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How to Respond to the Lehigh University Supplemental Essay Prompts 

Lehigh University is a small private college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Lehigh, known for rigorous academics and premiere research, opened its doors in1865. With an array of study abroad options and a beautiful campus located within an hour and a half of both the Pocono Mountains and New York City, Lehigh offers students numerous ways to grow beyond their academics. If this sounds like the place for you, let us help you put your best foot forward on the Lehigh supplemental essays!

The Lehigh University supplemental essay prompts

Lehigh requires three supplemental essays on their application. This means there’s a lot of writing to do, but also more than one chance to stand out. Their application may take more time than some others, but that comes with advantages. Lehigh’s prompts offer you the opportunity to really show them who you are. Take your time and don’t get overwhelmed. Let’s jump in!

Prompt #1

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

The first of the Lehigh supplemental essays only gives you 150 words to respond. So, you’ll need to make every word count. You may have heard about this school in multiple ways. Focus on how you first learned about Lehigh to help show them a bit about you. If you’re trying to decide between telling them that you saw a generic flyer or someone recommended Lehigh to you when you were participating at a science fair, go with the second option. Remember, schools want to get to know you! 

Questions to consider

  • How did you hear about Lehigh? 
  • Do you know someone who attended the university and told you about it?
  • Did you find it on your own? 

The second half of the prompt is another straightforward question about you. Now that you’ve told them how you heard about them, they want to know what pushed you to the next step and actually apply. Show Lehigh that you “did your homework” here!

Here are a few more questions to ask yourself:

  • Is Lehigh well known for the major you want to pursue? 
  • Do they offer great athletic opportunities?
  • Is your mom or dad an alumni and you want to follow in their footsteps? 

It can be easy to answer this half of the prompt with facts about the university, but Lehigh already knows that information. You might mention their clubs and organizations, certain research opportunities they offer, or travel abroad options, but that doesn’t tell them much about you. Use the “why were you motivated to apply section” to give another glimpse into who you are and what you bring to Lehigh University. . 

Questions to consider

  • Do you want to join a club or organization and try something totally new and outside your comfort zone? 
  • Why are you interested in a particular research subject? Do you know a person or situation that might be improved by that research?
  • What do you hope to gain by traveling abroad? Will you be the first person in your family to leave your country, state, or city in doing so?

If you’re still feeling stuck, take some time to research Lehigh to see what you like about them. Remember, the goal of this question is to get to know you a little better. Don’t overthink it. Be honest and consider what you want them to know about you. 

Also see: What looks good on a college application?

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)

If you’re feeling intimidated by this prompt, that’s okay. This is a question that might require more time and effort than the other two. So, let’s break it down and think about what Lehigh is trying to find out by asking this question.

Lehigh clearly states several of their values within the above statement. They want to see some of those same values reflected in your response. Again, the admissions officers are trying to get a good sense of “who you are” to see if their school is the best fit for you. If you don’t have the same, or similar, values, it might indicate that there is another school that may suit you better, which is okay. So, the easiest way to answer this question is to divide it into several questions. 

Questions to consider

  • What values does Lehigh think are important?
  • Do you think those values are also important?
  • What other personal values or principles do you think are important?

In order to answer the rest of the question, you now need to identify what community you’d like to highlight and what issues of injustice, inequity, and inequality take place in those communities. Community can mean more than just where you physically live. Sports, school clubs, and volunteer organizations can all be communities.

Questions to consider 

  • What organizations, teams or clubs are you involved in?
  • What issues exist within those communities?
  • What of those issues do you feel most passionate about?

Take some time to identify what these communities are and what you would like to see be done differently. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, talk with people you know about what they might have to say. There may be issues you are not even aware of. 

Whatever topic you pick should not be random to you. The issue you choose to write about should be a topic you care about. Your level of passion will show through. Remember, the goal of these questions is for Lehigh to get a better understanding of who you are. 

Questions to consider

  • How can you, as one person, make a difference on campus?
  • What do you want to see change in a community you are a part of? 
  • How are you going to be part of that change?

A college is not expecting you to lay out a five-step plan to solve the problems that you talk about in your essay. They are well aware that there are no simple solutions to issues of inequality, inequity, and injustice. What they do want to see is that you are an individual who pays attention, asks questions, and is an engaged community member. 

Your essay may end up asking more questions than it answers, but that’s alright. Asking questions is a great way to show that you understand what is going on around you and that you care about those things. You’re almost done with your application, just one last prompt to answer!

Don’t miss: How many schools should I apply to?

Prompt #3

 With the understanding that some students will change colleges at Lehigh after the first year, please briefly describe why you chose to apply to the first-choice college or major that you listed above. (200 words)

So, what does the last of the Lehigh supplemental essays ask for? It wants to know about you and why your major is important to you. This is a great opportunity to share some personal details and your interests and goals. 

Questions to consider

  • Think about why you chose the major you did 
  • What stories are associated with your major? 
  • What do you want them to know about why you chose your major? 

Lehigh wants to know what it means to you and how their school will help you achieve it. Doing some research into their academic departments and resources is a great thing to do before answering this question. You should have a solid idea of ways that you plan to utilize what they offer. 

However, be careful not to just rattle off resources. While it’s great to show that you have done your research, Lehigh already knows about what their school has to offer. What they want to hear is how you + their resources are going to equal your academic success. 

Don’t miss: How to respond to the Common App essay prompts

Create a game plan

You should treat the Lehigh supplemental essays as you would a homework assignment. College applications can be tedious work. Essay prompts like the ones above might take you several hours, maybe even days, to fully write and be satisfied with. Not to mention, they may require talking with people you know and seeking trusted sources to gather information from. 

The work you put into your college application essays now will shine through later. When you receive responses from  colleges, you should feel confident knowing that no matter what their response is, you did your best to show them who you are as a student and an individual. Take your time, make a plan, and seek help when you need it. Soon enough, you’ll be well on your way to opening that acceptance letter from the right school for you!

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