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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

School Spotlight: Lafayette College

Updated: May 8, 2023

If you aren't familiar with Lafayette, you may just assume it is some college in Louisiana. In actuality, it is a very selective, private liberal arts college located in Easton, Pennsylvania. It is in the Lehigh Valley, along with Allentown and Bethlehem, two better known cities. It has one of the longest standing college rivalries in the country - 154 years - with neighbor Lehigh University. Here are some more fun facts about Lafayette College:

1) Lafayette is strictly an undergraduate college, so student are not competing with graduate students for any opportunities on campus. 96% of students live on campus and housing is guaranteed for all 4 years, so it is truly a residential campus with over 20 residence halls. Lafayette offers special interest houses for students who have a shared love for a particular topic like music, tabletop games, or math, science, and engineering.

2) Each class (freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior) gets their own academic dean, reflecting the strong commitment to academic support for faculty and students. The Common Course of Study, Lafayette's curriculum model, includes a first-year seminar followed by courses covering a wide range of topics/themes:

  • Elementary proficiency in a foreign language

  • Global and Multicultural

  • Humanities

  • Natural Sciences

  • Quantitative Reasoning

  • Science and Technology in a Social Context

  • Social Sciences

  • Values

  • Writing

3) The Gateway Career Center helps students begin to explore their potential from freshmen year. Each student is assigned an individual career counselor who helps them through a self-discovery process and guides them towards internships, externships, and other hands-on learning opportunities. 96% of 2019 Lafayette grads are employed, enrolled in graduate school, or doing other meaningful work (volunteering, interning, etc.)

4) Sophomores, juniors and seniors with a minimum 3.0 GPA may be nominated by a faculty member to become Excel Scholars, getting paid to conduct research in engineering, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. More than 160 students participate in this program each year, and many students are able to present their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

5) Lafayette has a vibrant arts community, with departments in art, music, theatre, creative writing, and film/media studies. There are 10 music ensembles, including chamber orchestra, concert choir, contemporary music ensemble, jazz ensemble, and percussion ensemble. The Arts Society is one of the most active clubs on campus and there are numerous other arts-related clubs and organizations for students to choose from.

6) Lafayette is a NCAA Division 1 school in the Patriot league, offering 23 sports. Intramural and club sports are also popular, although COVID-19 has obviously put a temporary pause on some of these.

Bonus info: Lafayette was named for French general and American hero, Marquis de Lafayette, whose lifelong philosophy was "Cur Non," or "Why Not?" This has continued to be the motto for Lafayette to this day.

Learn more about Lafayette here!

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