More popularly known as Caltech and is known for its portrayal in the TV series Big Bang Theory, California Institute of Technology started out in 1891 as Throop University, which served as a vocational school and was later named California Institute of Technology in 1920. In this article, we will be covering the Caltech acceptance rate and its history.

The 124-acre campus in Pasadena, California has a small student population with only around 2,200 students. It is renowned for its top-notch programs in engineering and natural sciences. Tuition in Caltech is quite pricey, with tuition averaging at around $48,000 and total annual expenses projected at over $68,000. Although there are no fraternities or sororities in Caltech, students can still participate in over 150 student organizations.

Caltech is home to a number of state-of-the-art facilities including the Athenaeum, a Mediterranean Revival facility that serves as the school’s private social hub which features suites and restaurants, and the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, a research facility established in 1926 that specializes in aeronautics. Caltech also operates the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA as well.

The institution manages various astronomical observatories, such as the Palomar Observatory in San Diego, Owens Valley Radio Observatory in Big Pine, and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Caltech Seismological Laboratory, a renowned facility for geophysical research and seismic studies, is also centered in Caltech.

The Beckman Institute, which focuses on chemical and biological sciences research, and Beckman Auditorium, a multi-purpose facility for films, musicals, and concerts are both inspired by Arnold Orville Beckman, a Caltech faculty.

As a top-notch technological institution, Caltech has produced over 38 Nobel laureates, 7 Crafoord Laureates, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, and other prestigious awards in the field of science and engineering. If you want to be a student at this top-notch institution, you will have to be a top-notch student as well because of the competitive acceptance rate at Caltech at 8%.

Caltech is popular for its pranks: in 1987, Caltech students vandalized the Hollywood signage to read “Caltech”. To further jest its rivalry with MIT, The Prank Club gave away heat-sensitive coffee mugs to newly admitted students of MIT in 2014 and submitted an MIT Transfer Application Form to the Admissions Office in 2017.

Caltech has a number of long-standing traditions as well. During the final examination period, Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries is played at exactly 7 AM. The Pumpkin Drop is an annual tradition during Halloween, where students drop pumpkins that have been frozen with liquid nitrogen. Ditch Day is an annual challenge between seniors and underclassmen, where seniors ditch school for a day, and the underclassmen who are left behind attempt to mess up the seniors’ rooms. The seniors spice up the challenge by planning a tricky scavenger hunt called “Stacks”.

Some of Caltech’s notable graduates include William Shockley, a physicist and inventor who helped to invent the transistor; Chester Carlson, a patent attorney who developed electrophotography which is a process of developing photographs with a dry copy as opposed to the traditional wet copy; Mark Serrurier, a Dutch electrical engineer who invented the Moviola, a tool used for film editing; and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne.

The Caltech Beavers, inspired by “nature’s engineer”, represents the university in NCAA Division III Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Acceptance Rate at Caltech

Acceptance in Caltech is one of the most competitive among schools in the United States, having only an 8% acceptance rate according to Forbes. You will need to be one of the top students in your high school as well as had leadership positions and done extracurricular activities to be accepted.


I hope that this article on Caltech’s acceptance rate was helpful. For more information about studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students.