Caltech (full name: California Institute of Technology) is a small private university located in Pasadena, California, a few miles northeast of Los Angeles. It has about 800 undergraduate students and 1000 graduate students, with a faculty of around 250. It was established in 1891, though under the name of Throop University

Caltech, as you might gather from its name, is a science and engineering university. Though it certainly has liberal arts departments, and pretty good ones at that, nobody goes there for a history degree. (Though some do end up with one) There have been 27 Nobel prizes given to faculty of the school, with 4 of them currently in residence.

The university ranks pretty high up there on most lists of universities, usually around such schools as MIT, Stanford, and so on. It has a reputation for being a very tough school; whether that's justified or not is hard to say. I haven't gone to any other universities, so I have no basis of comparison.

Caltech's housing system is somewhat unique from most other universities. Fraternities and their like are banned, but the 7 houses the undergraduates on-campus live in are somewhere halfway between a frat and a dorm. Certainly there are enough odd traditions dating back from the 30's still going around.

One of the most common complaints about Caltech (besides the normal standbys of the dorm food and the homework) is one that is shared with most other technical schools, which is the low ratio of women to men. Though in the recent years, that has been improving, it still causes social problems of varying seriousness.

Ditch Day is one of Caltech's most famous traditions. There are lots of others, and lots of famous pranks pulled over the years, as well.

Overall though, it's a nice school, and I like going to it. Assuming I survive till graduation, that is.

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