Lehigh “looks like Hogwarts,” says one alum--but the magic here really lies in its student success stories.
“The energy on Lehigh’s campus is incredible,” says Jen Francis, Lehigh University class of 2013. “Lehigh students are highly motivated, academically driven, and very involved on campus. There is a large front lawn where something is always happening, like clubs setting up for fundraisers or puppies to de-stress the students. The library is always packed, so you will never have to travel far if you have a question on an assignment.”
“The Lehigh environment is academically challenging, but still very social,” says Nathan Bowser, also a 2013 Lehigh grad. “In the math, science, and engineering world, many top-tier schools are not known for their fun, social nature. Lehigh struck a great balance of excellent academics, research, professors, and reputation--with a social environment that was engaging and fun.”
Located about 90 minutes outside of Philadelphia in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh University has an active campus community, high graduation rates, and strong starting salaries. Read on to see why Lehigh is an Edmit Hidden Gem college.
Studying at Lehigh University
The pillars of a Lehigh education are teaching, research, and service, with academic disciplines split into four different colleges: arts and sciences, business and economics, education, and engineering.
“I was looking at universities with a strong science program because I was passionate about biology and earth science,” says Francis, a behavioral neuroscience major. “The professors are incredibly intelligent...they were excellent at explaining material, but also kind and compassionate people.”
Approximately 5,000 undergrad and 2,000 graduate students make up the student body, and the student-to-teacher ratio is nine to one.
“Lehigh had an excellent engineering program and reputation and I knew I was leaning towards one of the engineering disciplines,” says Bowser, who completed a dual major in chemical engineering and integrated business and engineering (IBE). “Lehigh is large enough that there are a lot of things to do on campus and organizations or clubs to join. However, it wasn’t too large that you’ll be one student in a sea of people. Many professors know a lot of their students by name, even in introductory classes.”
“As for ROI, I can certainly vouch for students having a good variety of career choices upon graduation in business and engineering fields,” he adds. “The most important factor is to pick a major that allows you attractive options, in your eyes, to find a career with a Bachelor’s degree if you don’t want to continue to graduate school or aren’t sure...You don’t have to be a mind reader for your future self, but you should pick a path that will provide options of some interest to you down the road.”
Lehigh University Affordability
Lehigh’s average net price for the 2016-17 academic year was $33,300, and more than 50 percent of enrolled students receive financial aid. Financial aid packages at Lehigh are both need-based and merit-based, and students can expect a combo of grants, scholarships, student loans, and work-study programs to round out their financial aid award. A 2.0 GPA is required to maintain need-based aid; some merit-based aid may require a higher GPA.
In 2015, Lehigh committed to meeting 100 percent of calculated financial need for all admitted students, and individual student loans are capped at $5,000. The university awarded $84 million in institutional grants and scholarships in the 2017-18 academic year.
Lehigh University Career Prep
“I chose Lehigh over other universities because they offer a program called Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE), where they focus on developing business, entrepreneurial, new product development, and new company start-up skills for engineering and business students,” says Bowser. “It allowed me to get a lot of practical experience in those areas through consulting with real start-up companies to help evaluate their issues.” Today, Bowser works as a pilot plant process engineer.
At Lehigh, 87 percent of students have an internship or co-op, and the school has a 95 percent job placement rate.
“I was a pre-medical student at Lehigh and we had plenty of resources to prep us for the application and interview process,” says Francis, who now works as a physician assistant. “[There were] faculty members designated to helping pre-medical students, MCAT classes held on campus, resume workshops, and mock interviews. The alumni network at Lehigh is also incredible. I ended up taking two years off after Lehigh and then attended a Physician Assistant program, and throughout the majority of that process I talked with alumni for advice.”
“I interned at two companies that I found through Lehigh’s network and I interviewed with various other companies that recruit on campus,” says Bowser. “Upon graduating, I started working with Air Products and Chemicals who had interviewed me on campus for the position in the fall. Many of the engineering and business students I know found internship, research, and job opportunities as well, and it wasn’t uncommon for students to know their post-graduation plans by February of senior year.”
Photo by Greg Palmer on Flickr.