California Institute of Technology: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Beckman Institute on the campus of the California Institute of Technology

Wolterk/Getty Images 

The California Institute of Technology, Caltech, is one of the most selective colleges in the country. With an acceptance rate of less than 7%, students will need to have well above average grades and test scores to be competitive.

Caltech accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application. The Institute requires scores from the SAT or ACT, academic transcripts, teacher recommendations, an application essay, and several short-answer essays.

Considering applying to this highly selective school? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores of admitted students.

Why Caltech?

  • Location: Pasadena, California
  • Campus Features: The small school of just 961 undergraduates sits on a 124-acre campus that is a short distance from Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 3:1
  • Athletics: The Caltech Beavers compete in the NCAA Division III SCIAC, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
  • Highlights: Caltech typically vies with MIT for the top position among the nation's best engineering schools. Students can choose from 27 academic programs, and 95% of undergraduates participate in research.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, Caltech had an acceptance rate of 6.6%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 6 students were admitted, making Caltech's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 8,208
Percent Admitted 6.6%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 43%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Caltech requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 68% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 740 780
Math 790 800
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of Caltech's admitted students fall within the top 7% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Caltech scored between 740 and 780, while 25% scored below 740 and 25% scored above 780. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 790 and 800, while 25% scored below 790 and 25% scored a perfect 800. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1580 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Caltech.

Requirements

Caltech does not require the SAT writing section. Note that Caltech participates in the scorechoice program, which means that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates. Applicants are required to submit two SAT Subject test scores: Mathematics Level 2 and one subject test in science (molecular or ecological biology, chemistry, or physics).

ACT Scores and Requirements

Caltech requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 52% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 35 36
Math 35 36
Composite 35 36

This admissions data tells us that most of Caltech's admitted students fall within the top 1% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to Caltech received a composite ACT score between 35 and 36, while 25% scored a perfect 36 and 25% scored below 35.

Requirements

Note that Caltech does not superscore ACT results; your highest composite ACT score will be considered. Caltech does not require the ACT writing section. Regardless of whether you submit the ACT or SAT, you will still be required to submit SAT Subject test scores to Caltech.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Caltech Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph
Caltech Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.  Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Caltech. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

As one of the nation's most selective colleges, Caltech is looking for applicants with grades and test scores that are well above average. In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. You can see that most successful applicants had "A" averages, SAT scores (ERW+M) of about 1450 or higher, and an ACT composite score of 32 or higher. However, there are many students with high test scores and GPAs of 4.0 who don't get into Caltech.

Caltech has a holistic admissions policy. The admissions officers will be looking for more than good grades and high standardized test scores. They will also want to see challenging courses, glowing letters of recommendation, winning essays, and strong extracurricular involvement. Success in AP, Honors, or IB classes will be essential, but the admissions committee will also be reading every word of your application essay and short answer responses. Bear in mind that Caltech is looking for more than stellar scientists and engineers, the school wants to enroll students who will enrich the campus community in meaningful ways.

All admissions data has been sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and Caltech Undergraduate Admissions Office.