Why California Institute of Technology (CalTech) is a Top Rated School

The California Institute of Technology, also known as Caltech, was ranked #5 for our annual Top 50 Best Colleges in the United States for 2024. If you’re thinking about applying to this institution, there’s plenty you need to know. In fact, it’s one of the hardest schools to get into in the world at the moment!

CalTech has its own spring traditions.

Flickr user smerikal

California Institute of Technology Was Ranked #5 by College Raptor for 2024

 For 2024, the California Institute of Technology, located in Pasadena, was ranked #5 in our Top 50 Best Colleges in the United States. Many students go for the amazing research opportunities that the school offers, but that’s not all that we considered when making our rankings. College Raptor considers a number of different factors from diversity to first year retention rates and graduation rates to endowment when ranking schools.

Caltech was also named:

As of this writing, the California Institute of Technology was also #2 for its acceptance rate, only accepting 2.7% of applicants.

A Short History of California Institute of Technology

 The California Institute of Technology, better known as Caltech, was originally founded in 1891 as Throop University. It would undergo several name changes until earning its current moniker in 1920. Over the years, Caltech would be involved in several projects and advancements including Project Vista due to its history in rocketry and nuclear physics, the Einstein Papers Project which focuses on the papers from Albert Einstein and other collectors, and the DOE Energy Innovation hub which was a focus on energy science and technology.

The Facts:

  • Number of Students: 2,401
  • Religious Affiliation: None
  • School Motto: The truth shall make you free
  • Newspaper: The California Tech
  • Student Nickname: Beavers
  • School Colors: Orange and white
  • Mascot: Bernoulli the Beaver
  • Some Famous Alumni: Carl David Anderson, Kip Thorne, Regina E. Dugan, Eric Betzig, Stephen Wolfram

Why is CalTech a Good School?

Many students go to Caltech for the amazing research opportunities the school provides. In fact, almost all students will participate in one research project or another during their time at the institution. Students and faculty alike are always looking for new solutions and answers to questions. In fact, even the mascot is in on it – a beaver, it’s actually a reference to nature’s engineer!

The school has produced 46 Nobel laureates, 58 U.S. National Medal of Science recipients, 11 National Medal of Technology Recipients, and 6 Turing Award winners. Caltech alumni have gone on to have prestigious careers and research in engineering, astrophysics, physics, IT, geology, and other fields.

The Stats:

  • Four Year Graduation Rate: 81%
    • #101 in the United States
  • Student-to-Faculty ratio: 3 to 1
    • #6 in the United States
  • First Year Retention Rate: 98%
    • #10 in the United States
  • Endowment: $4,022,359,000
    • #33 in the United States for Largest Endowment
    • #11 in the United States for Endowment per Student
  • Diversity: #2 in the United States

How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting Into the California Institute of Technology?

The California Institute of Technology is one of the most difficult schools to get into in the world. Only accepting 2.7% of students in 2022, students are going to need much more than a 4.0 to get a coveted acceptance letter. Here are some ways to stand out.

1. Know What Caltech is Looking for in a Student

Per Caltech’s website, to school looks for several qualities in a student, beyond high grades, including

  • A love of math
  • Abstract thinking skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • A passion for chemistry and physics
  • An appreciation for humanities and social sciences
  • Resilience
  • Collaborative spirit
  • Creativity
  • Determination
  • Self-care and passions outside of the classroom
  • Potential in STEM

When Caltech says you should have a passion for math, chemistry, and physics, they mean it. This school isn’t for you, especially if you don’t love everything about math! But for students with a love of STEM courses and an aptitude for them, this can be a top choice.

2. Aim for High Grades and SAT/ACT Scores

Students interested in applying for Caltech need to have high grades. The higher over a 4.0 weighted GPA the better. This means taking advanced courses, especially in STEM, to demonstrate academic rigor and showcasing you can handle the challenge.

For the ACT, a 35 to 36 Composite score is recommended, with a perfect score on the Math portion. For the SAT, students should aim for a 1,540 to 1,590 Combined score and a 790 to 800 on the Math section.

3. Get the Right Letters of Recommendation

Think carefully about who you want to write your letters of recommendation when applying to Caltech. These are considered a major portion of your application, and identifying a teacher or mentor who can attest to your abilities in STEM and to your character is key. Make sure you let them know that you’re applying to Caltech so they can better understand what they need to talk about in the letter, too.

The California Institute of Technology is regularly named a top school by College Raptor, and it’s one of the hardest schools to get into at the moment, not just in the country, but in the world. If you’re thinking about applying to Caltech, it’s important to completely understand what they’re looking for in a student and give your application a lot of attention before you submit it.

Students applying to Caltech and other top rated universities and colleges should know how they match up with the school. College Raptor’s College Match gives you insight into your chances of getting an acceptance letter and what you can do to improve your application before you apply. Use it for free to see how you stack up against Caltech students today!

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