Caltech announces updates to admissions practices | Tech US News


To continue to ensure that Caltech remains the destination of choice for the brightest and most creative STEM students from all backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, the Institute is announcing several updates to its admissions practices.

First, the institute will extend its moratorium on requiring SAT and ACT test scores as part of the undergraduate admissions process for two additional years. This will allow the institute to continue to evaluate the value of these metrics in the admissions process and determine whether standardized test scores are informative for the long-term success of students at Caltech. The institute will not consider these test results even if they are submitted.

This decision extends the two-year moratorium announced by the Institute in June 2020 to five years. The original moratorium was issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on access to standardized tests for students around the world.

The current decision to extend the testing moratorium to five years is supported by a rigorous internal analysis of the academic performance of the last seven first-year undergraduate cohorts, representing classes that graduated before and after the moratorium went into effect. A study conducted by Caltech faculty members with the support of professional staff suggests that standardized test scores have little or no power in predicting student performance in first-year math and physics classes that first-year students are required to take as part of their Caltech degree. core curriculum. Furthermore, the predictive power of standardized test scores appears to disappear as students progress through the first-year core curriculum. The expansion will allow additional data to be collected from students enrolled under the moratorium, including one graduating class from the Institute, and will facilitate a more comprehensive examination of academic performance and its relationship to standardized test scores.

“A consensus has developed among the faculty and staff involved in admissions at Caltech. This means that many other key application attributes serve as stronger indicators of students’ potential for success here,” says Jared R. Leadbetter, professor of environmental microbiology and president of the admissions committee for the first year, which recommended the extension to the counseling and senior management of the institute.

“The moratorium on our evaluation of standardized test scores has reinforced our intention to thoroughly read and review all essential materials submitted in applications. It is critical that we achieve a deep and broad understanding of applicants, including their interests, aspirations and potential for STEM. more intellectual growth if they were accepted at Caltech,” he says.

Jarrid Whitney, Caltech’s assistant vice president for student affairs, enrollment and career services, adds that the institute’s adoption of the moratorium was reinforced by practices that already existed.

“Caltech has a well-established holistic admissions process that considers all aspects of an applicant’s life and experience in evaluating their preparation and potential performance in Caltech’s rigorous academic environment. While standardized testing was part of evaluating applicants, it was never the sole metric or differentiating factor in admissions,” Whitney says. “Furthermore, the original and current moratoriums removed standardized testing as a financial and logistical barrier to applying to Caltech.”

As another update, the Institute is adopting a new Restrictive Early Intervention (REA) model that will go into effect in the fall of 2022. The REA will replace the Institute’s current Early Intervention Program. REA, a model used by other colleges and universities, is a non-binding option that limits the number of schools to which an applicant can apply early, but in return gives the student the opportunity to receive an offer of admission from their first choice. school. Students who are offered admission to Caltech through this process will not be required to accept immediately. Instead, they can wait until regular decision processes at other colleges are complete, giving them the opportunity to consider and compare financial aid offers from all schools at the same time.

Applications for restrictive early action will be submitted by November 1; students will be notified of REA admission decisions (admit, defer or deny) by mid-December. Accepted students will then have until May 1, 2023 to decide which offer they will accept.

“Caltech’s applicant pool has more than doubled over the past few years. However, lowering the acceptance rate is not a goal for Caltech,” says Ashley Pallie, director of undergraduate admissions. “We believe the move to a restrictive early admissions process is a response to our applicants’ desire to identify Caltech as their first choice while still giving them the flexibility to consider all financial aid packages. Additionally, we will reserve the majority of our admissions offers for Regular Decision , that’s when most applicants apply to Caltech.”

Students who choose to apply to Caltech REA this fall may not use Early Action or Early Decision at any other institution with the following exceptions:

  • Establishment outside the United States;
  • Any public institution that has a nonbinding admissions policy, such as the University of California system;
  • Institutions with a non-binding ongoing admissions process;
  • If a student is deferred for admission after applying REA to Caltech, they may apply to another institution’s Early Decision II program. If accepted into that institution’s Early Decision II program, they must withdraw their application for admission to Caltech.

In a third update, Caltech has changed its policy regarding international students applying for financial aid. International students (defined as students who are not US citizens or permanent residents attending high school outside the United States) who are interested in applying for financial aid are now eligible to participate in Caltech’s newly announced REA Admissions Program. Previously, international students in need of financial aid could only apply for aid during the regular decision process.

“Our goal at Caltech is to recruit and enroll the best STEM students from around the world, regardless of their financial circumstances; updating our policy to allow international students in need of financial aid to apply during the REA allows us to achieve this goal and we’re working toward more equitable admissions practices,” says Pallie.

Caltech has also updated its testing requirements for international applicants. These students can now fulfill the English proficiency requirement through the TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English Test.

For more information on Caltech undergraduate admissions, including the institute’s admissions deadlines and FAQs about restrictive early action, visit


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