College review by Beth Cassie
“Do you have your hiking shoes on?” At every turn when I mentioned I was going to visit Lehigh this warning was issued. True to its reputation, Lehigh is a vertical campus. There are beautiful terraced areas with open green space and classic buildings. Residential life is clustered near the top of the hill, as you work your way down the hill you reach the library and other classroom buildings and then the hill drops off precipitously at the bookstore and the University blends into the town of Bethlehem. Boundaries are blurred as you move down the hill – a public school appears to be on campus – community and college working well together.
The students we met with and saw on campus were clean-cut, athletic, energetic and sophisticated, engaged in their studies and in their extra curricular pursuits. One of the assistant directors of admissions we met, a 2011 grad, was an architecture and music major. He shared that he had changed majors numerous times and that the offerings at Lehigh met his need for intellectually curiosity.
Lehigh is midsized, 4800 undergraduates and 2100 grad students, considerably larger than the other campuses I visited in the Lehigh Valley. Lehigh is all about innovation, creativity, mastery and application in the real world. They want curious learners who are seeking a personalized education that will prepare them for a job or graduate school. Alumni ties are very strong.
Engineering, Lehigh’s traditional backbone is still a very popular discipline to study, but the humanities and other majors are also popular. There are three undergraduate colleges and 38% of students are in the College of Arts & Sciences, 35% Engineering, 24% Business and movement between the colleges is very easy. There are many interesting cross disciplinary programs including the IBE program (Integrated Degree in Business and Engineering) that develops technical, financial, marketing and strategic planning skills and the IDEAS program (Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts & Sciences) that allows students to combine creative and technical interests. The Global Citizenship certificate program takes study abroad to a totally new level.
Like neighbor Lafayette, they want to move from a primarily regional applicant pool to more global and national pool of candidates. 43% of the class was accepted early (ED1 & ED2) and demonstrated interest and commitment really counts. This year 68% of their ED applicants were accepted. Lehigh seniors with a 3.75 GPA qualify for the Presidential Scholarship which allows them to stay free for a 5th year to continue their undergraduate work or to take graduate classes. 187 students took advantage of this last year.
DI sports are big, Greek life is big, community service is big – there is lots to do and be involved with at Lehigh. This is evident walking through the campus. Everywhere we turned there were students running fundraisers, meeting in small groups, heading to practice. Lehigh is a great place for a go-getter especially with cross-disciplinary interests who wants top academics and athletics.
27 Memorial Drive West
Bethlehem, PA 18015 USA