What Is It Like to Attend Caltech?

January 1, 2023
By AdmissionSight

What Is It Like to Attend Caltech?

How is college life at Caltech?

How is the collegiate experience at Caltech? The campus environment is reflective of “What is it like to attend Caltech?”. Here is a rundown of what students might anticipate from their college experience:

Honor Code

The Honor Code is Caltech’s institutional code of ethics, and it serves as a compass for all members of the community, including students, employees, and professors.

Because of the Honor Code, teachers can feel confident giving students take-home examinations and trusting that they will not cheat. It ensures that a student can leave their laptop unattended and come back to them with full confidence that their work will still be there when they return.

It implies that students have access to campus facilities at all times to complete their assignments. The honor code defines every individual who is a part of our community, and it is this code that gives Caltech its identity.


Caltech traditions are truly one of a kind. Students have the option to participate in the house system, in which they are assigned to one of the eight undergraduate houses based on their preferences.

Every weekday, the residents of each house gather in their dining hall for a meal that is set up like a family meal and is served by student waiters who are paid for their services. Every dinner is a little bit different, and it follows a different set of rituals and customs.

In addition, every family has its own set of traditions. For example, the cannon at Fleming House is discharged on multiple occasions throughout the year. The Dabney House, on the other hand, hosts an annual Halloween event in which a pumpkin preserved in liquid nitrogen is dropped from the top of Caltech Hall, which is the tallest building on campus. The students will form a circle and observe this recreation of the oil drop experiment conducted by Millikan.

A Caltech signage

In addition, just prior to the beginning of winter break, the Lloyd House will construct a “light tree” that will run up the front of the nine-story building of Caltech Hall.

During the course of the year, each of the houses throws what is known as an “inter-house party.” These are typically very elaborate gatherings, with members of the house planning everything from the food to the decorations to the music and other aspects of the party for the undergraduate students.


At Caltech, practical jokes are a typical occurrence, and they frequently involve competition between the various student houses.

For instance, the Page house pulled a number of practical jokes on the Fleming house, the most notable of which was when they painted the Fleming cannon blue, which is the color of the Page home.

On the other hand, students at Venerable High School celebrate Halloween by dressing up as zombies and attempting to rob the Dabney residence each year. Students at Dabney are attempting to restrict admission by constructing barriers to place in front of the doors.

Moreover, each year, the first-year students living in the Blacker house devise a theatrical prank and put on a performance of it in the middle of Ph1a.


If you were to walk around campus and ask any student, “What is the best part of Caltech?”, the response you would most likely get is “the people.”

The undergraduate students are invited to participate in learning and living environments that emphasize teamwork and closeness.

Housing is provided for students at Caltech, and they are required to remain on campus throughout their first two years of education. The majority of students make the decision to reside on campus during all four years.

On campus, the university has 11 different residence halls that offer a variety of living configurations, including singles, doubles, triples, and suite-style housing.

In addition to the eight conventional undergraduate Houses, there are also three halls that are not linked to any House. Every one of them has communal spaces where students may mix and mingle, chat, eat, and collaborate on problem sets together. Each one has its own special customs and activities that set it apart from the others.

In this community, students of many ages, ethnicities, and grade levels live together. They educate one another, help one another develop, and investigate a wide variety of perspectives, interests, and hobbies.

In addition to providing a solid support network, Caltech dorms are great places to call home. In addition to a Resident Associate, each one is equipped with health advocates, peer advisors, and advocates for Title IX. Some also feature teaching staff living on campus.

two high school students on a college tour

When students have any kind of question or concern, or even if they just want to chat, there is always someone there to talk to them.

A large number of possibilities to participate in student government are also provided through the housing system. The members of Tech are responsible for planning and organizing a variety of unique events, including study breaks, movie evenings, typical House festivities, hiking and skiing trips, and field trips all over Los Angeles.

Every one of our students contributes a part of themselves to the dynamic process that molds the ever-expanding terrain of the undergraduate culture at Caltech.


Food has been proven throughout history and scientific research to be a unifying force among people. Not only does the dining table provide a setting for social interaction and the formation of new connections, but it also offers the opportunity for debate, discussion, and the sharing of ideas, as well as the possibility of resolving at least one or two puzzles.

The dining halls at Caltech have been arranged in such a way as to make it possible for students to share meals with one another. Students, staff members, and faculty members can eat together anywhere on campus, including their own houses, one of the many cafes, or the market.

The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Red Door Marketplace, and the Open Kitchens located in the individual apartments all provide dining options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

On the weekends, these establishments are still available for breakfast and lunch, but for dinner, students are invited to explore the options that Pasadena has to offer or to develop their own cooking talents in the residential kitchens on campus.

The Broad Café, which can be found in the northwest corner of the campus, is open Monday through Friday and provides both breakfast and lunch as well.

This variety of sites gives students the widest possible range of alternatives to choose from when it comes to dining, as well as the ability to arrange their meals at times that work best with their personal academic and extracurricular activity schedules.


At Caltech, students are not just scientists. They compete in a variety of sports and are also actors, musicians, and artists. Students are encouraged to pursue their interests by providing them with a variety of options to do so.

Over one hundred official student-run groups and clubs may be found at Caltech. Among the many things they have to offer are Alpine Skiing, Quizbowl, cultural identity organizations, robotics, and the Cheese Society. There is even something called the Turtle Club.

And if you can’t find anything there that piques your interest, you can always form your own organization. On this campus, it is simple to discuss the things that interest you with other students.

Community Connections

Students at Caltech put in a lot of effort in the labs to make a difference on a global scale, and they also look for ways to make a difference in our community on a smaller scale.

Caltech is a place where individuals can get involved in a variety of activities, including teaching, working on environmental projects, and organizing community gatherings. They also lend out a wide variety of equipment for you to use on your trips away from the grid.

4 students working on an online internship

Suppose you are looking to find a community and explore your own identity. In that case, the Caltech Center for Inclusion & Diversity (CCID) is a safe space for you to connect with others who share your identities and learn about ways you can advocate for yourself and others.

For the purpose of fostering knowledge, advocacy, and allyship among all members of the Caltech Community, the CCID organizes and hosts frequent affinity spaces and offers workshops, programs, and training opportunities.


By participating in activities that require movement and exercise, the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation at Caltech provides you with the opportunity to improve your physical, mental, and social growth.

Roughly twenty-five percent of Caltech students take part in NCAA Division III athletics. In addition to this, they host a number of club sports teams. In case you were curious, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SCIAC) is one of the leagues that Caltech participates in.

All students at Caltech have access to the outstanding facilities that are provided by the athletics department, which include pools, tennis courts, athletic centers, and fields. There is something for everyone, no matter what their fitness level is.

What are students like at Caltech?

How would you describe the typical Caltech student? What is it like to attend Caltech? Students from all over the world, who come from a variety of viewpoints, backgrounds, and interests, and who are prepared to change the world together, defined Caltech students.

A staggering 96% of Caltech students finished in the top 10% of their respective high school classes. Although they do not publish information on the average GPA gained by students at Caltech, it is safe to assume that the vast majority of students have achieved a weighted or unweighted score of 4.0 or very near to it while taking the full complement of AP and IB classes.

Group of students smiling at the camera.

When they leave Caltech, students are ready to take their place among the most influential people in science, engineering, academia, industry, and public service.

Graduates are well-trained in their ability to identify, analyze, and solve challenging problems within and across different scientific and engineering disciplines. In addition, they apply and communicate their expertise broadly throughout the course of their professional careers.

What is the vibe of Caltech?

How would you describe the atmosphere at Caltech? Caltech is a very modest university located in Pasadena that boasts a breathtaking campus.

Increased access to possibilities like research in top labs, access to professors, athletics, special funding and scholarships, study abroad, the arts, and travel grants are made possible by the college’s small size and a very favorable student-to-faculty ratio of 3-to-1.

The staff and management at the school are very approachable, and they show the students a high level of respect because of the tiny size of the student body.

It is not unheard of for a student at Caltech to be able to set up a meeting with any member of the institution’s administration or faculty for the very same day.

In addition, students participate in practically every committee of the Institute, from the committees that look for new vice presidents of the Institute to the committees that decide who will be admitted as freshmen and beyond.

We at AdmissionSight, hope that the information provided above about “What is it like to attend Caltech?” will be helpful to you. But, should you need more, we got you covered.

With over a decade of experience, AdmissionSight can help and provide you with all the information you need to go to the school of your dreams. Contact us at your earliest convenience.

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