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Claremont McKenna vs Lehigh: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a male student thinking about "What are the Most Selective Colleges?" while looking at his laptop

Claremont McKenna vs Lehigh: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing the right college is a big decision, one that requires careful consideration of many factors. Two institutions that may be on your radar are Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University. Both are highly respected universities with their own unique strengths and opportunities. In this article, we will explore the key differences between Claremont McKenna vs Lehigh to help you make an informed decision about which may be the right fit for you.

Location and Campus Size

One of the biggest differences between Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University is their location and campus size. Claremont McKenna is located in Claremont, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. The campus is relatively small, with just over 1,400 students.

Lehigh University, on the other hand, is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a small town in the Lehigh Valley region of the state. The campus is much larger, with over 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

While both campuses offer ample opportunities for academic and personal growth, the different locations and campus sizes may appeal to different types of students. Claremont McKenna’s small size can provide a tight-knit community feel, while Lehigh’s larger size may offer more diverse academic programs and extracurricular activities.

Additionally, the location of each campus can also impact the overall college experience. Claremont McKenna’s location in Southern California provides easy access to a variety of cultural and recreational activities, as well as a mild climate year-round. Lehigh University’s location in Pennsylvania offers a more traditional college town atmosphere, with easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing in the nearby Pocono Mountains.

Reputation and Ranking

Another key factor to consider when choosing a college is its reputation and ranking. Both Claremont McKenna and Lehigh University are highly-ranked institutions.

Claremont McKenna is ranked #9 overall among liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report, while Lehigh is ranked #51 among national universities. Despite these rankings, both colleges have earned excellent reputations for the quality of their academic programs and the achievements of their graduates.

It’s important to note that reputation and ranking aren’t the only factors to consider when choosing a college. Other important factors include location, campus culture, extracurricular activities, and financial aid options. It’s important to do your research and visit campuses to get a sense of what each college has to offer and which one is the best fit for you.

Admissions Process and Requirements: Claremont McKenna vs. Lehigh

When considering which college to attend, it is important to know the admissions process and requirements. Both Claremont McKenna and Lehigh University have highly selective admissions processes.

Admission Open concept image

Claremont McKenna’s admissions process includes an application, standardized test scores (SAT or ACT), high school transcript, essays, and letters of recommendation. Lehigh University’s admissions process requires similar materials but also includes an interview and an optional portfolio.

While the admissions process may be challenging, both colleges offer comprehensive financial aid programs to help make college more affordable.

It is important to note that both Claremont McKenna and Lehigh University also consider extracurricular activities and community involvement when reviewing applications. They value well-rounded students who have demonstrated leadership, creativity, and a commitment to their community. Therefore, it is recommended that applicants highlight their involvement in clubs, sports, volunteer work, and other activities outside of the classroom.

Student Body Demographics and Diversity: Claremont McKenna vs. Lehigh

The student body demographics and diversity can also play an important role in choosing a college. Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University have slightly different student populations.

Claremont McKenna has a diverse student body, with approximately 45% of students identifying as racially or ethnically diverse. The college also has a relatively even split between male and female students. Lehigh University has a slightly larger percentage of male students and a less diverse student body, with approximately 80% of students identifying as white.

It is important to note that both colleges have made efforts to increase diversity and inclusivity on their campuses. Claremont McKenna has implemented various programs and initiatives to support underrepresented students, including a diversity and inclusion office and a mentorship program for first-generation college students. Lehigh University has also taken steps to promote diversity, such as offering scholarships for students from underrepresented backgrounds and hosting events to celebrate different cultures and identities.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered: Claremont McKenna vs. Lehigh

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a college is the academic programs and majors offered. Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University both have excellent academic programs.

Claremont McKenna is known for its strong programs in economics, political science, and international relations. Lehigh has a wide range of programs, with particularly strong offerings in engineering, business, and the arts.

Academic programs for students

Ultimately, the academic programs and majors offered will depend on your interests and career goals.

It is important to note that both Claremont McKenna and Lehigh offer opportunities for interdisciplinary studies and research. At Claremont McKenna, students can participate in the Keck Science Program, which allows them to take courses and conduct research in biology, chemistry, and physics across all five undergraduate colleges in the Claremont Consortium. Lehigh offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs, such as the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program, which combines coursework in business and engineering to prepare students for careers in technology management and entrepreneurship.

Class Sizes and Faculty-to-Student Ratio: Claremont McKenna vs. Lehigh

The class sizes and faculty-to-student ratio can also impact your college experience. Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University have slightly different class sizes, with Claremont McKenna having smaller class sizes overall.

Claremont McKenna has a faculty-to-student ratio of 1:8 and an average class size of 18 students. Lehigh has a faculty-to-student ratio of 1:10 and an average class size of 27 students.

Smaller class sizes may offer more personalized attention and opportunities for discussion and engagement, while larger class sizes may offer more diverse perspectives and opportunities for collaboration.

However, it is important to note that class sizes and faculty-to-student ratios are not the only factors that determine the quality of education. The teaching style, curriculum, and resources available also play a significant role in shaping your college experience.

Additionally, some students may prefer larger class sizes as they offer a sense of anonymity and independence, while others may thrive in smaller, more intimate settings. It is important to consider your own learning style and preferences when choosing a college.

Research Opportunities and Resources: Claremont McKenna vs. Lehigh

Research opportunities and resources can also be important factors to consider when choosing a college. Both Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University offer excellent research opportunities and resources.

Claremont McKenna College has a strong focus on undergraduate research and offers various research centers and institutes, including the Keck Science Department, the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, and the Kravis Leadership Institute. Lehigh University has unique research facilities, such as the Mountaintop Program and the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation.

Additionally, both colleges have faculty members who are actively engaged in research and are often looking for undergraduate students to assist them. This provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in their field of interest and potentially even contribute to published research. Furthermore, both colleges offer funding opportunities for students to conduct their own research projects, which can be a valuable experience for those considering graduate school or a career in research.

Internship and Career Services

Internships and career services are key components of any college experience. Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University both offer excellent resources and support for internships and career services.

Claremont McKenna has a strong focus on connecting students with alumni and employers through networking events, career fairs, and career advising. Lehigh University has various programs, such as the Career Services Center, to help students identify internships and job opportunities.

Internship for college students

At Claremont McKenna, students have access to a wide range of internship opportunities in various fields, including finance, consulting, and technology. The college has partnerships with top companies, such as Goldman Sachs and Google, to provide students with valuable internship experiences.

Lehigh University also offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships. The university has a strong focus on experiential learning, and students can participate in internships in fields such as engineering, healthcare, and education.

Campus Life and Extracurricular Activities

Campus life and extracurricular activities can also play an important role in choosing a college. Both Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University have a diverse range of clubs, organizations, and activities.

Claremont McKenna College has various cultural, political, and athletic clubs, as well as a strong Greek life presence. Lehigh University has over 200 clubs and organizations, including cultural clubs, academic organizations, and athletic teams.

Additionally, both colleges offer opportunities for students to get involved in community service and volunteer work. Claremont McKenna College has a partnership with local organizations, such as the Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity, where students can participate in building homes for low-income families. Lehigh University has a community service office that connects students with local non-profit organizations and provides opportunities for service trips during school breaks.

Furthermore, both colleges have a strong emphasis on leadership development. Claremont McKenna College has a Kravis Leadership Institute that offers programs and resources for students to develop their leadership skills. Lehigh University has a Leadership Development Program that provides workshops, coaching, and mentoring for students to become effective leaders in their future careers.

Athletics and Sports Programs Offered

If athletics and sports are important to you, both Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University offer excellent programs and opportunities.

Claremont McKenna College is a member of the NCAA Division III and offers various sports programs, including basketball, soccer, and swimming. Lehigh University is a member of the NCAA Division I and has a strong athletics program, including football, wrestling, and basketball.

View of a basketball player dunking.

In addition to the traditional sports programs, both Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University offer unique athletic opportunities. Claremont McKenna College has a strong Ultimate Frisbee team that competes at the national level. Lehigh University offers a popular club sport in Quidditch, which has gained popularity due to its portrayal in the Harry Potter series.

Both schools also prioritize fitness and wellness for their students. Claremont McKenna College has a state-of-the-art fitness center with a variety of equipment and classes. Lehigh University offers outdoor adventure programs, such as rock climbing and hiking, to encourage students to stay active and explore the surrounding area.

Housing Options and Accommodations

Housing options and accommodations can also impact your college experience. Both Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University offer various housing options and accommodations for students.

Claremont McKenna College offers on-campus residence halls, suites, and apartments, as well as various dining options. Lehigh University also has on-campus housing options, including residence halls and apartments, and various dining options.

Additionally, both colleges offer off-campus housing options for upperclassmen who prefer to live off-campus. Claremont McKenna College has partnerships with local apartment complexes, while Lehigh University has a database of off-campus housing options for students to choose from.

Furthermore, both colleges have accommodations for students with disabilities. Claremont McKenna College has disability services that provide accommodations such as accessible housing and transportation, while Lehigh University has a disability support services office that offers accommodations such as note-taking assistance and sign language interpreters.

Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarship Opportunities

Tuition, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities can be a significant factor in deciding which college to attend. Both Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University have comprehensive financial aid programs.

Claremont McKenna College’s tuition is approximately $60,000 per year, and the college offers various need-based, merit-based, and talent-based scholarships. Lehigh University’s tuition is approximately $59,000 per year, and the university offers various need-based, merit-based, and athletic scholarships.

It is important to note that both colleges also offer work-study programs, which allow students to work part-time on campus to help cover the cost of tuition and other expenses. Additionally, both colleges have financial aid counselors available to assist students and their families in navigating the financial aid process.

Furthermore, Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University have partnerships with outside organizations that offer additional scholarship opportunities. For example, Claremont McKenna College partners with the Posse Foundation, which provides full-tuition scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional leadership potential. Lehigh University partners with the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships to students who are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, or Hispanic American.

Alumni Network and Post-Graduate Success

The alumni network and post-graduate success of a college can also be important factors to consider. Both Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University have strong alumni networks and high post-graduate success rates.

Claremont McKenna College’s alumni network includes various successful individuals in business, politics, and law, and the college has a post-graduate success rate of approximately 91%. Lehigh University’s alumni network includes various successful individuals in engineering, business, and the arts, and the university has a post-graduate success rate of approximately 92%.

It is worth noting that the strength of an alumni network can have a significant impact on a graduate’s career prospects. Alumni networks can provide valuable connections, mentorship opportunities, and job leads. Both Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University have active alumni associations that offer networking events, career services, and other resources to graduates.

Prospective Student Visits and Tours

If you are considering Claremont McKenna College or Lehigh University, it is important to visit the campuses and attend tours. Both colleges offer various visit and tour options for prospective students.

Claremont McKenna College offers various on-campus visit options, including information sessions, campus tours, and open houses. Lehigh University offers various visit options, including information sessions, campus tours, and overnight visits.

During your visit to Claremont McKenna College, you can also schedule a meeting with an admissions counselor, attend a class, or meet with a current student. Additionally, the college offers virtual tours and information sessions for those who are unable to visit in person.

Lehigh University also offers specialized tours, such as engineering tours and art tours, for students interested in those fields. The university also hosts events for prospective students, such as the Lehigh Live program, which allows students to experience a day in the life of a Lehigh student.

Final Thoughts: Which College is the Best Fit for You?

Choosing the right college is a challenging decision, but the process becomes more manageable when you have all the necessary information. Claremont McKenna College and Lehigh University are both excellent institutions with their own unique strengths and opportunities.

Ultimately, the decision of which college to attend depends on your individual interests and goals. We hope that this article has provided you with a comprehensive overview of the key differences between these two colleges. Good luck with your decision!

It is important to consider factors beyond academics when choosing a college. Location, campus culture, and extracurricular activities can all play a significant role in your overall college experience. Claremont McKenna College is located in Southern California, offering warm weather and easy access to beaches and outdoor activities. Lehigh University, on the other hand, is located in Pennsylvania and offers a more traditional college-town experience.

Additionally, it is important to consider the cost of attendance and financial aid options when making your decision. Claremont McKenna College has a higher tuition cost but also offers generous financial aid packages. Lehigh University has a lower tuition cost, but may not offer as much financial aid. It is important to weigh the costs and benefits of each institution before making a final decision.

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