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Admitted Students Discover Caltech

Each spring, Caltech invites newly admitted students to campus to see for themselves what makes the Institute's unique community worth joining. For three days, students and their family members participate in a range of events, panels, tours, and activities to learn more about the Caltech experience. This year, 207 students (out of 315 total admitted students) attended the event, known as Discover Caltech (DiscoTech), collecting data to inform their college-decision process while also making friends and building community.

In addition to DiscoTech, students from historically excluded or underrepresented backgrounds were invited to a one-day pre-program, ecosySTEMs, to learn more about support systems and to make connections with their peers.

Credit: Haruna Tomono for Caltech

Students participating in ecosySTEMs were welcomed to the program and joined a social hour at "Caltech Unplugged," where they chatted with other admitted students over snacks and crafting activities.

Credit: J. Ehlert/Caltech

At a welcome ceremony for all attendees, Ashley Pallie, Caltech's executive director of undergraduate admissions and chief admissions officer, encouraged students to "take measure of that gut feeling" throughout their experience at DiscoTech. Alum Kevin Noertker (BS '09) delivered a keynote address, discussing his experience of being admitted to and attending Caltech, and relaying the story how he later co-founded Ampaire, an electric aircraft company. He advised students to embrace their "core values" and dared them to "make bold choices." He added: "It is an opportunity each of us have in this world to do great things."

Credit: Haruna Tomono for Caltech

Admitted students toured campus and participated in division open houses and lab tours. They also got to listen to academic lectures from faculty members, getting a taste of the first-year class experience.

Credit: Ria Patel for Caltech

During an event called "Exploring L.A. & the Stars: An Evening at Griffith Observatory," students visited the iconic landmark and heard a lecture from Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy.

Credit: J. Ehlert/Caltech

At the club fair, admitted students had the chance to meet current undergraduates and learn about different ways to get involved on campus, such as the Caltech Racing Club (which designs and builds race cars), the Black Student Union, and the Caltech QuestBridge Scholars Network.

Credit: J. Ehlert/Caltech

On the evening of the final full day at DiscoTech, admitted students joined house dinners with current students and participated in social events organized by the houses, including a concert at Ricketts House, and cookie decorating, lock picking, and painting activities at Blacker House. Admitted students also had the opportunity to spend the night in Caltech housing, sharing dorm rooms with current students in a fully immersive experience.

Credit: Caltech Admissions

The last formal event for DiscoTech was a bottle rocket launch competition held in an athletic field on campus. Students were split into teams and given materials to build a pressure-powered bottle rocket, including plastic bottles, string, duct tape, plastic bags, and water. The winning team (pictured) launched their bottle into the air for the longest amount of time, around five seconds, and won specially designed DiscoTech jerseys.

Admitted students have until May 1 to commit to attending Caltech.

Written by Julia Ehlert

Caltech Communications