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How to Write the Lehigh University Essays 2022-2023

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Lehigh University has 2 required supplemental essays, and then 3 optional essays for those students who may be looking to apply to some of Lehigh’s specialized programs.

 

As a small liberal arts university, Lehigh puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of writing, and so it’s important to write strong essays. In this post, we will be detailing how to answer all these questions, both those prompts for all applicants and those for any applicants wishing to apply to any of Lehigh’s specialized programs! 

 

Lehigh University Supplemental Essay Prompts

 

Prompt 1: How did you first learn about Lehigh University and what motivated you to apply? (150 words)

 

Prompt 2: A compelling characteristic of Lehigh’s community is that our students want to be actively engaged in their learning, their community, and the world. Our students look to make a difference and have a real-world impact. We expect our community to challenge your viewpoint, your naturalized assumptions, and the way that you see the world around you. Lehigh University is committed to being an anti-racist institution. By this, we mean actively speaking out and addressing acts of racism, racist comments, racist practices, policies, and procedures.

 

What would you want to be different in your own country or community to further principles of equality, equity, or social justice? (300 words)

 

IBE Honors Program: What makes the Integrated Business & Engineering (IBE) Honors Program the best fit for your academic and/or professional goals? (150 words)

 

CSB Program: What makes the Computer Science and Business (CSB) program the best fit for your academic and/or professional goals? (150 words)

 

IDEAS Honors Program: What makes the Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts & Sciences (IDEAS) Honors Program the best fit for your academic and/or professional goals? (150 words)

 

Overview

 

We know you’ve been writing what feels like thousands of essays, so you’ll probably be happy to hear that these essays are all 300 words or less. While that may be a relief, it should also raise a bit of a red flag – short word counts can actually be a bit more demanding since they require you to condense a lot of important information (like how great and qualified you are) into a very small space. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t need to spend a lot of time on these essays just because they’re short. But don’t worry. We know – easier said than done. But rest assured that we’re here to help you write some brilliant essays!

 

Prompt 1

How did you first learn about Lehigh University and what motivated you to apply? (150 words)

 

This prompt probably doesn’t need much interpreting—it’s a straightforward “why this college” essay. This essay wants to know what prompted you to apply to Lehigh and how you first learned about their institution. You’ll notice that the word count here is pretty short, at a measly 150 words. That’s not a lot of space at all, so make sure to be concise and get straight to the point.

 

The most common mistake that people make with “why this college” essays is that they’re too general. They write an essay that any applicant could write because they list the aspects of Lehigh that anybody and everybody is excited about. This sends the message that the applicant didn’t do much research beyond a quick Google search. For this reason, admissions officers end up reading hundreds of practically identical essays. Instead of rattling off generalities, you want to make your essay unique and interesting!

 

So how do you find a unique aspect of Lehigh to talk about? Research! You can find a full list of ways to research for the “why this college” essay, but we’ll give you a quick breakdown now as well. 

 

  • Start by making a list of all the reasons that you want to go to Lehigh. You might realize looking at this list that it’s full of generic answers such as “great location,” “good price,” and “my test scores are in the competitive range.” It’s okay! Use those answers to guide your research. 

 

  • Look for more specific information about what Lehigh has to offer — like unique courses, an internship program, a club you’re interested in, or research projects. Now is a great time to head over to the university or department website or visit student social media groups. Or, even better, ask your guidance counselor to connect you to a current student to talk to! The more specific the information you include as your “why Lehigh,” the more you’ll stand out.

 

You may think that admissions officers are looking for a specific answer, but the truth is that they really just want to get to know you better! There are no wrong answers, and trying to give a “correct” answer is boring and overdone! Find something you’re genuinely passionate about and run with it.

 

You may find yourself getting so caught up in the “why Lehigh” part of the question that you totally forget to answer the part about how you first heard about Lehigh. Don’t fall into that trap! No matter how good your essay is, skipping part of the prompt will make you appear careless and you certainly do not want that. Think back to the first time Lehigh was on your radar. Did a friend mention it to you? Do you live nearby? Maybe a character in your favorite TV show went there or you read about it in a book.

 

A mistake a lot of students make with essays like this—especially with such low word counts—is that they spend too much time writing about all the amazing things about the college. I know what you’re thinking: But isn’t the prompt asking me to talk about what I like about Lehigh? Well, yes and no. Admissions officers want to know what you like about Lehigh, but frankly, they already know that it’s an incredible institution and they don’t need you to remind them. They’re much more interested in what parts of you match up with their values.

 

Sound confusing? Think of it this way. Let’s say you’re interested in Lehigh because of Professor Christopher Burke’s social psychology research on dealing with stress through partner support. Prof. Burke isn’t applying to Lehigh and the admissions committee already knows all about him, so spending 100 words talking about how great he is wastes time and words. Instead, introduce your interest in his research, and then frame it around your own research experience on the effect of marital status on hypertension. Also, discuss how this resource is related to your professional goals; maybe this student wants to become a marriage counselor and this research will help him better understand the science behind the therapies, and even come up with new ones. 

 

If you’re still stuck, try checking out these “why this college” essay examples. Just remember to make it your own and stay true to yourself!

 

Prompt 2

A compelling characteristic of Lehigh’s community is that our students want to be actively engaged in their learning, their community, and the world. Our students look to make a difference and have a real-world impact. We expect our community to challenge your viewpoint, your naturalized assumptions, and the way that you see the world around you. In the words of Lehigh’s President, John Simon, “The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has shaken our nation, and brought into harsh relief the life-threatening, systemic racial injustice that affects the lives of so many every day. Members of our community are angry and fearful, and we will support them…We need to make Lehigh University an actively anti-racist institution. By this, we mean actively speaking out and addressing acts of racism, racist comments, racist practices, policies and procedures.” 

 

What would you want to be different in your own country or community to respond to issues of inequality, inequity, or injustice? (300 words)

 

You may be looking at this prompt and thinking “Wow, that’s intense.” While this prompt may seem overwhelming at first, there are a number of reasons a university would ask for this kind of supplemental essay. Primarily, they want to make sure that your values align with theirs. The admissions committee wants to know that you, like their student body and faculty, are dedicated to racial justice and activism. 

 

Now, why do admissions officers want to know this? If you don’t relate to Lehigh’s values, this may indicate to admissions officers that perhaps there’s another college that is a better fit for you. We know that sounds harsh, but they are taking steps to make sure that every person on their campus, regardless of their background, shares these fundamental values. 

 

Additionally, Lehigh wants to know how you interact with your community and how you think it could be improved. They want to know that you are being active in creating positive change to achieve your vision for the future.

 

So how do you approach a prompt like this? The first step is to identify the scope of your community. “Community” is a pretty broad buzzword and can vary in size from your family or a club you’re in, all the way to your country. When picking a topic, think of something that bugs you so much that you could rant about it for a whole hour. 

 

For instance, maybe you want to dream big and tackle a topic like racism in the federal government. Or, perhaps you want to focus on something closer to home, like the fact that female students in your high school are often sent home for “distracting male teachers and classmates due to dress code violations” in 95 degree weather. Whatever it is, choose something that you are truly passionate about.

 

Something important to note here is that, despite the context for the prompt, the “inequality, inequity, or injustice” that you focus on does not need to be racism. It could be sexism, homophobia, religious discrimination, xenophobia, etc. That said, you do need to tie your topic back to what was said by President Simon, specifically the idea of being actively anti-racist. So, while it’s fine to discuss your frustration with the blatant Islamophobia in your hometown, make sure you connect it to the current movements for racial equality and dismantling systems of oppression. 

 

It’s also worth mentioning that 300 words is a little bit lengthier than the other two prompts. Don’t worry, this is a very good thing, because a topic like this requires more writing to be done well. With 300 words, you can—and should—include a personal anecdote that connects you to whatever inequity you discuss. 

 

For example, let’s say you’re really sick of the fact that your high school will not allow students to bring a date of the same gender to the prom. It’s not enough to just state your frustration. Tell the story of the time your best friend was heartbroken because he couldn’t take his boyfriend to the prom. Tell us about your own feelings in this situation. Were you mad? Upset? Disappointed? Better yet, tell us what you did about it. Did you write a letter to the principal? Speak to the PTA? Ask other students to attend an alternative LGBTQ+ friendly prom, where all people could be included? 

 

Just remember to be specific and choose something you’re truly passionate about. Then, dive in because Lehigh wants to know all about it!

 

IBE Honors Program

What makes the Integrated Business & Engineering (IBE) Honors Program the best fit for your academic and/or professional goals? (150 words)

 

This prompt is for students looking to enter the Integrated Business & Engineering Honors Program only. It’s a fairly straightforward question that wants to know your rationale for being in the program and hear about your professional goals and how you believe the program can help you advance them. This is not a typical honors program for all liberal arts majors, but rather only specifically for those interested in integrating a STEM-based engineering education with a business mindset. 

 

The first thing you’ll need to do is write a list of reasons why you feel like you are interested in this program. Think about your career aspirations and how they fit within this program. Generally, there are two kinds of students who will be applying to this program:

 

The Business Major: The IBE program stands out to business students who are looking to understand how products are designed and manufactured in order to have a better sense of the development process from start to finish. Additionally, business students will learn the qualitative and problem-solving skills of engineering that can only help them in their business endeavors. Perhaps you’re someone who is interested in finance, the IBE program would help teach you analytic skills in regards to specific products and show you how to make judgment calls based on the development process as a whole.

 

The Engineering Major: For those students who are looking to go into some area of engineering, learning business skills through IBE will help them understand the decision-making process behind products. In doing so, engineering students can learn how to make their products more effective and fill the needs of the consumer or client. Having a business-oriented mindset will also aid them in the workplace and allow them to not only design products, but make decisions regarding the product in terms of development, distribution, and marketing. For example, perhaps you’re interested in mechanical engineering and want to work in the construction industry, learning business skills through IBE would help you understand how mechanical engineering is an essential part of the daily business of our lives and how construction can be idealized to benefit the public.

 

Knowing this, match the list of reasons you have for IBE to the kind of student you want to be. While you can end up getting a dual degree through IBE in engineering and business, you will need to select a concentration when you start off. Do you feel like you want to be a business student with an engineering integration or an engineering student with a business integration? If you’re still unsure, you can read more about the IBE program on their website, attached here. The website includes information about curriculums, courses, and other main staples of the IBE program, which brings us to our next step: figuring out how the IBE program can help your professional goals.

 

You obviously don’t have to know what career you’d like to have when you graduate college – that’s what college is there to help you figure out. However, it can be helpful to set goals for yourself that will guide your path throughout the program. 

 

Perhaps you want to launch a business that can solve a problem in your community – maybe you live in a coastal town and want to design a home appliance to protect your house from floods. While you may not know how to engineer that, you can discuss how the IBE program would help you with both facets of the endeavor – the business and the engineering behind the product. 

 

The IBE program offers a two-semester Senior Project course in which teams work with a corporate sponsor to actually go through a product development process. You could write about how you would hope to pair with an environmental engineering start-up that could work with your team to design a sustainable product for these coastal communities. You can even go further and mention how participating in both the Sophomore and Junior Laboratory programs, which primarily focus on educating students on the business and engineering sides of project development, would prepare you to take on a task of this stature.

 

Regardless of how sure you are of your goal, be as specific as you can and showcase your ambition.

 

CSB Program

What makes the Computer Science and Business (CSB) program the best fit for your academic and/or professional goals? (150 words)

 

This prompt is for students looking to enter the Integrated Business & Engineering Honors Program only. It’s a fairly straightforward question that wants to know your rationale for being in the program and hear about your professional goals and how you believe the program can help you advance them. This is a four-year program that will award you a degree from both Lehigh’s College of Business and their College of Engineering and Applied Science and thus is a highly rigorous and specialized program. It requires full commitment and dedication, which is what admissions representatives will be looking for in your response.

 

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out what makes you interested in this specific program. Do you have an interest in computer science but want to know more about how you can apply it in business? Are you more interested in business but already know more about computer science? Do you want to combine both of them to eventually work at a tech start-up of the future? Whatever your goal may be, remember it’s not just about the finish line, but what about integrating computer science and business appeals to you? And that includes what you hope to do in the program at Lehigh.

 

For example, one of the most important offerings of the CSB program is the senior Capstone project, in which students will conduct a highly intensive design project often with the backing of corporate sponsors. Students will work with these corporate sponsors to attend to the company’s needs, often programming or designing internal systems for the company such as websites, applications, modules, and more. Discussing a specific offering like Lehigh’s capstone project will showcase how you wish to apply your skills in the business world. 

 

Perhaps you hope to work with a sustainability company to help design ways to connect people with more environmentally friendly ways to live. Maybe something as simple as connecting people with the nearest public recycling bin. You could write about how a project of that size with the guidance of a corporate sponsor would give you the hands-on experience of client-based work to help you succeed in the business world.

 

Whatever your reason for wanting to be a part of the CSB program may be, remember to showcase your driven and determined nature. Even if you’re not sure of what specifics you wish to get out of the program, there’s bound to be something on the CSB website that sticks with you. Do research, brainstorm, and write what most encapsulates your interest.

 

IDEAS Honors Program

What makes the Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts & Sciences (IDEAS) Honors Program the best fit for your academic and/or professional goals? (150 words)

 

IDEAS, or the Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts, & Sciences, is an honors program at Lehigh University that is aimed at students who are interested in obtaining an education in both liberal arts and STEM. The IDEAS honors program will require students to take courses in mathematics and sciences, and then gives students the ability to select whether they’d rather pursue an Engineering concentration or an Arts & Science concentration. 

 

All in all, IDEAS is for students looking for a cross-disciplinary education that can give them a really strong sampling platter of various fields of study. It is a rigorous four-year program, but one that provides a rewarding all-around experience. While IDEAS may offer a comprehensive education in several disciplines, it is not for students who are just simply undecided in their major, rather the contrary – it’s for students who know they desire a holistic education that engages a variety of interests and allows them to forge their own path from those interests. 

 

One of the key distinctions between high school and college is that whereas in high school you’re splitting your time evenly between math, science, English, and other subjects, in college you will generally have control over how much time, if any, you spend with each. For example, if you are an English major, it doesn’t make much sense for you to take Organic Chemistry – that is, of course, unless you want to be an IDEAS student.

 

Think about how you’ve enjoyed your high school experience. Maybe you’re someone who has an astute interest in philosophy as well as computer science. The IDEAS program would not only give you the ability to take courses across Lehigh’s various colleges and give you access to all the philosophy and computer science courses but also allow you the ability to define your own major and eventual career path. 

 

Using this example, perhaps you’re interested in how computer science and ethics intersect. You can write about specific examples of this such as how self-driving cars may need to make snap decisions based on how they’re programmed with the principles of human ethics. You can write about how the IDEAS program would give you the ability to learn about the intersection between ethics and engineering, thus giving you a highly-specialized profile to obtain your eventual career goals.

 

If you’re unsure of what your career goals or specific interests may be exactly, write down various subjects that interest you and then try to find the intersection between them. Chances are you can establish a connection between most two subjects, and your ability to do so will display creativity and determination. Admissions representatives for the IDEAS program are looking for students who are hoping to carve out their own path at Lehigh, so the more specific you can get the better.

 

Where to Get Your Lehigh University Essays Edited

 

Do you want feedback on your Lehigh essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!


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