Prefrosh weekend logistics

My son was thrilled to be accepted to Caltech and we will be visiting on the prefrosh weekend. I’d like to plan and buy plane tickets in advance while they’re cheap, but I’m not sure about the timing. I understand the schedule for this year may not be available yet, but I couldn’t find anything about previous years as well. Specifically, what’s the last day like, is it full of events or we can leave any time without missing much?

For this past PFW (class of 22), the last day didn’t really have any events, it was more just spending time on campus with current students and leaving when you had to. However, I have heard some discussion (nothing official yet) about Prefrosh weekend being moved to possibly not a weekend (like Monday-Wednesday), which could potentially change the scheduling of events. We got the official schedule and things for Prefrosh weekend shortly after the release of Regular Decisions from Caltech, but you could probably email the admissions office (or have your son post on the class of 23 Facebook page) to ask further questions.

I think Monday-Wednesday it is this year.

Caltech’s PFW is likely to start on April 18 and ends on April 20 this year, if the pattern from previous years holds. It’s highly unlikely it will start on Monday on April 15 since MIT’s CPW runs from April 11 through April 14 this year. The two schools generally coordinate their schedules and the two events are usually on back-to-back weekends.

Hmm, I was pretty sure the student’s portal said it’s on April 15-17, but oddly enough there’s nothing there now after he registered.

I don’t remember when it was held, but we did a lot of walking around the area.
For flights, you may want to book into the Burbank or Ontario airports.
LAX can be a nightmare, and the drive to Pasadena can be a challenge.

Southwest does have reasonable change fees. My children typically booked their holiday flights early and then paid $50 if there was a change.

There is an issue with parking in the surrounding neighborhood since it is very limited. They should have the parking structure available.

We stay at the SAGA Motor Inn (Colorado Blvd.) because of the convenience. It is a throw back to the ‘60s. Yes, it’s older, but it’s reasonably priced and it’s clean. If you stay at the Sheraton, they supposedly have a CalTech discount. We weren’t too impressed.

By the way, you may want to make the hike to Lake Avenue so that you will know where your child will be dining on the weekends. We were shocked, initially, that there are limited meals on campus on the weekends. So, budget for that in your expenses.
Happy travels! Congratulations to your son!

Adding to @“aunt bea”'s exellent suggestion, if you use Southwest points, instead of dollars, to purchase Southwest flights, you can avoid flight change fees entirely. There’re a number of ways to acquire a large number of Southwest points quickly.

Thanks @“aunt bea”. We actually visited once on a trip to several CA schools, but it was in summer and the campus was completely empty, so this will be a totally different experience. Really liked Pasadena and the campus.

Oh my, I haven’t thought of the Saga motor inn for years, but we stayed there many times.

Just heard from my son (frosh). They got requests to house pre-frosh. The dates were April 15th-17th (Mon-Wed) this year. Last year was Thursday through Saturday, so not sure of the schedule but quite a few parent meetings and they keep them kids super busy.

Thanks @lstix2018 , the approximate schedule is on the portal already. Seems like Wednesday is just checking out.

@yucca10 oh, good. It is a nice weekend for students and parents alike. We always stay at the Embassy Suites in Arcadia. A couple of restaraunts I’m walking distance and about a 10 minute drive from Caltech.

@yucca10 so how was the trip? Was a decision made?

@lstix2018 The decision was basically made for us because DS didn’t get into MIT, but it’s just as well. We both loved Caltech after these very intense two days, and he’s excited to start there in the fall.
Funny thing happened - I sat next to to a woman during the last night’s parents dinner, and we found out both our kids are planning the same major, so we were talking about how they’re likely to meet in the fall - and when I picked DS up the following morning it turned out he’s already made several friends and this woman’s son was one of them!

Congrats to your son, @yucca10! I have a sophomore at Caltech. Feel free to message me with any questions.

@yucca10 congratulations! Such an exciting time. I’m sure there will be lots of questions…@Ynotgo was amazing at answering my questions last summer and talking me through my son’s summer placement tests, moving in, etc. I am also available to help, please feel free to message me also. Again congrats and welcome to the Caltech family. ?

Thank you @Ynotgo and @lstix2018 ! I do have a question about the placement test. We will be traveling during the spring writing test window, and we’re trying to decide if it makes sense to try and make time for the test during travel or just do it in the fall. Do you know how much time it actually takes for a reasonably good writer, and how good it has to be in order to not take the additional writing class ( they basically check that the student can write clearly and grammatically correctly, or does it have to be an A-level piece of writing?)

@yucca10 My recollection is that they sent him some scientific and other reading to do on some topic and he had to take a position and argue based on the material provided. So, more like an APUSH DBQ on a scientific topic, I guess.

I think they are looking at quality of argument and organization of thoughts along with grammar, spelling, etc. But, he passed, so I have no idea what the floor for passing is like.

I don’t recall how much time he had or if it was timed. He did put a good amount of work into it.

If there is time during your travel and he has access to a computer, I would think that he would want to get it out of the way rather than having to fit it in during orientation, which is supposed to be fun and provide time to get to know the Houses.