How to Update Caltech After Submitting Your Application

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Young man using a laptop in a table.

It’s tough to get into Caltech—in fact, with an acceptance rate of around 3%, it’s one of the most competitive schools in the world. But hitting that submit button on your application isn’t the end of the challenge. Knowing how to update Caltech after submitting your application—to submit supplemental materials, for example—is just as important. We’ll walk you through how to make sure your updates get noticed and counted.

Why Updating Caltech After Submitting Your Application Matters

Updating Caltech after you’ve applied is key to keeping your application strong. Your initial submission is thorough, but it might not cover everything you’ve done or learned since then. You need to give the admissions committee a more up-to-date and complete picture of who you are and what you’ve achieved.

Supplemental materials

Even though they’re optional, supplemental materials can really make your application pop. They give you the chance to showcase your strengths and interests in ways that the regular application doesn’t.

A research paper can show off your academic skills and passion for a subject, for instance, while a maker portfolio can highlight your creativity and problem-solving abilities. Visual arts projects or descriptions of internships can give a glimpse into what you love and how you apply your skills in real life.

Deferral and waitlist

If you get deferred or waitlisted, updating Caltech becomes super important. A deferral means the admissions committee wants to take another look at your application during the regular decision process. Meaning, you get the chance to add new achievements or supplemental materials that could boost your application.

For those on the waitlist, on the other hand, sending in more info can really improve your chances. Waitlisted students are often reconsidered based on the new materials they provide, so updating your application can make a big difference.

Where to Update Caltech After Submitting Your Application

After you submit your application, Caltech will send you a link to the Beaver Breakroom. It is Caltech’s application portal. Get familiar with this portal ASAP because it’s where you’ll update Caltech with new documents. It’s also where you’ll track your submissions.

Male student resting next to a pile of boxes in his dorm room.

How to use Beaver Breakroom

No need to stress yourself out, Beaver Breakroom is pretty user-friendly. Use the link you get after submitting your application to log into Beaver Breakroom, and keep your login details safe and handy.

The portal’s dashboard gives you a quick look at your application status. This is where you can see if there are any outstanding requirements or extra requests from the admissions office. You can also go to the section for supplemental materials, where you’ll upload any extra documents you want the admissions committee to see.

When uploading documents, make sure your documents are in PDF format and label each file with your name and the type of material (like “Jane_Doe_Research_Paper.pdf”). And after you upload your documents, Beaver Breakroom will show if the document was successfully uploaded and reviewed by the admissions committee.

Extra tips

Keep all your supplemental materials and related documents in one folder on your computer to make them easy to find and upload.

Log into Beaver Breakroom regularly to check for updates or new requests from Caltech. Pay close attention to any specific instructions about document formats, submission deadlines, and other requirements.

If you run into any issues while using Beaver Breakroom, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You can contact your regional counselor for personalized assistance, and the portal’s help section or FAQs can guide you through common problems.

How to Submit Supplemental Materials to Caltech

Submitting supplemental materials to Caltech can give your application an extra edge by highlighting your unique skills, achievements, and interests. You can update your Caltech application by submitting supplemental materials. These materials include:

Research papers and projects

If you’ve done significant research in high school, update Caltech by submitting your research paper or project is a great way to show off your academic skills. If your research is published, include the citation. Provide a detailed description of your research project as well.

Also, get a letter from someone who supervised or mentored your research. Make sure you fill out the form with your research description and your recommender’s email address. Caltech’s office will then contact your recommender to upload their evaluation.

Maker portfolio

Think of your maker portfolio as a collection of your coolest work, like a robotics project or software you developed. To highlight your problem-solving skills and creativity, include projects that mix science, technology, engineering, and math with art or other creative fields. Faculty members will review your maker portfolio, so your work will be evaluated by experts in the field.

Creative projects

Creative projects—all about your personal interests and hobbies. Are you into theater? Visual arts? Music? Ice skating or spelunking? Update Caltech and show off your passions and personality. Even though these submissions aren’t reviewed by subject matter experts, they give a great glimpse into who you are.

Step-by-step guide to submitting supplemental materials

1. Log into Beaver Breakroom. After you submit your application, you’ll get a link to log into this portal, and use your credentials to log in. This is where you’ll handle everything for your application.

2. Once you’re logged in, look for the section labeled for supplemental materials. It’s easy to find on the menu.

Happy young woman reading paper letter at home.

3. Choose the type of material you want to upload. Caltech accepts various types of supplemental materials, which we detailed above.

4. Make sure all your documents are in the proper format. Label each file with your name and what it is, like “John_Smith_Research_Paper.pdf,” so the admissions committee can easily identify them.

5. Use the upload feature in Beaver Breakroom to submit your materials. Double-check that each file is correctly uploaded and visible in your portal.

6. If needed, fill out any forms or provide additional details related to your submission. For research projects, this might include a project description and the email address of your recommender.

7. Review and hit submit! Before you finalize, review all your uploaded materials to make sure everything is complete and accurate. Once you’re happy with it, submit everything through the portal, and you’re done updating Caltech.

Extra tips

Focus on quality over quantity. Only submit materials that really add to your application. Make sure everything is clear and concise. Follow Caltech’s guidelines on file formats, size limits, and content requirements.

Submit your supplemental materials on time! The admissions committee will review these materials along with your main application, so late submissions might not get considered. To avoid any last-minute stress, submit all your materials well before the deadlines.

Caltech Deferral Process

If you get deferred, you need to update Caltech. Understanding Caltech’s Restrictive Early Action (REA) can help you figure out what to do. REA is an early admissions process for students who are sure Caltech is their top choice. It’s non-binding, so you don’t have to commit if you get in. Applications are due by November 1, and you’ll hear back by mid-December. There are three possible outcomes:

  • Admit: Celebrate your acceptance and decide by May 1.
  • Defer: Your application will be reconsidered with the regular decision pool.
  • Deny: Unfortunately, you can’t reapply in the same admission cycle.

What to do if you’re deferred by Caltech

If Caltech defers your application, don’t worry—they’ll take another look during the regular decision period. Here’s what you need to do to update Caltech:

1. Submit a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI). This letter shows Caltech you’re still excited about attending. Your LOCI must:

  • reaffirm your interest and explain Caltech is still your top choice,
  • highlight any new achievements or important info since you submitted your application,
  • be direct to the point and professional.

2. Update your Caltech application with new info. New grades, awards, or honors? Significant activities or leadership roles? New projects, research papers, or creative works that can enhance your application? Share them with Caltech.

3. Strengthen your supplemental materials. If needed, take another look at them and make sure they’re as strong as possible.

4. Communicate with your regional counselor. Reach out to them for advice and support, and get tips on how to strengthen your application based on their knowledge of Caltech’s admissions process.

5. Keep up your academic performance. Caltech will consider your academic record until the final decision is made, so ensure your mid-year grades reflect your best efforts.

Remember, getting deferred can be tough, but it means you still have a shot. Use this time to show your growth and dedication, which can improve your chances of turning a deferral into an acceptance.

Caltech Waitlist Process

You also need to update Caltech if you’re waitlisted. The waitlist relates to Caltech’s Regular Decision plan. Most students apply through this process, which gives you more time to prepare your application, with deadlines usually in early January. The outcomes are similar to Restrictive Early Action, with decisions coming out in mid-March:

  • Admit: You have until May 1 to decide.
  • Waitlist: You can opt-in for reconsideration if spaces open up.
  • Deny: You can think about reapplying for the next fall term.

Man in front of the computer

What to Do if You’re Waitlisted by Caltech

Getting waitlisted means Caltech thinks you’re a strong applicant, but they don’t have enough space right now. Good news, you still have a shot if spots open up. Realistically, though, not that much. Consider Caltech’s waitlist data from Fall 2022:

  • 195 qualified applicants were offered a place on the waitlist
  • 167 accepted a spot
  • 15 were eventually admitted

That’s about a 9% waitlist acceptance rate! While the odds seem challenging, there are things you can do to improve your chances.

1. First off, make sure to opt-in to the waitlist. This shows Caltech you’re still interested.

2. Like for deferrals, write a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI). In your letter, tell them why Caltech is still your dream school and what makes it the perfect fit for you. Mention any cool new things you’ve done since you first applied, like acing a tough class, winning an award, or starting a new project. Keep it short and sweet, but let your enthusiasm shine through.

3. Send in updates! Update Caltech by submitting your latest grades, especially if you’ve been rocking your senior year, as good grades can give you a nice boost. Also, take a fresh look at your supplemental materials. Add any new findings or updates to your research papers, include new projects in your maker portfolio, and share any recent creative works.

4. Don’t forget to reach out to your regional counselor. They know the ins and outs of Caltech’s admissions process and can give you some great tips on making your application even stronger.

5. While waiting, stay active with your extracurriculars and community service. If you’ve taken on any new leadership roles or made significant contributions, let Caltech know. This shows you’re still growing and making an impact.

The waitlist process can drag on, and decisions might not come until after May 1. Use this time to keep building your academic and extracurricular profile. Keep pushing yourself and showing that you’re ready for Caltech!


Updating Caltech after you’ve submitted your application makes sure they see your latest achievements and any extra materials you have. Whether you’re deferred, waitlisted, or just want to make your application stronger, timely updates via Beaver Breakroom can really boost your chances. Stay proactive, keep a positive attitude, and use every chance to present your best self to the Caltech admissions committee.


Does Caltech accept updates after I submitted my application?

Yes, Caltech does accept updates after you’ve submitted your application. You can add more information and materials that might strengthen your application through Beaver Breakroom, the Caltech application portal. It’s crucial to keep your application current with your latest achievements.

What can I update after submitting my Caltech application?

After submitting your Caltech application, you can update several things:

  • New grades, awards, or honors
  • Significant activities or leadership roles
  • Additional research papers, maker portfolios, visual art, or internship descriptions

Can I submit supplementary materials after submitting my Caltech application?

Yes, you can send in supplementary materials. These materials can include research papers, maker portfolios, visual arts, and descriptions of internships. Submitting these through Beaver Breakroom can really show off your unique skills and interests.

How does Caltech notify applicants?

Caltech notifies applicants through the application portal and via email. For Restrictive Early Action applicants, decisions come out by mid-December. For Regular Decision applicants, expect to hear by mid-March. Make sure you regularly check your email and the application portal for updates.

How can I contact Caltech about my application?

If you have questions or need help with your application, you can contact Caltech’s admissions office. But first, make sure you’ve checked all the information available on their admissions website. The admissions team handles a lot of applications, so respecting their time is important.

  • Phone: +1 626-395-6341
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday–Friday


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