Princeton vs. Lehigh: Which University is Right for You?

July 15, 2023
By AdmissionSight
Group of students walking in the campus.

Princeton vs. Lehigh: Which University is Right for You?

Choosing a university can be one of the most important decisions you make in your education. With so many options available, it’s important to consider what each university has to offer. In this article, we will compare and contrast Princeton vs. Lehigh to help you determine which university is right for you.

These are two of the most prestigious universities in the United States. Both universities are highly respected and known for their academic excellence.

Academic Programs: Comparing Princeton and Lehigh

The choice of major can be a significant factor when deciding on a university. Both Princeton and Lehigh offer a broad range of majors, including arts and humanities, science and engineering, and social sciences.

However, Princeton is particularly known for its strong programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, while Lehigh’s strengths are in engineering and business. Princeton is particularly well known for its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, which offers one of the best public policy programs in the country.

Lehigh offers strong programs in several areas, including business, engineering, and computer sciences. The College of Business and Economics at Lehigh is highly competitive and ranks among the top business programs in the country. The Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science is also highly respected, especially in mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering.

Another area where Princeton excels is in its natural sciences programs. The university has a strong reputation for research in fields such as physics, chemistry, and biology. Princeton’s Department of Astrophysical Sciences is particularly renowned, with several Nobel laureates among its faculty members.

Additionally, Princeton’s School of Architecture is highly regarded, offering a unique program that combines design with a strong foundation in the humanities.

Lehigh also offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs that allow students to explore multiple fields of study. The Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program, for example, combines coursework in business and engineering, preparing students for careers in fields such as consulting and entrepreneurship.

Lehigh’s Environmental Initiative is another interdisciplinary program that brings together students and faculty from across the university to address environmental challenges through research and community engagement.

Campus Life: A Look at Princeton and Lehigh

Three students walking in front of a school building.

Another important consideration when choosing a university is campus life. Both Princeton and Lehigh have stunning campuses with beautiful architecture and well-maintained grounds. Princeton has a larger campus that spans over 500 acres, while Lehigh’s campus is more compact and covers around 2,350 acres.

Princeton has a strong residential college system, which ensures that every student has a sense of community and belonging. Lehigh has a similar system called the House Community System, which provides students with a tight-knit community atmosphere. Both universities also offer a variety of extracurricular activities, including clubs, sports teams, and volunteering opportunities.

Princeton is known for its strong emphasis on undergraduate research, with many opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. Lehigh also offers research opportunities but focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration and real-world problem-solving.

Both universities have state-of-the-art facilities and resources to support research and innovation.

Additionally, both Princeton and Lehigh have a vibrant arts scene, with numerous performances, exhibitions, and cultural events throughout the year. Princeton has a renowned art museum and a world-class music program, while Lehigh has a thriving theater program and a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion through the arts.

Ranking and Reputation: How Princeton and Lehigh Compare

Both Princeton and Lehigh have excellent academic reputations and are considered to be among the best universities in the country. According to U.S. News & World Report, Princeton is ranked as the number one university in the country, while Lehigh is ranked 45th. However, it’s important to note that rankings can vary depending on the source.

Princeton has a long and storied history, having been founded in 1746, and is highly respected for its academic rigor and research excellence. Lehigh, on the other hand, was founded in 1865 and has a strong tradition of engineering and technological innovation.

Despite their differences in age and focus, both Princeton and Lehigh have a strong commitment to undergraduate education. Princeton has a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1, ensuring that students receive individualized attention and support from their professors. Lehigh also boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1 and offers a wide range of undergraduate majors and minors.

Both universities also have a vibrant campus life, with numerous extracurricular activities and organizations available to students. Princeton has over 300 student organizations, including a student-run newspaper and radio station, while Lehigh has over 200 clubs and organizations, including a popular outdoor adventure club and a student-run entrepreneurship center.

Admissions Criteria: What You Need to Know Before Applying

When applying to universities, it’s essential to understand the admissions criteria. Both Princeton and Lehigh have highly competitive admissions processes. Princeton has an acceptance rate of only 5.5%, while Lehigh’s acceptance rate is 24.4%.

Princeton looks for students who have excelled academically, demonstrated leadership, and shown a commitment to extracurricular activities. They also consider personal qualities such as creativity, character, and resilience. Lehigh also values academic excellence and leadership but puts more emphasis on practical experience and community involvement.

It’s important to note that both universities also consider standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT. Princeton has an average SAT score of 1500, while Lehigh’s average SAT score is 1370. However, both universities have adopted test-optional policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that students can choose whether or not to submit their test scores.

Additionally, both universities have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider the whole student and not just their academic achievements. This includes factors such as socioeconomic background, race, and ethnicity. Both universities are committed to creating diverse and inclusive communities on their campuses.

Student Body Diversity: A Comparison of Princeton and Lehigh

Two students talking in a bench.

Diversity is an essential aspect of any university community. Both Princeton and Lehigh have a commitment to diversity and inclusivity and have taken steps to foster a welcoming environment for students from all backgrounds.

Princeton’s student body is highly diverse, with around 45% of students identifying as students of color. Lehigh is slightly less diverse, with around 28% of students identifying as students of color. However, both universities take diversity seriously and provide support and resources for students from underrepresented communities.

Princeton has a number of student organizations and initiatives dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. These include the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, which provides programming and support for students from underrepresented backgrounds, and the LGBT Center, which offers resources and advocacy for LGBTQ+ students.

Additionally, Princeton has a number of affinity groups for students of color, including the Black Student Union and the Asian American Students Association.

Lehigh also has a variety of resources and programs aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion. The Office of Multicultural Affairs provides support and advocacy for students from underrepresented backgrounds, and the Pride Center offers resources and programming for LGBTQ+ students.

Lehigh also has a number of student organizations focused on diversity and inclusion, such as the Latin American Student Association and the Black Student Union.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: Which University Offers More?

Finances are a significant factor for most students when choosing a university. Both Princeton and Lehigh offer generous financial aid and scholarship packages for students who need them. Princeton has a no-loan policy, which means that students who receive financial aid do not have to take out loans to pay for their education.

Lehigh also offers substantial financial aid packages, including merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. The university’s Office of Financial Aid is dedicated to helping students understand the financial aid process and providing them with the resources they need to afford their education.

In addition to financial aid and scholarships, both Princeton and Lehigh offer various resources to help students manage their finances. Princeton’s Office of Financial Aid provides financial literacy workshops and counseling services to help students make informed decisions about their finances.

Lehigh’s Financial Aid Office also offers financial literacy resources, including online tools and one-on-one counseling sessions.

Furthermore, both universities have partnerships with external organizations to provide additional financial support to students. For example, Princeton has a partnership with QuestBridge, a non-profit organization that connects high-achieving, low-income students with top colleges and universities.

Lehigh has a partnership with the Posse Foundation, which provides full-tuition scholarships to students who demonstrate leadership potential.

Location Matters: The Pros and Cons of Attending Princeton or Lehigh

The location of a university can be a significant factor when making a decision. Princeton is located in Princeton, New Jersey, a small town with a rich history and cultural attractions. The town is easily accessible by train and bus, making it easy to explore the surrounding area.

Lehigh is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a mid-sized city with a vibrant downtown area. Bethlehem is within driving distance of several major cities, including Philadelphia and New York City.

One advantage of attending Princeton is its proximity to major research centers and institutions. The university has strong partnerships with nearby organizations, such as the Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, providing students with unique research opportunities.

On the other hand, Lehigh’s location offers students access to a diverse range of internship and job opportunities. The city of Bethlehem has a thriving business community, with many companies offering internships and job placements to Lehigh students.

Faculty Quality: A Deep Dive into Princeton and Lehigh’s Teaching Staff

Professor teaching someone using a laptop.

The quality of teaching is another important consideration when choosing a university. Both Princeton and Lehigh have excellent faculties with distinguished professors who are leaders in their fields.

Princeton has a faculty-to-student ratio of 5:1, which means that students have ample opportunity to work closely with their professors and receive personalized attention. Lehigh has a slightly higher faculty-to-student ratio of 9:1 but still provides students with access to top-notch faculty members.

Additionally, both universities have a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. Princeton has a program called the Freshman Seminar Program, which allows first-year students to take small, discussion-based courses taught by senior faculty members.

Lehigh has a similar program called the First-Year Experience, which includes a first-year seminar and a mentorship program to help students transition to college life. These programs demonstrate the universities’ dedication to providing high-quality education and support to their students.

Campus Facilities and Resources: Which University Has the Best Offerings?

Both Princeton and Lehigh have state-of-the-art facilities and resources to support students in their academic pursuits.

Princeton has over 90 buildings on its main campus, including numerous libraries, research centers, and specialized facilities. The university is also home to several world-class museums and galleries, including the Princeton University Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History.

Lehigh has over 100 buildings on its main campus, including advanced laboratory facilities, research institutes, and a cutting-edge science and history museum called the Zoellner Arts Center. The university also boasts one of the largest and most advanced libraries in the Northeast, the Linderman Library.

Additionally, both universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and resources to support student wellness and personal development. Princeton has a state-of-the-art fitness center, multiple sports fields and courts, and a variety of clubs and organizations for students to get involved in.

Lehigh offers a comprehensive wellness program, including mental health services, nutrition counseling, and fitness classes. The university also has a strong commitment to community service, with numerous opportunities for students to engage in volunteer work both on and off campus.

Extracurricular Activities: Comparing the Opportunities at Princeton and Lehigh

Both Princeton and Lehigh offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including clubs, sports teams, and volunteering opportunities.

Princeton has over 300 student organizations, including cultural and political groups, performing arts groups, and intramural sports teams. The university is also home to several NCAA Division I sports teams, including an Ivy League championship-winning football team.

Lehigh has over 200 student organizations, including community service and philanthropy groups, academic and professional organizations, and recreational sports teams. The university is also home to over 25 NCAA Division I sports teams, including a men’s basketball team that has made multiple appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Despite the similarities in the number and variety of extracurricular activities offered at both universities, there are some differences in the opportunities available. For example, Princeton has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, with several student-run organizations dedicated to these areas.

Lehigh, on the other hand, strongly emphasizes community service and sustainability, with many student organizations focused on environmental activism and social justice.

Additionally, Lehigh offers a unique program called the Mountaintop Initiative, which allows students to work on interdisciplinary projects and research with faculty members outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Post-Graduation Outcomes: How Do Graduates Fare from Each School?

Two women talking while looking at a piece of paper.

Ultimately, the goal of attending a university is to prepare oneself for a successful career after graduation. Both Princeton and Lehigh have strong records of alumni success.

Princeton graduates have a median starting salary of over $70,000, and 92% of graduates are employed within six months of graduation. Lehigh graduates have a median starting salary of over $65,000 and a similarly high employment rate.

However, there are some differences in the industries that graduates from each school tend to enter. Princeton graduates are more likely to pursue careers in finance, consulting, and technology, while Lehigh graduates tend to enter fields such as engineering, healthcare, and education.

Additionally, both schools offer robust career services to their students and alumni. Princeton’s Career Services office provides individualized counseling, networking opportunities, and access to job and internship postings. Lehigh’s Center for Career and Professional Development offers similar services, as well as career fairs and employer information sessions.

Sports and Athletics: A Comparison of Princeton and Lehigh’s Athletic Programs

Sports and athletics are an important aspect of campus life for many students. Both Princeton and Lehigh have highly respected athletic programs.

Princeton is part of the Ivy League and has a long tradition of athletic success. The university has won numerous Ivy League championships and has produced numerous professional athletes.

Lehigh is part of the Patriot League and has a similar record of athletic success. The university’s football team has won multiple Patriot League championships and has had several players go on to play in the NFL.

Despite their similarities, there are some notable differences between Princeton and Lehigh’s athletic programs. One major difference is the size of the schools. Princeton is a smaller university with a student population of around 5,000, while Lehigh has a larger student population of around 7,000. This size difference can impact the number of athletes and teams each school can support.

Alumni Networks: How Each University’s Alumni Association Can Benefit You.

Both Princeton and Lehigh have active and engaged alumni networks that provide support and opportunities to graduates.

Princeton’s alumni network is particularly extensive and includes notable figures such as former United States Presidents Woodrow Wilson and James Madison. The university’s alumni association provides numerous resources and programs to support alumni throughout their careers.

Lehigh’s alumni network is similarly robust and includes thousands of successful graduates across a wide range of fields. The university’s alumni association provides opportunities for graduates to connect with each other, share resources and information, and advance their careers.

In addition to the resources and programs provided by Princeton’s alumni association, the university also offers alumni access to its extensive library system. This includes online access to academic journals and databases, as well as borrowing privileges for physical materials.

Lehigh’s alumni association also offers a variety of social events and networking opportunities, including regional alumni clubs and career-focused events. These events provide graduates with the chance to connect with other alumni in their area or industry and to build valuable professional relationships.

Conclusion: Making Your Choice Between Princeton or Lehigh

College student looking away from the camera.

Choosing between Princeton and Lehigh is a difficult decision, but both universities offer excellent opportunities for students looking for a quality education and a supportive community. Ultimately, the best choice is the one that aligns with your individual needs and goals.

Consider your academic interests, career aspirations, and personal values when making your decision, and be sure to visit both campuses to get a firsthand look at what each university has to offer. Whichever university you choose, you can be confident that you will receive a top-notch education and be well-prepared for success.

It’s important to note that both Princeton and Lehigh have unique campus cultures and traditions. Princeton is known for its prestigious reputation and Ivy League status, while Lehigh has a strong focus on engineering and entrepreneurship.

Additionally, Princeton has a larger student body and more resources, while Lehigh offers a more intimate and personalized learning experience. These factors should also be taken into consideration when making your decision.


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