California Institute of Technology
Though the fact that CalTech has under 1,000 undergraduates establishes the school as a pretty intimate place, the system of sorting students in residential houses creates even closer communities. According to one alum, “each 'house' at 'tech has a unique personality (the hippie/druggie house, the sadistic house, the mostly Christian house, the sporty house, etc.) that you will soon adopt as your own, whether you want tonot (I was in the hippie/druggie). Once selected into one of these houses, a majority of the students will essentially confine themselves with this one group of people for the rest of their four years. So be careful about which house you choose to live in.” Most students express appreciation for the system, though they warn that it also encourages insularity. Students from different houses don’t always mix.
Most students work too hard to have much of a social life (and the much-bemoaned 70/30 gender split doesn’t help). Still, Techers are there for the academics. For the most part they are not disappointed. The alum continues, “The classes are hard, but they teach you a lot. So be prepared to work your ass off, but get a world-class education because of it. You'll get treated with a lot of respect when you graduate, too.” Professors have a great rep both on campusoff, which is a mixed blessing, since their prestige leads them to pursue research opportunities that can distract them from the classes they teach. As one sophomore chemistry major puts it, “It's notthey hate people (for the most part), it's just that they're less of a priority for them. [Students] don't learn quite as much from their professors as they do from figuring out the problem sets with each other. In some classes, most of the students taking that class won't even show up to lecture regularly.”
A strict honor code governs both socialacademic life,students swear by it. “The honor code ('any member of the Caltech community shall not take unfair advantage of another') is amazing. Take home quizzesfinals are common. You can take your finals in your roomtime yourself. You get access to buildings. You can even buy lunchpay for it the next day if you want. People trust you with almost anything. Don't break that trust,” the sophomore continues. Partly because of the code, the school has a pretty hands-off attitude towards the students. “At Caltech, you are treated by the administration as a child by his hippie parents, with lots of care, attention,freedom to find your own path,” says an alum.
As much as students enjoy that freedom, they spend most of their four years pushing themselves hard, sometimes to the brinksometimes beyond. “Caltech is a very intenserigorous place. This translates to the education,as a result many Caltech students work extremely hardeventually burn out. Furthermore, many Caltech students are top students before they arrive,therefore they might already be burned out,” says one junior chemistry major. A senior agrees: “People stay up very late doing work. It's usual to hear people saying they went to bed after 5 am. Sleeping is rarevery precious.”
Still, life does not entirely consist of problem sets. A freshman engineering major points out that “Caltech, despite our reputation, has many good athletic departments. Since we are a small school that focuses on academics first, the teams are typically less competitive. Because of this there is less athletic pride; however, it is pretty easy to start a sport - regardless of skill level.” This student continues, “Outside of classes, intellectual conversations are quite typicalenjoyable. I have talked to many people,later found out he got a gold medal at an international physics competition,she won a $100,000 scholarship for proving an original math theorem.”though there is some inevitable competition among students, most Techers respect each other’s abilities. The school is a meritocracy in which everyone belongs: “there are many different people on campus, various races, various religions, from many countriesso on. But nobody cares! Everyone is treated the samethat's great. It matters how a person behaveswhat they say, not their cultural backgroundrace. However, because of this, the diversity can spread even easierpeople find out things about other cultures without being biased against them,” says one senior.
This kind of grueling education isn’t for everyone, but the students at CalTech are generally happy: they enjoy better weathera much more tight-knit campus than their closest competitor, MIT.they know what they’re working towards: an esteemed position in the outside world, for which they will be amply prepared. As a senior sums up, “Employersgrad schools know that if they pick a Caltech graduate. They will get a very intelligent person, used to working very hardnever giving up.”
Caltech began as a vocational school founded in Pasadena in 1891 by local businessmanpolitician Amos G. Throop. The school was known successively as Throop University, Throop Polytechnic Institute,Throop College of Technology, before acquiring its current name in 1920. The vocational school was disbandedthe preparatory program was split off to form an independent Polytechnic School in 1907.
At a time when scientific research in the United States was still in its infancy, George Ellery Hale, a solar astronomer from the University of Chicago, founded the Mount Wilson Observatory in 1904. He joined Throop's board of trustees in 1907,soon began developing itthe whole of Pasadena into a major scientificcultural destination. He engineered the appointment of James A. B. Scherer, a literary scholar untutored in science but a capable administratorfund raiser, to Throop's presidency in 1908. Scherer persuaded retired businessmantrustee Charles W. Gates to donate $25,000 in seed money to build Gates Laboratory, the first science building on campus.
In fall 2008, the freshman class was 42% female, a record for Caltech's undergraduate enrollment. In the same year, the Institute concluded a six-year long fund-raising campaign. The campaign raised more than $1.4 billion from about 16,000 donors. Nearly half of the funds went into the support of Caltech programsprojects.
In 2010, Caltech, in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratoryheaded by Nathan Lewis, established a DOE Energy Innovation Hub aimed at developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight. This hub, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, will receive up to $122 million in federal funding over five years.
A TEDx was organized in 2011, called TEDxCaltech. The theme of the event was Feynman's Vision: The Next 50 Years. The speakers included Caltech facultystudents, as well as external professorsentrepreneurs.
Application Fee: $65
Admissions Types: Early Action, Regular Decision
Early Application Deadline: 11/1/2011
Regular Application Deadline: 1/1/2012
Regular Application Notification: 4/1/2012
Financial Aid Deadline: 3/2/2012
Total Undergraduates: 967
Total Graduate Students: 1,208
Total Enrollment: 2,175
American Indian/Alaskan Native: <1%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 39%
Hispanic: 6.00 %
White/Non-Hispanic: 40.00 %
Guaranteed On-Campus Housing Yes
Students Living on Campus: 95.00 %
Number of Registered Student Organizations: 150
Physical Sciences: 25%
ComputerInformation Sciences: 11%
Biological & Biomedical Sciences
Business, Management, & Marketing
Computer & Information Sciences
Computational neural systems
Computer Engineering - General
Engineering - General
English Language & Literature
English Language & Literature - General
History - General
History of Science/Technology
Mathematics - General
Science, Technology & Society
Philosophy & Religion
Social Sciences - General
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), observatories, windwater tunnels, radio observatory, seismological laboratory, marine biological laboratory
Campus ministries Choral groups Concert band Dance Drama Film society Fraternities International students Jazz band Literary magazine Marching band Model U.N. Music ensembles Musical theater Opera Pep band Radio station Sororities Student government Student newspaper Symphony orchestra Television station Yearbook
During the early 20th century, a Caltech committee visited several universitiesdecided to transform the undergraduate housing system from regular fraternities to a house system. Four south houses (or hovses) were built: Blacker House, Dabney House, Fleming HouseRicketts House. In the 1960s, three north houses were built: Lloyd House, Page House,Ruddock House,during the 1990s, Avery House. The four south houses closed for renovation in 2005reopened in 2006. All first year students live in the house system95% of undergraduates remain in it.
Richard Feynman was perhaps the most well-known physicist to be associated with Caltech, having published the Feynman Lectures on Physics.
Murray Gell-Mann, a Nobel-winning physicist, introduced a classification of hadronswent on to postulate the existence of quarks, which is currently accepted as part of the Standard Model.
Linus Pauling pioneered quantum chemistrymolecular biology,he went on to solve for the nature of the chemical bond in 1939.
Nobel laureate Carl D. Anderson (BS 1927, PhD 1930) proved the existence of positronsmuons,
Nobel laureate Edwin McMillan (BS 1928, MS 1929) synthesized the first transuranium element