So I’m on the campus of California Institute of Technology, otherwise known as Caltech, here in Pasadena, California, and I’m outside Fleming House, which is one of the nine houses in which undergraduate students live. These are like Hogwarts; you’ve got Slytherin and Gryffindor and Hufflepuff kinds of houses where the undergraduate students live.
I want to point out, behind me there’s a group of Chinese children who are touring Caltech, and we also ran into another group of students from China, from Chengdu, who are touring Caltech. The interesting thing about Caltech admissions for international students is that the statistics are really pretty mind-boggling in terms of the difficulty of getting into this school. There are only about 230, 240 undergraduates accepted to this school every year. So the undergraduate population is slightly less than 1,000 students. 1,000 students! 6% of them are from overseas, are not American citizens.
Now, one of the statistics that’s interesting is 26% of students are born somewhere besides the United States, but that means 94% of the students who go here are American citizens. So we saw these groups of Chinese students and children who are ambitious, and probably maybe excellent in sciences, and really want to come to Caltech, and have paid a lot of money to come visit Caltech. But only 15 students out of the entire world will be accepted to Caltech next year. So it’s interesting to me that people will make this enormous investment to travel all the way to the United States to come visit this particular institution, when their chances of admission are miniscule.
Of course there are some people, always, every year, 15 or so, that are admitted from all over the planet, and so we always want to hold out hope that we are the one, but it really is interesting to me, the daunting numbers in admissions are — it’s just overwhelmingly competitive for an international student. However, this is one of the most prestigious and most active research institutes in the United States, a ton of sciences happening here, the federal government has invested billions of dollars into this school in terms of the scientific research that goes on here. I think I read 23 Nobel laureates are now at Caltech. It’s obviously an incredible scientific institute. However, it’s super difficult to get into.