Caltech Acceptance Dates

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Caltech Acceptance Dates

If you are a high school student who is interested in attending one of the most prestigious and selective undergraduate programs in the country, there are just a few options that are not one of the eight Ivy League programs.

One such program, however, is absolutely the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech as it is often called, located in Pasadena, California.

If you are interested in one day applying to – and ideally getting into – Caltech, then chances are good that you are doing all that you can to learn about how the admissions process at the school works, what the current admissions trends are at the school and much more.

As it turns out, one of the best places to start when you are doing research about a school that you are considering putting on your list is to learn about the acceptance dates at the school. After all, learning about the Caltech acceptance date will lead to students learning more about the admissions timeline of the school, the application deadlines, as well as what options students have when it comes to how they want to apply to the school.

View of two students studying in a room.

At the end of the day, knowledge about a specific school’s admissions process, and what they are looking for in prospective students, can be a major tool for students who are looking to overcome some of the most competitive acceptance rates in the country.

At AdmissionSight, we firmly believe that having the tools and strategies necessary to succeed in the undergraduate application journey is just as important as having the history of academic and extracurricular success. And we’re not just saying that! We have years of experience within the admissions ecosystem and we have seen students of all kinds, from all over the world, achieve their admissions dreams.

In fact, since we began operating as an admissions consulting group, 75.0 percent of the students that we have worked with have gone on to get into either an Ivy League school like Harvard, Columbia or Yale or a top 10 school that is not in the Ivies such as Caltech, MIT or Stanford.

That is especially impressive considering the fact that many of these schools have acceptance rates that are either slightly above or slightly below just 5.0 percent!

So, whether you have already made a comprehensive list of schools that you want to apply to, or if you are even still a couple years away from even thinking about applying to colleges for your undergraduate university, then you are doing the smart thing and taking some time to learn more about this wonderful learning institution.

Let’s get started.

Caltech Acceptance Rate

Before we get into breaking down the Caltech acceptance date or the Caltech early action date, we thought it would be smart to first break down the current acceptance rate trends at the school.

As you likely already know, an acceptance rate at any given school refers to the percentage of students that get offered a spot of admissions in the next incoming class out of the total number of students that apply to the school.

In recent years, the total pool of students that are applying to top schools like Caltech, Stanford or Harvard have grown tremendously. The two pervading theories on why there has been such historic growth in terms of the number of students applying to these prestigious and competitive schools is because 1.

Students taking an exam in a desk.

Many of these schools have adopted a standardized test optional policy, meaning a great score in either the SAT or ACT is not necessary to get in and 2. The schools themselves have made a clear and concerted effort to improve the diversity and inclusion at their schools, thus encouraging more students from different backgrounds and locations to apply.

So what is the current acceptance rate at Caltech? It may surprise you that the numbers could very well make it one of the hardest schools to get into in the entire United States!

In the 2020-21 application cycle, a total of just 13,026 students applied to the school. This pool of applicants pales in comparison to those of schools like Harvard, Columbia and Cornell. Those schools gather tens of thousands of applications these days, with Cornell receiving more than 70,000 in this most recent application cycle!

Of those 13,026 students that applied, a total of just 510 were offered a spot at the school, good for an overall acceptance rate of just 3.9 percent. This puts Caltech right up there with the likes of MIT and Princeton in terms of the most selective schools in the country.

The 2020-21 application cycle saw a massive increase in students that applied to the school. In the previous cycle (2019-20), just 8,007 students applied. A part of that is because the COVID-19 pandemic was still causing a lot of uncertainty in terms of what the college experience would be like for that graduating class.

Luckily, these days schools have returned to in-person schooling and a much more traditional style of education compared to just a few short years ago. Beyond that, the fact that the application pool increased by more than 50.0 percent is indicative of far more than just a return to the classrooms for undergraduate students in America. It is part of an ongoing and undeniable trend. It is part of the reason why acceptance rates have dipped to historic lows across the country as well.

When it comes to the 2021-22 application cycle, it is not yet known what the exact application rate was for the school in that year, we do know that just 432 students were accepted. If the total pool of students remained constant (which based off of all the other top schools in the country, it very likely did), we can deduce that the acceptance rate may have been as low as just 3.0 percent, arguably making Caltech the hardest school to get into last year!

This is not to discourage you! But it is important for any student who is interested in applying to Caltech to know what they are up against, what kind of students they are competing with, and how few spots there really are in each year’s incoming class.

Important Caltech Acceptance Dates

Now that we have covered the basic facts of the acceptance rate at Caltech as it currently stands, let’s get into something a bit more exciting. The Caltech acceptance date! As is the case with all schools that offer Early Action/Decision and Regular Decision applications, Caltech has two different due dates for students to send in their applications as well as two different acceptance dates.

College consultant taking to two people.

Of course, if you plan on applying to Caltech via Early Action, you will want to keep an eye out for the Caltech Early Action dates. We also think it is important to make clear that there is no Caltech Early Action 2 date as the school does not offer an Early Action 2 application option.

Take a look at the Caltech admissions timeline below.

Action Date
Restrictive Early Action deadline November 1, 2022
Restrictive Early Action decision notifications Mid-December, 2022
Regular Decision deadline January 3, 2023
Regular Decision notifications Mid-March, 2023
Restrictive Early Action and Regular Decision admit reply deadline May 1, 2023

As you can see, the deadline between the Regular Decision admissions option at Caltech is quite different from the Restrictive Early Action deadline at the school. And that is not all that is different about the rules and regulations related to the two application options.

With that in mind, while the Early Action application option at Caltech is restrictive, it is not binding. A binding application agreement means that if a student applies early to a school and ends up getting in, that they have to withdraw all of their other applications and enroll at the school that they applied to early.

Still, just because Caltech does not follow that set of rules, there are some important restrictions that students who are considering applying to Caltech early should know about. Basically, it means that students are not allowed to apply to any other school via Early Action or Early Decision.

So, if you want to apply early to Caltech, that will be the only early application that you are allowed to send in, with a few exceptions, including:

  • An institution outside of the United States;
  • Any public institution that has a non-binding admissions policy with a fall application deadline (such as the University of California system);
  • An institution’s non-binding rolling admissions process;
  • Any military academy;
  • Any scholarships or special academic programs with an early deadline at another institution, public or private, if the early application submission is a necessary aspect for consideration, and the outcome is non-binding;
  • If you are deferred admission after applying REA to Caltech, you may apply to another institution’s Early Decision II program. If you are admitted to that institution’s Early Decision II program, you are required to withdraw your application of admission to Caltech.

The school also makes it clear that “REA should be for students who are prepared to submit their most competitive application by November 1, including letters of recommendation, and required coursework for admission.”

Finally, when it comes to the potential outcomes of your application, there are three different potential paths that your Restricted Early Action application can go down. Those three paths are admission, deferral or deny. Here is what the school has to say about those three outcomes:

  • Admit: a student is admitted and has until May 1, 2023 to accept or decline their offer.
  • Defer: a student is deferred to Regular Decision. Caltech is very judicious with our deferment offers, only choosing this option for students we are very interested in learning more about and considering them in the wider Regular Decision pool.
  • Deny: a student is denied admission to Caltech. All denied decisions are final and a student cannot appeal the decision, nor can they apply to Caltech in the Regular Decision round of that cycle. Students are welcome to apply for admissions again the following fall.

Is REA at Caltech really worth it?

Now that you know a bit more about the Early Action admission option at Caltech as well as the Caltech Early Action date, you may be wondering to yourself if the process of applying in this way is really worth it.

Female student holding her book while in the school grounds.

After all, Early Action admissions not only comes with those important restrictions that can certainly impact the other choices you make in terms of applying to schools, but it also comes with that expedited timeline, meaning that you will definitely want to start your Caltech application well before you start any of your other applications.

So, is it worth it?

Across the entire admissions landscape, there is a general belief (most by parents and students) that applying to schools via early admissions can offer students something of an automatic boost in their application. All that to say, some believe that students have an easier road. The primary reason why this belief is so widely held is because acceptance rates for students that apply via early admissions tend to be far more forgiving.

Young man smiling at the camera with people behind him walking in the campus.

In fact, at top schools – such as the Ivies or other top 10 schools – acceptance rates for early applicants can sometimes be two to three times higher! From that, it’s not much of a shock why so many believe it is the easier path to acceptance. However, the truth behind those elevated acceptance rates are a bit more complex than schools simply giving students a boost for applying early. Those components include:

  • Students who apply in this manner tend to be a self-selecting group and may have stronger grade point averages, standardized test scores, extracurricular accomplishments and more, making them more attractive applicants regardless of when and how they chose to apply.
  • Students who apply to Caltech via Early Action initially have their applications pegged against only the other students who have also applied in this way, leading to a smaller pool of students in which any early applicant has to compete against. It is only in the event that an early applicant is deferred that they then have to compete against the entire pool of applicants in that year.
  • The choice to apply via Early Action shows a specific interest in Caltech. Just like elite students want to feel wanted by elite schools, elite schools also want to feel wanted by elite students. It also serves as a clear sign that unless some unforeseen circumstances arise, a student who is accepted from the Early Action pool is very likely to accept that spot.

Finally, when it comes to Caltech specifically, Early Action admissions was primarily brought about because of the increasing pool of applicants despite the fact that the tiny graduating classes are not projected to grow at any point. While some schools will accept a far greater percentage of students from their early admissions pool, Caltech wants it to be clear that “we will reserve most of our admissions offers for Regular Decision, which is when the majority of applicants apply to Caltech.”

One final important change that Caltech has made recently in regards to its early admissions option is that, now, international students are eligible to apply in this way as well. In the past, international students who wanted to apply to the school and for financial aid from the school were only able to apply via Regular Decision. Now, they too can apply to the school via Early Action.

This is all to say that students who have Caltech as their top school should not simply assume that their chances are going to be improved because they applied via Early Action. And that presumption of an easier path should not be the primary reason why you have interest in applying in this way.

Truthfully, the only instance in which a student should be thinking about applying to Caltech via Early Action is if the school is your number one choice. If you know that you would elect to enroll at Caltech no matter what other schools you do or do not get into, then applying via Early Action is right for you!

We’ll help you track Caltech Acceptance Dates

Getting into the top schools in the country is hard, but that does not mean you are not up to the challenge. By utilizing your knowledge of the school and making it clear that you are the exact kind of student that the admissions committee is looking for, you can make sure that you get an acceptance letter by the time a decision is made on your application to Caltech.

If you are interested in learning more about Caltech and what it takes to get in, contact us at AdmissionSight today to set up a free consultation.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.