Undergraduate Admissions

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Living Off Campus

This year I’m living off campus. "Off campus" at Caltech means "in Caltech housing but not one of the eight Houses." I’m living in a three-bedroom house just across the street from Caltech’sElectrical Engineering building, which is owned by Caltech and affiliated with Page House, but not actually one of the "Houses," which are more like dorm buildings. Confusion! It’s everywhere!

Our house is called "the Holly," because Page’s off-campus house used to be located on Holliston street (it no longer is). 5-6 Pageboys can live there at a time, and it is currently inhabited by five girls. We chose to live together, and petitioned the Page Excomm (the executive committee, consisting of the President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, and Athletics Manager) to let us live there. The house is sooo spacious compared to dorms! And we have our own kitchen (filled with our personal pots and pans, etc.). We all cook for ourselves, although I still go to Page House every evening at dinner time because I’m still a house waiter. We hang out in Page House and do work with people there, but having our own space is pretty great.

Other benefits of living off campus include:

  • Not having to share a bathroom with more than two other people.

  • Having a dishwasher.

  • Living even closer to the computer science building, so that walking home from midnight office hours takes 2 minutes instead of 5 (I’m only half joking).

  • Living with four cheerful roommates and lots of space so we don’t step on each other. This includes being able to work in our dining room or living room instead of at the desks in our rooms, so if one roommate is up doing work, the other can go to sleep without worrying about lights still being on.

  • Having easy access to laundry (we have our own washer and dryer, although they are still coin-operated).

  • Honestly, it smells WAY better living with four other girls than it does living in a house of 80 people.

I love it so far. Page House is only a five minute walk away, so I’ve still been social and it’s still easy to work and study with my friends. Those are the two best aspects of the House system, in my opinion, and it does take an amount of effort for me to get my butt to Page to participate in those ways, which has reinforced the idea that the House system is responsible for a lot of my success as a Caltech student.

Do you have any questions about how undergraduate housing works at Caltech? Wondering about living off campus while you’re here, or staying in the Houses all four years? Ask awayin the comments!