Undergraduate Housing Information

In anticipation of your arrival, we have put together some important information for you. Please read the following carefully and note any forms or deadlines that pertain to you.

Freshman Students

House Governments

Transfer Students

Renters Insurance

Housing Forms


Room Assignments


Holidays and Breaks


Residential Life Coordinators

Packing Suggestions

Resident Associates


Telephone Service Shipping Your Luggage/Belongings

Cleaning Service


Dining Services  


There is no need to worry about finding housing. As a freshman, you will live in one of the following undergraduate student houses: Avery, Blacker, Dabney, Fleming, Lloyd, Page, Ricketts or Ruddock. If you have a disability and will need special housing arrangements, please contact Dean Barbara Green in the Dean of Students office at barbarag@caltech.edu.


Transfer students are not required to live in Caltech housing but if a transfer is interested in on campus housing, we will make every effort to find them space in undergraduate housing facilities. While we cannot guarantee housing for our incoming transfer students in any of the undergraduate houses listed above, we have not had any problems accommodating our transfer students in Institute-owned housing for the past five years. Please feel free to contact our office if you are interested in Caltech housing or have any questions.


Housing contract - This form is required from all students with a housing assignment. Contracts will be mailed to all incoming freshman with a self-addressed envelope. Please fill out and sign the contract (include your parent/guardian's signature if you are under 18 years old) and mail the white copy to the Housing Office (yellow copy is for your records). Please note: If you do not know your UID number at the time you send in your contract, you may leave that line blank.

Early Arrival - If you are eligible (see below) to arrive before Sunday, September 21, 2014, you must submit an early arrival form. This form is submitted online. http://housing.caltech.edu/undergrad

Pre-Season Athletes - Early arrival housing will be available for pre-season athletes. The athletics department will cover early housing fees for athletes starting on the day that their particular sport begins only. If you would like to arrive one day earlier than you are required to report to Athletics, you may do so but you will be responsible for those housing fees. For more information on the dates that the Athletics Department will cover housing fees for you, please contact the Athletics Department.

International Students - Early arrival housing will be available for new students participating in International Orientation. You may arrive one day before the start of International Orientation but you will be responsible for daily housing fees. Individuals arriving after business hours without a confirmed early arrival request will not be accommodated. Housing arrangements must be made in advance and before the deadlines below. Individuals arriving during business hours without a confirmed early arrival request in advance will be subject to a one-time, non-refundable fee of $150.00 if they wish to check in during that time (subject to availability).

Early Arrival forms are available online here.


The Houses can hold between 65 and 136 students. They are divided into "alleys," hallways accommodating 8 to 16 students with bathroom and shower facilities. Each house has its own dining hall, lounge and kitchenettes which students use to prepare snacks and occasional meals. The houses are co-educational with men and women in separate rooms but living in the same alley.

The rooms in the North Houses (Lloyd, Page and Ruddock) are designed for double occupancy. Avery and South Houses (Blacker, Dabney, Fleming and Ricketts) have single, double and triple occupancy rooms. All rooms are carpeted and furnished with a bed, desk, closet and drawers. All freshmen are required to live in one of the eight houses for the first two terms. After two terms, freshmen are eligible to live in other Caltech-owned facilities, including two apartment buildings. In addition, you may check the off-campus listing service (www.places4students.com). The listing includes rooms, apartments and homes in the area. Interested students will need to make all necessary rental arrangements themselves.

Before permanent housing assignments are made, you will spend time visiting each of the houses (while continuing to live in your temporary room assignment). This process, known as Rotation, provides incoming freshmen and transfer students with the opportunity to meet members of each house. Rotation begins after Frosh Camp and allows enough time to gain a general impression of the accommodations, traditions and members of each house. While you are getting to know the houses, house members are also taking the opportunity to get to know you. After you have time to visit all the houses you will be asked to prioritize the houses in which you'd like to live. A group made up of representatives from each house meets to match students with houses. If you would like to opt out of the Rotation process, you may contact Dean Lesley Nye in the Undergraduate Dean's office at lnye@caltech.edu.

You will receive your housing assignment for your first year shortly after Rotation. Therefore, you may wish to have your belongings sent after you move in to your permanent assignment or purchase them at a local store. At that time, you will have a better feel for what you need.  


For no additional charge, you are welcome to stay in your assigned room during holidays and breaks.


There are four Residential Life Coordinators (RLCs) in campus housing, situated in different houses. A RLC is a specially trained full time university employee, specializing in college student development, community building, counseling and crisis intervention. The RLCs supervise the Resident Associates (RAs) on programming and overall student wellness. The RLCs also assist Housing with the management and daily operation of the houses. They are a fantastic resource, usually just a few steps away.


From time to time, you will undoubtedly have a problem or concern that you would like to discuss with somone. You should feel free at such times to contact the Resident Associate (RA) who lives in an apartment in your house. The RAs are Caltech graduate students who are available for guidance and consultation and are familiar with the resources on campus. They have been trained to handle day-to-day challenges as well as emergency situations that may arise. They are also close, convenient and great people to talk to!

In addition to the RAs, all houses select Upperclass Counselors (UCCs) who are undergraduates available to discuss personal and academic issues. Health Advocates are also available to serve as liasons between the students and the Health and Counseling Center staff. Health advocates are undergraduates trained to provide CPR, first aid, basic health care, health education and peer counseling.


The heart of student life at Caltech centers on the activities of the houses. Each house elects officers, known as the Executive Committee, or in the case of Avery, Avery Council, who plans an impressive array of social, cultural and athletic programs throughout the year. The presidents of the seven houses and the Avery Chancellor form the Interhouse Committee (IHC) which oversees matters of common concern for all houses.


Caltech does not insure the personal property of students. Students keeping personal property in their rooms do so at their own risk and are responsible for the safekeeping of their property. For those who wish to be insured for fire and theft, the Housing Office can provide information on available coverage. You may also wish to check your parents' homeowners insurance to see if your belongings are covered under their policy.


Bicycles are a good means of getting around campus and Pasadena. Cyclists will enjoy the pleasant surroundings of Caltech and the nearby community. For storage, bike racks have been installed around each building. For safety reasons, bikes cannot be stored in corridors, stairways, or other public areas inside the houses and apartment buildings. We recommend a U-Lock to secure your bike. It can be purchased at most bike shops and discount stores.


First year students may not bring pets to campus.


Appliances with heating coils (toasters, popcorn poppers and hot plates) are not allowed in student rooms for safety reasons. You are permitted to have a small refrigerator (not to exceed 5.8 cubic feet) and a small microwave in the room.


Much can be said about the fine art of packing for college! You may want to start setting aside items for college and putting together a packing list of your own. It would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list of everything that you should bring to Caltech. We have, however, consulted with our students and put together some suggestions that you might wish to consider as you pack.

Packing tip: When you are packing for college, pack separately those items that you will be taking to Frosh Camp. This will save you the hassle of having to unpack all  belongings when you first arrive.

Wardrobe/Linen Miscellaneous
Bed sheets (twin extra-long) Flashlight**
Bedspread Camera**
Blankets Clock radio or alarm clock
Pillow/Pillowcase Storage Containers
Comforter Pictures of Family and Friends
Towel Set Posters or Framed Pictures
Mattress Pad Small Portable Musical Instruments
Bath Robe/Pajamas** Portable Music Device (MP3, CD Player, etc.)
Bathing suit** Sports Equipment
Clothes for special occasions
Clothes Hangars  
Laundry Bag or Baskets  
Desk Supplies Health and Grooming Supplies
Calculator Blow Dryer
Calendar Detergent
Computer Iron
Surge Protector Personal Care Items (soap, shampoo, deodorant)**
Extension Cord Plastic Carrying Case (for shower)
Lamp Sewing Kit
Scissors, Staplers, etc Shower Shoes
Updated Address Book  
Kitchen Equipment  
Few Dishes (bowl, mug, plate)  
Few Pots and Pans  
One or two Sets of Silverware **Items to be packed separately for Frosh Camp


Before coming to Caltech, remember to transfer your important prescriptions to a local pharmacy. Caltech has a health center on campus that offers reduced rates on prescription medicine. Other options include: Brown and Welin (626)795-5918, Rite Aid (626)796-5539 and Walgreens (626)583-8066.


All student rooms have a private phone hookup as an option. Once you have a permanent room assignment, after rotation is complete, you can log on to http://imss.caltech.edu/node/502  for the Office of Telecommunications. After you submit their form, an extension will be assigned to your room. Analog phones may be purchased from Target or other local merchants.

There is no charge for local phone service. If you choose not to get your own phone line, hallway phones are available for use. Caltech's area code and prefix are (626) 395.

Long Distance: For long distance charges, you can either use a personal calling card or put the charges on your student account (you will be assigned an authorization number). The long distance access codes are available without having a campus extension so that new students can use hallway extensions to call home. The numbers can be obtained through the Office of Telecommunications, located at 263 S. Chester Ave, Room 111.


If you need to send some things in advance of your arrival, you should make all of the following necessary arrangements (do not send it collect) and ship them to the address below.

Any package weighing over 50 pounds should be shipped to the following address:

Your Name
Incoming Student
c/o Shipping and Receiving
391 S Holliston Ave
Pasadena, CA 91125

Please note, Central Shipping and Receiving will hold packages for up to one week, so do not send packages too far in advance. When you arrive and wish to retrieve your items, you should contact Central Shipping and Receiving at (626)395-4893 for pick up instructions. Business hours are Monday - Friday, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM.


Student rooms on campus are cleaned once per term by the Caltech Custodial Staff. A cleaning schedule may be obtained from the appropriate custodial office. Students may request additional cleaning from the Housing Maintenance Office for a fee.


Caltech Dining operates and maintains the Caltech Board Plan. Please contact them directly with any questions or concerns regarding meals, meal plans, declining balances and all other dining related issues. They can be reached at dine@caltech.edu or 626-395-8174. They are online at http://dining.caltech.edu/.


Coin-operated laundry machines are available on-campus. Some laundry machines accept student I.D. cards that will charge your student account.


Caltech Department of Institute Housing
1200 E. California Blvd. 160-86
Pasadena, CA 91125

Click Here to Email Housing

Click Here to Email Housing Maintenance

main number:

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm