best collegiate aviation education available today. When I was where you are now, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I decided to apply to all the schools that had aviation programs, and then to try to make a choice by the time May 1st came around. Around mid-March of my senior year, I got a newsletter from the APA (American's pilot union) reccommending Purdue. The article that I read made Purdue sound like an outstanding school, and it was right.
Our program is not very big - we had 40 people graduate from our flight department in May (most of whom are now flying regional jets) - but our small size allows the university to make available opportunities that you won't find at other colleges. After you have earned your flight instructor certificate, for example, you can be hired to teach students in Purdue courses. The first 3 semesters of flight lessons can be taught by part-time instructors. Later, after earning the multi-engine rating, all Purdue flight students are given the opportunity to fly our King Air 200s. Over the course of your junior and senior years, you would fly approx. 30-50 hours in the King Air at no cost to you - the University pays for the flights because they are used to fly staff members when they need to take trips. We also have a Beechjet 400A, which is used to fly the president of the university. Like the King Airs, the Beechjet has a student copilot logging PIC on every flight it makes. If you are selected to fly the Beechjet, Purdue pays for you to go to FlightSafety to earn your type rating, then provides about 125 hours of PIC time in the jet.
We have a great fleet, including 14 Piper Warrior IIIs (Brand new - they are being delivered this summer), 4 Piper Arrows, 2 Beechcraft Duchesses, 2 Cessna 150s, a Cessna 182, a Chipmunk, and the turbine aircraft. In addition, we have a 727-100, a 737-200, and 2 727 simulators. The university is currently installing a new addition in our Holleman-Niswonger Simulator Center, a Dornier 328/328JET, and we are seeking NSF funding for an Embraer 135/145 simulator.
On top of our great fleet and facilities, we also have an outstanding staff. The professors in the department of Aviation Technology are top of the line. Every one of them seems to be genuinely concerned about students. Each makes himself available to students for outside consultation, and each is willing to do as much as possible to ensure that their students succeed. Among our professors are former military pilots, former airline pilots, for ATC controllers, and career educators. Together, they bring a wealth of experience that only serves to enhance the educational experience.
When graduation time comes, you will be pleased with our numerous industry contacts. We have direct hire programs in place with, among others, Chicago Express, American Eagle, and Chatauqua. A quick look at teh placement statistics shows that Purdue has had, since 1996, a 100% placement rate among graduates of the flight program. The intensive training that you receive at Purdue not only gives you a broad base of knowledge from which to continue learning throughout your career, but it also provides you with the skills you need to be successful in future classes. The curriculum at Purdue consists of, in addition to GE stuff, meteorology, aerodynamics, crew resource management, human factors issues, ethics and professionalism, aircraft powerplants, aircraft systems (both generally and for the King Air and 727 specifically), and much more. You can get an idea of the classes required and offered from the site that HNL747 listed, www.tech.purdue.edu/at
Finally, we are not just an outstanding department of Aviation, rather, we are part of a world-class, Big Ten University. Purdue University has among the best programs in the world in many other areas as well, including engineering and agriculture, and offers courses in manifold subject areas. This allows students in AvTech to take other courses that interest them, or even to have a minor or double major. The opportunities at Purdue for pilots is really outstanding!
As I said, I have never once second-guessed my decision to attend Purdue University. Further, in talking to other students in the department, I have never met another Purdue pilot who has, either. Unlike other schools, every student I know in the Purdue Department of Aviation Technology is thrilled with the quality of the facilities, staff, and education that they are receiving. We all recognize that the training, both in the classroom and in the cockpit, offered at Purdue is among the best in the world (excluding, of course, airline training programs, but these are useless if you go in without a fundamental knowledge of aircraft). A student here learns not only how to fly the airplane, but how the airplane flies and how the industry works. If you have any questions about Purdue, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will answer any questions you might have. Also, if you decide to come take a look at Purdue, let me know - I'd be glad to show you around our aviation facilities, as well as the rest of the campus.
Best of luck with whatever you decide!