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The California Institute of Technology

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For a student lucky enough to be selectedSuper BrilliantChemical Engineering
For a student lucky enough to be selected to attend CalTech, I would give some careful advise, because the going to CalTech has some real pitfalls and your career and life opportunities could be greatly diminished by this institution.

Many of the students at this university become victimized by an institution which has serious flaws. The pace of classes is tough for everyone, and some students wash out. 25% don't make it to graduation. The criteria for success is not academic merit or achievement, unfortunately. The classes are so fast and the preparation and quality of instruction is often grossly inadequate, that one must learn the system, more than the material. This is a shallow method of learning, but still slightly better than the level of understanding at most other engineering progams. This creates a culture of academia insider favoratism. Certain academic insiders of average talent and ability get straight As, while truly talented students struggle and will have mixed grades. These students are blamed incorrectly for the failure of the program.

Acceptance to graduate school and employment prospects are less than that at most state university engineering programs.

The engineering knowledge that one receives is theoretical, impractical and does not prepare one to function as a professional engineer in any capacity. After graduation, one must start to learn about practical engineering and industry from scratch.

Some of the faculty are smited by the hubris of teaching at a prestigous university, and the attitude towards undergraduates can be horrendous.

There is an undercurrent of misconduct at the university as well; when I was there some of the students were taking laughing gas, passing out and vommiting; and the honor system was widely abused. Several students committed suicide.

Please avoid all of these negative things or get discouraged, and focus on the positive.

3rd Year Male -- Class 1996
Useful Schoolwork: A, Individual Value: F
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I regret attending Caltech.Physics
I regret attending Caltech. Although I had some great classmates, the academic experience was abysmal. The faculty is hired for their research ability, not for the quality of their teaching. Therefore most professors have zero interest in teaching. I could have received a better education at many other schools, but I stayed in order to earn my degree because of the reputation. Unfortunately the reputation doesn't help much outside of academic circles. Because of the small size, many people in the business world don't know about Caltech. There is intense pressure due to the pace of classroom as well as the natural competitiveness of the student body. While I was an undergrad, there was at least one suicide every year.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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Not so bright
Caltech is great, They think acadamic is the most importantthing, not like P admission which is so random.
1st Year Female -- Class 2016
Education Quality: A+, Individual Value: A-
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