The California Institute of Technology, better recognized as Caltech, is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The institute offers robust science and engineering courses that attract innovative minds from all over the world.
The institute possesses some of the best research facilities. It is also ranked at a prestigious rank of #6 among 1,500 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023.
With its reputation as one of the premier institutes in the world, the California Institute of Technology’s acceptance rate is 4%. Out of thousands of students applying in 2022, the university aims to enroll only 235 candidates.
The Fall enrolment for 2021-22 witnessed a total of 987 undergraduate and 1,410 graduate students admitted to various courses at Caltech.
Admission Eligibility Criteria
How to get admission to the California Institute of Technology? Candidates must fulfill the eligibility criteria for their chosen level of study to be considered for application.
The California Institute of Technology admission criteria for undergraduate courses are
- Completion of high school or enrolment in the last year of high school.
- A minimum of four years of math. This should have included calculus for at least one year.
- Students should have studied chemistry for at least one year.
- One year of physics, with calculus optional.
- Three to four years of English.
For graduate studies, these criteria vary slightly, as given below
- Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institute of higher learning.
- Proficiency in written and spoken English.
Candidates who do not have English as their first language can choose to give standardized tests like TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge Examinations and self-report the scores.
The level of study dictates the mandatory documents required. The California Institute of Technology’s admission requirements include a list of required and supplemental documents for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
The list of mandatory documents required to be considered for undergraduate admissions at the university is as follows.
- Online application, using either Common App, Apply Coalition, or QuestBridge.
- A US$75 application fee if the candidate has not applied for a fee waiver.
- A school report to be sent by the counselor detailing the context of the candidate’s school.
- A letter of recommendation from the counselor.
- Evaluations from at least two secondary school teachers. One should be from a math or science teacher, and the other should be written by a humanities or social science teacher.
- Secondary school official transcripts.
- Mid-year report when first term grades have been released.
International students require additional documents along with the ones listed above. These are:
- Test scores of English proficiency exams like IELTS, TOEFL, or the Duolingo English Test if the candidate is not a native English speaker.
- The translation of all supporting documents into English.
- Statement of Intent for International Financial Aid, to understand the candidate’s means of financial aid for studying at the University
The candidates can also submit supplementary materials to help the admissions committee understand them better. Some examples of supplement materials are:
- Relevant internships and their brief descriptions
- A research paper, abstract, or publication along with a citation, if published
- Visual art
- Maker portfolio
The California Institute of Technology’s admission requirements for the postgraduate courses are:
- Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities.
- Three letters of recommendation.
- Updated CV of the applicant.
- Statement of Purpose.
The applicant can also choose to self-report the scores of English proficiency tests like TOEFL or GRE. However, they won’t boost the application in any way.
Tests Required and Average Scores
Until June 2020, the California Institute of Technology’s admission requirements included appearing for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. However, the University adopted a two-year testing moratorium in June 2020 and extended it to five years in 2022.
So, the only mandatory test for admission to Caltech is an English proficiency test for international applicants. However, these can be avoided if the primary language of instruction at the candidate’s previous school was English.
The California Institute of Technology has a list of recommended and minimum scores for each English language test. These are as follows:
Name of the Test
Minimum Score Required
Duolingo English Test
The California Institute of Technology is renowned for its rigorous curriculum, close collaboration of students with the faculty, and classroom comprising a few students. It offers 28 undergraduate and 30 graduate courses in various disciplines.
Students worldwide choose Caltech for its focus on research in areas like Math, Science, Humanities, and Social Science. The University equips students to deal with the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary research, business, and society.
Some of the popular courses at the institute are across the following disciplines:
- Computer Science
- Particle and Material Physics
- Electrical Engineering
- Biology and Biochemistry
- Molecular Biology and Genetics
- Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
How California Institute of Technology Evaluates Applicants
The California Institute of Technology uses a holistic approach to review each candidate’s application. It focuses on the applicant’s life experiences, attributes, and academic opportunities to learn more about them. With these points, Caltech also aims to understand what contributions the candidate can make to the institute.
The admission process at Caltech relies on the following factors:
Diversity of Experiences
The admissions committee at Caltech focuses on a Committee-Based Evaluation to understand each applicant’s strengths and what makes them stand out. It ensures that the admission process accounts for the entirety of the candidate’s application, using their experiences and personal background as context.
Caltech determines the capabilities of each applicant by considering their circumstances and how well they have utilized the resources around them. They use the context of individual events like – the candidate’s high school location, available extracurricular opportunities, and where they live.
The admission process is extensive. First, some of the most competitive applicants are chosen by admission officers after careful review. This list is then passed on for a faculty review, after which it reaches the admissions committee.
Lastly, each shortlisted candidate is discussed individually, and a decision is made by the admission committee consisting of admission officers and members of the first-year faculty.
Tips for Applying to the California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology’s admission requirements are extensive, with applicants required to have an excellent academic record with a blend of extracurriculars. So, maintaining consistently high grades is vital to be considered for admission.
Some essential tips for applying to Caltech are as follows:
- Highlight collaborative efforts, like group projects, since Caltech aims to know how potential candidates can contribute to the University with their peers.
- Engage in extracurriculars and obtain volunteer experience from nearby NGOs.
- Pen a robust personal statement to narrate a story of unique experiences and challenges. The admissions committee at Caltech checks the candidate’s experiences and circumstances to decide how well they have used the resources provided to them.
- Possess strong math, science, and humanities background since Caltech recommends incoming students to have a strong core in these subjects.
- Choose the early action plan to send in the application.
- Connect and network with faculty and students at the institute to understand the culture and obtain valuable insights for courses at the university.
The admission process of the California Institute of Technology starts once every year during the Fall session. The deadlines for undergraduate admissions for Fall 2022 are:
- Restrictive Early Action deadline: November 1, 2022 (Notification: Mid-December, 2022)
- Regular Decision deadline: January 3, 2023 (Notification: Mid-March, 2023)
- Reply deadline for Restrictive Early Action: May 1, 2023
- Reply for Regular Decision admission: May 1, 2023
The graduate applications at the institute usually start on November 15 and end by January 1 for classes beginning the following Fall semester.
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