California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, is one of the most competitive science and engineering schools in the country. Nearly all incoming students placed in the top ten percent of their graduating high school class. In fact, Caltech has consistently ranked as one of the top ten schools in the nation. Located in Pasadena (about 10 miles from Los Angeles), the small campus is spread out on 124 acres of land in a suburban setting. Less than 1,000 undergraduates attend the school, resulting in a student faculty ratio of three to one.
Since its founding in 1891, the school has established itself as a leading research institution. California Institute of Technology has been ranked as the best university for engineering and technology and physical sciences in the entire world. The most popular majors include engineering, physical sciences, and computer and information sciences. Caltech has also partnered with astronomical observatories and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), leading faculty to make significant discoveries in molecular biology, aerospace, and geochemistry.
Although the academic life at Caltech is extremely strict, the campus has become known for having a close-knit community. About 86% of undergraduates live on campus the entire four years. They’ve also earned a reputation as a school that delights in pranks, including changing the Hollywood sign to read Caltech and engaging in a friendly rivalry with MIT. There are also more than 100 extracurricular clubs for students. Despite being identified for academics, the school also has several NCAA Division III teams in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Caltech has an Honor Code that allows students to take part in activities that are mostly unheard of at other universities. For example, students are permitted to take home tests to complete on their own. They are also permitted to collaborate with their classmates on specific assignments, and they are given keys to various buildings around campus. At the beginning of their education at California Institute of Technology, students are simply required to agree to the statement: “No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community.”
Students who are interested in rising to the top in the fields of science, engineering, or mathematics and statistics should look into attending Caltech. The stringent academic program is offset by the lighthearted attitude on campus. Also, because the campus is located near Los Angeles, students don’t have to go far for a big city atmosphere. No matter what field of study they choose, California Institute of Technology graduates go on to accomplish great things.