Caltech visit

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Discus: College Search and Selection: June 2004 Archive: Caltech visit
By Path1 (Path1) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 03:29 pm: Edit

This is my impression from a tour of the campus and a video and adcom presentation. We spent about 2 1/2 hours on campus. Physically the campus is gorgeous. Everywhere I looked the vegetation looked perfect. It is truly a beautiful and inviting place. The architecture is a mix of mediterranean (stucco, arches, red tile roofs) and utilitarian 60's. It looked like there was a capital improvement project going on. The neighborhood (Pasadena) is also very attractive and full of nice shops and restaurants. The dorms are self governing. Dinner is served family style in the dormitories' dining halls. Each dorm also has a rec. area. The one we saw had a tv, piano, pool and ping pong tables, foosball, and table hockey. The rooms we saw were doubles and were nothing spectacular. The campus was relatively empty since school was out so we didn't see the activity that would normally be happening. The school also owns some apartments a few blocks off campus for upperclassmen. The small size (900 ug's) appreared to give the students a lot of opportunities. Our tour guide said anyone who wants to do sports can. There are no classes scheduled from 4-6pm daily to accomodate athletes. She also said no one goes to caltech to be on a great team, but it is something students might not be able to participate in elsewhere. Academically, most of the freshmen attend classes together. The curriculum is very demanding and only students who really want to study math, science & engineering should consider this school. The gulde said a big emphasis is placed on collaborative work. There are opportunities for research in the summer through a SURF program (summer undergraduate research fellowships). The adcom said admission is not a numbers thing. The committee tries hard to identify students who really have a passion for learning and math and science. He said not to pack your resume with activities you really aren't interested in but to rather do what you enjoy and do it well. He also said take the most demanding academic program you can. Overall I thought for the right student this would be a great place to study.

By Kousuke (Kousuke) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 05:23 pm: Edit

NO NOOOOOOOOO STOP IT!!! you're making me start to second guess replacing caltech with amherst as my favorite school. theyre both so pretty..... but which to apply ED to....... i like them both sooooooooooooooo much....

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit

cal tech is better. They are both small but cal tech undergrad education is like getting a masters with all the research opportunities of a grad student.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Saturday, June 19, 2004 - 08:30 am: Edit

Both schools small, lots of faculty contact, but quite different in feel.
Caltech-love at first sight or not. Attracts a select, quirky/enthusiastic kind of person. Didn't see many preppies around, but lots hang out at multiple coffee shops @ campus. Climate good. Pasadena has great restaurants (lots aren't much $$$) and first-rate movie theaters, all the classic stores without the malls.
Amherst--beautiful in New England way. western Mass., often cold. cross-country skiing. LAC. Have you visited Amherst yet? The schools both good, but I'm sure you'll have a preference once you spend time at each.

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