Lehigh and Grinnell: A Look at the Pros and Cons

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

lady in green sweater looking outside with laptop and mug

Lehigh and Grinnell: A Look at the Pros and Cons

Deciding where to attend college is a major decision. Each school has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and it is important to carefully consider all aspects before making a decision.

In this article, we will be comparing Lehigh and Grinnell, two highly-regarded institutions known for their outstanding academic programs. We will thoroughly examine the various pros and cons of each school across a range of categories.

Location and Campus Size

Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a small town nestled in the eastern part of the state. The campus is known for its picturesque beauty, featuring a mix of historic and modern buildings.

Grinnell College, on the other hand, is located in Grinnell, Iowa, a small town in the center of the state. The campus is known for its spacious beauty, with expansive green lawns and stunning architecture.

Regarding campus size, Lehigh has a larger campus, spanning 2,358 acres, while Grinnell’s campus spans 120 acres. This difference in size can impact the overall student experience, with larger campuses potentially feeling busier and more congested, while smaller campuses may foster a closer sense of community and intimacy among students.

Admission Requirements and Acceptance Rates

Both Lehigh and Grinnell are selective institutions, with rigorous admissions processes. The average ACT score range for admitted students is 30-34 for Lehigh and 32-35 for Grinnell, and the average SAT score range is 1350-1510 for Lehigh and 1440-1550 for Grinnell.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

Lehigh has a slightly higher acceptance rate at 22%, while Grinnell’s is 20%. However, it is important to note that the acceptance rate is only one factor to consider, as the total number of applicants and the school’s individual criteria for admission are also critical components.

Another important factor to consider when applying to Lehigh or Grinnell is the school’s GPA requirements. Lehigh typically looks for students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, while Grinnell’s average GPA for admitted students is 3.8. It is also important to note that both schools consider extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation in their admissions decisions.

Academic Programs and Curriculum Offerings

Both Lehigh and Grinnell offer a wide range of academic programs and curriculum offerings. Lehigh is known for its strong engineering and business programs, as well as its notable programs in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Grinnell is acclaimed for its liberal arts curriculum and emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, with programs in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Additionally, both schools offer opportunities for research and experiential learning, including summer programs, internships, and study abroad programs.

Lehigh University offers a unique program called the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program, which combines the strengths of the College of Business and Economics and the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Grinnell College offers a distinctive program called the Center for Prairie Studies, which focuses on the study of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem and its cultural and historical significance.

Faculty and Student Ratio

Lehigh has a higher faculty-to-student ratio, with 9:1 compared to Grinnell’s 8:1 ratio. This means that students at Lehigh may have more individual attention from their professors, potentially leading to a more personalized academic experience.

Female teacher talking to her students.

However, both schools have highly-qualified and dedicated faculty members who are invested in their students’ academic success.

In addition to the faculty-to-student ratio, Lehigh also offers smaller class sizes, with an average class size of 27 students. This allows for more opportunities for class participation and discussion, as well as more one-on-one interactions with professors.

Furthermore, Lehigh’s faculty members are not only experts in their fields but also actively engaged in research and scholarship. This means that students have the opportunity to work alongside their professors on cutting-edge research projects, gaining valuable hands-on experience and mentorship.

Quality of Education at Lehigh and Grinnell

Both Lehigh and Grinnell are known for their high-quality education and rigorous academic standards. The academic environment at both schools is challenging but supportive, with faculty and staff dedicated to helping students achieve their academic goals.

The learning environment at both schools is also exceptional, with access to cutting-edge technology and resources. Students can participate in a variety of extracurricular activities and student organizations, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Lehigh University offers a wide range of academic programs, including engineering, business, and the arts. The university has state-of-the-art facilities, such as the STEPS building, which houses cutting-edge labs and research centers.

Grinnell College, on the other hand, is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum and emphasis on critical thinking and intellectual exploration. The college has a unique tutorial system, where students work closely with faculty members in small groups to develop their analytical and writing skills.

Extracurricular Activities and Campus Life

Lehigh and Grinnell both offer a vibrant campus life, with a wide variety of extracurricular activities and events. Whether students are interested in sports, music, theater, or social justice activism, there are plenty of opportunities for involvement and engagement.

Group of students working together and talking.

Some of the highlights of campus life at Lehigh include the annual South Side Arts and Music Festival, the international Shakespeare Festival, and a thriving Greek life community. Grinnell boasts numerous student-run organizations, including an active student government and a variety of cultural and performance groups.

Additionally, both Lehigh and Grinnell offer opportunities for students to engage in community service and volunteer work. Lehigh has a strong partnership with the South Bethlehem community, providing students with opportunities to work with local organizations and make a positive impact.

Grinnell’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service offers resources and support for students interested in service and social justice work, including alternative spring break trips and internships with non-profit organizations.

Career Opportunities at Lehigh and Grinnell

Both Lehigh and Grinnell offer excellent career resources and networking opportunities for students and alumni. Lehigh’s Center for Career and Professional Development provides students with access to job postings, career fairs, and individual career counseling sessions.

Both schools have strong alumni networks, with graduates working in a range of industries and professions. Networking events and mentorship programs provide opportunities for current students to connect with these successful alumni and gain valuable advice and insights.

Lehigh’s Center for Career and Professional Development also offers a variety of workshops and seminars to help students develop their professional skills. These include resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and networking strategies.

Grinnell’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service has a strong focus on community engagement and social responsibility. The center offers service-learning opportunities, internships with non-profit organizations, and resources for students interested in pursuing careers in the public sector.

Through these programs, students can gain valuable experience while making a positive impact on their communities.

Tuition Fees and Financial Aid Options

As with all colleges and universities, tuition fees and financial aid options are important factors to consider when deciding between Lehigh and Grinnell.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Lehigh’s tuition fees are higher than Grinnell’s, with a tuition rate of $54,090 per year compared to Grinnell’s $56,302. However, both schools offer a range of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. It is important to carefully consider all financial aid options and calculate the total cost of attendance when making a decision.

In addition to scholarships, grants, and work-study programs, both Lehigh and Grinnell offer student loan options to help cover the cost of tuition. It is important to carefully consider the terms and interest rates of any loans before accepting them.

Furthermore, both schools have dedicated financial aid offices that can provide guidance and support throughout the application process. These offices can also assist students in finding additional sources of funding, such as external scholarships and grants.

Housing and Dining Facilities at Lehigh and Grinnell

Both Lehigh and Grinnell offer on-campus housing and dining options for students. Lehigh has a range of housing options for students, including traditional residence halls, apartment-style housing, and fraternity and sorority houses.

Grinnell also has a variety of housing options, including traditional residence halls and specialty houses based on interests such as environmental sustainability and language immersion.

Both schools offer a range of dining options, including on-campus dining halls and cafeterias, as well as other dining options on or near campus.

Lehigh’s housing options also include themed housing communities, such as the Global Village, which focuses on international and multicultural experiences, and the Health and Wellness House, which promotes healthy living and wellness practices.

Grinnell’s specialty houses include the Gender Neutral Housing option, which allows students to live with roommates of any gender identity, and the International House, which provides a space for students from different countries to live and learn together.

Student Diversity at Lehigh and Grinnell

Both Lehigh and Grinnell are committed to diversity and inclusion, with a range of initiatives and programs aimed at promoting equity and inclusion for all students.

Lehigh has a variety of multicultural student organizations, as well as initiatives such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Women’s Center.

Grinnell has a similar commitment to diversity, with initiatives such as the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Leadership and the Stonewall Resource Center.

At Lehigh, the Office of Multicultural Affairs offers a range of programs and services to support students from diverse backgrounds, including academic support, mentoring, and leadership development opportunities.

Grinnell’s Center for Intercultural Engagement and Leadership offers a variety of programs and services to support students from diverse backgrounds, including intercultural education, leadership development, and community building.

Alumni Network and Post-Graduate Success

Both Lehigh and Grinnell have strong alumni networks and a high rate of post-graduate success. Lehigh graduates are known for their strong career preparation, with alumni working in a range of fields including engineering, finance, and the arts.

Grinnell alumni are also highly successful, with a strong track record of graduate school placement and professional success. In addition, the strong relationships between alumni and current students provide valuable networking opportunities for all students.

Lehigh’s alumni network is particularly strong in the engineering and business fields, with many graduates holding leadership positions in major corporations. The university’s Career Services office also offers extensive resources and support for students and alumni, including job fairs, networking events, and career counseling.

Grinnell’s alumni network is known for its close-knit community and dedication to social justice causes. Many graduates go on to work in non-profit organizations, government agencies, and advocacy groups. The college’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service provides a range of resources and programs to help students explore career options and connect with alumni mentors.

Research Opportunities at Lehigh and Grinnell

Research and experiential learning opportunities are important aspects of the student experience at both Lehigh and Grinnell.

Lehigh offers numerous opportunities for research and academic exploration, including summer research programs and undergraduate research assistantship positions.

Grinnell similarly offers a range of opportunities for students to participate in research and gain hands-on experience, working with faculty members and conducting independent research projects.

Additionally, both Lehigh and Grinnell have partnerships with local businesses and organizations, providing students with opportunities to engage in community-based research projects.

These projects allow students to apply their academic knowledge to real-world problems and make a positive impact in their communities.

Community Engagement and Service Learning Opportunities

Both schools are committed to community engagement and service learning, with a range of opportunities for students to get involved in community service projects and engage with local organizations.

View of hands placed on top of each other.

Lehigh has a strong commitment to community service, with programs such as the Office of Community Service, which connects students with local non-profit organizations to engage in service projects. Grinnell also has numerous programs and initiatives aimed at fostering community engagement, including the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice.

Additionally, both schools offer alternative break programs, which allow students to participate in service projects during school breaks. Lehigh’s Alternative Breaks program offers trips to locations such as New Orleans and Guatemala, while Grinnell’s program focuses on domestic service projects in the United States.

Furthermore, both schools have partnerships with local organizations to provide ongoing service opportunities for students. Lehigh partners with organizations such as the Bethlehem Area School District and the Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem, while Grinnell partners with organizations such as the Grinnell Regional Medical Center and the Grinnell Area Arts Council.


As you can see, there are many factors to consider when deciding between Lehigh and Grinnell. From location and campus size to academic programs and extracurricular activities, both schools offer unique strengths and opportunities for students.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and individual priorities. By carefully considering the pros and cons of each school across all categories, you can make an informed decision that fits your unique needs and goals.

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