campus encounters

"Get the first-hand scoop about colleges and universities"

Archive for the tag “Aerospace Engineering”

Lehigh University

Lehigh University (visited 4/25/18)

Lehigh staircaseFun fact: the inventor of the escalator was from Lehigh, not surprising since “we’re on a mountain. We’re constantly winded,” said our tour guide. Campus has about 27,000 stairs. One counselor asked about accessibility, and the tour guide was forthcoming: “It’s not the most accessible campus. It can be done, but it takes some planning.” The main campus is on the side of a hill; the Mountaintop Campus which is about 2 miles further up. “You might do it for the exercise, but most people ride the bus.”

Lehigh walkway 4I got the feeling that Lehigh wasn’t entirely interested in trying when the group of counselors visited. They certainly have a strong academic reputation, the campus is beautiful, and they have resources. They don’t really need to try, but I’m always a bit concerned when schools appear to rest on their laurels. However, things are clearly going well with a retention rate over 90%, but that speaks to the level of student they are attracting as much as the university itself.

Lehigh Main 2Students are smart and driven, but “there’s no shame in failure here. Clearly we don’t want it, but professors will say things like, ‘Who’s going to remember? Just go for it.’ Everyone goes to office hours, group study, tutoring,” said one student. Another said, “People want the best versions of themselves. We’re collaborative and I know that’s not the same everywhere. I feel lucky that I can go to professors or friends for help.”

Lehigh walkway 2I asked the student panelists to try to differentiate themselves from Lafayette (a big cross-over school). One said, “We’re a bit more outgoing. Here we like to do a lot of different things. At Lafayette, it seems like they like to focus more on one thing. I’m a little loud and don’t always know what to do, but felt I’d be supported here because I’m all over the place and can try lots of things.”

An admissions rep described Lehigh as “large enough to be powerful, small enough to be personal.” The tour guide agreed: “It’s large enough to meet new people but still see people you know.”

Lehigh engineering 2“We’re academically focused, but not academic-exclusive,” said a student. Campus social live is active: “It’s never a matter of IF something is happening – it’s which of the number of things I’m going to choose,” said one of the student panelists. University Production brings in SNL comedians, concerts, bbqs, movies, and Broadway Shows (Kinky Boots, Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder). During the Olympics, they had giant viewing party and put up an ice rink on campus for curling and skating. 95% stay on campus on the weekend. When they want to get off campus, they often go to the North Shore (the “Steel Stacks”) located about a mile away; a book store, bowling, skating, thrift shops, movies, and more are all there.

Lehigh lower centerLehigh admits students to college, not to majors; students can only apply to 1 college. Arts & Science and Engineering jockey year to year for the largest college. However, this isn’t like a large research school – students can move between the colleges: “There’s nothing stopping you from exploring in other schools and there are options.”

They have 3 distinctive, integrative programs that they spent a great deal of time talking about. Students must apply specifically to the first two:

  • Integrated Business and Engineering: students complete the core curriculum of both and select a concentration in either area. It’s accredited in business but not engineering in 4 years. Some stay the extra year to get the accreditation.
  • IDEAS (engineering and A&S): Students choose 2 concentrations and find the intersection between the two. ”Build bridges of specialization rather than islands,” said the rep. “Lets them understand and cross the divide.”
  • Comp Si and Business is dual accredited. Students do NOT need to apply specifically for this program.

Lehigh 9Other programs worth noting:

  • “We have phenomenal psych and international relations majors,” said a rep. Students wanting more specialized programs can choose majors like Cognitive Science or Behavioral Neuroscience.
  • They’re going to start a College of Health “but it’s not clearly defined yet. We’ve held a number of town halls to find out where we can make an impact.”
  • “The sciences are already something we do really well here, and we’re great at finding intersections between disciplines,” including their Health, Medicine, and Society major where they look at community health, data analytics, the state of health care, sociological and environmental determinates of health, etc. Students in this major are usually NOT looking to do allied health/med schools.
  • The Engineering school offers many of the more unusual specialties including Energy, Aerospace, Materials Sciences, Polymers, and Nanotechnology.
  • UN Partnership: Lehigh has NGO status with the UN so students get special clearance and access there. They send a bus every WEEK (more Business majors go than any other student) and just had their 10,000th visitor to the UN. Ambassadors speak on campus (Syrian just came).

Lehigh arts quadThere’s very little merit aid given out but quite a bit of need-based aid. They require the tax returns and a 3-page form on their website which is school-specific, including non-custodial parental information. If they don’t apply for aid on time, they won’t get a package. “We meet need, but we meet 100% of institutional need – so we tell you what the need is,” said a financial aid officer.

Lehigh 5Several people brought up diversity as an area of growth. In terms of racial diversity, the largest percentage is Hispanic. Surprisingly, only 3.5% of the students are African-American, said a rep. “We’re working on that.” Other areas seem to be better: they have trans students on campus, gender-neutral bathrooms are sprouting up across campus, and there are active LGBTQ groups that do outreach and education, including speaking with groups like Greek Life about inclusion.

© 2018

NC State

NC State (Visited 3/12)

For such a large campus, I was impressed with how attractive it was. Most of the buildings are brick with only a couple notable exceptions, one of which is unfortunately on an otherwise brick-building-lined-quad filled with trees, flowers, and open grassy spaces. The campus, including the quad, has wi-fi, so this becomes a popular study area in the warmer weather. The “Brickyard” is another open space where students tend to congregate.

State’s library is more notable than most I’ve seen; not only is it extensive (8 floors of stacks and study spaces – and students can access the catalogues and request materials from the Duke and UNC Chapel Hill libraries, as well) but the first floor is a funky, open, well-lit, inviting space for students filled with lots of computers, meeting areas, overstuffed chairs, and even PlayStations. Even though I visited during spring break, this space was well utilized.

My tour stayed only on the main campus so I did not get to see the Centennial Campus (the school is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, just as a side note). The Centennial Campus has most of the Engineering and associated programs and is about an 8-10 minute shuttle ride away. Most Freshmen, even in that department, will take their core classes on the main campus to acclimate before they have to start going back and forth between campuses. The university is also in the process of putting dorms on Centennial Campus to make it easier for students and to alleviate some of the housing crunch. Now, many of the dorms are on the far side of the train tracks (under which runs the “Free Expression Tunnel” full of fun graffiti and signs that advertise all sorts of activities and points of view). The university does not guarantee housing, but reserves space for at least 70% of freshmen to live on campus. There are extensive opportunities for off-campus housing. On campus, there are several themed Villages: Global, Honors, First Year, Scholars, Women in Science and Engineering, and others.

The university is currently in the process of reducing the size of their freshman class by several hundred students to about 4,300 students. Although in part to do with housing, it has more to do with budgets and class sizes. They want to be able to continue providing high-quality education and class availability. Applications have steadily gone up over the past two decades, and this year is the first time that applications have exceeded 20,000. Their acceptance rate in 2011 was 53%. Currently, 9-10% of their students are out-of-state. Like other NC public universities, they have to cap OOS at 18%; they would like their numbers to be closer to that.

Because application numbers are going up so much, they highly recommend that students apply before the deadline. Files are read in the order that they are received so if anything is missing, students will be notified much earlier if they have submitted materials before the deadline – even if it’s just a week. Also, the completed application will be read earlier. If students send SAT or ACT scores during junior year, they will keep them on file and students will be placed on the “perspective” list so they will be invited to open houses, etc. If a student does not report scores until Senior year, the admissions people do NOT recommend rushing the SAT scores – it’s a waste of money and will not really get them to the admissions office any more quickly. Essays and recommendations are not required, but the admissions people will read them if they are sent. Students must apply by 11/1 to be considered for Merit Scholarships.

The most prestigious scholarship they offer is the Park Scholar, named after an alum. This comprehensive scholarship covers tuition, fees, books, room and board, and stipends for living expenses and technology. Students also become eligible for additional grants for study abroad, service projects, or other enrichment opportunities. About 45 scholarships are granted each year. Last year, they received 1500 applications so the acceptance rate is about 3%. Endorsement for the Park Scholar program can come from the school (by 10/1) or from the student (by 10/25). The application is due on 11/1. Students must also complete the NC State application by 11/1 to be a PS candidate. Scholars are selected based on Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.

The University has several schools; along with the more traditional and expected sorts of majors, there are several unusual ones: 1) College of Natural Resources: Forest Management, Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management: Tourism and Commercial Recreation, Natural Resources, Professional Golf Management, Sport Management. 2) College of Management: Internal Auditing, Labor Economics, Supply Chain Management. 3) College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences: Marine Sciences, Meteorology, Financial Mathematics. 4) Engineering: Agricultural, Biomedical, Aerospace, Nuclear, Paper Science, Texile. 5) College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Creative Writing; Public Relations and Organizational Communications; Africana Studies; Science, Technology, & Society. 6) College of Textiles: Fashion and Textile Design. 7) First Year College: Undecided? Use this college to explore, get advice, and figure it out!

Post Navigation