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Colleges / California Institute of Technology

Caltech Admissions

If you are thinking about applying to Caltech, the regular decision application deadline is January 3 and the application fee costs $75. Application fees can add up, but some schools do have free applications and students with financial need may be eligible for fee waiver for their application.

Students who apply for Fall should receive an admissions decision no later than March 15.

Considering Applying Early to Caltech?

California Institute of Technology does not offer early decision but does offer early action.

Mark your calendar! The Early Action deadline is November 1, which is coming up fast! Caltech will release EA admissions decisions no later than December 15.

Some students apply to college early because they believe it will help their chances. Early deadlines may increase the chance of being admitted, since applying early shows your are very interested in a school, and your application is being considered before all the regular decision applicants apply.

See a list of some selective colleges that admit significantly more applicants during early decision or early action than during regular admission.

Is Caltech Hard To Get Into?

Getting into Caltech is extremely difficult. Caltech evaluates applicants carefully based on multiple criteria to decide who to admit, and who to deny or waitlist.

In 2021, Caltech accepted 7% of all applicants., around 536 of the 8,007 students who applied.

Schools that are extremely difficult to get into, like Caltech, accept fewer than 30% of all applicants. At least 75% of admitted students have GPAs in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 1310 on the SAT or over 29 on the ACT.

Transfer student admissions is extremely difficult. In 2021, Caltech waitlisted 312 students. Of those, 235 eventually got in.

What's Most Important to Get In to Caltech?

Colleges consider a range of factors when choosing who to admit for their next incoming class. Each college has a different way of determining which factors are they consider most important in the admissions process. When creating your list of schools to apply to, you may want to consider your strengthsand any possible weaknesses in your application, and choose schools that prioritize the areas where you stand out.

Admissions Factors at Caltech

Admissions Factor Level
Academic GPA Important
Alumni/ae Relations Not Considered
Character/Personal Qualities Very Important
Geographical Residence Not Considered
Class Rank Important
Work Experience Considered
Extracurricular Activities Important
Level of Applicant's Interest Not Considered
Application Essay Very Important
First Generation Considered
Interview Not Considered
Racial/Ethnic Status Considered
Recommendation(s) Very Important
Religious Affiliation/Commitment Not Considered
Rigor of Secondary School Record Very Important
State Residency Not Considered
Talent/Ability Considered
Standardized Test Scores Very Important
Volunteer Work Considered

Caltech 2021-2022 Application Requirements

To apply, all applicants to Caltech must submit the following items. Double check with Caltech's admissions department to confirm all application materials and requirements.

Area Required Recommended Required for some Details (if any)
Written Essay or Personal Statement
Letter(s) of Recommendation 2
Transcript of High School Record

What GPA Do I Need To Get Into Caltech?

Out of all students that were admitted, 24% submitted a class rank. At Caltech 96% of students ranked in the top 10% of their graduating class in high school, 100% were in the top 25%

Unweighted GPAs range from 4.0 to under 1.0.

At California Institute of Technology, students GPAs fall in the following ranges
4.0 GPA 24%

Caltech does not have a test optional admissions policy. Test optional schools allow students to choose if they want to submit ACT or SAT scores with their applications or not.

In 2021, 45% of Caltech's first-year students submitted their SAT scores with their application. 34% of admitted applicants sent ACT scores.

What's a Good SAT Score for Caltech?

To be competitive with other Caltech applicants, you should strive to earn between 1510 and 1570 (or higher!) on the SAT. At Caltech 25% of admitted students scored higher than 1570 and 25% of scored lower than 1510, but the majority of students scored somewhere in between these two numbers.

On the SAT Math Section, 25% of Caltech students scored 800 or higher and 75% of students scored 740 or higher. On the SAT Critical Reading section (formerly called the Verbal section), 25% of Caltech students scored 780 or higher, and 75% scored a 740 or higher.

Want to increase your SAT Score?

Preparing for the SAT can help raise your score, but it doesn't have to take up a lot of time.

Learn how to increase your SAT score 200 points or more in just 10 minutes a day.

What's a Good ACT Score for Caltech?

To be most competitive at Caltech, you should strive to earn between 35 and 36 on the ACT.

An ACT score of 36 means you fall in the 75th percentile for Caltech's admitted students. One out of every four students scored above a 36, and three out of four students scored lower than 36 on the ACT.

A 35 on the ACT is the 25th percentile for Caltech students. Only one out of every four students scored below 35.

Want To Bring Up Your ACT Score? Access ACT practice tests and study tips and see upcoming ACT test dates.

Transferring to California Institute of Technology

For transfer students, it is extremely difficult to get admitted to Caltech.

For transfer students wishing to start in the Fall, the deadline to apply is February 15. Applicants should hear back by May 1.

Transfer students can enroll in Caltech during the following terms: Fall Term

Caltech Admissions FAQs

Can I defer my acceptance to Caltech?

Yes, admitted students can defer their admission to Caltech.

Does Caltech accept transfer credits?

Caltech accepts eligible transfer credits from accredited institutions.

Does Caltech accept Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits?


Do I have to submit test scores to Caltech?

Caltech. is not test optional. You must submit test scores as part of the application.

See what others say about Caltech in the College Confidential forums

Explore other colleges in California or use the college admissions predictor to calculate your chances of getting into some of the top colleges and universities in the U.S.

Caltech Admissions Requirements

Admission Difficulty



How hard is it to get into Caltech? Caltech is a selective institution. The Caltech acceptance rate is 7%. This means that the institution accepts 6 out of every 100 applicants.



Wondering what your chances are of getting into California Institute of Technology?

Complete your profile to get your personalized, AI-calculated prediction score.

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Caltech Application Deadline

First-Year Applications are Due

Jan 3

Transfer Applications are Due

Feb 15

The deadline for Fall first-year applications to Caltech is Jan 3.

The deadline for Fall transfer applications to Caltech is Feb 15.

Check the school website for more information about deadlines for specific programs or special admissions programs

Caltech ACT Scores


ACT Range

35 - 36

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by ACT Score

ACT Score

Estimated Chance

36 and Above


35 to 36


35 and Less


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Caltech SAT Scores


Composite SAT Range

1510 - 1570


Math SAT Range

790 - 800


Reading SAT Range

740 - 780

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Caltech GPA

Avg. High School GPA (non-weighted)

Not available

© 2021 College Confidential / Concentrical LLC, Data provided by IPEDs and Peterson's Databases, © 2020 Peterson's LLC.

Quick Facts

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Campus Setting


Acceptance Rate


Tuition and Fees

In State




Fall Freshmen
Application Deadline

Jan 3
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