Every year, we welcome about 235 new students to the Caltech community, plus a handful of transfer and 3/2 students. We're interested in knowing about the classes you've taken, the activities you enjoy, and how you respond to our essay questions. We also want to hear what your teachers and other mentors have to say about you as well.
We're increasing our focus on evaluating your academic preparedness prior to applying to Caltech. We strongly suggest you review the Academic Preparation Requirements webpage for an understanding of how the Admissions Committee will assess your preparedness for the Caltech curriculum.
Math is the foundation of a Caltech education, so we'll expect you've taken the highest-level calculus course available at your high school. We also expect students to have taken at least a year of physics and chemistry, as well as advanced English coursework. If you attended school in the U.S., you should also have taken one course in American history or government. Learn more here.
If a student is unable to take a calculus, chemistry, and/or physics course in high school because it is not available to them or they experience unresolvable course conflicts, Caltech will accept examination scores or certification showing proof of knowledge in the subject in lieu of an academic course requirement, provided both the student and their counselor document the underlying unresolvable issue(s). Check out our Academic Requirements page for more information.
How to apply
Most Caltech students apply using our First-Year Application and use the Common App or QuestBridge Application. If you're an international student, you're subject to different requirements, which are listed separately. In addition, we also welcome students for transfer admission and others through our 3/2 program.
What we look for
We're not just looking for students who have excelled in high school. We also want to know that you're motivated by the thought of getting in way over your head. Failure—problem sets you can't solve, experiments that go nowhere—isn't anything to fear. Our question is: How will you handle that? If you've challenged yourself at every turn, love STEM but a bunch of other things, too, and are driven by curiosity, you're on the right track.