What is life on campus like? Do I need to choose my major right away? How much on-campus housing is available? Will Lehigh help me find a job after graduation?
Get these answers and more from our most frequently asked questions below:
University/Campus Life [+/-]
What is Lehigh's campus like?
Lehigh is comprised of 2,358 acres, making it one of the largest private universities in the country. The Asa Packer Campus, Mountaintop Campus, and Murray H. Goodman Campus are contiguous. In 2012, the university received a Stabler Foundation gift of 755 acres in nearby Upper Saucon Township. More than a few campus visitors have been known to remark that "this is what college is supposed to look like."
Some 100 historic and contemporary structures dot the wooded hillside of our Asa Packer Campus, one of three contiguous campuses here at Lehigh. Our Mountaintop Campus provides teaching and research space, while the Murray H. Goodman Campus features the 16,000-seat Goodman Stadium; the 5,600-seat Stabler Arena; the Rauch Field House; and the Ulrich Sports Complex for indoor sports, performances and events, including a wide variety of intercollegiate and intramural sports. All are connected by bus and shuttle services.
For more facts and figures about Lehigh University, please check out Lehigh at a Glance.
What's typical of life for a Lehigh student beyond academics?
Lehigh students enjoy a wide variety of opportunities and activities, yet share at least one common trait: immersion in their interests. Lehigh clubs and groups are inclusive by nature, and are happy to engage new students who share their interests.
Lehigh's student body enjoys some 150 active student clubs, and we host an annual "Club Fair" each fall to introduce new students to all of the available groups.
Lehigh's athletics department helps to coordinate classes and exercise programs along with a wide variety of varsity and intramural sports. (By the way, we often hear that high school student-athletes are concerned about balancing an engineering workload and participation on a sports team; it is definitely possible to do.)
Lehigh's arts and music scene is equally as vibrant. We boast a wide variety of instrumental and vocal music groups, a free movie theater for students, and a variety of concerts, comedians, guest lecturers on any number of topics, and theater productions from both student productions and invited "big names." For more, you may be interested to explore Lehigh's Zoellner Arts Center.
Many students translate their academic interests into a way of life, and there are many programs here that support this as well. Businesses such as hField Technologies and EcoTech Marine LLC were founded by entrepreneurially minded students who cultivated their academic interests into life-changing career opportunities. Others take their individual passions for vehicle design and protecting the environment into a quest to break the land speed record for wind-powered vehicles.
Another question that often arises is about the balance between engineering classwork and serious participation in one of Lehigh's many musical and artistic opportunities. It is a well-known fact that Lehigh's music programs are heavily populated by engineering students, who make up a significant portion of the orchestra and marching band. In fact, many engineers take advantage of the music minor offered by Lehigh's Music Department.
For more information about any aspect of life at Lehigh, please visit Lehigh's Office of Student Life.
How important is the Greek system to Lehigh's social scene?
The fraternity and sorority system at Lehigh is a thriving one—an integral part of residential life on campus, to be sure, but by no means a dominant force in the campus' social climate. Thus, there's no intense pressure here to "go Greek," nor is there any negative stigma attached to fraternity or sorority membership. Approximately one-third of Lehigh's undergraduate students are involved in the Greek system.
How do Lehigh students connect with the community around Lehigh?
Lehigh University is in the heart of the Lehigh Valley, a bustling and growing community of some 800,000 people. We are situated within the city of Bethlehem, PA, just 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 90 miles southwest of New York City.
The Lehigh Valley prides itself on a vibrant local arts and music community—a community in which Lehigh, especially through the Zoellner Arts Center, plays a significant role. The Valley also boasts an exciting mix of start-up entrepreneurial firms and established corporate entities, in everything from transportation to biotechnology.
The Lehigh Valley International Airport, just six miles from campus, is served by many major airlines. Also within driving distance is Philadelphia International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. More than 20 buses travel to and from New York and Philly every day, leaving from stations that are within easy walking distance from campus.
For additional information on life in the Lehigh Valley, please visit our Regional Guide.
What kind of housing can new students expect?
As a first-year student, you'll be required to live on campus. You'll live in one of several residence halls that surround the academic core of the campus—a short walk from classes, the libraries and the gym. If you plan on commuting to Lehigh or living off campus with a family member, you will need to petition the Office of Residential Services for exemption from the residency requirement.
Most residence hall rooms are doubles, with a limited number of singles and triples. All residence hall rooms are equipped with telephone, cable and direct Internet access. Lounges, kitchens and study rooms give you ample room to work and relax. All residence hall facilities are smoke-free.
To learn more about Lehigh housing options for first-year and returning students, explore Lehigh's Office of Residential Services.
How is the food and meal plan situation?
There are a total of 11 meal plans available for students. The student's Lehigh University ID card is used to access meal plans. "All You Can Eat" is available in three central locations during each meal period, and take-out selections are also available for students on-the-go.
Another available option is the GoldPlus account. GoldPlus can be used everywhere Dining Dollars are accepted, as well as hundreds of locations on and off campus.
For more information, check out Lehigh's Dining Services.
Lehigh Engineering/Academics [+/-]
How does Lehigh Engineering stack up against "big state school" programs?
Lehigh blends the best aspects of a small, private learning institution with those of larger research-driven universities, and thus finds itself drawing top students who may be attracted to either academic environment. It is nearly impossible to imagine a "big state school" where undergraduates have as much access to senior faculty and cutting-edge lab equipment as they do here. Nor are there many private institutions in our category that put as much emphasis on fostering and supporting sophisticated undergraduate research; fewer still provide as much direct undergraduate access to next-generation techniques and technologies, from the nanoscale to the megastructural.
Ours is a community where you'll receive personal attention from faculty and staff, but you'll also have access to state-of-the-art resources and facilities that support hands-on, in-depth research projects. Classes are small—at least three-quarters of our engineering courses are comprised of 30 students or less. And on-campus services like the Office of Student Life and the Office of Career Services are committed to your personal success and growth. Perhaps even more compelling, Lehigh is that rare school where faculty researchers who are renowned in their fields also actively teach and advise both graduate and undergraduate students.
How competitive is entry into Lehigh's engineering program?
Make no mistake about it—Lehigh Engineering is one of the most highly selective programs of its kind. The admissions process certainly factors grades and standardized-test scores into the decision, but there are other important factors as well. We're looking for students who enjoy a challenge, young women and men who have shown a willingness to push themselves to excel. And submitting a well-conceived, well-articulated essay in your application packet is also key to success in the admissions process. The Admissions Office also considers extracurricular involvement, recommendations and the rigor of a student's coursework when making decisions.
Are my SATs and high-school grades good enough?
We believe that grades are generally a better indicator of a student's ability to succeed here when compared to SATs. That being said, for the Class of 2015, SAT ranges of the middle 50% of admitted students were 610-710 for verbal and 660-750 for math. Though it's not required, the middle 50% of admitted students submitting ACT scores ranged from 29-32. But we cannot stress enough that Lehigh is not a school that judges prospective students solely on the basis of their scores and grades. We're looking for the right people to join our learning community, not just a volume of enrollment. And numbers simply don't tell enough of a story to support these decisions on their own.
I've earned some Advanced Placement (AP) credits—will they be accepted by Lehigh?
Typically a 4 or 5 gets you credit for AP courses. Individual departments set their own standards for AP acceptance; for more information, check with the appropriate department or review Lehigh's Course Catalog.
How many students are there within the engineering program?
There are typically about 450 students in each incoming class within the college of engineering. More information about the composition of the Lehigh Class of 2017 is also available.
Do I have to choose a major to be accepted in the Engineering program?
Typically, students do not choose a major until March of their first year on campus, and prior to the decision period, we have many programs and resources in place to help you find your niche. (Special Note: Some Lehigh engineering programs have special first-year considerations, and thus if you are interested in these, please make sure your application materials tell us so:)
- Arts and Engineering
- Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) (honors)
- Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) (honors)
- Computer Science and Business
Engineering students take a course called Engineering 5 in their first year. It is designed to help in the major-selection process by teaching the fundamentals of engineering and providing a taste of engineering's many flavors. The course forces students to think creatively and to solve problems—the very heart of what it means to be an engineer. Along with close consultation with an academic advisor and peer mentors from current Lehigh engineering students, Engineering 5 forms a solid basis for deciding upon a major.
How hard is it to change majors if the one I select isn't right for me?
This is another area where Lehigh excels. The boundaries between departments and programs are easy, and professors and staff are very willing to work with you to help make sure your educational goals are met.
What can students of Lehigh Engineering expect in their first year?
Most engineering majors share a common first-year curriculum. The standard first-year program requires eight courses, four each semester:
Calculus I, Calculus II
(Math 21, 22)
Most students choose Calculus I and II (Math 21 and 22) in the fall and spring semesters, respectively.
Chemistry, Physics I
(Chem 30, Phys 11/12)
To keep class sizes smaller, half of the students take Chemistry (Chem 30) in the fall while the other half take Physics (Phys 11/12), and the groups switch in the spring.
Applied Engineering Computer Methods
(Engr 10, Engr 5)
All first-year students are required to take Introduction to Engineering (Engr 5) in the Fall semester. Half will take Applied Engineering Computer Methods (Engr 10) during the same semster, while the other half will take Engineering 1 in the Spring.
Composition and Literature I & II
(Engl 1, Engl 2)
Many students who earn advanced placement in English Composition and Literature (English 1 & 2) or either of the science courses choose to enroll in a Humanities/Social Science or other elective course instead.
Even if you are the type of student who knows that you are destined for a career of technical achievement, it is still important for you to gain an appreciation of Humanities and Social Sciences (H/SS). After your first year in Lehigh Engineering, you'll enroll in Economics 1 as well as 13 credits of H/SS electives. You'll take two or three courses in one area, with at least one of the courses being above an introductory level, and you'll take at least one humanities course from a secondary area. Most programs also contain six credits of free electives, which can be used to complete minors in H/SS or other areas. Other electives will include technical and approved courses required by each department.
You may be able to begin your first year in higher-level courses if you come to Lehigh with Advanced Placement (AP) or transfer credits. Also, please note that some of our interdisciplinary programs have specific first-year requirements, so be sure to check with an advisor for details.
I've heard that, at many universities, teaching assistants (TAs) teach classes and the "real" professors are nowhere to be found. Is it like that at Lehigh?
The short answer to that question is a resounding, complete and emphatic "absolutely not."
Lehigh prides itself on its professors' commitment to teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students. Every class is taught by a professor, and Lehigh TAs are just that—assistants to those professors. It isn't likely that you find this to be the case at every university you explore.
And even though these professors are teaching and advising, they are also researchers of the highest caliber. Because of our professors' balance of teaching and research, students are exposed to the most current tools and techniques in the field. And what's more, Lehigh students -- both undergrad and grad -- are shoulder to shoulder with their professors in the lab, rolling up their own sleeves and creating new knowledge and innovation.
Career Planning/Services [+/-]
How much emphasis does Lehigh place on helping me find a job post-graduation?
Lehigh provides career planning services for undergraduate and graduate students as an integral part of the career development process. We'll actively help you develop a post-Lehigh plan and then will help you execute it&mdhash;whether that's immediate employment or attending a prestigious graduate school.
Last year, more than 260 top companies&mdhash;representing a wide range of industries&mdhash;visited campus to recruit Lehigh students. And Lehigh's alumni form a tight and powerful network out there in the business world, and close to 700 of them return to campus to seek out the best and brightest new minds for employment in their companies. Lehigh's annual "Placement Report" provides further insight into the success of our recent grads.
How active are Lehigh's co-op and internship programs?
Lehigh's unique and rigorous cooperative education program allows qualifying engineering students to work for eight months at a paid industrial or government internship and still graduate in four years, with their classmates, by taking junior level courses during the summer before their junior year.
Internships are another way to explore your profession before making the leap, and can lead to future networking contacts and possibly a "real job" upon graduation. Typically, internships occur during the summer, but you can take advantage of an internship during the semester if your schedule permits.
There are several ways to seek internships within your field of choice, and Lehigh's Office of Career Services is ready to help.