See what students say:


Beyond arguably one of the most rigorous undergraduate educations in science out there, Caltech is a small, tight-knit community that is “geared toward training tomorrow’s leaders and pioneers in the field of science.” There may be a heavy emphasis on scientific learning and research, but “not to the point where students can do nothing else,” as the core curriculum “exposes each student to a broad range of subjects” beyond the stereotypical fare. At Caltech, passionate researchers “work together to solve the problems of tomorrow, while enjoying great weather.” Or to put it in the parlance of collegiate times: “Cross collaboration of ideas and ingenuity leads to epic-ness!” Academics are understandably “intense” at Caltech: “The work can be hell but you’ll love what you learn.” Fortunately, “classes are small and it’s often easy to form tight bonds with the professors.” The quality of teaching can vary—“just because they’re Nobel Prize winners, does not make them good lecturers”—but the extremely low student-to-faculty ratio “makes it easier to interact on a personal basis with professors.” “My academic experience here has been an extremely difficult whirlwind of humbling and fascinating knowledge,” says a student. Much learning is done through the homework sets, on which students are encouraged to collaborate. The dedication Caltech has for training the researchers of tomorrow is renowned, and is evident in the accessibility to research for all students, even first-years. The academic experience isn’t just in the classroom; there are “lots of funding opportunities (for instance, the Housner Fund and the MooreHufstedler Fund) for projects outside of the classroom.” “One professor took me on for research after [my first] year (we formulated an improved way to rank basketball players and teams), and I’m very good friends with him in what is now my junior year,” says a mathematics major. Undergraduate student representation and self-government are happily welcomed here, and the school “really cares about the undergrads and wants to keep us happy.” The school also does “a really good job of keeping students occupied and entertained while at the same time cramming a ridiculous amount of information into our heads.”

Student Body

“Everyone knows each other” at this “beautiful, small campus,” and there’s “no way around it”: students here are “smart” and “nerdier than average,” but “there is a wide range in personality within the student body.” Almost everyone has “an odd sense of humor and a serious hobby, whether it be Minecraft, building lasers, or rock climbing.” There is “complete trust within the student body” at Caltech, and the house system provides “a family-like support network for students,” which is a welcome respite from “extreme academic pressures.”

Campus Life

Modeled after the Oxford college system (and “very similar to Harry Potter”), the Caltech house system is the basis for undergraduate life, offering both a place to live and a social center for students. First-years are placed into one of nine residential communities after the first week of school, and “immediately are integrated into a close social network/safety net. Basically each student automatically gets ~100 friends.” Each house has “a slightly different culture, and most people find that they identify strongly with at least one of the cultures”; as one student says, “My house has a tool room and turned down the housing office’s offer to buy us a TV,” says a senior electrical engineering major. In keeping with the one big happy family vibe, “undergraduates and grad students play Frisbee together, students and faculty play together in music groups, grad students go to undergraduate parties...and the students have a lot of unexploited trust from the faculty because of the Honor Code.” Caltech has lots of fun traditions such as Halloween, when students “freeze pumpkins in liquid nitrogen and drop them off of [Caltech Hall] as a ‘pumpkin-drop experiment.’” However, some feel that some of the new administrators “are trying to circumvent various student traditions and freedoms.” The cherry on top of the Caltech sundae is “the fantastic SoCal weather, which is hard to beat anywhere in the world.” Time is at a premium, but students “take trips to the beach and LA” over the weekend; during the week, “[problem] sets and extracurriculars keep us pretty close to campus.”

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
1200 E. California Boulevard; M/C 10-90
Pasadena, CA 91125



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Hammeetman Center
Beckman Institute
Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics
Broad Center for the Biological Sciences
Moore Laboratory
Self-guided walking tour brochure and online interactive tour available on Caltech website.

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Old Town Pasadena
South Lake Avenue Shopping District
Huntington Library
Norton-Simon Museum
L.A. County Museum of Art
Santa Monica Pier Venice Beach Disneyland Universal Studios

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Coach Directly

Advance Notice
1 week

Contact Email Address for Visit

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available



Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Los Angeles International Airport is less than 30 miles away. Shuttle vans, taxis, and rental cars are available at the airport; contact the airport to make arrangements. Burbank Airport is 20 minutes from Caltech. Amtrak trains and Greyhound/Trailways buses serve Los Angeles.

Driving Instructions to Campus
Take the 210 Freeway to the Hill Ave. off-ramp. Turn south on Hill Ave. Turn right into the parking behind our office at 383 S Hill or use street parking.

Local Accommodations
There are numerous hotel and motel options close to campus. Remember to ask whether special rates for Caltech guests and/or shuttle service to campus are available. Travel Services maintains a list of hotels with preferred rates for Caltech visitors. For more information, visit: https://www.caltech.edu/about/visit/plan-your-visit


Applicants: 16,626
Acceptance Rate: 3%



Tuition & Aid

Student Body

Campus Life

Articles & Advice