With its picturesque campus nestled in the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, Lehigh University is often considered one of the top private universities in the nation. Its rigorous academics, accomplished faculty, and accomplished alumni have led many to wonder – is Lehigh an Ivy League school?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: No, Lehigh University is not an Ivy League school. While it shares some similarities with the Ivy League institutions, Lehigh is not officially a member of the Ivy League athletic and academic conference.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Lehigh University and how it compares academically, athletically, and historically to the eight Ivy League institutions. We’ll examine its admissions statistics, academics, student life, athletics, alumni, and more to help you understand where Lehigh stands in relation to the Ivies.

Overview of the Ivy League

The Ivy League is a prestigious group of eight private universities in the northeastern United States known for their academic excellence and rigorous admissions standards. These institutions are often considered the pinnacle of higher education and are highly sought after by students across the globe.

Members and History

The Ivy League consists of Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell University. These universities have a long and rich history, with some of them dating back to the 17th century.

Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution in the United States and has consistently been ranked as one of the top universities in the world. Yale University, established in 1701, is known for its strong emphasis on the liberal arts and its renowned law and business schools.

Princeton University, founded in 1746, is renowned for its undergraduate program and its prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Columbia University, founded in 1754, is located in the heart of New York City and offers a wide range of programs across various disciplines.

Brown University, founded in 1764, is known for its open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study. Dartmouth College, established in 1769, has a strong focus on undergraduate education and is located in a rural setting in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1740, is known for its strong programs in business, engineering, and the social sciences. Cornell University, established in 1865, is unique in that it is the only Ivy League school that is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Admissions and Academics

Admission to the Ivy League schools is extremely competitive, with acceptance rates ranging from about 5% to 15%. These universities look for students who have excelled academically, demonstrated leadership potential, and contributed to their communities in meaningful ways.

Academically, the Ivy League universities are known for their rigorous curriculum and world-class faculty. They offer a wide range of majors and programs across various disciplines, allowing students to pursue their interests and passions.

Students at these institutions have access to state-of-the-art facilities, extensive libraries, and a vibrant academic community. They are challenged to think critically, engage in research, and participate in intellectual discourse both inside and outside the classroom.

While the Ivy League schools are often associated with academic excellence, it’s important to note that there are many other exceptional universities across the country and around the world. Each institution has its own unique strengths and opportunities for students to thrive and succeed.

For more information on the Ivy League and their respective universities, you can visit their official websites:

Lehigh University Profile

Lehigh University is a prestigious institution located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Although it is not officially a part of the Ivy League, it is often compared to Ivy League schools due to its academic excellence and reputation.

History and Campus

Founded in 1865, Lehigh University has a rich history and a beautiful campus spread across 2,350 acres. The university’s campus features a mix of historic buildings and modern facilities, providing students with a vibrant and inspiring learning environment.

The university takes pride in its commitment to sustainability, with initiatives such as energy-efficient buildings and recycling programs.

Academics and Admissions

Lehigh University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines. The university is known for its strong engineering, business, and arts programs, attracting students from all over the world.

The faculty at Lehigh are renowned experts in their fields, providing students with a top-notch education.

Admission to Lehigh University is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of around 22%. The university considers various factors in the admissions process, including academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities.

Prospective students are encouraged to showcase their unique talents and passions in their application.

Student Life

Lehigh University offers a vibrant and engaging student life experience. The campus is home to numerous clubs, organizations, and athletic teams, allowing students to pursue their interests and form lasting connections.

From performing arts groups to intramural sports leagues, there is something for everyone at Lehigh.

Additionally, the university hosts a wide range of events and activities throughout the year, including guest lectures, concerts, and cultural celebrations. These opportunities provide students with a chance to expand their horizons and make the most of their time at Lehigh.

How Lehigh Compares to the Ivies

When it comes to prestigious universities, the Ivy League schools often come to mind. However, Lehigh University, while not officially part of the Ivy League, stands out as a highly respected institution in its own right.

Let’s take a closer look at how Lehigh compares to the Ivies in various aspects.

Admissions Statistics

While the Ivy League schools are known for their highly selective admissions processes, Lehigh University also boasts a competitive applicant pool. In recent years, Lehigh has received a record number of applications, with an acceptance rate of around 22%.

This signifies that Lehigh is sought after by many high-achieving students, making it comparable to Ivy League institutions in terms of selectivity.

Academic Rigor and Rankings

Lehigh University is renowned for its academic rigor and high-quality education. Although it may not have the same historical prestige as the Ivy League schools, Lehigh consistently ranks among the top national universities in the United States.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, Lehigh is consistently ranked in the top tier of national universities, demonstrating its academic excellence and rigorous curriculum.

Alumni Networks and Career Outcomes

While the Ivy League schools have established and extensive alumni networks, Lehigh University also boasts a strong network of successful graduates. Lehigh alumni have made significant contributions in various fields, including business, engineering, and the arts.

The university’s Career Services department offers valuable resources and connections for students and alumni, facilitating career opportunities and professional growth.

Tuition and Affordability

One advantage that Lehigh University has over the Ivy League schools is its affordability. While Ivy League institutions are known for their high tuition costs, Lehigh offers a competitive and more affordable option for students seeking a top-notch education.

Additionally, Lehigh provides generous financial aid packages to eligible students, making it an attractive choice for those looking for both quality and affordability.


While the Ivy League schools are renowned for their athletic programs, Lehigh University also boasts a strong athletic tradition. Lehigh competes in Division I athletics and has a successful history in various sports, including wrestling, football, and basketball.

The university’s athletes demonstrate exceptional skill and dedication, contributing to Lehigh’s vibrant and competitive athletic environment.

Why Lehigh Isn’t an Ivy League School

While Lehigh University is highly regarded for its academic programs and has a reputation for excellence, it is not classified as an Ivy League school. There are several key factors that differentiate Lehigh from the Ivy League institutions.

1. History and Founding

The Ivy League is composed of eight prestigious universities: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania. These institutions were founded during the colonial era and have a long history of academic excellence and tradition.

Lehigh University, on the other hand, was founded in 1865 and does not have the same historical significance as the Ivy League schools.

2. Endowment and Financial Resources

One of the defining characteristics of Ivy League schools is their substantial endowments and financial resources. These resources enable the Ivy League institutions to provide generous financial aid packages, attract top faculty members, and invest in state-of-the-art facilities.

While Lehigh University has a respectable endowment, it does not have the same level of resources as the Ivy League schools.

3. Admission and Selectivity

The Ivy League schools are known for their highly selective admissions process. They receive a large number of applications each year and accept only a small percentage of applicants. Lehigh University, while competitive in its own right, does not have the same level of selectivity as the Ivy League schools.

However, it is important to note that Lehigh does have rigorous academic standards and admits students who have demonstrated academic excellence.

4. Academic Programs and Rankings

The Ivy League schools are consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. They have a wide range of academic programs and offer a comprehensive education across various disciplines. Lehigh University, while highly respected in certain fields such as engineering and business, does not have the same breadth and depth of academic programs as the Ivy League institutions.


While Lehigh shares many similarities with the elite Ivy League institutions, it is not officially considered one of the eight Ivy League schools. However, its exceptional academics, successful alumni, and unique undergraduate focus solidify its reputation as one of the top private universities in the nation.

So while you won’t find Lehigh sporting an Ivy League logo, you’ll still find the same devotion to academic excellence on its scenic campus. For many students, Lehigh offers an ideal blend of rigorous academics, research opportunities, and close-knit community outside of the Ivy League.

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