California Institute of Technology Reviews
Going to Caltech was the best choice I could have made for my undergraduate education. I was challenged beyond what I thought I could achieve, and I made it through. The atmosphere of striving for excellence was motivating but even more important to me was the supportive and collaborative community of the school. Overall, while my experience was no less than difficult, it was more rewarding than what I expected from any college.
Choosing to attend Caltech is a study in tradeoffs. You get an opportunity to marinate in an unparalleled environment of intellectual curiosity. The downside is the constant struggle to justify your existence in that space. Expect your mental health to take a beating. Hopefully, when you get out you will be more persistent and resilient as a result of the challenges you have faced. A strong friend group is key for survival, as peer support provides a much more effective scaffold than any official programs. Above all, make an informed choice based on the prior experiences of students and not just promotional materials.
Caltech is only for a very small subset of people - people who are completely sure they want to do math, science, or engineering; people who want to be (almost overwhelmingly) challenged; and people who have a wacky, geeky sense of humor. For those people, and those people alone, it's amazing.