Lehigh and Wellesley: A Look at the Differences Between Two Top Universities

August 11, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Lehigh and Wellesley: A Look at the Differences Between Two Top Universities

Lehigh and Wellesley are two of the most prominent universities in the United States. Both attract a wide range of talented students. These talented students come from around the world.

If you are considering attending either one of these universities, you might be interested in knowing which one offers a better overall experience. In this article, we will compare the two universities on various aspects to help you make an informed choice.

Location and Campus: A Comparative Analysis of Lehigh and Wellesley

Location is an important factor to consider when choosing a university. Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on the eastern side of the United States. The campus is situated on the slope of a hill overlooking the Lehigh River.

On the other hand, Wellesley College is located in the town of Wellesley, Massachusetts, which is about 12 miles west of Boston. The campus is situated on a picturesque 500-acre estate that includes rolling hills, a lake, and beautiful gardens.

Lehigh and Wellesley campuses have significant differences in terms of size. Lehigh’s campus is rather small, only 2,355 acres, whereas Wellesley’s campus is quite large, comprising 500 acres. Nevertheless, both universities have impressive facilities that offer students an excellent environment to learn and thrive.

Another important factor to consider when comparing Lehigh and Wellesley is the diversity of their student populations. Lehigh has a diverse student body, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. The university also has a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus.

In contrast, Wellesley has a smaller student body and is known for its commitment to women’s education. The college has a long history of empowering women to become leaders in their fields.

Academics at Lehigh vs. Wellesley: Which One Offers the Best Education?

Both universities have strong academic programs that are tailored to meet the needs of the current job market.

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Lehigh University offers degrees in various fields, including engineering, business, the arts, and sciences, among others. The university has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, which means that students get personalized attention from professors.

On the other hand, Wellesley College provides a conducive learning environment, with various degree concentrations that cater to the needs of students. Wellesley College is especially renowned for its excellent liberal arts programs which prepare students for life-long learning and pursuit of meaningful careers.

The student-to-faculty ratio at Wellesley is 7:1, which ensures that students receive individualized attention and mentorship from experienced professors.

Student Life: A Comparison of Lehigh and Wellesley

Lehigh and Wellesley offer quite different experiences when it comes to student life. Lehigh has a strong Greek life culture, with 25% of students participating in fraternities or sororities. There are also multiple student-run organizations on campus, including clubs and societies that cater to diverse interests.

Wellesley has an active campus community, with more than 150 student organizations catering to various interests and passions. The college also provides students with a wide range of extracurricular activities, including academic, cultural, social, and athletic programs.

While Wellesley does not have a Greek life culture, it offers a more inclusive and welcoming environment to students from all backgrounds.

Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which is a small town with a population of around 75,000 people. The campus is situated on a hill overlooking the town, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The university has a strong sense of community, and students often participate in community service projects and volunteer work in the local area.

Wellesley College, on the other hand, is located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, which is a small town with a population of around 28,000 people. The campus is situated on 500 acres of land, and it offers a beautiful and serene environment for students to study and relax.

Admissions Criteria and Process: How to Get Into Lehigh or Wellesley

Both universities are selective in their admissions process, with Lehigh admitting 25% of applicants and Wellesley admitting 18% of applicants. Admissions at these universities are highly competitive, and applicants must present strong academic records, extracurricular activities and demonstrate overall commitment and maturity to be considered.

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In addition to academic and extracurricular achievements, Lehigh and Wellesley also consider personal qualities such as leadership, community involvement, and diversity. Applicants are encouraged to showcase their unique experiences and perspectives in their application essays and interviews.

It is important to note that both universities have different application deadlines and requirements. Lehigh offers Early Decision and Regular Decision options, while Wellesley offers Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. Applicants should carefully review the admissions websites for each university to ensure they meet all requirements and deadlines.

Diversity and Inclusion: How Do Lehigh and Wellesley Compare?

Both universities place significant emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Lehigh University has a diverse student population, with a breakdown of 53% male and 47% female students. The university also has various underrepresented minority groups, including 19% of domestic students being students of color. Further, the university has an excellent support system in place for students of various backgrounds through various multicultural organizations.

Wellesley College has an impressive commitment to diversity, with a breakdown of 15% Asian, 9% Black/African American, 13% Hispanic/Latinx, and 56% White students. The college also operates programs that support first-generation college students, students of color, and LGBTQ+ students, ensuring a welcoming and safe environment to study and thrive.

Lehigh University has a number of initiatives in place to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. For example, the university offers a number of courses that focus on issues related to diversity and inclusion, such as “Race and Ethnicity in America” and “Gender and Sexuality in Society.”

Wellesley College also has a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion beyond its campus. The college has partnerships with a number of organizations that work to promote social justice and equity, such as the Posse Foundation and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

Cost of Attendance: A Financial Comparison of Lehigh and Wellesley

Both universities charge significant tuition fees that may be unaffordable to some students. According to The College Board, Lehigh University charges around $57,000 a year for tuition, room, board, and other expenses, while Wellesley College costs around $78,000 a year for tuition, room, board, and other expenses.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Nevertheless, both universities offer various financial plans and scholarships to students. The process of applying for financial aid is similar, and prospective students should note that both universities offer need-based financial aid. Therefore, it is essential to check available financial aid options and compare them across the two universities.

It is also important to consider the cost of living in the surrounding areas of the universities. Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which has a lower cost of living compared to Wellesley College, located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, which is known for its high cost of living. This means that students attending Wellesley College may have to budget more for living expenses such as housing, food, and transportation.

Alumni Networks: How They Compare Between Lehigh and Wellesley

Both universities have strong alumni networks that offer mentorship and support to current students and graduates. Lehigh University has a Network of over 90,000 alumni in various industries, with the advantage of being a high-ranking business and engineering school.

On the other hand, Wellesley College has an alumnae network of over 35,000 women in various professional fields, providing opportunities for mentorship, job prospects, and networking opportunities.

Lehigh’s alumni network is particularly strong in the fields of finance, consulting, and technology, with many alumni holding leadership positions in top companies. This provides current students and graduates with valuable connections and potential job opportunities in these industries.

Wellesley’s alumnae network, on the other hand, is known for its strong focus on women’s leadership and empowerment. The network offers mentorship programs, career development resources, and networking events specifically tailored to support women in their professional endeavors.

Career Services: Which University Offers Better Job Opportunities?

Both universities have career services programs that cater to the needs of students.

a young man shakes someone's hand after being interviewed

Lehigh University offers the Center for Career and Professional Development, providing students with opportunities to engage employers, develop leadership skills, and explore career interests.

Wellesley College has the Career Education Center which provides students with various career development resources such as job fairs, resume and cover letter writing workshops, and internship opportunities.

Both universities have similar career service programs, and students should seek to understand which one provides better job prospects for their specific fields of study.

Lehigh University’s Center for Career and Professional Development offers a unique program called the “Career Communities” which connects students with alumni and employers in specific industries such as finance, healthcare, and technology.

On the other hand, Wellesley College’s Career Education Center has a strong focus on empowering women in the workforce. They offer programs such as the “Women in Business” initiative which provides mentorship and networking opportunities for female students interested in pursuing careers in business.

Faculty and Staff: A Comparative Look at the Teaching Staff at Both Universities

Both universities have well-qualified teaching staff who are experienced and dedicated to quality education.

Lehigh University has over 900 faculty members who hold advanced degrees in their respective fields, with extensive research experience and excellent teaching skills.

Wellesley College faculty members are similarly well-qualified, with the majority holding a Ph.D. or equivalent degree. Both universities offer opportunities for students to engage with faculty members and seek mentorship.

However, there are some differences in the teaching staff at both universities. Lehigh University has a higher percentage of tenured faculty members, which means that they have job security and are more likely to be involved in long-term research projects.

On the other hand, Wellesley College has a higher percentage of adjunct faculty members, who are often professionals in their respective fields and bring real-world experience to the classroom.

Research Opportunities at Lehigh vs. Wellesley: Which School Provides More Options?

Lehigh University is well-known for its strong research programs, with extensive opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

Research opportunities at Lehigh vary across various subject areas, including engineering, arts, business, and sciences. Students have the opportunity to work with experienced researchers and engage in groundbreaking research projects.

Wellesley College also offers opportunities for research across various fields, including science, mathematics, and humanities. Students can participate in research over the summer and throughout the academic year, either individually or as part of a group.

While both universities offer excellent research opportunities, students should consider which university provides more opportunities in their fields of study.

Lehigh University has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with many research projects spanning multiple fields. This provides students with the opportunity to work on projects that integrate knowledge from different areas of study and to develop a broader understanding of the research process.

Wellesley College has a strong commitment to undergraduate research, with many faculty members actively involved in research projects. This provides students with the opportunity to work closely with faculty members and to develop strong mentorship relationships.

International Studies Programs: A Comparison of Lehigh and Wellesley’s Study Abroad Options

Both universities offer various opportunities for students to study abroad, giving students the chance to gain international exposure and broaden their perspectives.

Students walking on the streets.

Lehigh University offers a wide range of study abroad programs, including faculty-led study tours, summer and semester programs, and international internships.

Wellesley College offers several study abroad programs designed to provide students with intellectual and personal growth and development. The college partners with various institutions worldwide and offers programs that cater to the needs of various academic disciplines.

Both universities offer study-abroad opportunities, and students should consider which program best suits their academic goals.

Lehigh University’s study abroad programs are known for their focus on experiential learning. Students are encouraged to engage in hands-on experiences that allow them to immerse themselves in the local culture and gain a deeper understanding of the host country.

Extracurricular Activities: Which University Offers More Choices for Students?

Both Lehigh and Wellesley provide students with a wide range of extracurricular activities. Lehigh University offers exceptional opportunities for outdoor recreational activities, including skiing, hiking, and rock climbing, among others. Students can also participate in music, theatre, and community service, among other options.

Wellesley College has many opportunities for extracurricular activities, covering diverse interests such as community service, arts, athletics, and scholarship. Students can participate in clubs, cultural groups, and organizations geared toward specific interests and passions.

Moreover, Lehigh University has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, offering students the chance to participate in business competitions, start-up incubators, and networking events. The university also has a robust internship program, providing students with hands-on experience in their chosen fields.

On the other hand, Wellesley College has a unique program called the Davis Museum Student Guide Program, which allows students to work as museum guides and curators. The college also has a strong emphasis on leadership development, offering various leadership programs and workshops to help students develop their skills and become effective leaders.


Choosing which university to attend can be an arduous task. Lehigh University and Wellesley College offer students excellent opportunities for personal and academic growth. It is essential to research both institutions carefully, taking into account the factors mentioned in this article.

With the information provided in this article, prospective students should be better informed and able to make the best decision that will set them up for success in their chosen career paths.

Segue to AdmissionSight

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