Lehigh and Berkeley: A Comprehensive Look at Two Top Universities

August 9, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Lehigh and Berkeley: A Comprehensive Look at Two Top Universities

Are you considering attending a top university, but are unsure which one to choose? Lehigh and the University of California, Berkeley are both excellent choices, but they have their own distinct features and differences.

In this article, we will delve into the details of what sets these two universities apart, including their history, admission process, tuition costs, and more. So sit back and take a comprehensive look at Lehigh and Berkeley universities.

Introduction to Lehigh and Berkeley Universities

Lehigh University, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a private research university founded in 1865. The university offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs across four colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, the College of Business, and the College of Education.

The University of California, Berkeley, also known as UC Berkeley, is a public research university located in Berkeley, California. Founded in 1868, the university is known for its high academic standards and prestigious faculty. UC Berkeley offers over 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across 14 colleges and schools.

College students walking in the campus.

Lehigh University has a strong focus on research, with over 100 research centers and institutes. The university is also known for its entrepreneurship programs, which provide students with the skills and resources to start their own businesses. In addition, Lehigh has a vibrant student life, with over 200 student organizations and a thriving arts and culture scene.

UC Berkeley is a leader in many fields, including science, engineering, and social sciences. The university is also known for its commitment to sustainability, with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. UC Berkeley has a diverse student body, with students from over 100 countries, and offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including over 1,000 student organizations and a strong athletics program.

Brief history of Lehigh and Berkeley

Lehigh University was founded by Asa Packer, a wealthy businessman, and philanthropist who made his fortune in the railroad industry. The university initially started as a technical school for boys but later expanded to a full-fledged university.

In contrast, UC Berkeley was created as the result of the merger of the private College of California and the public Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College. UC Berkeley quickly became one of the top public universities in the country, consistently ranking within the top 20 universities worldwide.

Lehigh University has a strong focus on engineering and business, with its engineering program being ranked among the top 50 in the country. The university also has a renowned business school, the College of Business and Economics, which offers undergraduate, graduate, and executive education programs.

UC Berkeley, on the other hand, is known for its excellence in a wide range of fields, including science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), social sciences, humanities, and the arts. The university has produced numerous Nobel laureates, MacArthur fellows, and Pulitzer Prize winners, and is home to many cutting-edge research centers and institutes.

Admission process comparison

Both Lehigh and Berkeley are highly selective and have strict admission requirements. To apply to Lehigh, students must submit their standardized test scores, high school transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

The deadline for early decision is November 15th, and regular decision applications are due January 1st. UC Berkeley requires students to submit their SAT or ACT scores, high school transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation.

The priority deadline for application submission is November 30th, and the regular decision deadline is December 31st. Both universities have rigorous admission processes, so it is crucial to prepare well in advance.

Tuition comparison

Attending either Lehigh or Berkeley comes with a hefty price tag. The annual tuition for Lehigh University for the 2021-2022 academic year is $58,130, plus additional fees for room and board, textbooks, and supplies.

UC Berkeley’s annual tuition for in-state students is $14,312, while out-of-state students will need to pay $44,066 in tuition fees. However, both universities offer financial aid options to students who qualify, so it is important to thoroughly research the financial aid options available before making a decision.

Aside from tuition fees, there are other factors to consider when choosing between Lehigh and Berkeley. Lehigh University is a private research university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, while UC Berkeley is a public research university located in Berkeley, California. The location of the university can greatly impact a student’s experience, as it can affect the cost of living, access to resources, and overall culture of the area.

Another important factor to consider is the academic programs offered at each university. Lehigh University offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs, with a strong emphasis on engineering, business, and the arts.

UC Berkeley offers over 350 undergraduate and graduate programs, with a strong emphasis on the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. It is important to research the specific programs and departments that interest you to determine which university is the best fit for your academic goals.

Curriculum structure: How do Lehigh and Berkeley differ?

Lehigh and Berkeley universities have different approaches to their curriculum structure. Lehigh University follows a traditional semester schedule, with fall and spring semesters that run for 15 weeks each.

View of computer engineers working on a project.

The university also offers winter and summer sessions, as well as study abroad programs. UC Berkeley, on the other hand, follows a semester and quarter system, with fall and spring semesters and summer and winter quarters, allowing students to take more classes per year.

Berkeley also has an emphasis on interdisciplinary studies and offers unique programs such as its Experimental College and Berkeley Connect program, which allows students to take courses outside of their major and connect with faculty members in their area of study.

Another difference between Lehigh and Berkeley’s curriculum structure is the availability of online courses. Lehigh University offers a limited number of online courses, while UC Berkeley has a robust online learning platform called Berkeley Online, which offers a variety of courses and programs that can be completed entirely online.

This allows students to have more flexibility in their schedules and take courses from anywhere in the world. Additionally, Berkeley has a strong focus on research and encourages students to participate in research projects, providing them with opportunities to work with faculty members and gain hands-on experience in their field of study.

Campus life at Lehigh vs. Berkeley: A comparison

Both Lehigh and Berkeley have vibrant campus lives, but they offer different experiences. Lehigh University has a relatively small student body, making it easier for students to form close connections and build a strong sense of community.

The university also offers over 150 student clubs and organizations, varsity and club sports, and intramural activities to choose from. At UC Berkeley, the student body is much larger, creating a more diverse and dynamic campus life. The university offers over 1,000 student organizations, 30 fraternities and sororities, and a wide array of cultural, political, service, and performance-based groups.

Another notable difference between campus life at Lehigh and Berkeley is the location. Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a small city with a tight-knit community. This creates a more intimate campus environment, where students can easily explore the surrounding area and participate in local events.

On the other hand, UC Berkeley is located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, providing students with endless opportunities to explore the vibrant culture and diverse communities of the region. This location also allows for easy access to internships and job opportunities in the tech industry, which is a major employer in the area.

Student culture comparison: Lehigh vs. Berkeley

The student culture at Lehigh is described as friendly, welcoming, and tight-knit, with a strong emphasis on school spirit. Students at Lehigh are known for their dedication to academics but also enjoy socializing with friends and participating in extracurricular activities.

At UC Berkeley, the student culture is more diverse and politically active, with a strong focus on social justice and activism. Berkeley students are also known for being intellectually curious and pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking.

One notable aspect of Lehigh’s student culture is the strong sense of community that is fostered through various traditions and events. For example, the annual Le-Laf rivalry game against Lafayette College is a highly anticipated event that brings together students, alumni, and faculty members. Additionally, the university’s Greek life organizations play a significant role in campus social life, with many students choosing to join a fraternity or sorority.

Faculty composition comparison: Lehigh vs. Berkeley

Both Lehigh and Berkeley maintain a high level of academic expertise among their faculty members. At Lehigh, the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1, and 67% of the faculty hold a PhD or other terminal degree.

Female teacher talking to her students.

The university also boasts multiple Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates on its faculty. UC Berkeley has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, and over 500 faculty members who are members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The university is also known for its influential alumni, including 38 Nobel Laureates, 14 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 2 Fields Medalists.

Despite the differences in faculty size and student-to-faculty ratio, both Lehigh and Berkeley prioritize the quality of their faculty members. Lehigh’s faculty members are known for their dedication to teaching and mentorship, with many of them receiving awards for their excellence in these areas.

Berkeley’s faculty members are renowned for their groundbreaking research and contributions to their respective fields, with many of them receiving prestigious grants and fellowships. Both universities offer students the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in academia.

Research opportunities at Lehigh vs. Berkeley

Both Lehigh and Berkeley universities are home to cutting-edge research facilities and provide ample opportunities for students to participate in research projects. At Lehigh, students have access to research centers and labs in areas such as materials characterization, energy, environmental sciences, and nanotechnology.

UC Berkeley is renowned for its research in fields such as biotechnology, computer science, and renewable energy. The university also provides opportunities for students to work with renowned faculty members, present research at conferences, and pursue research funding.

Additionally, Lehigh University offers research opportunities in fields such as business, economics, and psychology. The university has research centers and labs dedicated to studying consumer behavior, entrepreneurship, and social psychology. Students can also participate in interdisciplinary research projects that combine multiple fields of study.

On the other hand, UC Berkeley has a strong focus on research in the humanities and social sciences. The university has research centers and institutes dedicated to studying topics such as race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and global poverty. Students can also participate in research projects that explore the intersection of technology and society, or the impact of policy on social issues.

Athletics programs: How do they compare?

Lehigh and Berkeley both have strong athletics programs and a rich sporting history. Lehigh competes in NCAA Division I athletics, with 25 varsity sports teams, including football, basketball, and wrestling.

UC Berkeley also competes in NCAA Division I athletics, with 27 varsity sports teams, including football, basketball, and baseball. The university also has a rich tradition of Olympic champions and professional athletes among its alumni.

However, there are some differences between the two programs. Lehigh has a strong focus on individual sports, such as wrestling and track and field, while UC Berkeley has a strong focus on team sports, such as football and basketball. Additionally, UC Berkeley has a larger student body and a larger athletics budget, which allows for more resources to be allocated towards their athletics programs.

Alumni networks at Lehigh and Berkeley

The alumni networks at Lehigh and Berkeley provide significant support to graduates, with opportunities for mentorship, networking, and career assistance. Lehigh University has a large alumni network with over 80,000 alumni worldwide, many of whom are successful business owners and leaders in their fields.

a business woman looking at the camera while her colleagues are at her back

UC Berkeley has a similarly large and influential alumni network, with notable alumni including Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, and Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation.

Despite the similarities in size and influence, there are some key differences between the alumni networks at Lehigh and Berkeley. Lehigh’s alumni network is known for its strong connections within the engineering and business fields, with many alumni working in industries such as finance, consulting, and technology. In contrast, UC Berkeley’s alumni network has a wider range of career paths represented, with notable alumni in fields such as politics, entertainment, and social justice.

Another difference between the two alumni networks is the level of involvement from recent graduates. Lehigh’s alumni network has a strong focus on engaging recent graduates, with programs such as the Young Alumni Council and the Lehigh Connects mentorship program.

UC Berkeley’s alumni network, on the other hand, has a larger percentage of older alumni who have been out of school for longer periods of time and may be less involved in current campus activities.

Career prospects after graduation: A comparison between the two universities

Lehigh and Berkeley graduates have excelled in a variety of fields and industries after graduation. Lehigh graduates have achieved high levels of success in fields such as finance, engineering, and consulting.

UC Berkeley graduates have experienced success in industries such as technology, business, and entertainment. Both universities have dedicated career services offices that offer career counseling, job fairs, and networking events to help graduates find job opportunities.

However, there are some differences in the career prospects between the two universities. Lehigh graduates tend to have higher starting salaries in their respective fields, while UC Berkeley graduates have a higher rate of job placement within six months of graduation. Additionally, UC Berkeley has a stronger alumni network, which can provide graduates with valuable connections and job opportunities.

Conclusion: Which university is the better fit for you?

Deciding between Lehigh and Berkeley requires careful consideration of multiple factors. Both universities are highly respected and offer unique academic, social, and cultural experiences. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you hope to gain from your college experience.

Visit each campus, research each university thoroughly, talk to current students and alumni, and envision yourself studying and living on each campus. With the right preparation and research, you will be able to make an informed and confident decision about which university is the best fit for you.

Segue to AdmissionSight

At AdmissionSight, we firmly uphold the conviction that every student is entitled to the chance to pursue their dreams at their preferred college. Our mission is to equip you with the expert advice and unwavering support you need to secure a place at the schools you aspire to attend.

With a seasoned team of college admissions specialists, we’ve spent over a decade guiding students like you toward their academic goals. We want to emphasize this – our expertise and insights are your secret weapon to success.


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