No Easy A's
Caltech has the lowest four-year graduation rate among the leading US universities—about 80%, and fewer students graduate with honors. That isn’t because students at Caltech aren’t motivated. Caltech students are some of the brightest in the country, and the school sets the bar high. There is also less grade inflation here than at other schools.
It isn’t surprising that the most popular majors at Caltech are in Engineering, Physical Sciences, Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Mathematics and Statistics, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences. At Caltech, there is a very high emphasis on research, sometimes even more so than classroom learning.
Caltech is very proud of its honor code, and students don’t take it lightly. All tests are take-home, and collaboration is encouraged. This—plus the small size of the school—helps make Caltech more of a tight-knit community.
The residential system at Caltech is unique—think a combination of dorm and fraternity/sorority life. Students opt into one of seven different houses, each with its own traditions, theme, and personality type. A student’s house is determined during the first week of freshman year during an event called “Rotation.”