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Swarthmore vs Lehigh: What Are the Differences?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female student writing on her notes

Swarthmore vs Lehigh: What Are the Differences?

Introduction: Explaining the Purpose of the Comparison

As students begin their college search, many factors must be taken into consideration to make the right decision. Two of the many colleges one may explore are Swarthmore and Lehigh. These colleges have unique characteristics that distinguish them from each other. In this article, we will be exploring Swarthmore vs Lehigh to help students make an informed decision when choosing between these two institutions.

It is important to note that both Swarthmore and Lehigh are highly respected institutions with their own strengths and weaknesses. Swarthmore is known for its small class sizes and emphasis on undergraduate research, while Lehigh is known for its strong engineering and business programs. Additionally, Swarthmore is located in a suburban area outside of Philadelphia, while Lehigh is located in a small city in eastern Pennsylvania. By examining these differences and more, we hope to provide valuable insight for students considering these two colleges.

Location: Swarthmore vs Lehigh

Location is one of the critical factors that impact a student’s college experience. Swarthmore College is located in the small suburb of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. The local area is known for its prestigious college, making it a college town. The town is quiet, and many students feel like they are living in a small village. In contrast, Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a mid-sized city. The city has a lively atmosphere, with many shops, restaurants, and entertainment spots. This difference in the surrounding areas of the colleges significantly impacts students’ experiences.

View Lehigh University at day time.

Moreover, the location of the colleges also affects the job opportunities available to students. Swarthmore’s location in a small town limits the number of job opportunities available to students, and most students end up working on campus. On the other hand, Lehigh’s location in a city provides students with a wide range of job opportunities, including internships and part-time jobs in various industries. This difference in job opportunities can significantly impact a student’s career prospects after graduation.

Campus Size: Swarthmore vs Lehigh

Another significant factor is the size of the campus. Swarthmore College has a small campus of about 425 acres. The small campus is not a disadvantage as it makes for a close-knit student community. In comparison, Lehigh University has a large campus of about 2000 acres. The vast campus provides ample space for students to explore, socialize, and take part in various activities.

However, the size of the campus also affects the ease of navigation. Swarthmore’s small campus makes it easy for students to get around quickly and efficiently. On the other hand, Lehigh’s large campus can be overwhelming for new students, and it may take some time to get used to the layout. Another factor to consider is the environmental impact of the campus size. Swarthmore’s small campus means that it requires less energy and resources to maintain, making it a more sustainable option. In contrast, Lehigh’s large campus requires more energy and resources to maintain, which can have a negative impact on the environment. However, Lehigh has taken steps to reduce its environmental impact by implementing sustainable practices and initiatives.

Student Body: Swarthmore vs Lehigh

The student population is another essential factor to consider when choosing a college. Swarthmore has an undergraduate population of 1,651, with a male-to-female ratio of 51:49. The college boasts of having a highly diverse student body with high academic standards. In contrast, Lehigh University has an undergraduate population of 5,451, with a male-to-female ratio of 56:44. The university also has a diverse student body with high academic standards.

Two students talking in a library.

In addition to the gender ratio and size of the student population, it is also important to consider the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body. At Swarthmore, 44% of the student population identifies as students of color, with 14% identifying as Asian, 10% as Black or African American, 10% as Hispanic or Latinx, and 10% as multiracial. Lehigh University also has a diverse student body, with 32% of the undergraduate population identifying as students of color, 8% identifying as Asian, 5% as Black or African American, 10% as Hispanic or Latinx, and 9% as multiracial. Another factor to consider when comparing student populations is the geographic diversity of the student body. Swarthmore has a high percentage of students from the Northeast region of the United States, with 45% of the student population coming from this area. In contrast, Lehigh University has a more evenly distributed student population, with 25% of students coming from the Northeast, 25% from the Mid-Atlantic, and 25% from the Midwest and West regions of the United States.

Academic Programs: Swarthmore vs Lehigh

Academic programs are essential when choosing a college. Swarthmore boasts of an exceptional liberal arts education with over 40 majors available. The College is committed to providing an interdisciplinary education that prepares its students for the future. In contrast, Lehigh University offers engineering, business, and liberal arts programs. The university is recognized for its strong engineering programs.

Additionally, Swarthmore College offers a unique Honors Program that allows students to engage in independent research and work closely with faculty members. Lehigh University, on the other hand, has a renowned College of Business that offers undergraduate and graduate programs in various business fields. Both colleges have their strengths and weaknesses in terms of academic programs, and it ultimately depends on the individual student’s interests and career goals.

Faculty: Analyzing Differences in Faculty Quality, Diversity, and Teaching Styles at Swarthmore and Lehigh

The quality of faculty plays an essential role in students’ academic experiences. Swarthmore College has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, with more than 95% of the faculty holding Ph.D.’s or other terminal degrees. The College prides itself on its diverse faculty and teaches its students to think critically, debate, and be open to new ideas. Lehigh University, on the other hand, boasts of an equitable faculty with high academic standards and research excellence.

In addition to the high academic standards, Swarthmore College’s faculty members are known for their commitment to social justice and community engagement. Many professors are actively involved in research and advocacy work, and they encourage their students to get involved in these efforts as well. This creates a unique learning environment where students can apply their knowledge to real-world issues and make a positive impact on society. At Lehigh University, the faculty members are known for their innovative teaching styles and use of technology in the classroom. Professors often incorporate interactive tools and multimedia resources to enhance the learning experience and engage students in the material. This approach to teaching has been shown to increase student motivation and improve academic performance, making Lehigh a popular choice for students who value a dynamic and engaging classroom environment.

Research Opportunities: Comparing Research Opportunities Available to Students at Swarthmore and Lehigh

Research opportunities provide students with hands-on experience that is essential in preparing them for graduate studies and employment opportunities. Swarthmore College has a strong research culture, and students work closely with faculty members on various research projects. In contrast, Lehigh University provides opportunities for research in various fields, with many resources available to students.

Moreover, Swarthmore College offers research opportunities to students across all disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. This allows students to explore their interests and gain experience in a wide range of fields. On the other hand, Lehigh University has a strong focus on engineering and technology research, with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment available to students. In addition, both Swarthmore and Lehigh offer summer research programs that allow students to work on independent projects and collaborate with faculty members. Swarthmore’s program is highly competitive, with only a limited number of spots available, while Lehigh’s program is open to all students who meet the eligibility requirements. These programs provide students with valuable research experience and the opportunity to present their findings at conferences and symposiums. Overall, both Swarthmore and Lehigh offer excellent research opportunities to their students, with unique strengths and resources available at each institution. Students should consider their interests and goals when choosing a school and take advantage of the research opportunities available to them.

Campus Culture: Analyzing Differences in Campus Culture, Social Life, and Extracurricular Activities at Swarthmore and Lehigh

Campus culture and social life are essential in shaping students’ college experiences. Swarthmore College has a unique campus culture, with an emphasis on social responsibility and social justice. The College is known for its vibrant social life, with many on-campus parties and events taking place throughout the year. Lehigh University, on the other hand, has a lively on-campus life, with many fraternities and sororities offering students a vibrant social life.

View of female student dancing.

In addition to their social lives, Swarthmore and Lehigh also differ in their extracurricular activities. Swarthmore offers a wide range of clubs and organizations, including a strong focus on community service and activism. The College also has a thriving arts scene, with many opportunities for students to participate in theater, music, and visual arts. Lehigh, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on athletics, with many varsity and club sports teams available for students to join. The University also offers a variety of academic clubs and organizations, including business and engineering clubs, which reflect the school’s focus on practical, career-oriented education.

Admissions Process: Comparing Admissions Requirements, Processes, and Acceptance Rates at Swarthmore and Lehigh

Admission requirements, processes, and rates can determine a student’s ability to attend a college. Swarthmore College has an acceptance rate of 8%, with rigorous admission requirements, including high grades and top standardized test scores. In contrast, Lehigh University has an acceptance rate of 46%, with similar rigorous admission requirements.

It is important to note that the admissions process at Swarthmore and Lehigh also differ in their approach. Swarthmore College places a strong emphasis on a student’s extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation, in addition to their academic achievements. Lehigh University, on the other hand, places more weight on a student’s academic achievements and standardized test scores. This means that while Swarthmore may be a better fit for a well-rounded student with a diverse range of interests, Lehigh may be a better fit for a student who excels academically. It is important for students to consider both the admissions requirements and processes when deciding which college to apply to.

Alumni Network: Analyzing the Strengths of Alumni Networks at Swarthmore and Lehigh

The network one builds while in college could benefit them in their professional lives. Swarthmore College has a strong alumni network, with graduates excelling in various fields. The College also has a loyal alumni network that gives back generously. Lehigh University has a strong alumni network, with graduates excelling in various fields, including business, engineering, and public life.

In addition, both Swarthmore and Lehigh offer various opportunities for alumni to stay connected and engaged with their alma mater. Swarthmore hosts regional alumni events, and career networking events, and even offers alumni travel programs. Lehigh also offers similar opportunities, including alumni reunions, career services, and mentorship programs. These efforts by both institutions help to strengthen their alumni networks and provide valuable resources for graduates as they navigate their professional lives.

Career Prospects: Comparing Employment Opportunities Available to Graduates of Swarthmore vs. Lehigh

The employment opportunities available to graduates could inform students’ college choices. Swarthmore College graduates have diverse career opportunities, with a majority diversifying into law, medicine, finance, and the non-profit sector. Lehigh University graduates have ample opportunities in engineering, business, and research.

Law school books placed on a table.

In addition, Swarthmore College has a strong emphasis on social justice and community engagement, which often leads to graduates pursuing careers in advocacy, public policy, and education. On the other hand, Lehigh University’s proximity to major cities like New York and Philadelphia provides graduates with access to a wide range of job opportunities in industries such as finance, technology, and healthcare. Ultimately, the career prospects for graduates of both institutions are promising, but the specific industries and career paths may differ based on the individual’s interests and experiences.

Conclusion: Summarizing Key Differences Between the Two Institutions

In conclusion, Swarthmore College and Lehigh University are excellent colleges that offer unique experiences to students. Each institution has its strengths and weaknesses. Swarthmore College offers a small college experience, with a strong emphasis on the liberal arts. Lehigh University, on the other hand, offers a larger college experience, with a strong focus on engineering, business, and research. Choosing between the two colleges requires careful consideration of these differences.

One important factor to consider when choosing between Swarthmore College and Lehigh University is the location of the institution. Swarthmore College is located in a suburban area, which provides a quieter and more peaceful environment for students. Lehigh University, on the other hand, is located in an urban area, which offers more opportunities for students to engage in cultural and social activities outside of campus.

Another factor to consider is the cost of attendance. Swarthmore College is a private institution, which means that the cost of attendance is generally higher than that of a public institution like Lehigh University. However, Swarthmore College offers generous financial aid packages to students who demonstrate financial need, which can make the cost of attendance more affordable for some students.

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