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To accommodate the needs of newly admitted international students, Lehigh is offering a new program, Lehigh in Residence.

Lehigh in Residence is a unique opportunity for students to matriculate for the fall semester at Lehigh University and take courses for Lehigh credit at a university in their home country. The information on this page is for students outside of China. Students in China should refer to information about the Lehigh in Residence program in Shanghai.


Will I be able to get a visa in time for the start of the fall semester in Bethlehem?

Most US consulates around the world are currently closed due to COVID-19 and are not able to issue visas for students accepted at US universities.  While some of the consulates are indicating that they are beginning to reopen, it is extremely unlikely that students will receive their visas in time to arrive by August 24, when instruction begins in Bethlehem. 

If I do not get a visa in time for the fall semester in Bethlehem, what are my options?

Lehigh is offering three options for first-year students who are not able to get to Bethlehem:

  • Lehigh in Residence: A residential experience with a partner university
  • Remote instruction: A full semester of courses delivered remotely from Bethlehem
  • Defer admission until January 2021 or Fall 2021

What is Lehigh in Residence and how does it work?  Which university may I attend?

Lehigh University is exploring the option to create programs with several of our partner universities so that newly admitted students who are not able to travel to Bethlehem may complete the Fall 2020 semester in their home countries.  Lehigh has an extensive network of partnerships with leading educational institutions.  As part of this arrangement, students will matriculate to Lehigh as a regular first year student, but complete an approved set of courses at a local university that will automatically be recognized by Lehigh. Students will also take some courses delivered from Lehigh, such as English 3, “Composition and Literature I for International Writers.”

We are developing several special features for students who choose this option, including additional programming unique to Lehigh to help students to prepare to arrive in the US.  For example, we are planning a virtual ‘buddy’ program with current Lehigh undergraduates.  We also anticipate that we will be able to offer additional grants for the term in which students are studying at the partner university. 

We are meeting with international students individually to discuss the Lehigh in Residence option.  A partial list of institutions with which Lehigh has agreements for this program is available here:

  • African University, Zimbabwe
  • Ashoka University, India
  • BAU Global, Turkey
  • Forman Christian College, Pakistan
  • Universidad de la Sabana, Colombia
  • Sogang University, South Korea
  • Suleyman Demirel University, Kazakhstan
  • Texas Tech University, Costa Rica
  • Universidad Del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala
  • University of Finance and Marketing, Vietnam
  • University of Taipei, Taiwan

What happens if the partner university is not able to offer in-person instruction?

We are in regular communication with partners who are assisting students with Lehigh in Residence.  If the partner is not able to provide in-person instruction, we are prepared to advise on remote learning options from Bethlehem.

How will the academic calendar at partner institutions and Lehigh be coordinated?

The Lehigh academic calendar may be different than that at partner universities.  This means that students taking courses remotely from Bethlehem may begin these classes before or after the start of Lehigh in Residence semester.  Students will be advised about these calendar differences during the process for academic advising.

How will remote instruction be offered?

Lehigh announced on June 10 that we will resume some in-person instruction on August 24, and that some significant number of courses will be offered remotely.  The faculty are currently determining which courses will be made available online, and they are working to develop the best quality on-line instruction as possible.  The specifics for the remote learning plan have not been announced, although we have been assured that a limited number of first year courses will be available on-line.  We do not know specifics, such as the time of day when these courses will be offered.  Lehigh in Residence students will also have an option to take some remote course from Bethlehem, based on discussions with their academic advisor.

If I decide to defer admission, how do I do this?

While our goal is for students to matriculate with their class in Fall 2020, we understand that some students may prefer to defer until January 2021 or Fall 2021.  Only students who have accepted a place in the class and submitted (or had received a waiver for) the non-refundable enrollment deposit ($500) by May 1 prior to their original enrollment term, are eligible for a deferral.  Although priority was given to students who requested deferral prior to June 15, we are flexible with international students because of the current extraordinary circumstances and you may still request to defer.

Admitted first-year students who wish to request a deferral (of any length), must submit a detailed plan describing exactly how they will spend their time and confirming their understanding that they cannot apply to, or enroll in, any other college or university during their gap period. This can be submitted via email to 

For more information about deferrals, please visit the Office of Admissions website.

How do I know which classes to take this fall, and how do I register? 

The academic advisors in each of the colleges are working very closely with staff in the Office of International Affairs to advise international first year students about courses. The advisors will assist with preparing a recommended set of courses for the fall semester so that each student has an individual schedule.  If students choose the Lehigh in Residence option, the Lehigh academic advisors will recommend the courses at the partner university that will be recognized at Lehigh.  For students who choose the option for fully remote learning, academic advisors who recommend courses based on the final on-line schedule, taking into account as much as possible the differences in time zones.

Students will remain in communication with their academic advisors throughout the fall, especially when time comes to select and register for spring semester classes.

All international students will be automatically registered into fall semester classes, in order to ensure that they get the courses that they need.  International students will not need to register themselves for the fall semester, as will students studying on the Bethlehem campus.

How will my AP/IB credits be recognized by Lehigh?

The academic advisors in each college will review any AP/IB credits and make recommendations for students’ fall semester schedules that can best recognize these.

How do I take the anticipatory exams remotely (as part of Lehigh in Residence or if I take courses remotely)?

Students who think that they may need to take the anticipatory exams should communicate this with their academic advisor, during the month of July. Their advisor will help determine if this is necessary, and how to assist the student with taking the exam remotely.  The Office of First-Year Experience will be sending additional communications about plans for anticipatory exams.

What is the Virtual College Success Academy?  Why should I enroll? How do I sign up?

All newly admitted international undergraduate students will be given the option to enroll in Lehigh’s Virtual College Success Academy this summer with no additional charge.  As part of the Virtual College Success Academy, students can earn up to 3 credits in Summer 2020. Students will enroll in ENGL 095 (Lehigh Life and Language for International Speakers), which will allow students to engage with Lehigh faculty, staff members, and students, develop their oral communications skills, and most importantly, learn more about Lehigh.  We are excited that we can make it possible to earn Lehigh credit before you matriculate to the university. 

In this course, students will read a short novel, engage in online discussions, engage in virtual interviews and conversations, and complete a final group online research project about some aspect of Lehigh University. The course involves approximately four to five hours per week of virtual class time plus two to three hours per week of homework. The course is appropriate for all international students since it requires an advanced level of English language proficiency and since the focus is on helping new students learn to communicate effectively within and outside of the classroom.

In order to enroll in the Virtual College Success Academy (VCSA) and take ENGL 095 in summer  II 2020, students should complete the online VCSA form.

Will I be able to participate in any Lehigh activities and programming during the fall semester?

We are offering a fall calendar of activities.  Some of these planned programs include:

  • Orientation to Lehigh
  • Dinners with Lehigh alumni living in students’ home countries
  • Buddies with students currently enrolled at Lehigh
  • Discussion groups with clubs and organizations on the Lehigh campus
  • Activities related to Lehigh traditions, such as Lehigh-Lafayette College rivalry and Brown and White Fridays.
  • Special workshops related to studying in the US

Can I get involved with clubs and organizations at Lehigh?

We are exploring opportunities to participate in some clubs and activities at Lehigh, especially since many of these organizations will be offering many virtual programs.

What will happen if I get a visa that will allow me to arrive this fall?

We think that it is very unlikely that any newly admitted students who do not already have a visa to the US will be able to get one in time for the fall semester.  The US State Department has not indicated any plans to offer expedited processing for new student visas.  Unfortunately, there is nothing that Lehigh can do about this situation.   

Students who are enrolled in Lehigh in Residence will not have the option to come to Lehigh this fall if they receive a visa after the start of classes. These students will arrive in January for the start of the spring semester.  Students who choose the fully remote option may be able to come to Lehigh this fall, depending upon the specific courses in which they are enrolled.   Because of the many complications related to obtaining visas, students must speak with staff in the Office of International Students and Scholars before making any arrangements to travel to Bethlehem.

When will Lehigh provide more information about what to expect for the fall semester?

President Simon made an initial announcement regarding the plans for the fall semester in his announcement to campus, June 10, 2020.  Additional information will be announced as it becomes available.  The situation in the US, as it is everywhere in the world, is very fluid.  Our plans continue to evolve based on the situation in the state of Pennsylvania, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Lehigh Valley, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Governor of Pennsylvania.

When will I get information about the costs for Lehigh in Residence?

The Office of Financial Aid is issuing individual letters to students very soon with cost information for Lehigh in Residence.

How do I confirm my decision regarding the fall semester?

Please let us know you decision by completing this brief survey.

If I choose to take courses online this fall semester, will I take the courses with students from different countries so we can have a shared experience?

As we wait on further guidance from the university on what the fall semester will look like, it is very likely that most of the courses will be in a hybrid format (both online and in-person). Therefore, you may find both domestic and international students in your courses from all different time zones. Faculty are being asked to prepare courses that will accommodate students in various time zones.