(Left to right) Josh Bordwick, '22, Ethan Yerg, '23, Sam Perry, '22, and Nick Scaturo, '26, attend Lehigh Fest on the Front Lawn on April 21, 2023. Brodwick and Perry are admissions counselors, and Yerg is an admissions fellow who attended the event. (Lauren Slovensky/ B&W Staff)

Lehigh Fest gives glimpse into the college experience


Lehigh welcomed admitted students from across the country to a campus-wide celebration called Lehigh Fest to provide them with information and insight from current students.

Lehigh Fest evolved from Candidates’ Day, a similar event that was hosted by all the Lehigh colleges in 2022. As the end of the pandemic permitted larger in-person gatherings, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions took charge of the event and renamed it.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions now hosts the event in conjunction with each college to give prospective and committed students the opportunity to see their potential future at Lehigh.

Director of Admissions Bruce Bunnick said the event provides a “deeper, more informative presentation of the university.”

Lehigh Fest is distinct from other events in the large number of visitors it brings to campus all at once. 

Bunnick said the office estimated about 1,100 visitors would attend Lehigh Fest, outnumbering the attendance of other admitted student events, which  bring in about 300 students.

Bunnick said the planning for Lehigh Fest begins in August to ensure they have enough space to accommodate the large crowd.

Bunnick said the office recommends students register for Lehigh Fest as early as possible. He said there is one location where everyone gathers, and the capacity of that location determines the number of students who can register for the event. 

This year, a large portion of the fest was held in Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall, which holds about 1,000 people, on April 21.

Since the space could not accommodate all 5,246 students who were admitted to the Class of 2027, Castro said the Office of Undergraduate Admissions encourages prospective students to participate in other events held throughout April.

Bunnick said Lehigh carefully calculates the capacity for the event and predicts attendance based on a “show-up rate,” which is the projected number of people who register for an event who actually end up attending. He said the most recent show-up rates for Lehigh events have been just over 80%. 

Amelia Swenson, ‘26, attended Lehigh Fest in 2022. She said she recalls it being an “enlightening experience” and would recommend new students attend the event.

Swenson said the program’s on-campus tours and mock classes helped her better understand what facilities she would get access to as a business student.

“I got to experience what college was going to be and really got excited to start learning,” Swenson said. 

Mock classes were not on the Lehigh Fest agenda this year, but Kelly Austin, associate dean for undergraduate programs, said students can schedule a time to sit in on a real class with current Lehigh students if they identify a class they are interested in.

Austin said Lehigh Fest offers insight into a variety of opportunities, such as undergraduate experiential learning activities, from the day’s panel discussions and information sessions covering topics related to different majors. 

Bunnick said Lehigh Fest is designed to give admitted students an enriching experience with their potential new home and form a sense of familiarity. 

“Knowing there are students who are ready to take in as much information as possible and use that information to help them make probably the biggest choice they’re making in their young lives…there is a certain amount of energy and excitement that goes into that,” Bunnick said.

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