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Lehigh and UC Davis: Which University is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A male student studying and writing with a cup of coffee

Lehigh and UC Davis: Which University is Right for You?

Choosing the right university can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s important to do your research before making a decision. In this article, we’ll be comparing two prestigious universities in the United States: Lehigh and UC Davis. We’ll examine various factors such as location, academic programs, faculty strength, cost, student life, and more to help you make an informed decision.

Overview of Lehigh and UC Davis: Location, Campus, and Size

Lehigh University is a private research university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1865, it has a sprawling campus that covers over 2,000 acres. On the other hand, UC Davis is a public research university located in Davis, California. Founded in 1905, it has a picturesque campus that covers over 5,000 acres.

Lehigh University has a total enrollment of around 7,000 students, while UC Davis has a student population of over 39,000. It’s worth noting that UC Davis is significantly larger than Lehigh, which can have both positive and negative implications for your university experience.

College students walking in the campus.

Despite the difference in size, both Lehigh and UC Davis offer a wide range of academic programs and extracurricular activities. Lehigh is known for its strong engineering and business programs, while UC Davis is renowned for its agricultural and environmental science programs.

The Academic Programs at Lehigh and UC Davis: A Comparative Analysis

When it comes to academic programs, both Lehigh and UC Davis offer a wide range of options for students. Lehigh is particularly well-known for its programs in engineering, business, and the arts.

Additionally, it also has strong programs in the sciences and social sciences. UC Davis, on the other hand, has a strong reputation for its programs in agriculture, veterinary medicine, and environmental science. It also has strong programs in the humanities and social sciences.

It’s worth noting that both universities have a strong focus on research and innovation, which can provide opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge research projects and gain hands-on experience.

Furthermore, Lehigh offers a unique program called the Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts, and Sciences (IDEAS), which allows students to combine their interests in multiple fields and create a customized curriculum.

UC Davis also offers a similar program called the University Honors Program, which allows students to design their own interdisciplinary curriculum and conduct research projects with faculty members.

Faculty Strengths and Research Opportunities at Lehigh and UC Davis

The quality of faculty can make a significant difference in your university experience. Both Lehigh and UC Davis have a diverse faculty with a wealth of experience in their respective fields.

Female teacher talking to her students.

Lehigh has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, which ensures that students receive personalized attention and support from their professors. Similarly, UC Davis has a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1, which still provides ample opportunity for students to engage with professors on a one-on-one basis.

In terms of research opportunities, both universities have a strong focus on research and innovation. There are numerous research centers and institutes on both campuses, with opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge research projects.

At Lehigh, the faculty is known for its expertise in engineering, business, and the arts. The university has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with faculty members collaborating across departments to tackle complex problems.

UC Davis, on the other hand, is renowned for its faculty in agriculture, veterinary medicine, and environmental science. The university has a strong commitment to sustainability and is home to the world-renowned UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Lehigh and UC Davis

When it comes to choosing between Lehigh and UC Davis, there are a few key factors that you should consider:

  • Academic program offerings
  • Campus culture and environment
  • Financial aid and scholarships
  • Location and proximity to family and friends
  • Career prospects after graduation

It’s important to weigh each of these factors carefully and determine which university is the best fit for you based on your own personal priorities and goals.

Another important factor to consider when choosing between Lehigh and UC Davis is the size of the student body. Lehigh has a smaller student body, with around 7,000 undergraduate students, while UC Davis has a larger student body, with around 30,000 undergraduate students.

This can impact the overall campus culture and the level of individual attention and support you may receive from faculty and staff. It’s important to consider whether you prefer a smaller, more intimate learning environment or a larger, more diverse community.

Cost of Attendance: How Much Does it Cost to Attend Lehigh or UC Davis?

College can be an expensive investment, and it’s important to consider the cost of attendance when choosing a university.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Lehigh University’s tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 academic year were $56,000. On the other hand, UC Davis’s tuition and fees for the same academic year were $14,597 for in-state students and $44,249 for out-of-state students.

It’s worth noting, however, that the cost of attendance can vary widely depending on a number of factors such as housing, meal plans, textbooks, and other expenses.

When it comes to housing, Lehigh University offers a variety of options ranging from traditional dormitories to apartment-style living. The cost of housing can range from $8,000 to $14,000 per academic year depending on the type of housing chosen.

UC Davis also offers a variety of housing options, including residence halls, apartments, and cooperative housing. The cost of housing at UC Davis can range from $12,000 to $18,000 per academic year.

Financial Aid and Scholarships Available at Lehigh and UC Davis

Fortunately, both Lehigh and UC Davis offer financial aid and scholarship opportunities to help students cover the cost of attendance.

Lehigh University meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, offering a combination of grants, scholarships, and work-study programs to eligible students. Similarly, UC Davis offers a range of need-based and merit-based financial aid options for eligible students.

It is important to note that the application process for financial aid and scholarships at both universities can be competitive and require early submission. Students are encouraged to research and apply for all available options to increase their chances of receiving aid.

Campus Life at Lehigh vs. UC Davis: Clubs, Organizations, and Extracurricular Activities

Participating in clubs, organizations, and extracurricular activities can be a great way to meet new people, explore your interests, and gain valuable experience outside of the classroom.

Group of students working together and talking.

Lehigh University has over 200 student organizations spanning a variety of interests and activities. Similarly, UC Davis has over 800 student organizations, making it easy for students to find a club or organization that appeals to their interests.

However, the size of the student body at UC Davis means that some clubs and organizations may be more competitive to join or have limited spots available. In contrast, Lehigh’s smaller student body allows for a more intimate and close-knit community within clubs and organizations.

Additionally, both universities offer a range of extracurricular activities beyond traditional clubs and organizations. Lehigh has a strong focus on community service, with opportunities for students to volunteer locally and internationally. UC Davis has a thriving arts scene, with a student-run theater group and a variety of music and dance groups.

Sports Programs at Lehigh vs. UC Davis: Which University Offers Better Athletic Opportunities?

Athletics can be an important part of the college experience for many students. Lehigh University offers a range of NCAA Division I sports programs, including football, basketball, soccer, and wrestling. Similarly, UC Davis has a range of sports programs, including football, basketball, soccer, and baseball.

It’s worth noting that both universities have a strong focus on supporting their student-athletes and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

However, there are some differences between the two universities when it comes to athletic opportunities. Lehigh University has a strong tradition in wrestling, with a highly competitive program that has produced numerous All-Americans and national champions.

On the other hand, UC Davis has a strong focus on equestrian sports, with a nationally recognized program in both English and Western riding disciplines.

Career Prospects after Graduating from Lehigh or UC Davis: A Comparison

Ultimately, the end goal of attending university is to find a rewarding career after graduation. Both Lehigh and UC Davis have strong career centers that offer a range of services such as career counseling, job search assistance, and networking opportunities.

According to recent data from each university, the median salary for Lehigh University graduates is $72,000, while the median salary for UC Davis graduates is $65,000.

However, it’s important to note that salary isn’t the only factor to consider when evaluating career prospects. Graduates from UC Davis have reported high levels of job satisfaction and a strong sense of community within their chosen fields. Additionally, UC Davis has a strong focus on sustainability and environmentalism, which may be appealing to graduates interested in careers related to these areas.

On the other hand, Lehigh University has a strong reputation for producing graduates who are well-prepared for careers in business and engineering. The university has close ties with many top companies in these fields, providing students with valuable networking opportunities and access to internships and job opportunities.

Alumni Networks at Lehigh vs. UC Davis: How Strong Are They?

Networking can be an important part of navigating the job market and finding career opportunities after graduation.

Lehigh University has a well-established alumni network, with over 80,000 living alumni spanning a variety of fields and industries. Similarly, UC Davis has a broad alumni network with over 250,000 members worldwide.

However, the strength of these alumni networks can vary depending on the industry and location. For example, Lehigh’s alumni network may be particularly strong in the engineering and business fields, due to the university’s strong programs in those areas.

On the other hand, UC Davis may have a stronger network in the agriculture and environmental science industries, given the university’s location in California’s Central Valley.

Student Support Services Offered by Lehigh vs. UC Davis: Which University Offers Better Support?

It’s important to feel supported during your university experience, both academically and personally. Both Lehigh and UC Davis offer a range of support services to help students navigate the challenges of university life.

Lehigh University offers a range of support services including academic tutoring and coaching, career counseling, and mental health services. Similarly, UC Davis offers academic support services, career services, and a range of health and wellness programs for students.

However, there are some differences in the types of support services offered by the two universities. Lehigh University has a dedicated office for disability support services, which provides accommodations and support for students with disabilities.

On the other hand, UC Davis has a strong focus on international student support, offering programs and services to help international students adjust to life in the United States.

Diversity on Campus: How Diverse Are the Student Populations of Lehigh and UC Davis?

Diversity can be an important factor in creating a supportive and inclusive campus environment. Lehigh University has a student body that is approximately 24% students of color, while UC Davis has a student body that is approximately 49% students of color.

Students smiling at the camera together.

Additionally, both universities have a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives in place to promote and celebrate diversity on campus.

However, diversity on campus is not just limited to racial and ethnic diversity. It also includes diversity in terms of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and more. At Lehigh University, there are various student organizations and resources dedicated to supporting and advocating for underrepresented groups on campus.

Similarly, UC Davis has a number of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion across all aspects of campus life.

Furthermore, research has shown that a diverse student body can lead to a more enriching educational experience for all students. Exposure to different perspectives and backgrounds can broaden one’s understanding of the world and enhance critical thinking skills.

Therefore, it is important for universities to continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion efforts in order to create a welcoming and intellectually stimulating environment for all students.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice Between Lehigh and UC Davis

Choosing the right university can be a complex decision, but by considering factors such as academic programs, cost, campus culture, and support services, you can make an informed decision that best fits your goals and priorities.

Both Lehigh University and UC Davis offer outstanding academic programs, diverse campus communities, and a range of opportunities for student growth and development. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on your own individual circumstances and priorities.

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