If you were to ask any student on campus, "What is the best part of Caltech?," you will routinely hear, "The people." We welcome our undergraduates into close-knit, collaborative living and learning environments. Caltech guarantees housing and requires students to live on campus for the first two years of study. Most students decide to live on campus all four years.
We have 11 residence halls on campus with a variety of living arrangements: singles, doubles, triples and suite-style living. There are eight traditional undergraduate Houses, as well as three unaffiliated (non-House) halls. All have common areas for students to mingle, socialize, dine, and work on problem sets together. Each carries its own unique traditions and activities. Students of all backgrounds and class years live together in community. They learn from and grow with each other and explore diverse perspectives, interests, and passions.
Our residence halls also provide a strong support system. Each has health advocates, peer advisors, and Title IX advocates, as well as a Resident Associate. Some also include faculty in residence. There's always someone to talk to when students need of any kind of assistance--or just want to chat!
The housing system also offers loads of opportunities to join student leadership. Techers plan and organize such special activities as study breaks, movie nights, traditional House activities, hiking and skiing trips, and field trips around L.A. All of our students are a part of the force that shapes the continuously growing landscape of Caltech undergraduate culture.
Choosing Where to Live: Rotation
You've probably heard that Caltech is a little different. That relates to how we do housing, too. We let you choose where to live, after you've actually seen the options and met a lot of Techers.
When you arrive on campus for your first year, you'll be assigned a room in one of our residence halls temporarily. During first two weeks you'll have orientation, and classes will start. And you'll have the opportunity to participate in Rotation. This is how incoming students get to know our different residential communities. During this period, students are invited to visit each residence, meet the Techers who live there, join them for dinner and social activities, and experience what makes each space unique. All activities during Rotation are optional, and at the end of the process, students provide a ranked selection of where they would like to live for the year. Almost everyone gets assigned to one of their top choices, and no one is required to live in a residence that they don't like.
At the end of each academic year, students can choose to either stay at the same residence or move to another community for the following year.
Policy on Minimum Age for On-Campus Housing for Undergraduate Students
Beginning in Fall 2024, Caltech will enact a minimum age policy for students living on campus. You must be 17 years of age by October 1 of the year you matriculate to live in on-campus housing during your first year at Caltech. Caltech is not able to assist families with finding off-campus housing.
Other than the on-campus housing experience, students who are admitted to Caltech who will not be 17 by October 1 are able to fully engage in the academic and co-curricular experience at Caltech, including becoming a social member of a House. If you will be 17 by October 1 of your second year at Caltech, you will be eligible for on-campus housing that year.