UC Davis and Lehigh: A Comprehensive Look at the Two Universities

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Students answering a test on a desk.

UC Davis and Lehigh: A Comprehensive Look at the Two Universities

When it comes to choosing a university, there are many factors to consider. Location, academic offerings, campus life, tuition, and career services are just a few of the key areas that should be taken into account before making a decision. In this article, we will do a deep-dive into all of these topics and more as we compare two well-respected universities: UC Davis vs Lehigh.

Location and Campus Size: UC Davis vs Lehigh

UC Davis is located in Davis, California, a small city about 15 miles west of Sacramento. Its campus is 5,300 acres, making it one of the largest university campuses in the United States. Lehigh, on the other hand, is situated in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and covers a campus of 2,350 acres.

While both campuses are picturesque, UC Davis definitely has an advantage when it comes to size. With its sprawling landscape and beautiful bike paths, it offers students plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Lehigh, however, is located in a more urban environment, making it easier for students to access local amenities like shops and restaurants.

Another factor to consider when comparing the settings of these universities is the climate. UC Davis enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers, while Lehigh experiences a humid continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. This means that students at UC Davis can take advantage of the sunny weather to participate in outdoor activities year-round, while students at Lehigh may need to bundle up during the winter months.

Academic Offerings: Examining the Programs and Courses of UC Davis vs Lehigh

UC Davis and Lehigh both offer a wide range of undergraduate programs in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. UC Davis, however, is known for its strength in the life sciences, with top-ranked programs in biology, agricultural sciences, and veterinary medicine. Lehigh, meanwhile, is more focused on engineering and business, with highly-regarded programs in both areas.

Students Using Laptops And Digital Tablets In Lecture


Both universities also have strong graduate programs. UC Davis has a number of highly-ranked professional schools, including the School of Law and the School of Medicine. Lehigh is known for its graduate programs in engineering, education, and business.

UC Davis also offers a unique program in Sustainable Environmental Design, which combines architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design to address environmental challenges. Lehigh, on the other hand, has a strong program in Integrated Business and Engineering, which prepares students for careers at the intersection of business and technology.

Additionally, both universities offer a variety of study abroad programs, allowing students to gain international experience and cultural immersion while earning academic credit. UC Davis has partnerships with universities in over 40 countries, while Lehigh offers programs in locations such as London, Prague, and Beijing.

Faculty and Staff: UC Davis vs Lehigh

UC Davis boasts over 1,500 faculty members, many of whom are world-renowned experts in their fields. Its faculty includes Nobel laureates, members of the National Academy of Sciences, and MacArthur Fellows. Lehigh’s faculty is similarly impressive, with over 1,000 faculty members who are experts in a wide range of fields.

Both universities also have dedicated and supportive staff members who work tirelessly to ensure that students have access to the resources they need to succeed in their studies.

Additionally, both UC Davis and Lehigh University have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion among their faculty and staff. They actively seek out and hire individuals from diverse backgrounds and provide resources and support for underrepresented groups. This not only enriches the educational experience for students but also creates a more inclusive and welcoming community for all members of the university.

Student Life: A Comparison of Extracurricular Activities and Clubs

UC Davis is well-known for its vibrant student life. With over 800 student organizations on campus, there is always something going on. From clubs focused on specific academic areas to cultural organizations, sports teams, and volunteer organizations, there is truly something for everyone at UC Davis. Lehigh also offers a variety of extracurricular activities, including academic clubs, cultural organizations, and varsity sports teams.

Both universities also offer a number of events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and guest lectures, providing students with numerous opportunities to learn, grow, and have fun outside of the classroom.

a group of students smiling at the camera

However, UC Davis has a unique program called “Picnic Day” which is the largest student-run event in the nation. It is a day-long celebration of the university’s culture, history, and achievements, featuring over 200 exhibits, competitions, and shows. This event attracts over 75,000 visitors each year, making it a great opportunity for students to showcase their talents and engage with the community.

Campus Housing: UC Davis vs Lehigh

UC Davis offers a variety of housing options for students, including traditional residence halls, apartments, and co-ops. Its residence halls are particularly nice, with many of them having been recently renovated. Lehigh also offers a range of housing options, including traditional residence halls and apartments, and also has new housing options under development at the time of writing.

Both universities put an emphasis on creating a sense of community within their residence halls and work hard to ensure that students have a safe and comfortable living environment.

UC Davis has a unique housing option called the “Student Housing Apartments,” which are fully furnished apartments that come with a kitchen and living room. These apartments are ideal for students who want more independence and privacy while still living on campus. Lehigh also offers apartment-style living in its “Upperclass Experience” housing, which is designed for juniors and seniors who want more independence and a less structured living environment.

In addition to traditional housing options, both universities offer themed housing communities. UC Davis has communities focused on sustainability, global perspectives, and wellness, while Lehigh has communities focused on entrepreneurship, leadership, and social justice. These communities provide students with the opportunity to live with like-minded individuals and engage in activities and events related to their interests.

Sports and Athletics: Comparing the Athletic Programs at UC Davis vs Lehigh

UC Davis is a member of the Division I Big West Conference and offers 23 varsity sports teams for both men and women. The university is particularly strong in women’s volleyball, having won multiple conference championships over the years. Lehigh, meanwhile, is a member of the Patriot League and also offers 23 varsity sports teams. Its football program is well-respected, and the university has a rich history of producing top-notch athletes.

Both universities are committed to supporting their student-athletes both on and off the field, offering a range of resources to help them balance their studies with their athletic commitments.

UC Davis also has a strong track and field program, with several athletes competing at the national level. The university’s cross-country team has also had success, with both the men’s and women’s teams consistently finishing in the top half of their conference.

Lehigh, on the other hand, has a highly competitive wrestling program, with several wrestlers earning All-American honors in recent years. The university also has a strong rowing program, with both the men’s and women’s teams consistently placing in the top three at their conference championships.

Admissions Process: UC Davis vs Lehigh

The admissions process for both UC Davis and Lehigh is rigorous and competitive. Both universities require strong academic records, essays, and letters of recommendation. UC Davis also allows applicants to submit an optional personal insight statement, while Lehigh requires that students complete an interview as part of the admissions process.

A woman writing in a table.

Both universities are also committed to diversity and inclusion and take a holistic approach to admissions, considering factors beyond just grades and test scores when making their decisions.

UC Davis offers a wide range of majors and programs, including a highly-ranked veterinary medicine program and a strong emphasis on agricultural and environmental sciences. Lehigh, on the other hand, is known for its engineering and business programs, as well as its strong liberal arts curriculum.

Both universities also offer a variety of extracurricular activities and opportunities for students to get involved on campus, including clubs, sports teams, and research opportunities. UC Davis is located in the heart of California’s Central Valley, while Lehigh is situated in the scenic Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Understanding the Costs of Attending UC Davis vs Lehigh

As a private institution, Lehigh’s tuition tends to be higher than that of UC Davis. At the time of writing, for the 2021-2022 academic year, UC Davis estimates its tuition and fees to be $14,597 for in-state students and $44,351 for out-of-state students. Lehigh, meanwhile, estimates its tuition and fees to be $57,075 for all students.

Both universities offer a range of financial aid options to help make college more affordable for students and families. UC Davis, for example, has a number of scholarship and grant programs available, as well as opportunities for work-study and loans. Lehigh offers a similar range of financial aid resources, including merit scholarships and need-based grants.

It’s important to note that the cost of attending a university goes beyond just tuition and fees. Students should also consider the cost of living in the surrounding area, including housing, food, and transportation. UC Davis is located in Davis, California, which has a relatively high cost of living. Lehigh, on the other hand, is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which has a lower cost of living. This may impact the overall cost of attending each university for students and their families.

Career Services: UC Davis vs Lehigh

Both UC Davis and Lehigh are committed to helping their students succeed after graduation. UC Davis offers comprehensive career services, including career advising, job search resources, and networking opportunities. Lehigh’s Center for Career and Professional Development provides similar services, including resume reviews, mock interviews, and career counseling.

Both universities also have strong alumni networks, which can be a valuable resource for students as they navigate their post-graduation careers.

Additionally, UC Davis and Lehigh offer various internship and co-op programs that allow students to gain hands-on experience in their desired fields. These programs provide students with the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world situations, build their professional network, and potentially secure a job offer before graduation.

Alumni Network: How Do UC Davis and Lehigh Support Their Graduates?

UC Davis’s alumni network is vast and active, with over 250,000 alumni worldwide. The university has a number of alumni groups and chapters and hosts events throughout the year to help alumni stay connected. Lehigh also has a large and active alumni network, with over 80,000 alumni worldwide. Its National Alumni Association hosts events and provides networking opportunities for alumni.

Both universities understand the importance of fostering strong connections between current and past students and work hard to ensure that their graduates are supported throughout their lives.

Group of young people walking and talking in university.

In addition to hosting events and providing networking opportunities, UC Davis and Lehigh also offer career services to their alumni. UC Davis’s Career Center offers career counseling, job search assistance, and access to job listings and career fairs. Lehigh’s Center for Career and Professional Development provides similar services, as well as opportunities for alumni to mentor current students and participate in career-related events on campus.

Research Opportunities: UC Davis vs Lehigh

UC Davis is a top-ranked research university and is home to a number of world-class research centers and institutes. These include the Center for Neuroscience and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Lehigh, too, has a strong research focus, with a number of institutes and centers focused on areas like sustainability, energy, and nanotechnology.

Both universities provide ample opportunities for students to engage in research and explore their interests outside of the classroom.

UC Davis has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, with many of its research centers and institutes collaborating across different fields of study. This allows for a more holistic approach to research and encourages students to think outside of their own disciplines.

Lehigh, on the other hand, has a strong focus on industry partnerships and applied research. This means that students have the opportunity to work on real-world problems and projects and gain valuable experience that can help them in their future careers.

Diversity and Inclusion Efforts: UC Davis vs Lehigh

Both UC Davis and Lehigh are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, regardless of background or identity. UC Davis has a range of resources available to support diversity and inclusion, including a Center for African Diaspora Student Success, a Women’s Resources and Research Center, and a Cross-Cultural Center. Lehigh, too, has a number of resources available to support diversity and inclusion on campus, including an Office of Multicultural Affairs and a Pride Center.

Both universities recognize the value of having a diverse student body and work hard to create a community where all students feel seen, heard, and valued.

In addition to these resources, both UC Davis and Lehigh have implemented various initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. UC Davis has a Diversity and Inclusion Education Program, which offers workshops and training sessions for students, faculty, and staff to learn about and address issues related to diversity and inclusion. Lehigh has a Diversity Strategic Plan, which outlines specific goals and strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion across campus.

Furthermore, both universities actively recruit and support underrepresented students, including those from low-income backgrounds and first-generation college students. UC Davis has a First-Year Aggie Connections program, which provides academic and social support for first-generation college students, while Lehigh has a Partnership for Access to Higher Education program, which offers resources and support for low-income and underrepresented students.

Rankings and Reputation: Comparing the Rankings of UC Davis vs Lehigh

Both UC Davis and Lehigh are highly respected universities with strong reputations in their respective fields. According to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis is ranked #11 among public universities in the United States and is also highly ranked in a number of specific program areas. Lehigh, meanwhile, is ranked #50 among national universities and is known for its strong engineering and business programs.

Four cheerful students sitting together at the desk and studying while one man looking over shoulder and smiling

While rankings should not be the only factor considered when choosing a university, they can be a helpful tool for understanding the overall quality and reputation of an institution.

It’s important to note that rankings can vary depending on the source and methodology used. For example, Forbes ranks UC Davis as #55 among all universities in the United States, while Lehigh is ranked #68. Additionally, rankings do not always reflect the individual experiences and opportunities available to students at each university. It’s important to research and consider a variety of factors, such as location, campus culture, and available resources, when making a decision about where to attend college.

Conclusion: Which University is the Best Fit for You?

Choosing a university is a major decision, and it’s important to consider all of the factors that will impact your college experience. Both UC Davis and Lehigh are excellent universities, each with their own unique strengths and opportunities. Ultimately, the best fit for you will depend on your personal preferences, academic interests, and career goals.

By carefully considering all of the factors we have discussed in this article, you can make an informed decision and choose the university that will help you achieve your full potential.

It’s also important to consider the location of the university and the surrounding community. UC Davis is located in Northern California, close to Sacramento and San Francisco, while Lehigh is located in Pennsylvania, close to Philadelphia and New York City. The location of the university can impact your access to internships, job opportunities, and cultural experiences.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the campus culture and student life. UC Davis is known for its strong focus on agriculture and sustainability, while Lehigh is known for its strong engineering and business programs. Each university has its own unique clubs, organizations, and events that can enhance your college experience.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about what we offer.


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