With an increasing number of applicants and a declining acceptance rate, admission to Lehigh has become more competitive.
Krista Evans, the interim director of admissions, has worked at Lehigh for 18 years. When she started, the acceptance rate was in the mid-40 percent range. Last year’s freshman class was admitted at a 25 percent acceptance rate.
While the majority of Lehigh students are from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, admissions officers are making an effort to recruit students from across the country.
Every state is currently represented on campus except North Dakota.
“We could probably fill our class with only students from Pennsylvania, but we don’t want to do that,” Evans said. “We want Lehigh’s class to be representative of the world.”
Fifty-two percent of the class of 2021 was chosen from the early decision applicant pool. Some students who apply early decision are placed on a wait list.
“We use the wait list if we need a few more students in business or a few more in arts and sciences or more international students,” Evans said, “whichever type of student it is that we’re looking for.”
When applying, students also search for distinct factors in their school of choice.
David Morency, ’18, said he was drawn to Lehigh because it is a relatively small school.
“I felt I could have a sense of influence over campus life while also being exposed to various diverse ideas and groups,” Morency said.
Haley Morris, ’20, was attracted to Lehigh because of the connections she could make across campus.
“The thing I really like about Lehigh is that you develop relationships with people in multiple ways,” Morris said. “You don’t really just have your friends that you go out with and your friends you have classes with, it’s kind of like everyone is connected.”
Ryan Moreida, ’19, was intrigued by the rigor of the coursework.
“I chose Lehigh because of the focus on interdisciplinary programs and the fact that it allowed me to pursue my desired degree, which is a dual degree in applied math and finance,” Moreida said.
Though grades and rigor of courses are the most important factors when assessing applicants, Evans said standardized test scores, extracurricular involvement and recommendation letters are also considered.
She said admissions counselors aren’t just looking for students who will contribute to the campus community — they are also looking to identify students they don’t want to be part of the community.
Evans said she once saw a potential applicant yelling at his mother at the college fair. She then wrote a note to herself to make sure the student would not be considered for acceptance. Evans said if the applicant treated his mother that way, it is unclear whether or not he would treat his professors and roommate with respect.
“We really are careful about who we bring in,” she said. “We try and find those students who are really going to make an impact and be good people.”