So, you’re thinking about applying to Cal Tech, and you’re curious about your chances of admission. Well, we’re here to help! Of course, there are a lot of factors in the admissions process, and it’s impossible to accurately predict whether you’ll be admitted or not. However, the most important factors in the admissions game are your GPA and test scores. So, using those as a measure, we can give you an estimate of your chances.
With an acceptance rate of 9%, admission to Cal Tech is extremely competitive. Based on our analysis, to have a good chance of being admitted, you need to be at the very top of your class, and have an SAT score of close to 1600, or an ACT score of around 35.
Not quite there? Try taking our SAT prep course and You'll still have a chance of getting in, but it’s in the single digits. Let’s take a closer look at Cal Tech admission statistics.
Cal Tech Admissions Statistics
Cal Tech’s acceptance rate in 2017 was 9%. For students applying to the class of 2021, out of 6,800 applicants, Cal Tech admitted about 544. The average GPA of admitted applicants was 4.24, the average ACT score was 35, and the average SAT score was 1560.
For students who took the ACT, the 25th percentile score of successful applicants was 34, and the 75th percentile score was 35.
For students who took the SAT, the 25th percentile score was 1530. The 75th percentile score was 1600.
If you’re somewhere in the middle of these numbers, remember that a high test score can compensate for a slightly lower GPA, and vice versa. If you’re at the lower end, it helps if you’re a diverse applicant, the child of an alum, or have incredible personal achievements. Still, at the 25th percentile, your chances of getting in are in the low single digits.
Other aspects of your application, such as athletics, extracurricular and recommendations, are important, but will likely only make a difference for admission if you’re in the 75th percentile range for your GPA and SAT/ACT scores.
As we said, admission to Cal Tech is very competitive. Even if Cal Tech is your dream school, and even if you’re in the 75th percentile, you’ll still want to make sure you apply to a wide variety of schools to ensure you’ll gain admission somewhere. Generally, you should have at least three safety schools (where you are in the 75th percentile of GPA/test scores), three reach schools (where you are in the 25th percentile of GPA/test scores) and three target schools (where you are near the average for GPA/test scores) on your list.
OK, so you’ve decided to apply. We took at a look at Cal Tech’s admissions requirements to help you get everything in order.
Cal Tech Application Requirements
To apply to Cal Tech, you’ll need to fill out the Common App and the Cal Tech supplement, submit an ACT or SAT score (writing test optional), SAT Subject Test scores in Math 2 and either Biology, Chemistry or Physics, a school report, a letter of recommendation from a humanities or social sciences teacher, and a letter of recommendation from a math or science teacher. Everything should be submitted by November 1 for Early Action, and January 3 for Regular Decision.
Here’s a full list of application requirements:
- Fill out the Cal Tech Application, answer Cal Tech’s supplementary questions, and pay an application fee of $75 (or apply for a fee waiver)
- Submit an ACT score or SAT score (writing score optional)
- Submit the Math 2 and either Biology, Chemistry or Physics SAT Subject tests scores
- Submit your high school transcript
- Submit one letter of recommendation from a humanities or social sciences teacher and another letter of recommendation from a math or sciences teacher
The application deadline is November 1 for Early Action, and January 3 for Regular Decision. November 18 is the financial aid application deadline. Early Action notifications are released mid-December, and Regular Decision applicants find out their fates in mid-March. May 1 is the reply date for admitted students.
Have you been admitted to Cal Tech? Congratulations! Below is a glimpse at what your classmates will be like.
Cal Tech Admitted Students Profile
If you matriculate at Cal Tech, you’ll be joining a diverse class, with students from all over the U.S. and the world, and have a chance to study in dozens of fields.
Here are some interesting facts about the recently admitted class:
- Roughly 56% are male and 44% are female
- 11% of students are international
- 100% graduated in the top quarter of their class and 99% graduated in the top ten percent of their class
Cal Tech has a diverse class, as well, with a large number of people of color. The ethnicities of admitted applicants are:
- International: 11%
- Underrepresented minority: 16%
- Two or more races: 4%
- White: 29%
What do these admitted students plan to study? Cal Tech offers dozens of majors, and students matriculating there pursue a wide number of subjects. Here is a list of some of the top programs:
- Physical Sciences
- Biomedical Sciences
Now, how are you going to pay for this?
Cal Tech Tuition Figures
At $64,974, Cal Tech’s cost of attendance is astronomical. But, don’t panic! Most incoming students receive some form of financial aid, and the average award is $30,378.
Here’s a fuller look at Cal Tech tuition and financial aid in 2017:
- Total budget: $64,974
- Average financial aid package: $30,378
- The average student debt of a Cal Tech graduate is $8,218
Now, what is life like at Cal Tech? Let’s take a look.
Cal Tech Location
Cal Tech is located in Pasadena, California, about ten miles outside of Los Angeles.
Much of the architectural style of Cal Tech is based on the Spanish mission style of Southern California.
Remember, you’re going to Cal Tech for its excellent academics! Below is a look at what academic life will be like.
Cal Tech Academics
Cal Tech has dozens of majors. Some of the school’s more interesting majors are:
- Political Science
- History and Philosophy
- Business, Economics & Management
- Planetary Science
- Mechanical Engineering
Now, let’s take a look at life outside the classroom at Cal Tech.
Student Life at Cal Tech
Cal Tech has hundreds of student organizations, covering academic interests, creative and performing arts, cultural and racial initiatives, gender and sexuality affinity groups, government and politics interests, and various media and publications.
Here’s a sampling of Cal Tech’s student activities:
- Techers for a Sustainable Future (TSF)
- The Feminist Club
- Women in Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy
- Student Athletics Advisory Committee
- Science & Engineering Policy At Caltech (SEPAC)
- Muslim Student Association
- Jewish Life at Caltech
- Dance Dance Revolution Club
- Caltech Ultimate Frisbee Club
- Caltech Surf and Windsurf Club
- Caltech Premedical Association (CPMA)
- Caltech Latino Association of Students in Engineering and Sciences
- iGem Club
- Engineers Without Borders Caltech Chapter
- Caltech Sustainable Vehicles Club
- Photography Club
Are you an athlete? Cal Tech’s got plenty of options for you.
Cal Tech Athletics
Cal Tech offers a large number of intercollegiate sports, with extensive varsity, as well as club, offerings, for both men and women. So, if you’re not up to varsity level, remember there are plenty of club and intramural sports to try out for, too.
Cal Tech’s sports include:
- Swimming & Diving
- Water Polo
- Track & Field
Who might you become with a Cal Tech degree? Let’s take a look at some well-known and successful alums:
Cal Tech has produced politicians, business tycoons, entertainers, musicians, media figures, and leaders in dozens of other fields.
Here’s a list of some particularly well-known alums:
- Physicist Kip Thorne
- Tech superstar Adam D’Angelo
- Chinese engineer Qian Xuesen
- Scientist and engineer Frances Arnold
- Biochemist Linus Pauling
- Computer Scientist Fei-Fei Li
- Intel founder Gordon Moore
- Astronomer Amy Mainzer
- Computer scientist Donald Knuth
- Powerlifter Kristy Hawkins
- BlackBerry chairman John S. Chen
- Canadian astrophysicist Arthur B. McDonald
And this is only a partial list!
Getting into Cal Tech is very competitive. Don’t despair if you get a no. If you have a strong GPA and high test scores, you have a great chance of getting into at least one of the more competitive schools. And if you don’t, remember: where you go is NOT who you are. If you work hard, you’ll end up at a school that’s right for you, and still get a great education.
If you need to boost your GPA or test scores before application time rolls around, you should consider signing up for a course with Prep Expert. We offer one-on-one tutoring and classes, both in-person and online, at locations throughout the United States. Our expert teachers and tutors will not only share with you tried and true methods for improving your score, but also help you correct deficiencies in any subject that you’re having difficulty with—English, Writing, Mathematics or Science. Additionally, online classes can be watched On Demand, so if you miss a class due to your busy schedule, you can catch it online later. We have helped hundreds of students get the scores they need to attend the school of their dreams.
Best of luck with your applications and go check out Prep Expert!
200 Point Guarantee
Increase your SAT score by 200 points or your ACT score by 4 points or get your money back! See Terms for details.