Lehigh University Pre-College Programs: An Adventure into the Future of Academics

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two students walking in the campus.

Lehigh University Pre-College Programs: An Adventure into the Future of Academics

Delving into the world of higher education and exploring various fields of study can be an exhilarating yet daunting task for high school students. However, with the right guidance and preparation, students can smoothly navigate this challenging process. This is where the Lehigh University pre-college programs come into play. Designed to bridge the gap between high school and college, these programs provide students an exciting glimpse into the breadth and depth of academia, offering a first-hand experience of college life, right from rigorous academic studies to vibrant campus activities.

The Lehigh University pre-college programs are tailored to serve as a launchpad into various academic disciplines. The programs cater to a wide range of interests, including engineering, social sciences, arts, and medicine, providing a valuable platform for students to delve deep into their areas of interest, guided by Lehigh‘s esteemed faculty.

A woman holding a book.

These pre-college initiatives also foster the necessary skills for success in college and beyond, from critical thinking and problem-solving to effective communication and cultural sensitivity. This robust preparatory groundwork sets the stage for young minds to embark on their academic journey with confidence and clarity.

Lehigh University: An Overview

Established in 1865 by Asa Packer, Lehigh University is a prestigious private research university located in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Lehigh Valley. Home to over 7,000 students worldwide, it comprises five colleges: the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Health.

Renowned for its rigorous curriculum and emphasis on experiential learning, Lehigh offers a diverse array of undergraduate and graduate programs. Its small size allows for a low student-to-faculty ratio, promoting a collaborative learning environment. As a research-focused institution, Lehigh encourages student involvement in innovative research across all majors.

View of Lehigh University: Enriching the College Experience

Lehigh’s expansive campus features a blend of Gothic and modern architecture and houses over 200 student clubs and organizations. The university also competes in NCAA Division I as a member of the Patriot League, maintaining a historic athletic rivalry with Lafayette College. Balancing academic excellence, research innovation, and lively campus life, Lehigh University stands as a leading educational institution both nationally and globally.

What Do Pre-College Programs Mean?

What do pre-college programs mean? Pre-College Programs at Lehigh University are a suite of immersive initiatives designed to introduce high school students to the rigors and opportunities of a college-level academic experience, even before they’ve graduated from high school. These programs cater to a diverse set of academic interests and provide a well-rounded exposure to college life, setting the groundwork for an effective transition from high school to college.

At their core, the Lehigh University Pre-College Programs are about equipping students with an in-depth understanding of the particular disciplines they may be interested in. The university offers several programs that cater to an array of interests, including engineering, arts, social sciences, and medicine, among others. These programs are not just about teaching college subjects prematurely, but they offer holistic exposure to the subject matter, guided by esteemed Lehigh faculty and experts in the field.

An important aspect of these pre-college programs is the experiential learning they offer. Depending on the program, students may engage in fieldwork, participate in hands-on laboratory experiments, or even contribute to ongoing research projects. This practical approach to learning can give students a unique perspective on the discipline and foster the application of theoretical knowledge to real-world problems.

Research exposure is another significant component of Lehigh’s pre-college offerings. Many of these programs offer students the opportunity to work closely with faculty members on research projects, an experience typically reserved for undergraduate or graduate students. Participating in research helps students hone critical skills such as data collection and analysis, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

These programs also aim to foster essential soft skills and cultural competencies. With students often coming from diverse backgrounds, there’s an emphasis on creating a multicultural environment that fosters effective communication, teamwork, and cultural sensitivity. Social activities and campus life experiences further help students understand the social dynamics of a university, preparing them for future campus living.

Lastly, the Lehigh University pre-college programs play a significant role in helping students clarify their future educational and career goals. By deeply exploring a particular field of study, students can make more informed decisions about their college majors and future professions, leading to more fulfilling educational and career trajectories.

In all, the Lehigh University pre-college programs are comprehensive preparatory programs that serve as a bridge from high school to college. They provide not just academic enrichment but also practical experiences, social exposure, and career guidance, ensuring students are thoroughly prepared for the next big step in their academic journey.

What are the Pre-College Programs at Lehigh University?

What are the pre-college programs at Lehigh University? At Lehigh University, the Pre-College Programs serve as an academic beacon for high school students, shedding light on the various disciplines and career paths available in higher education. Each program is carefully designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of their respective fields, facilitating the transition from high school to university life.

Summer CHOICES Engineering Camp

The Summer CHOICES Engineering Camp is a coveted experiential learning program in engineering and STEM, exclusively designed for girls in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. This engaging initiative, led by accomplished women engineers – both students and faculty – from Lehigh University’s prestigious P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, provides young girls with an exciting platform to partake in a range of intriguing experiments and projects.

CHOICES, an acronym for Charting Horizons and Opportunities in Careers in Engineering and Science is a week-long camp that immerses the participants in an array of exciting and challenging activities under the guidance of engineering mentors. With a cap of 20 participants, the camp ensures personalized attention and interaction.

Throughout the week, the girls work on a blend of solo and group projects, fostering both individual creativity and team collaboration. The culmination of the camp is a presentation session where the teams proudly display their achievements to the Lehigh staff, as well as their invited family and friends, providing a satisfying conclusion to their week-long engineering exploration.

Iacocca Global Entrepreneurship Intensive

Offered by Lehigh University College of Business and Iacocca Institute at Lehigh University, this immersive four-week summer program is designed for students aged 15-17 from around the world. The program focuses on enhancing students’ business, entrepreneurship, leadership, and global citizenship skills. It offers participants the opportunity to evaluate the potential of ideas, formulate business and marketing plans, create compelling pitches, and collaborate to succeed as a team while navigating cultural differences​.

Summer Engineering Institute

The Summer Engineering Institute (SEI) at Lehigh University is a dynamic two-week residential program specifically crafted for ambitious and high-achieving rising high school juniors or seniors.

Designed to open doors to the realm of STEM, the SEI program is a unique opportunity for deserving students, including those from underrepresented communities or prospective first-generation college attendees, to engage with the excitement and rigors of science, technology, engineering, and math within a collaborative, team-oriented framework.

With a curriculum that encapsulates various majors and disciplines, the SEI program adopts a lab-oriented, research-intensive learning methodology. This immersive approach offers participants a sneak peek into the exciting world of science and technology via diverse settings and activities.

Spearheading these profound academic experiences are Lehigh’s own students and faculty, who don the hats of mentors and role models. They embody and inspire the belief that such a future is not just a distant dream, but an achievable reality for these young minds.

The Lehigh University pre-college programs provide students with an enriching learning experience, enabling them to gain a head start on their college education, explore their interests, and develop their skills.

Are Pre-College Programs Worth It?

Are pre-college programs worth it? Deciding whether pre-college programs are worth it depends largely on individual goals, but generally, these programs offer numerous benefits that can enrich a student’s academic and personal development. For high school students contemplating their future academic path, pre-college programs, such as those offered at Lehigh University, can be an invaluable asset. Here’s why:

Academic Enhancement

Pre-college programs provide an early introduction to college-level academics. This exposure can be beneficial in many ways. For instance, it can help students build academic skills and knowledge that may give them a competitive edge in their high school coursework. It also provides a taste of the rigor and expectations of college academics, helping students to be better prepared when they eventually transition to university studies.

Three students walking outside a building.

Career Exploration

One of the most significant benefits of pre-college programs is the opportunity for career exploration. These programs often cover a range of disciplines and offer hands-on experiences related to potential career fields. This exposure can help students make more informed decisions about their college majors and future professions, reducing the uncertainty that often surrounds these decisions.

College Preparation

Pre-college programs offer a sneak peek into college life. From staying in dorms to navigating a college campus, these experiences can ease the transition to university life. They also provide opportunities to experience the social dynamics of college, from working in study groups to engaging in campus activities, helping students build the social skills needed to succeed in college.

Admissions Advantage

Participation in a pre-college program can also enhance a student’s college application. Many universities look favorably upon students who have demonstrated their commitment to learning through participation in such programs. These experiences can also provide valuable material for college application essays.

Networking Opportunities

These programs also offer students the opportunity to network with faculty members, college students, and peers with similar interests. Such connections can be invaluable in terms of gaining academic and career advice, securing letters of recommendation, or even identifying future job opportunities.

Students lounging around the classroom.

Personal Growth

Lastly, beyond academics and career exploration, pre-college programs offer opportunities for personal growth. Living away from home, often for the first time, students learn to become more independent and responsible. They also develop soft skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving, which are crucial for both academic and professional success.

While there are costs associated with pre-college programs, the potential benefits – academic enhancement, career exploration, college preparation, an admissions edge, networking opportunities, and personal growth – can make them a worthwhile investment. However, it’s important for each student and family to consider their specific situation, goals, and financial capacity when deciding whether a pre-college program is the right choice for them.


In essence, the Lehigh University pre-college programs serve as a bridge between high school and college, equipping students with the skills, knowledge, and experiences needed to excel in higher education. These programs embody the university’s commitment to fostering a new generation of leaders and innovators. Participating in such a program is not merely about preparing for college; it is about embarking on an adventure into the future of academics.

Want to learn more about your chances of getting into Lehigh University? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.



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