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Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh: Which University is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a man sitting at the front row and holding a pen looking at the camera

Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh: Which University is Right for You?

Choosing a university is a big decision, and there are many factors to consider when making your selection. Washington University in St. Louis and Lehigh University are two schools that are often compared against each other due to their similar academic programs and reputations. In this article, we will take a closer look at Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh, comparing their location, campus size, academic offerings, cost of attendance, and much more. By the end of this article, you will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision regarding which university is right for you.

St. Louis vs Bethlehem

The location of a university can have a big impact on your experience as a student. Washington University is located in St. Louis, a large city in the midwestern United States. The city is known for its rich cultural history and lively entertainment scene. In contrast, Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, PA, a smaller city in the northeastern United States. Bethlehem is known for its historical landmarks and charming downtown area. If you prefer a bustling cityscape, then St. Louis may be the choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a smaller, more intimate setting, then Bethlehem might be the right fit.

Another factor to consider when choosing between these two universities is the climate. St. Louis experiences hot and humid summers and cold winters with occasional snowfall. In contrast, Bethlehem has a more moderate climate with warm summers and cool winters. If you enjoy outdoor activities and prefer a warmer climate, Bethlehem may be the better choice for you. However, if you don’t mind the occasional snowfall and enjoy the changing seasons, St. Louis may be a great fit.

Campus Size and Environment of Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

Both universities offer beautiful campuses with a mix of modern and historic buildings. The campus of Washington University is spread out over 169 acres and includes many green spaces, sculptures, and artwork throughout. Lehigh University, on the other hand, has a smaller campus of 756 acres, giving it a more compact feel. Regardless of the size, both campuses offer a sense of community and safety that can enhance your overall university experience.

a student smiling while holding her phone

Washington University’s campus is known for its sustainability efforts, with LEED-certified buildings and a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. The university also has a large number of research facilities and institutes, providing students with opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research projects.

Lehigh University’s campus is situated in the scenic Lehigh Valley, surrounded by mountains and forests. The university has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, with numerous resources available to students who want to start their businesses or pursue careers in technology and engineering. Additionally, Lehigh has a thriving arts community, with a variety of performances and exhibitions held throughout the year.

Academic Programs Offered: Similarities and Differences of Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

Washington University and Lehigh University both offer a range of academic programs in arts, sciences, engineering, and business. One notable difference between the two schools is that Washington University has a strong focus on health and medicine, with highly-ranked programs in medicine, nursing, and public health. Alternatively, Lehigh University is well-known for its engineering and business programs. Take some time to research the specific departments that interest you to determine which school offers the best fit for your academic interests.

In addition to their core academic programs, both Washington University and Lehigh University offer a variety of interdisciplinary programs that allow students to explore multiple fields of study. For example, Washington University offers a joint program in computer science and art, while Lehigh University offers a program in integrated business and engineering.

Another difference between the two schools is their approach to undergraduate research. Washington University places a strong emphasis on research opportunities for undergraduates, with many students participating in research projects alongside faculty members. Lehigh University also offers research opportunities but places a greater emphasis on experiential learning through internships and co-op programs.

Admissions Criteria at Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

The admissions process can be stressful, and it’s essential to understand what each university is looking for in its applicants. Washington University is a highly selective university, with an acceptance rate of around 14%. In contrast, Lehigh University has a slightly higher acceptance rate of around 22%. Both schools place a strong emphasis on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and leadership qualities in their selection process.

It’s important to note that while acceptance rates are a significant factor in the admissions process, they do not tell the whole story. For example, some universities may have a higher acceptance rate but require higher standardized test scores or more rigorous application requirements. Additionally, some schools may prioritize certain qualities or experiences over others, such as community service or research experience. It’s crucial to research each university thoroughly and tailor your application to fit their specific criteria.

Student Life: Clubs, Organizations, and Extracurricular Activities at Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

Getting involved in campus life can be an important aspect of the university experience. Both Washington University and Lehigh University offer many extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations, including Greek life and intramural sports. With over 400 student organizations at Washington University and over 250 at Lehigh University, there are ample opportunities for students to find their niche and get involved.

College students walking together outdoors. Group of young people in college campus.

At Washington University, students can participate in a variety of cultural and diversity organizations, such as the Black Student Alliance and the Asian American Association. These organizations provide a space for students to connect with others who share similar backgrounds and experiences. Lehigh University also offers a range of cultural organizations, including the Latin American Student Association and the South Asian Student Association.

In addition to clubs and organizations, both universities offer opportunities for students to engage in community service and volunteer work. Washington University’s Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement provides resources and support for students interested in making a positive impact in the St. Louis community. Lehigh University’s Community Service Office offers a variety of service projects and programs, including alternative break trips and weekly service opportunities.

Housing Options: On-Campus vs Off-Campus

Deciding where to live while attending university can be a significant decision. Both Washington University and Lehigh University offer on-campus housing options for their students. Washington University guarantees on-campus housing for first-year students, while Lehigh University offers on-campus housing for all four years of undergraduate study. Additionally, both universities have resources for students who choose to live off-campus, including off-campus housing databases and grants for housing assistance.

Living on campus can provide students with a sense of community and convenience. Students who live on-campus have easy access to campus resources, such as libraries, dining halls, and fitness centers. Additionally, living on campus can be a great way for students to meet new people and make friends.

On the other hand, living off-campus can offer students more independence and flexibility. Students who live off-campus have the opportunity to explore the surrounding community and experience life outside of the university. Additionally, living off-campus can be more cost-effective for students who can find affordable housing options.

Cost of Attendance: Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid at Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

The cost of tuition and fees can vary greatly between universities and can be a significant additional expense to consider. In terms of tuition, both universities are relatively expensive, with Washington University’s tuition around $56,300 per year and Lehigh University’s tuition around $55,000 per year. However, both universities offer financial aid to qualifying students through grants, scholarships, and loans. It’s important to understand the financial aid process at each university and apply for aid early to avoid missing out on opportunities.

Aside from tuition and fees, there are other costs to consider when attending university. These can include room and board, textbooks, transportation, and personal expenses. It’s important to budget for these additional costs and look for ways to save money, such as living off-campus or buying used textbooks.

It’s also worth noting that the cost of attendance can vary depending on your major or program of study. Some majors may require additional fees or materials, such as lab equipment or art supplies. Be sure to research the specific costs associated with your chosen major and factor that into your overall budget.

Career Services and Job Opportunities at Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

Preparing for life after university is a crucial aspect of the university experience. Both Washington University and Lehigh University offer strong career service resources, including resume building, interview skill development, and job placement assistance. Additionally, both universities have strong alumni networks, which can be valuable connections when searching for job opportunities post-graduation.

Two people talking in a table.

At Washington University, students have access to the Career Center, which offers a variety of services such as career counseling, job fairs, and networking events. The center also provides resources for students interested in pursuing internships or graduate school. Furthermore, the university has partnerships with various companies and organizations, which can lead to internship and job opportunities for students.

Lehigh University also has a Career Services Center, which offers similar resources such as career counseling and job search assistance. The center also provides students with access to Handshake, an online platform that connects students with employers and job opportunities. Additionally, the university has a strong entrepreneurship program, which can be beneficial for students interested in starting their businesses or pursuing careers in the startup industry.

Sports Teams and Athletic Facilities at Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

If you’re a sports fan and enjoy participating in athletics, then you’ll want to research each university’s sports teams and facilities. Both Washington University and Lehigh University offer Division III athletics, with strong programs in various sports. Additionally, both universities offer excellent athletic facilities, including stadiums, fitness centers, and athletic fields.

Washington University has a particularly strong basketball program, with both the men’s and women’s teams consistently ranking in the top 25 nationally. Lehigh University, on the other hand, has a renowned wrestling program, with several national championships under its belt.

Aside from traditional sports, both universities also offer unique athletic opportunities. Washington University has a highly competitive ultimate frisbee team, while Lehigh University has a popular club for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as rock climbing and hiking.

Faculty Reputation and Research Opportunities at Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

The quality of the faculty and the availability of research opportunities is an important consideration for many students. Both universities have highly-regarded faculty members and offer numerous research opportunities for undergraduate students. At Washington University, over 1,500 undergraduate students engage in research each year, while Lehigh University has a vibrant research program that attracts grant funding from government agencies and private foundations.

Furthermore, Washington University has a strong reputation for interdisciplinary research, with faculty members collaborating across departments and schools to tackle complex issues. This provides students with unique opportunities to work on projects that span multiple fields of study and gain valuable experience in interdisciplinary teamwork.

On the other hand, Lehigh University has a strong focus on industry partnerships, with many research projects being conducted in collaboration with local businesses and organizations. This provides students with opportunities to work on real-world problems and gain practical experience that can be applied in their future careers.

Alumni Network and Connections to Industry

Networking is crucial to career success, and alumni connections can be very valuable. Washington University and Lehigh University both have strong alumni networks and offer opportunities for students to connect with alumni in their respective fields. Additionally, both universities have connections to various industries, including healthcare, engineering, finance, and other professional services.

a male adult stacking wooden cubes

Washington University’s alumni network is particularly strong in the healthcare industry. Many alumni hold leadership positions in hospitals and healthcare organizations across the country, and the university has partnerships with major healthcare providers such as BJC HealthCare and Mercy Health. This provides students with unique opportunities to gain experience and make connections in the healthcare field.

Lehigh University’s connections to the engineering industry are also noteworthy. The university has strong partnerships with companies such as Boeing, IBM, and PPL Corporation, providing students with access to internships, research opportunities, and job prospects. Additionally, Lehigh’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation offers resources and support for students interested in starting their engineering-related businesses.

Campus Safety and Security Measures

Campus safety and security should always be a top priority for both students and parents. Both Washington University and Lehigh University take campus safety very seriously and have extensive measures in place to ensure student safety, including emergency alert systems, campus police departments, and safety escorts. Additionally, both universities have resources for students to report incidents of sexual assault or harassment.

Washington University has a 24/7 campus safety hotline that students can call for any safety concerns or emergencies. The university also offers self-defense classes and safety workshops to educate students on how to stay safe on campus and in the surrounding areas.

Lehigh University has a comprehensive emergency management plan that includes regular drills and exercises to prepare for potential emergencies. The university also has a network of emergency blue light phones located throughout campus that students can use to quickly contact campus police in case of an emergency.

Student Diversity and Inclusion Efforts of Both Universities

Diversity and inclusion are important considerations for many students, and both universities have made efforts to create welcoming and inclusive environments for all students. Washington University has a Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which offers various resources and programming for underrepresented students. Lehigh University also has a variety of programs and resources, including a Women’s Center, Pride Center, and Multicultural Affairs Office.

At Washington University, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion also offers training and workshops for faculty and staff to promote diversity and inclusion in the classroom and workplace. Additionally, the university has a student-led organization called the Association of Black Students, which hosts events and provides support for black students on campus.

Lehigh University’s Pride Center offers a Safe Zone program, which trains faculty, staff, and students to be allies for the LGBTQ+ community. The university also has a First-Gen Council, which provides resources and support for first-generation college students. These efforts demonstrate the commitment of both universities to creating a diverse and inclusive community for all students.

Student Success Rates: Graduation Rates and Post-Graduate Outcomes

Finally, considering graduation rates and post-graduate outcomes can be helpful when determining where to attend university. Washington University has a four-year graduation rate of around 89%, with 95% of graduates employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation. Similarly, Lehigh University has a four-year graduation rate of around 86%, with 90% of graduates employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation.

It is important to note that while graduation rates and post-graduate outcomes are important factors to consider, they do not necessarily guarantee success in one’s career. Other factors such as networking, internships, and work experience can also play a significant role in one’s professional development. Therefore, it is important to research and consider all aspects of a university before making a decision.

Study Abroad Opportunities at Washington University in St. Louis vs Lehigh

If studying abroad is of interest to you, then researching each university’s study abroad programs can be beneficial. Both Washington University and Lehigh University have extensive study abroad programs, offering opportunities to study in various countries around the world. Additionally, both universities have resources available to help students finance their study abroad experiences.

a group of international students, each holding the flag of their origin country

It is important to note that studying abroad can provide valuable cultural experiences and enhance your education. By immersing yourself in a new environment, you can gain a better understanding of different cultures and perspectives. Furthermore, studying abroad can also improve your language skills and make you more marketable to future employers. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to study abroad, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of it.

Resources for Students with Disabilities

Accessibility is an important consideration for students with disabilities. Both Washington University and Lehigh University offer resources to students with disabilities, including accessible facilities and accommodations, specialized advising, and assistive technology resources.

At Washington University, the Disability Resources office provides a range of services to support students with disabilities. These services include academic accommodations, such as extended time on exams and note-taking assistance, as well as assistive technology resources, such as screen readers and speech recognition software. The office also offers disability-related counseling and advocacy services to help students navigate the challenges of college life.

Similarly, Lehigh University’s Office of Accessibility Services provides a variety of accommodations and resources to support students with disabilities. These accommodations may include alternative testing arrangements, accessible housing options, and assistive technology resources. The office also offers disability-related counseling and support services to help students succeed academically and personally.

Technology Infrastructure on Campus

Technology is an integral part of the university experience, and both universities have extensive technology infrastructure in place. Washington University has over 100 computer labs on campus, while Lehigh University has an extensive wireless network and numerous computer labs available to students. Additionally, both universities offer resources for online learning and remote access to materials.

Washington University also has a state-of-the-art data center that supports the university’s research and academic activities. The data center provides high-performance computing resources, storage, and networking capabilities to support the university’s research initiatives. The center also offers training and support to faculty and students on how to use the resources effectively.

Lehigh University has a dedicated team of IT professionals who provide technical support to students, faculty, and staff. The team offers a range of services, including software installation, troubleshooting, and network connectivity. The university also has a robust cybersecurity program that ensures the safety and security of the university’s data and network infrastructure.

Sustainability Initiatives at the Universities

Environmental sustainability is an increasingly important consideration among students and universities. Both Washington University and Lehigh University have robust sustainability initiatives in place, including LEED-certified buildings, recycling programs, and energy-efficient systems. Additionally, both universities offer coursework and research opportunities in sustainability-related fields.

A student holding a model of the earth

Washington University has taken a step further in its sustainability initiatives by implementing a campus-wide composting program. This program diverts food waste from landfills and turns it into nutrient-rich soil for campus gardens and landscaping. The university also encourages sustainable transportation by providing bike-sharing programs and electric vehicle charging stations.

Lehigh University has made significant progress in reducing its carbon footprint by transitioning to renewable energy sources. The university has installed solar panels on several buildings and has a geothermal heating and cooling system in place. In addition, Lehigh has implemented a sustainable purchasing policy, which prioritizes environmentally-friendly products and materials for campus operations.

Conclusion: Making an Informed Decision

Choosing a university that aligns with your academic and personal goals is a big decision. By comparing and contrasting important factors such as location, campus size, academic programs, cost of attendance, and student life, you can make an informed decision regarding which university is right for you. While both Washington University and Lehigh University are highly respected institutions, taking the time to research and understand the differences between the two can help you make the best choice for your future.

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