Lehigh and Vassar: A Comprehensive Look at Two Top Universities

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A student sitting on the chair, thinking intently while holding a notebook and pen.

Lehigh and Vassar: A Comprehensive Look at Two Top Universities

When it comes to choosing the right university, there are a number of factors to consider. Comparing schools can help you determine which one is best suited for your individual needs. Two of the most highly respected and prestigious institutions in the United States are Lehigh University and Vassar College.

In this article, we will take a closer look at these two top universities to help you decide which one might better align with your academic goals and personal preferences.

Location and Campus Comparison: Lehigh and Vassar

One of the first things to consider when comparing two universities is their location and campus environment. Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It is situated on a 2,350-acre campus that offers a mix of historic and modern architecture.

Vassar College, on the other hand, is located in Poughkeepsie, New York. Its campus covers over 1,000 acres and features stunning landscapes and impressive buildings that reflect the school’s unique history and culture.

Despite their differences, both Lehigh and Vassar offer students a wide range of resources and amenities. Both campuses feature libraries, dining halls, fitness centers, art galleries, and more. Additionally, both schools are committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility, incorporating green initiatives into their operations and policies.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Lehigh University’s campus is home to a number of research centers and institutes, including the Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and the Institute for Cyber Physical Infrastructure and Energy. These centers provide students with opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research and collaborate with faculty members on innovative projects.

Vassar College, on the other hand, is known for its strong arts programs. The campus is home to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, which houses over 21,000 works of art, as well as the Powerhouse Theater, which hosts a variety of performances and productions throughout the year.

Historical Background of Lehigh University and Vassar College

Lehigh University was founded in 1865 and has a long and storied history. It started as a men’s college specializing in engineering and has since expanded to include a wide range of academic programs and research opportunities for both men and women.

Vassar College, on the other hand, was founded in 1861 as a women’s college. It was one of the first colleges in the United States to offer higher education to women and has since become a coeducational institution.

Despite their different beginnings, both Lehigh University and Vassar College have made significant contributions to academia and society.

Lehigh University has produced numerous notable alumni, including Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler Corporation, and Eugene G. Grace, the former CEO of Bethlehem Steel.

Vassar College has also produced many accomplished graduates, such as Meryl Streep, the award-winning actress, and Elizabeth Bishop, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.

Both institutions continue to attract top students and faculty from around the world and remain leaders in their respective fields.

Academic Programs Offered by Lehigh and Vassar: A Comparison

When it comes to academic programs, both Lehigh and Vassar offer students a diverse range of options.

View of computer engineers working on a project.

Lehigh University is known for its strong engineering program but also offers an array of other majors in areas such as business, economics, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Vassar College, on the other hand, is known for its breadth of liberal arts programs, including majors in art, music, literature, psychology, sociology, and more.

Both schools place a strong emphasis on research and offer students the opportunity to work on research projects with faculty members. Additionally, both schools offer study abroad programs, internships, and other hands-on learning opportunities to help prepare students for their future careers.

Lehigh University has a unique program called the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program, which combines the strengths of the university’s business and engineering programs. This program allows students to earn both a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics in just four years.

Vassar College, on the other hand, offers a unique program called the Urban Studies Program, which allows students to explore the complex issues facing urban communities through a multidisciplinary approach.

Faculty Strengths and Student-Faculty Ratio at Lehigh and Vassar

The quality of faculty and the level of personal attention students receive are key factors to consider when evaluating colleges.

Lehigh University has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, which means that students have ample opportunity to develop close relationships with their professors. The vast majority of professors at Lehigh have earned a Ph.D. or other terminal degree in their field of study.

Vassar College also boasts a low student-faculty ratio of 8:1. The professors at Vassar are known for their expertise in their respective fields and their dedication to teaching. Additionally, many professors are actively engaged in research and scholarship, which means that students have the opportunity to be involved in cutting-edge research projects.

Furthermore, both Lehigh and Vassar have diverse faculty with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. This diversity allows for a variety of perspectives to be shared in the classroom, enriching the learning experience for students.

Both institutions also prioritize small class sizes, which fosters a collaborative and interactive learning environment. Overall, the faculty strengths and student-faculty ratios at Lehigh and Vassar contribute to a high-quality education and a supportive academic community.

Admission Requirements for Lehigh University and Vassar College

One of the most important parts of the college application process is understanding the admission requirements.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

Both Lehigh and Vassar have selective admission processes and consider a number of factors when evaluating applications.

For example, Lehigh considers factors such as academic performance, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and personal essays. Vassar also considers similar factors but also places a strong emphasis on intellectual curiosity and creativity.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, Lehigh also considers standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, as part of their admission process. However, they do offer a test-optional policy for students who feel that their test scores do not accurately reflect their academic abilities.

Vassar, on the other hand, has been test-optional since 2020 and does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

Tuition Fees and Financial Aid Options at Lehigh vs. Vassar

College can be expensive, so it’s important to understand the costs associated with attending each institution.

Currently, tuition and fees at Lehigh University total approximately $55,000 per year, while the cost of attendance at Vassar College is around $56,000 per year.

However, both schools are committed to providing financial assistance to students who need it.

Lehigh University offers need-based financial aid as well as merit-based scholarships, while Vassar College offers need-based aid, scholarships, and grants.

Additionally, both schools offer work-study programs that allow students to earn money to help pay for their tuition and expenses.

Campus Life: A Look at the Extracurricular Activities, Sports, and Clubs at Lehigh and Vassar

College isn’t just about academics – it’s also about the social and extracurricular experiences that students have while on campus.

Group of students working together and talking.

Both Lehigh and Vassar offer a wide range of clubs, student organizations, and sports teams for students to get involved in.

At Lehigh, students can participate in more than 200 clubs and organizations, including clubs focused on athletics, academics, service, and cultural experiences. Lehigh also has a strong athletic program, with 25 varsity sports teams that compete at the Division I level.

Vassar College also offers a diverse array of clubs and organizations that cater to various interests, including academic clubs, performing arts groups, and service organizations. Vassar also has a strong athletics program, with competitive teams in sports such as soccer, basketball, and swimming.

Student Housing Comparisons: Dorms, Apartments, Off-Campus Living Options

Where students live during their college years can have a significant impact on their overall experience.

Lehigh University offers a variety of housing options for students, including traditional dorms, apartments, and houses. Freshmen at Lehigh are required to live on campus, but upperclassmen have the option to live off-campus in housing where they locate themselves.

Similarly, Vassar College requires that students live on campus for their first two years. After that, students can choose to live in on-campus dorms, apartments, or houses, or they can live off-campus in the surrounding area.

One advantage of living on campus is the convenience of being close to classes, dining halls, and campus activities. Additionally, on-campus housing often provides opportunities for students to connect with their peers and become more involved in campus life. However, off-campus living options can offer more independence and flexibility, as well as the opportunity to live in a more diverse community.

It is important for students to consider their personal preferences and priorities when choosing a housing option. Some may prioritize convenience and community, while others may prioritize independence and privacy. Ultimately, the right housing option will depend on each student’s individual needs and preferences.

Student Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity: How Lehigh and Vassar Address These Issues Differently

One of the most important aspects of college life is the community of people that make up the student body.

Both Lehigh and Vassar are committed to promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity on their campuses, but they take different approaches to achieving these goals.

Lehigh University has implemented a number of initiatives aimed at increasing diversity on campus. For example, the school has established multicultural centers for African American, Asian American, and LatinX students.

Vassar College is also focused on promoting diversity and inclusion but takes a different approach. For example, the school has established a Committee on Diversity and Inclusion that is responsible for promoting a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

Career Opportunities for Graduates of Lehigh University vs. Vassar College

Ultimately, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a university is how the school can prepare you for your future career.

a young man shakes someone's hand after being interviewed

Both Lehigh and Vassar are known for providing their graduates with a strong foundation in their respective fields of study and helping them develop the skills and experiences they need to succeed in their chosen careers.

Lehigh University has a robust career services department that offers students a variety of resources and tools to help them explore career options, develop their resumes and cover letters, and connect with potential employers. Additionally, Lehigh has a strong alumni network that can provide students with valuable connections and opportunities after graduation.

Vassar College also has a strong career services department that provides students with similar resources and support. Additionally, Vassar has an extensive alumni network that provides students with access to a wide range of career opportunities and professional connections.

Research Opportunities for Students at Lehigh University vs. Vassar College

Research is an important part of the college experience and can help students gain valuable skills and experiences that they can apply in their future careers. Both Lehigh University and Vassar College offer students a variety of research opportunities.

At Lehigh, students can participate in research projects in a wide range of fields, including engineering, biology, economics, and more. Additionally, Lehigh has established research centers and institutes that focus on topics such as environmental policy, entrepreneurship, and energy research.

Vassar College also offers a variety of research opportunities for students. The school has a number of research centers and institutes that focus on topics such as neuroscience, environmental studies, and international studies. Additionally, Vassar students can pursue research projects in a number of departments, including biology, anthropology, and computer science.

Community Outreach Programs at Lehigh University vs. Vassar College

Both Lehigh University and Vassar College are committed to making a positive impact on their local communities and the world at large. Both schools offer a variety of community outreach programs that allow students to engage in service activities and make a difference in the world.

Lehigh University offers a number of community service programs, including the South Side Initiative, which focuses on promoting economic development and revitalization in the Bethlehem area.

Vassar College also has a strong commitment to community service and offers a variety of programs that allow students to engage in service activities. For example, Vassar students can participate in the Community Works program, which connects them with local organizations that focus on issues such as hunger, education, and the environment.

Conclusion: Which University is Best Suited For You?

After a thorough exploration of both Lehigh University and Vassar College, you may still be unsure which school is best suited for you. Ultimately, the decision will depend on a variety of factors, including your academic interests, personal preferences, and career goals.

Either university has a rich history, offers rigorous academic programs, a diverse range of extracurricular activities, and opportunities for community engagement and research. It’s up to you to decide which university best fits your personality, goals, and lifestyle, whether that be the historic charm of Lehigh or the liberal arts excellence of Vassar.

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