Lehigh Lingo

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The following is a list of terms that many students will incorporate into their vocabulary while attending Lehigh. The "Lehigh Lingo" terms include general college and university terms while others are more specific to our campus.



Each of Lehigh’s four undergraduate academic colleges has their own system for assigning advisors to students, but all students will have a professor from their respective college assigned to them as an advisor with whom they will meet during Orientation and this advisor will help them adjust their schedules and answer any questions they may have.  The student may be assigned a different advisor once they declare a major.

Bed Races

A tradition revived by the Class of 2010, teams of five compete in this fantastic competition.  Bed Races originally used to be a part of Greek Week before their downhill path was deemed too unsafe to be continued.  The current version of Bed Races occur during Lehigh-Lafayette Week and are conducted on Packer Ave.  Teams are composed of three people pushing a bed and two people riding.


The name bestowed upon the Lehigh Mountain Hawk mascot.  The name Clutch was created in November 2008, thirteen years after the Mountain Hawk became the school’s first-ever athletics mascot.

Common Hour Exams

While most schools have midterms, Lehigh splits the semester into three parts, separated by a set of exams called “Common Hour Exams” These exams are held at exactly 4:00pm during the sixth and eleventh weeks of each semester for courses that have more than one section.


Credit Hours

Each course at Lehigh which a student takes and passes contributes a set number of credit hours to his/her academic record: one credit hour, two credit hours, three credit hours, etc. Generally speaking, the number of credits given for a lecture course is the same as the number of hours spent in the class each week.  Laboratory components of courses typically are assigned one credit hour.

Dropped for poor scholarship

A student failing to meet requirements for good standing for two consecutive semesters will automatically be ineligible for continuing study and a student failing to meet standards for two non-consecutive semesters will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


A job-shadowing opportunity where students can observe someone in their field of choice.  They can build their networking contacts, ask questions, and get advice.  Externships are typically short, week-long experiences during summer or winter breaks.



A declining balance program where students may deposit money into their account and then use their student ID card as a debit card at both on-campus and local restaurants.

GPA (Grade Point Average)

A student’s cumulative grade point average is determined by dividing the total quality points awarded for the student’s graded course work by the total number of courses taken. The GPA is expressed on a four-point scale.

Gryphon (also see RA)

Name for Residents’ Assistant which comes from the mythological beast of Scythia known for protecting the area’s gold.  This term is used  because Lehigh considers its student the “gold” that needs protected.

Hawk’s Nest

On-Campus diner with late-night hours, located in Lamberton Hall student center. 


Students can gain real work experience by applying for paid or unpaid positions with businesses or organizations that are geared towards students preparing for a relevant career.


The week of activities leading up to the most-played rivalry in college football, including the Turkey Trot, bed races, the Spirit of Lehigh parade, and bonfire.  This year will mark the 159th meeting between the two schools.


The area in which a student has chosen to specialize and may be also referred to as the student’s degree program.


In addition to a student’s primary area of study, or major, they may choose to follow a secondary, less extensive area of study.


Designed to help students connect with students, faculty, and staff to aid in their transition, connect to resources, and discuss the campus community and climate.

Office Hours

A set day and time each week that a professor dedicates to being in his or her office to answer students’ questions.

OL (Orientation Leader)

Returning student trained to help new students with the transition to Lehigh and guide their group through orientation.


Pre-orientation program designed to be fun and help students transition into the Lehigh community by meeting other students and staff on one of 9 experiences. Visit the PreLUsion page for more details.

RA (Residents’ Assistant)

Returning student working for the Residence Life staff to answer questions, create programming, and monitor the hall on which they live, at Lehigh they are referred to as Gryphons.

Scholastic Probation

A student is placed on Scholastic Probation for falling below requirements for good standing and is ineligible for (a) intercollegiate competition and all other activities publicly representative of the University, (b) major office (elective or appointive) in any University organization, and (c) such other activity as may require more time than should be diverted from primary purposes by any student whose academic survival is at risk.  All students have the right to appeal their probationary status.  For more information see the Academic Resource Guide on the Student Handbook’s website.



One of the two periods of instruction comprising the academic year.  The fall semester normally starts near the end of August and ends in mid-December. The spring semester starts around the middle of January and ends near the middle of May. The fall and spring semesters together make up the academic year.

TA (Teaching Assistant)

Graduate students serve as teaching assistants and their tasks most commonly include setting up study sessions for students and helping with laboratory sessions.

The Brown and White

Lehigh school newspaper published twice each week.

Turkey Trot

One of the oldest traditions of Lehigh-Lafayette Week is the annual Turkey Trot, a 2.6-mile running race through campus