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Get a head start on your college experience with the Virtual College Success Academy (VCSA) for new undergraduate students as well as transfer and exchange students starting at Lehigh in the fall semester.

Mary Newbegin
Ms. Mary Newbegin, VCSA Coordinator and Instructor

It's really great! VCSA is an interactive, live course online that students can take from their homes. And, they can receive college credit!

Mark Ouellette, ICAPE Director

Virtual College Success Academy (VCSA) is an opportunity for new international undergraduate students and undergraduate transfer students from colleges in the U.S. and overseas to learn important academic skills and prepare for college life. It includes the three-credit online course, University Life, Study and Language, in which you will learn about university culture, develop your academic communication and study skills, and engage virtually with Lehigh teachers, staff and students on campus. After the six weeks of VCSA, you will be ready to succeed in the fall semester.

In VCSA, you will:

  • Learn Lehigh history and campus culture
  • Take virtual tours with current Lehigh students
  • Learn about resources for success
  • Learn how to communicate in class discussion effectively
  • Learn how to communicate with your teachers and advisors
  • Make new friends and learn how to communicate informally outside of class
  • Learn how to give multi-modal presentations using innovative technology
  • Interview and engage with Lehigh staff, students, and professors
  • Participate in virtual campus social events

You will meet online with the teacher and other students as a whole class at times, and at other times you will meet individually with the teacher and in small groups online. As a final group project, you will collaborate virtually on an "e-portfolio" with research about your chosen university and present virtually to the class and invited guests.

To learn more about the program, view the flyer (pdf), read the frequently asked questions below, or attend our virtual information session on June 3, 8:00 am - 9:00 am EST.

Ready to get a head start on your college career? Complete the VCSA online application now.

Apply Now

Program Schedule
 Program DatesApplication Deadline

Undergraduate Course: University Life and


July 5-August 11

June 1 (new first year undergrads)

June 15 (transfer students)

Optional Virtual Tutoring

July 5-August 11

June 1

Tuition information

New transfer students and international undergraduate students accepted for the fall 2022 semester will receive the Provost's scholarship to cover VCSA tuition. All other students will pay the per-credit tuition rate for three credits.

What Students are saying

"VCSA is my first college remote learning experience, and it brought to me so many new things and skills to about both how to be a college student and how to effectively have online classes. I learned how to have effective communications and interactions with my classmates, for example in breakout rooms, and how to foster leadership online. Apart from breakout rooms, I also conducted for the first time a lot of online presentations, and learned how to use technologies like Panapto and Flipgrid, etc. I definitely feel more prepared to conduct any of my future courses online if conditions require."

"I didn't know so much about Lehigh before this class and I was grateful for the information that encouraged me to be confident to the coming semester. I used to attend online courses before but VCSA is different with them because it's more active and needs participation in discussion. This could be a great preparation for me which would foster my study in some courses which need discussion in the future."

Hear from more students in the video below!

Learn About the Program

What is VCSA?

What is VCSA?

Frequently Asked Questions

What time will the class meet?

The class will meeting days and times will be announced. In scheduling the online class meeting time, we will take stduents' time zones, individual schedules, travel plans and time zones into account. There will be some flexibility in virtual class meeting times. Please contact us if you require some accommodation in class meeting time.

How much work can I expect each week?

The class meets live (synchronously) twice per week for 2.5 hours (for undergraduates) or 1.5 hours (for graduates). Besides live classes, you will be expected to work an additional 3-4 hours per week on homewoek, interviewing Lehigh faculty/staff and stduents online, collaborating with other students virtually, and attending workshops.

What materials do I need?

The undergraduate class requires that you purchase one textbook: Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen, ISBN-13 # 978-0143113034. The graduate class requires an electronic coursepack that will be sent to you for free.

What are the technological requirements for success in this online course?

What supplemental tools are available to me?

  • Course Site is Lehigh’s course management system that allows students to join lectures, listen to recorded lectures, collaborate online, send email, check grades, submit work, and post videos all in one place. Students will be given more details about how to use the Course Site before classes begin at the end of June.
  • Zoom is Lehigh’s licensed web-conferencing tool that enables students to engage in online classes synchronously with their instructors and peers. More information about how to get started with Zoom can be found here.
  • Lehigh’s email is Gmail within the Google suite. Students will receive instruction on how to use their Lehigh email, and Lehigh’s VPN may be required.
  • Any questions about technology may be referred to LTS Helpdesk or the LTS Confluence webpage, which has more general technological information.

Who do I contact to get help on/set up my Lehigh email address?

**If you have already activated your Lehigh email with a password, you can go to: If you still cannot access the email after signing in, it is likely that you must wait until the end of May for the current semester to end. You can also contact Technology Services:

What is the difference between a synchronous class (live class) and an asynchronous class?

A synchronous class through Zoom is a real class! Students will see and hear their instructors and classmates in real time and have the opportunity to interact with them in a variety of ways.

An asynchronous class involves pre-recorded lectures and independent assignments on non-live days. Students may also have small-group meetings, book discussions, interactions with Lehigh staff, or instructor conferences at a time that students agree on.

What if I miss a synchronous (live) class?

It is best if you do not miss the synchronous classes, but if you do have to miss a class, the lectures will be recorded. Be sure to discuss this with your instructor.

What are the goals of this class?

The VCSA class will benefit new international students who have not attended classes at a U.S. university by providing authentic interaction with the campus community through projects, readings, and group discussions. Specifically, the goals are to help students brush up on their academic communication and study skills while also helping to socialize effectively into the academic demands and cultural expectations of university life, whether at Lehigh University or at another US institution.

How will I be graded?

Your grade will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Participation in synchronous classes and asynchronous lectures, group meetings, and projects
  • Quizzes (textbook and lecture material)
  • Group e-Portfolio
  • Weekly Vlogs

What is the minimum grade that I will need to pass this course?

In order to get credit for this class, you will need a minimum grade of C+. Your grades will be recorded in the gradebook on your Course Site, so you will have access to your grades through the course.

Will I get a certificate for this program or a transcript?

Yes, upon succesful completition of the course (C+ or higher), you will receive an electronic certificate. However, since this is a non-credit class, no transcript will be provided.

What if I do not do well in the course? Will may grade affect my acceptance at any US university

Your grade in this course does not affect your admission at any university.

What is class participation? How do I receive a participation grade for an online class?

Class participation is an important part of learning and is more than just having your computer on and listening. Full participation requires active engagement in the lesson. Here are some ways students can demonstrate that they are actively participating in the course:

  • Log in a few minutes early
  • Turn camera on
  • Engage in the lecture by asking or answering questions with voice or chat feature
  • Complete assignments before class begins
  • Anticipate questions
  • Take notes while completing assignments
  • Collaborate with other students on group projects

Participation for asynchronous days includes:

  • Log in to Course Site on asynchronous days
  • Make substantive contributions to online discussion forums
  • Complete assigned activities by the deadline
  • Check Lehigh email daily