Forget Bribery. The Real Scam Is Pretending That Degrees Have Value.

Elaine Ou::

As any remaining illusion of a college meritocracy swirls down the drain, there remains one school where students are still admitted based on unadulterated academic aptitude: Caltech.

No bonus points for legacy applicants, nor for star athletes. Even if an underqualified student does happen to slip in, they don’t have an easy way out. The California Institute of Technology does not engage in grade inflation, and the four-year graduation rate stands at 79 percent, well below that of its elite peers.

Quick, name a famous Caltech alum! Maybe Sheldon Cooper? Jean-Luc Picard? No, those are fictional characters. Truly devoted nerds might be able to name Gordon Moore, founder of Intel, or Hal Finney, Bitcoin pioneer.

Despite being an intellectually rigorous institution, Caltech does not graduate many future elites. Alumni go on to be successful in their academic fields, but don’t tend to dominate finance, tech or politics. An academic meritocracy does not reflect how the world actually works.