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CalTech Site Visit Report


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I was so pleased to read Cynthia's college visit reports from years back, that I decided to submit my own from Cal Tech.  


It's a small campus, definitely not what I'm accustomed to, but big enough to have several dining options and places to hang out on campus.  

Lots of house traditions and a culture of pranking, having goofy/nerdy fun.

Very nerdy culture & pride.  

Pretty extreme honor system:  Students can take home final exams and take them whenever they want before deadline.  Exam instructions may say to allow 4 hours to take the test, open book, but no internet allowed, turn in by Friday.  

The dorm/houses were...charming?  We were taken through a rec room, and gosh it smelled bad.  I hate to say it, but why don't these schools make it a priority to make their living conditions a bit nicer?  It does make such a difference, I think.  Or maybe I'm just getting old.  

SURF=summer undergraduate research fellowships.  Very easy to obtain, and it seems like practically all students take advantage of them.  Our tour guide did research at JPL modeling Europa.  Very cool!   

Lots of corporate recruiting, because these are generally very smart kids, but also lots of students go on for PhDs.  


I used to think CalTech was really all about physics (Feynmann?), and everything else is secondary.  Not true.   


I had also feared that the freshman core classes would be an attempt to weed out students, but that also appears to be untrue.  Lots of collaboration and help from peers and upper classmen.  They assured me that students will not be admitted if it appears they will be unable to handle the core.  


Homeschool friendly:  I think they admitted 6 students in the most recent freshman class?  


Edited by daijobu
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