Is Caltech Test Optional?

September 3, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Is Caltech Test Optional?

Is Caltech test optional? The undergraduate Admissions Office of Caltech has announced, with the support of the Faculty Committee on Freshman Admissions, that it will no longer require applicants to submit their scores from SAT subject tests as part of the process for undergraduate admissions. This modification will take effect for those students who submitted their applications to Caltech for the class that started in the fall of 2021.

Students applying to Caltech were required to take and submit scores from the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2, as well as one SAT science subject test in either ecological biology, molecular biology, chemistry, or physics. In addition, students were required to submit scores from one SAT science subject test.

Students taking an exam in a classroom.

In addition, the SAT and ACT score requirements, as well as the consideration of those scores, have been placed under a moratorium at Caltech for the next two years as part of the university’s undergraduate admissions process. This change, which was made in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact on access to these exams for students across the country and the globe, answers the query “is Caltech test optional?”. The decision will be in effect for all first-year students applying to Caltech for the academic years beginning in Fall 2021 and Fall 2022.

The Undergraduate Admissions Office at Caltech has updated its first-year admissions requirements to emphasize the increased attention that will be paid to curriculum and academic preparedness rather than test results.

Whether “is Caltech test optional?”, this change was made in response to the fact that test scores are no longer a factor in the admissions process. During the moratorium period of two years, evaluations of applications will continue to include a comprehensive assessment of academic preparedness beginning with secondary school and continuing through enrollment.

Caltech has not only temporarily suspended the requirement that applicants take the SAT or ACT, but it has also updated the testing requirements that apply to applicants from other countries. These students will now have the option to fulfill the English proficiency requirement by either taking the TOEFL or the Duolingo English Test. Both of these options are available to them.

In addition, having answered “is Caltech test optional?” already, applicants will not be required to make a financial contribution for the submission of any exam results until after they have made the decision to enroll in a degree program at Caltech.

Caltech Acceptance Rate

What is the current Caltech Acceptance Rate? The California Institute of Technology has long walked the walk when it comes to not adding to the stress that is already associated with the process of applying to colleges, something that they have done so many times in the past. Other highly selective universities only talk of not wanting to add to the stress. To cite just one example: The announcement made by the Institute regarding the Class of 2026.

There is no headline that promotes their record applications that you can find. You won’t find a single sentence that mentions their historically low admission rate. Put another way, we just don’t do things that way at Caltech. Instead, the school released data on the number of students expected to enroll in its Class of 2026 along with gender, geographic, and other demographic breakdowns.

Three students taking the SAT exam.

There were 13,026 applications to Caltech for a place in the 2021-22 freshman class; just 510 were accepted. This acceptance rate of 3.9 percent was almost identical to MIT’s in the same cycle. The previous academic year, the university received 8,007 applications for a place in the Class of 2024 and admitted 536 students, which corresponds to an acceptance rate of 6.7 percent overall.

Although the official numbers for the Class of 2026 have not been released yet, we do know that there were only 432 students accepted. It is possible that this indicates that the acceptance rate for the incoming freshman class of 2022-2023 was closer to an even 3 percent.

Additionally, the majority of the class—about 66 percent—were admitted from public schools. The international geographic diversity of the incoming class is a highlight with the highest-ever number of students from sub-Saharan Africa (7) admitted, along with students from a total of 25 countries, including Thailand, Kenya, Libya, Jamaica, Qatar, China, Zimbabwe, Austria, Poland, and the United Kingdom… Of those students admitted to the class, Caltech expects to enroll approximately 235.”

Caltech Admission Requirements

What are the Caltech admission requirements? The California Institute of Technology is a private institution of Higher Education. It is referred to as Caltech or CIT and is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. The world knows it for its strength in the areas of Science and Technology. In addition, it offers high-quality academic programs across different fields at both Bachelor’s and Master’s levels.

Asian students talking about college while sitting on the stairs.

If you want to receive the admission offer from Caltech, having already known the stance on “is Caltech test optional?”, you must be aware of various parameters like – Caltech’s requirements which are crucial factors for Caltech admissions.

California Institute of Technology average GPA

Although there is no minimum GPA that will guarantee you admission to Caltech, most students should strive to maintain a GPA that aligns with the Caltech average GPA. The Caltech average GPA ranges from 3.9 – 4.19, meaning that most students had around a 4.0 GPA.

Caltech will evaluate the GPA you earned by the end of your junior year. This means you should strive for high grades throughout high school, and that starts with choosing the right courses for you. Be sure to take advantage of all the resources available to you. This will give you a better chance of meeting the Caltech average GPA.

A college will evaluate your academic performance and consistency based on your grade point average (GPA). It says a lot about how persistent you are as a person and how well you will be able to take on academic challenges if you are able to do so. A high-grade point average can prevent your college application from being turned down right away.

Candidates who have strong academic credentials are specifically sought after by a number of prestigious educational institutions, including Caltech. It serves as evidence that you are capable of meeting the challenges presented by the course material, which is a testament to your academic prowess. As a result, it is rational to direct your attention toward raising your grade point average. You should at the very least make it a goal to satisfy the requirements of an average college.

Caltech SAT Scores

If you are considering applying to Caltech, it is likely that you are prepared to put in a lot of effort when studying for the SAT or ACT. However, if you haven’t seen the average scores yet, you might want to hang on to your seats… The SAT scores of Caltech students are practically perfect.

Math 790-800
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 740-760

What does this tell us about people’s scores on the SAT at Caltech? To begin, admissions officers at Caltech place a marginally greater emphasis on demonstrated proficiency in mathematics than they do on evidence-based reading and writing. But in all honesty, there is barely anymore.

Seventy-five percent of students who attend Caltech earn SAT math scores of 790 or higher, and the same percentage of students earn scores of 740 or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section. In either scenario, we are still dealing with scores that are in the stratosphere.

Young woman taking an exam with her fellow classmates.

Is it worthwhile to retake the SAT if your scores don’t fall within the range of those accepted by Caltech on the SAT? The answer is “almost certainly” if Caltech is your top-choice institution of higher education. This is especially important to keep in mind if your Math score was lower than 790. However, you should shoot for scores in the upper 700s across the board in both parts of the exam.

Achieving these kinds of scores requires a significant amount of preparation. You should make sure that you are using the best materials that you can find and that you are devoting the necessary time to continually evaluate how well your study plan is working. The majority of students discover that they will get their best scores on the SAT by taking the exam multiple times.

Caltech ACT Scores

Are you starting to recover from the jolt that the SAT scores for Caltech gave you? Caltech’s ACT scores are just as competitive as those of other schools, so don’t worry about it.

English 35 36
Math 35 36

As is the case with Caltech’s SAT scores, the institution’s ACT scores are located at the very pinnacle of the scoring range. 75 percent of students who applied to Caltech received scores of 35 or 36 on the English and Mathematics portions of the ACT. To restate, what we’re looking at here is a scenario in which you want to achieve a score that comes as close to perfect as you possibly can.

This will almost certainly require the students to retake the examinations in conjunction with an intensive study strategy. If at first, you don’t succeed in achieving a perfect score, try not to be too hard on yourself because very few people ever do! However, with sufficient time and effort, you may still be able to achieve a score that falls within the range of acceptable ACT scores for admission to Caltech.

Caltech Application Requirements

The following is a list of the materials that are necessary for an application to be considered complete for first-year admission to Caltech in the fall of 2022. In the event that an application lacked even a single one of these components, it was regarded as being insufficient.

Female student shaking hands with someone.

The Common Application or the Coalition Application, along with the Essays Required for Supplemental Applications

The Common Application or the Coalition Application are both acceptable to Caltech; the university does not have a preference. We strongly suggest that you complete the application process on the most suitable platform. In addition to this, Caltech is a QuestBridge Partner. Through the QuestBridge National College Match, prospective students can submit their applications to Caltech.

Application fee of $75 or fee waivers available

If the fee of $75 causes you or your family financial difficulty, you may submit a request to have the fee waived by following any one of the following procedures:

  • Include a copy of your SAT or ACT fee waiver form with your application, or send an email to with a copy of the form attached. Despite the fact that our three-year moratorium on not requiring or taking into consideration SAT or ACT test scores have ended, we will continue to accept these waivers.
  • In order to receive a fee waiver, you will need to fill out the form that is provided by the National Association for College Admission Counseling and send it in (NACAC). Find out more information about this program that will waive your fees.
  • Ask your school counselor to send an email to Caltech ( confirming that the application fee causes a significant amount of financial stress for both you and your family.
  • You also have the option of using the Coalition Application, which will give you an early indication of whether or not you are likely to be eligible for a fee waiver for the application.

Results of standardized examinations

The requirement and consideration of SAT and/or ACT test scores as part of the undergraduate admissions process at Caltech will be put on hold for a period of two years beginning in June 2020. This moratorium will take effect. In addition, the initial moratorium of two years was extended for an additional year as of July 2021, making the total length of the moratorium three years.

This change, which was made in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact on access to these exams for students across the country and the globe, will be in effect for all first-year students applying to Caltech for the fall of 2021, fall 2022, and fall 2023. The reason for this change was the global COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact on access to these exams for students across the country and the globe thus answering is Caltech test optional.

Still, whether “is Caltech test optional?”, this change was made in response to the fact that test scores are no longer a factor in the admissions process. During the moratorium period of two years, evaluations of applications will continue to include a comprehensive assessment of academic preparedness beginning with secondary school and continuing through enrollment.

Assessments of teaching performance

Caltech required applicants for the fall 2022 semester to submit two letters of recommendation from instructors:

One evaluation of a teacher of mathematics or science

One evaluation of a teacher in the social sciences or the humanities

Caltech would accept recommendation letters written by teachers who had instructed you during any year of your high school career. It is recommended by Caltech that you speak with teachers who are in a position to comment on your performance as a student in their classroom.

We ask that you submit evaluations from teachers who have evaluated your writing in order to satisfy the requirement for a humanities or social science teacher evaluation. These teachers must have evaluated your writing.

In the past, students have satisfied this requirement by following the recommendations of their teachers in the following classes: English, a foreign language, philosophy, religion, history, economics, government, psychology, sociology, and anthropology are the subjects that are required for this major.

In addition to the two evaluations from teachers that are required, you have the option of submitting up to two evaluations from a mentor or supervisor who knows you from a different setting. These evaluations are optional.

You have the option of sending this letter to the admissions office of Caltech via the Common Application or the Coalition Application, or you can send it directly to them via email. Also, please be aware that any letters sent by the student or applicant will not be accepted by Caltech.

Report from the Secondary School

This is a document that will be sent to Caltech by the college counselor at the high school you attended. It gives the Admissions Committee background information about your school, which assists them in conducting an all-encompassing review of your application.

Academic transcripts

Extra requirements that must be met by applicants who are citizens of other countries

Results of the English Proficient Examination

Required for all international students unless your mother tongue is English or your secondary school primarily teaches in English. If either of these apply to you, then you can skip this requirement. The following are examples of valid English proficiency exams:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (IBT)
  • Duolingo English Test (DET)

Declaration of Intent Regarding International Financial Assistance

When an international citizen applies for freshman admission to Caltech, they are prompted with questions on the application to confirm that they have an understanding of our financial aid policy and, as a result, confirm that they intend to apply for financial aid from Caltech.

Because the total amount of financial aid funds available to international students is limited, and because Caltech remains committed to meeting the demonstrated need of all admitted students, the university takes into consideration the level of financial need that international students have.

Caltech Application Deadline

What is the current Caltech Application Deadline for 2022? Early Action and Regular Decision are the two application tracks that are available to prospective students interested in attending Caltech. The following provisional application deadlines have been established:

Early Action Regular Decision
Apply by November 1 January 3
Admission Notification Mid-December Mid-March

If you need help putting the finishing touches on your early applications, or want some advice on whether or not applying Early Decision or an Early Action is a good option for you, at AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process, including our athletic recruitment program.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.

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