At Caltech, we realize the vital role high school counselors play in helping high school juniors and seniors navigate the college exploration and application process. We've provided a list of resources to assist you in advising students interested in Caltech.
What we look for
Caltech students love all math and science. Not just one subject. It's simply part of their DNA – it's who they are.
First-year students are academically prepared, having challenged themselves in high school by taking a variety of math and science classes. They haven't just taken required math and science courses. They've gone above and beyond, taken courses outside their comfort zones, and shown an authentic passion for STEM.
We believe in the holistic review of applicants, evaluating the context of available academic opportunities, and personal paths that have led applicants to where they are today. Through course selection, extracurriculars, and admissions essays, we want to see that their passion for STEM has shown up throughout their high school careers.
Our students love exploring the unknown. They seek out every possible opportunity to learn more, research deeper, and soak up knowledge.
Specifically, applicants to Caltech must take the following courses:
- Calculus - We look for students who have taken the highest level calculus class offered at the school. The typical classes we see include AP Calculus BC, IB Math HL, Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, and/or Differential Equations.
- Chemistry - Applicants should complete the equivalent of one year of chemistry.
- Physics - Applicants should complete the equivalent of one year of physics.
We do not require biology coursework, but we will look for indicators that students are prepared for biology coursework. In both math and science, we are most interested in indicators that students grasp the material in these areas, more than how many years they've taken a particular subject.
How do I know if my student is a good fit for Caltech?
Caltech students exude a deep, somewhat all-consuming love for STEM. We are not simply looking for students who are good at STEM; we want students who are all sold out for it. We expect students to struggle immensely at Caltech and to fail often. How will a student get back up and keep persevering when things get challenging? That answer is important because the hardest scientific questions left to be answered will require failing 1,000 times at every step before the breakthrough comes.
One of the major questions we ask ourselves when reviewing applicants is this: with the resources available to a student, how did their passion for STEM display itself? For some students, that means engaging in research in their local areas. For many others, that means reading books, asking deep questions, inspiring others around them because their love of STEM is deeper and wider than a typical person.
Not every student will be tracked in their high school to take the hardest available STEM courses; in admissions, we understand that. But does this student continue to show immense capacity for STEM? When counselors can describe students who possess deep wells of fortitude and capacity in STEM - that's Caltech.
Snapshot of the Class of 2025
Total Enrollment: 244
International Enrollment: 10%
First-generation college students: 17%
Pell-eligible students: 20%
QuestBridge students: 17%
Students of Color: 70%
*Underrepresented Enrollment: 22%
* Includes students who self-identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, and/or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
- $75 application fee or fee waiver (by request)
- Teacher evaluations (1 math or science and 1 humanities or social science)
- School Report: This document provides context about your school that helps the Admissions Committee evaluate student applications holistically. We want the full picture.
- Academic transcripts
Note: Caltech is test-free for the classes entering in Fall 2021-2025. As such, SAT or ACT examinations will not be considered nor will AP examination scores.
Additional requirements for international applicants
- *TOEFL scores, IELTS scores, or Duolingo English Test (DET)
- *Unless their native language is English or English is the primary language of instruction in your secondary school
- International Financial Aid Statement of Intent
- International applicants must confirm their understanding of our financial aid policy and thus confirm their financial aid intent towards Caltech.
- Additional information is available on our International Applicants page
|Restrictive Early Action Deadline||November 1, 2022|
|*Restrictive Early Action decision notifications||Mid-December, 2022|
|Regular Decision Deadline||January 3, 2023|
|**Regular Decision notifications||Mid-March, 2023|
|Early Action and Regular Decision admit reply deadline||May 1, 2023|
*Restrictive Early Action is a non-binding option available to students. More information on Restrictive Early Action can be found here.
**Students admitted during Regular Decision have until May 1 to confirm attendance. If a student is waitlisted, they will be contacted after May 1 about the next steps in the waitlist process.
Students who are denied in Restrictive Early Action or Regular Decision are not able to appeal their admissions decision; if they so choose, students can re-apply to Caltech the following fall term.