Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 79.21

California Institute of Technology

Even by the demanding standards of elite schools, California Institute of Technology is tough. Freshmen take their first-year courses pass/fail to ease into the school, but after that, professors are notoriously hard graders. There are no easy A's here, and certainly not in the popular engineering and physical sciences programs. Along with the challenging workload comes great research opportunities, a hallmark of the school. Internships at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located near Caltech's Pasadena campus, are a prime example. The school boasts dozens of Nobel laureates among its alumni and faculty members. Techies tend to go on to great jobs, with salaries in the first ten years that average about $112,000 (high even by tech school standards). There are only about 2,200 students total, and men outnumber women. Caltech isn't known for its athletics or social life. The men's Division III basketball team, for instance, had a 310-game losing streak from 1985 through 2011. But the school's residential houses pick up the social slack: One fires cannons, one drops pumpkins off of the library, and they all throw parties.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$79,900
% of students who get any grants
59%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$28,100
Average price for low-income students
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Admissions

Acceptance rate
6%
Median SAT/ACT score
1550/35
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
940

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
100%
% of need met
100%
% of students who get merit grants
N/A
Average merit grant
N/A

Student Success

Graduation rate
92%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Median student debt
$17,747
Early career earnings
$112,170
% earning more than a high school grad
93%

Notes: Students who get merit grants are full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants. Graduation rate measures degree completion within six years for both transfer students and first-time students. Early career earnings are the median earnings for both graduates and non-completers, 10 years after they first enrolled.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, Money/Witlytic calculations.

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