Caltech Campus Tour

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

California Institute of Technology front view

Caltech Campus Tour

Prepare to immerse yourself in the spirit of scientific discovery, absorb the palpable energy that courses through these hallowed halls, and embark on a Caltech campus tour that celebrates the fusion of knowledge and innovation. Whether you’re on the cusp of embarking on a transformative educational journey or simply seeking to quench your thirst for intellectual stimulation, the Caltech campus tour promises an experience that is as enlightening as it is exhilarating.

Is the Caltech campus open to the public?

Is access granted to the general public on the Caltech campus? The general public as well as members of the campus community are invited to attend a Caltech campus tour. A tour of the Caltech campus can provide visitors with an insider’s perspective on what it is that makes Caltech stand out from other educational institutions, including its cutting-edge curricula, student traditions, world-class faculty, and long history of groundbreaking research.

Visit Options

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Caltech provides prospective students and their guests with the opportunity to participate in a student-led tour of the campus. They are planning to give you a time of the campus on the day that you are there.

An old building with a fountain near its facade.

Additionally, they will be holding information sessions in the fall. On the registration form, you’ll find information about the various visit options. When tours and/or information sessions are offered, guests must register separately to participate.

Prospective-Student Tours

Participation in student-led tours and information sessions with admissions counselors that detail undergraduate academics and student life is strongly encouraged for prospective students and their families. Caltech campus tour is led by current students.

High School Group Tours

The Undergraduate Admissions Office at Caltech offers specialized tours to high school groups that consist of ten students or more. The undergraduate experience at Caltech is the primary focus of these tours, which provide a general introduction to the campus as a whole.

Group Tours

The office will not be conducting any group tours at this time as a result of the limited availability and the application review. In the year 2023, Caltech will begin offering group tours of the campus lasting one hour and geared toward high school students (grades 9-12) who are considering applying to the institute.

On a first-come, first-served basis, they can accommodate high schools and community-based organizations that are interested in organizing group tours for 10 to 49 people. However, space is limited.

The tour request form for groups needs to be turned in at least three weeks before the date for the tour. If any of the members of the group are younger than 18 years old, there must be at least one adult chaperone present throughout the entirety of the group’s time spent on campus.

COVID-19 Guidelines

The COVID-related restrictions that were placed on Caltech events held on campus, whether indoor or outdoor, have been lifted.

A Caltech signage

Visitors who enter the facilities during the Caltech campus tour are required to attest that they are fully vaccinated or that they have a valid medical exemption. Inside campus buildings, the wearing of masks is not required unless otherwise specified. However, if a member of the Caltech community wishes to continue to do so, they are strongly encouraged.

Does Caltech have a virtual tour?

Is there a way to explore Caltech virtually? Virtual tours can help you refresh your memory or serve as a preview for your in-person tour of the California Institute of Technology, but nothing beats being there in person.

Virtual Caltech Campus Tour

The Athenaeum, the Beckman Institute, the Gene Pool, and the Turtle Pond are just some of the places that are essential to the community and can be learned about in a new online interactive tour that allows people who are not on campus to make a virtual visit to Caltech and learn about some of the places that are important to the community. The tour is comprised of a sequence of 13 captioned 360-degree photographs.

Please take note that Google terminated the Poly service on June 30, 2021. Because of this, the online interactive tour is no longer something that can be accessed.

Online information session

At Caltech, you’re going to get a unique college experience. Participating in an online information session or making a request for information is a fantastic way to determine whether or not we are a suitable pair with one another.

When considering an applicant for admission, Caltech does not take into account or keep track of demonstrated interest. Additionally, they do not keep track of whether or not a student has visited the campus or attended an information session.

“Techer Talk” sessions

Attend a Techer Talk session online that will last for one hour and will be hosted by a Caltech Admissions Ambassador. You will acquire more knowledge regarding student life, and you will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions. You can check out the schedule for the online version of Techer Talk and then reserve your spot.

How long is the Caltech campus tour?

How long is the guided tour of the Caltech campus? Learn about life in Pasadena, classes, research, and the extracurricular activities that teachers enjoy the most with this daily, student-led tour that lasts for sixty minutes and takes place during the school week. Guests on tours will not be allowed into any labs.

Two female students talking in the campus.

The dates and times of the event will be posted one to three months in advance.

What can you see at Caltech?

What kinds of things are there to see at Caltech? Living in Pasadena, where the campus of the California Institute of Technology, more commonly referred to as Caltech, is located, has provided a much-appreciated break from the pandemic.

A stroll through the verdant campus, complete with its turtle pond, fountains, historic buildings, and groves of eucalyptus trees, is both a picturesque experience and a haven of tranquility.

A quick reminder that the majority of the buildings on campus are inaccessible to outsiders (except those that host the infrequent public events)  and that only students, faculty, and staff have keycards to enter the buildings.

Neuroscience Research Building

The Neuroscience Research Building is a must-see place during the Caltech campus tour. The brand-new building for neuroscience is a cutting-edge structure made of glass and unusual angles, with bronze panels that gleam when exposed to natural light. This slope is crossed by a bridge that leads into the building’s core, which at night is bathed in a bluish-gray glow from the illumination.

Beckman Institute

The architecture of this building is reminiscent of a Spanish mission, and it features arcades on both sides that open up onto a lush courtyard. It is widely considered to be one of the most attractive structures on campus.

The building is home to a chemistry and biological research center that bears the name of a former professor at Caltech who is credited with inventing the first pH meter. He did so to provide local citrus growers with a method to determine the level of acidity present in lemon juice.

The structure contains a total of two fountains. The first is located in the middle of the courtyard and features a sculpture of a polyhedron that has water coating its surfaces and slowly flowing down its sides. The other fountain is a nice reflecting pool that has been dubbed the “Gene Pool.” It has colorful tiles along the bottom that are arranged in a pattern that looks like a double helix.

Beckman Auditorium

Another stop of interest on the Caltech campus tour is the Beckman Auditorium. The sole respectable example of Space Age architecture at Caltech can be found smack dab in the middle of the campus. Edward Durell Stone, a very prominent modernist architect, was responsible for the design of this circular building in the 1960s.

Beckman Auditorium in Caltech

Stone also designed the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., as well as many other notable buildings of the era. Every element of the auditorium is beautiful and worthy of admiration, from the streamlined edge of the roof to the starburst pattern at the top of each column to the one-of-a-kind lanterns that hang along the perimeter of the building.

Hameetman Center

The student center is located in this relatively new building, which also houses the two cafes that can be found on either side of the outdoor seating area as well as the Caltech store. Walk through the seating area, go through the small tunnel next to the store, and you’ll find a sundial embedded in the sidewalk on the side of the building that faces Olive Walk.

This is the most interesting feature of the building, and it’s located on the opposite side of the building. To determine the time, all you have to do is stand in the appropriate location and look at your own shadow. There is a plaque on the structure that explains how to use it.

The majority of Caltech’s undergraduate residence halls are located in this region of the campus. These halls are organized according to the “House System,” which is based on British educational institutions and a few East Coast Ivies.

Fleming House Cannon

While taking the Caltech campus tour, one of the best things to look forward to is the Fleming House Cannon. Although this cannon was cast during the Franco-Prussian War, it was never actually utilized in a fight due to the war’s conclusion. After that, the French gave it to the American military, which kept it until it was no longer useful.

The American military then donated it to a military academy in San Marino, where it remained on their front lawn for a good number of years during that period. The academy decided in the 1970s that they no longer wanted it, so Fleming House managed to get its hands on it and get it back into working condition.

The cannon is fired to signal the beginning and end of important events, such as the end of the school year and graduation. In addition to that, not once, but twice, it has been stolen. Students from Harvey Mudd College, a school of science and engineering located in Claremont, California, were the ones who successfully stole it in 1986.

Exactly 20 years later, students from MIT were able to pose as contractors, steal the item, and bring it back to Massachusetts before handing it over. It is currently secured to the ground with chains, just in case, anyone else gets any bright ideas.

Throop Memorial Garden

This is the quietest part of campus, and it’s also where you’ll find the turtle pond, which is the most interesting part of any walk you take while taking a Caltech campus tour. The garden was built on the site of Throop Hall, a neoclassical structure that was the first building constructed on campus in 1910.

It was demolished in 1972 following the Sylmar earthquake due to fears that it would collapse. Now and then, a trickling stream will run through the garden, and it will fill up the pools that are home to the turtles that like to bask in the sun. The garden is shaded by a thicket of trees, including many fragrant eucalyptus trees, and you can frequently spot squirrels scampering through the branches of the trees.

The boulders that can be found strewn about the garden were chosen by the geological department at Caltech to symbolize the various epochs in the geologic history of the local area. A plaque has been affixed to one of the boulders at the base of the garden, with the inscription facing you as you approach the garden. On the plaque, the age of each boulder as well as the location from which it was obtained is detailed.

San Pasqual Walk

On this spot, you’ll find a grove of eucalyptus trees, and across the way, you’ll find a pair of concrete lily ponds in the shape of rectangular rectangles. During the appropriate time of year, the ponds are covered in lily pads, which are then topped with beautiful pink flowers. There is a possibility that you will come across a turtle in this area; the staff frequently brings them over from Throop Garden to clean the ponds.

Calder Arches

The Beckman Laboratory of Chemical Synthesis is located on a bridge that connects the two buildings; the bridge itself features enormous arched windows that are adorned with beautifully carved statuary. The stonework was taken from the exterior of Throop Hall, which was the first building constructed on campus.

It was named after the sculptor Alexander Calder. The stonework was left in a city yard for more than a decade after the building was demolished, where it remained until it was eventually restored and installed on the laboratory bridge. Thus, it is among the best spots to visit during your Caltech campus tour.

Figures that represent nature, art, energy, science, imagination, and law can be found positioned above the arches in this order: left to right. In the space between the arches are two pilasters named Minerva and Mercury. Which stands for the creative arts and the scientific disciplines? Originally, the facade consisted of four pilasters; however, only two of them could be accommodated on the bridge.

Bungalow Court

A very charming bungalow court that was built in the 1920s can be found at the intersection of Catalina Avenue and the northeastern corner of San Pasqual Street. A plaque explains that the buildings had to be moved from their previous location at the corner of Del Mar and Wilson so that room could be made for the Neuroscience Research Building to be constructed.

Catalina Graduate Housing

A large housing complex for graduate students can be found beyond the bungalow court, and it extends up to Del Mar Boulevard. It’s a fairly standard apartment building from the 1980s, but the unusual thing about it is the rustic architectural style it was built in.

Two students packing their things in a dorm room.

It looks more like something you’d see at an alpine ski resort than a college campus in Southern California due to the wood paneling, stone chimneys that adorn the utility buildings that are located in the middle of the courtyards, wooden bridges, and maple and pine trees.

The Caltech campus tour may be one of the things that pique your interest in attending the university. Caltech is frequently ranked among the top ten national universities. The admissions committee, appropriately, seeks exceptional academic credentials, such as high grades and test scores. However, the student body is also known for being unapologetically eccentric. An ideal Caltech candidate should have unique interests and qualities in addition to extensive STEM experience. You will require aid from college admissions professionals like AdmissionSight if your objective is to be admitted to Yale.

We at AdmissionSight have more than ten years of experience helping students navigate the challenging admissions process so they can enroll in the best colleges in the world. Feel free to schedule a consultation session today.


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