College Focus: Head of the Class


"P1030955.JPG"by Keenan Pepper is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Students gather outside of one of the iconic buildings at CalTech, waiting for classes to begin.

Tim Liu, From February 2014’s The Armijo Signal

The California Institute of Technology (CalTech) is a renowned private engineering institution known for its tiny undergraduate population. The school has about 1,000 undergraduates total, and boasts a low acceptance rate of 11.8% (in 2012). These select students participate in an active student social culture that is composed of eight self-governing houses, complete with student waiters and chefs.

Although CalTech’s technology classes are the best known, it also offers equally rigorous courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. As a result, the university is great for any student interested in the sciences.

In 1891, CalTech was known as Throop College, after the name of the politician and founder Amos Throop. After construction, the school began to receive donations from George Hale, an astronomer, who wished to construct an observatory on campus. With Hale’s support, the school gained attention from the scientific community. Throop College even participated in WWII by providing naval and aerospace training for students. In the 20st century, Lee Dubridge took control of the now-named CalTech, and doubled both the faculty and the campus size. Since then, the university has initiated several new projects, including the Einstein Papers Project and the DOE Energy Innovation Hub.

Students who are interested in CalTech can find more information about specific courses and applications at The website also updates with school news on a regular basis.

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