The Ivy Scholars guide to the California Institute of Technology’s culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.
Location: Pasadena, California
Mascot: Orange Beaver
Type: Private Research Institution
Population: 2,200 (950 undergrads)
Year Founded: 1891
4 Year Graduation Rate: 84%
Gender Distribution: 59% male, 41% female
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Residency: 29% in state, 42% out of state, 29% international
Location Type: Suburban
Schedule System: Quarters
Student/Faculty Ratio: 3:1
Average Class Size: 12
Demographics: 28% Caucasian, 43% Asian, 12% Hispanic, 1% Black, 16% Other
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US News Rankings:
Average Applicant Pool: 7,300
Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 550
Average Number Enrolled: 250
Application Systems: Common App, Coalition App
Average GPA: 4.19 weighted
SAT Scores: 25th percentile – 1530, 75th percentile – 1570
ACT Scores: 25th percentile – 34, 75th percentile – 35
*Test mandatory. Writing sections required.
Subject Test Requirements: Subject Tests are no longer required, but still recommended.
Demonstrated Interest: Caltech does not consider demonstrated interest.
Recommendation Letter Policies: One letter from a math or science teacher, and one letter from a humanities or social sciences teacher. They request both teachers be familiar with your work, and the humanities/social sciences teacher be familiar with your writing. They will accept up to two additional letters from mentors or supervisors who know you well.
Caltech Essay Prompts for 2020:
Since most of the first year curriculum is devoted to core classes, they have many recommendations for how applicants can be sufficiently prepared academically.
Courses of Study:
AP Credit Policies:
Computer Science Options:
Additional Specialty Programs:
Programs for High Schoolers:
Alexa Cafe is a coding camp open to girls aged 10-15 to explore computer programming and practical applications.
School Motto: The Truth Shall Make You Free
Mission and Values:
Caltech students live in the House system, which combines aspects of dormitories and fraternities. Each house has its own close knit community, traditions, and food options. This system was founded by the students in cooperation with the university in the 1930s, after doing research on various housing situations on other campuses, and decided this was the best. All first and second year students are required to live on campus. House assignments are decided through Rotation.
Campus & Surrounding Area:
Greek Life: Caltech has no fraternities or sororities. The house system offers a lot of the perks of Greek life, but without the downsides, like the stresses of rush.
Yearly Cost of Attendance:
Caltech does not offer merit aid, but does offer need-based aid to all students who apply and qualify. Caltech also offers numerous work-study opportunities around campus and in associated laboratories. The majority of students at Caltech receive some amount of aid.