All are excellent schools (but I'm not sure that Hamilton has engineering so you should go to their website and double check that). I suggest that you try your best to visit the schools to see where you feel most comfortable.
Hamilton doesn't have engineering. Technically, all the best engineering schools are the public funded ones (ie. Texas A&M). On an engineering basis however, it really depends on which major you're planning on doing. But I would definitely recommend checking out: Union, Bucknell, Trinity (accepts *a lot* of international), and Swarthmore (arguably the best) besides Lafayette.
As sixstringsrocker said, there are a bunch of writing courses that all Lafayette students are required take. Currently, those are FYS, VaST, College Writing, as well as 2 additional writing courses (of your choice) to be taken during junior and senior years.
However, the Class of 2015 will be the last class to take VaST. I am not sure of the requirements for the class of 2016 and beyond, but VaST will not be one of them.
Yes, Lafayette requires a bunch of writing classes for everyone, including engineers.There's a FYS (first year seminar) as in every other school I think, then there's college writing, and a VaST class. VaST stands for Values of Science and Technology. All three are writing intensive. I'll be taking a couple other classes, including a 400 level Mechanical Engineering class in my senior year that's actually a writing intensive course. I know there are similar writing intensive technical classes for chemical engineers. There must be something similar for civil and ece as well.
Oh, thanks for pointing that out! I forgot the engineers' slightly different requirements. I am unsure of what they are going to do to replace VAST though, since as I said, my class (2015) will be the last to take it.
Could any of you tell me a bit more about Lafayette traditions, for example, the rival with Lehigh? Are there any events/festivals that have been a part of Laf?
Also, I plan to major in econs/international studies in college. I know Lafayette is well-known for its engineering program, but what about the other majors? Are internships/study abroad programs available for everyone?
there are things like Lafayette Day in the centre square in downtown easton. It's basically a ton of stuff to do, free food, meeting the mayor, etc.
Lafayette Lehigh is big. It's a lot of fun. I don't get football but I still enjoy it a lot. It starts as early as 5am (among students of course)...I think they get a "lehigh car" and there are hammers and we beat it to death, different campus groups print T-shirts for Laf-Lehigh with fun stuff on them, such as "I want to go to Lehigh -- said no one" etc etc. You basically have to be here and experience it to know what I'm talking about.
That's what comes to my mind right now. May be @captainclueless could fill you in more on this. Also, may be @LC82 will have some more stuff for you.
One more additional question regarding Engineering:
I know that it's quite writing intensive, but what if I wanted to learn an additional foreign language? I'm fluent in German but my writing's rather bad so I'd like to study that but I would also like to study French (which isn't horrendous but it needs a good bit of work). Is that possible? Can I major in Engineering whilst taking those on the side?