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Applying to CalTech, what are my chances?

  1. Aug 20, 2010 #1
    I have already got all of my materials ready to apply to Caltech this fall but I am not sure whether I will be dismissed or if I have a chance.
    I did fairly ok on the SAT and got around 1700. I know that most students that apply to Caltech have a much higher score than I do, but not everybody.
    I also missed a lot of school during freshmen year due to a serious problem which lowered my GPA significantly because for all the classes I took and missed during that time I got an "F" for. So my current GPA is a 2.7.
    I do have a serious interest in Math and Science but I believe that I did not profess it as best as I could. I was not involved in any math or science related extracurricular activities because I proffered to work and study alone at home. My parents also did not approve of a major in science or math because they did not believe it is a realistic goal or future career path.
    So I honestly don't know if applying to Caltech will be worth my time because I do not have very many credentials so far. Can anyone comment or help me out?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2010 #2

    After you read all the, what I have to say is why not try? What's the worst thing that will happen, get denied? Well then you know the answer for sure and you wont be thinking if or if not you would have made it later on in your life.

    Good luck :)
  4. Aug 20, 2010 #3


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    You don't stand a chance, unfortunately. The people who get into the very top universities such as CalTech have very good SAT scores, very high GPAs, and extra curricular activities. With how a near-perfect SAT and 4.0 are a dime a dozen these days, if you don't have either and nothing to distinguish yourself, the very best schools are out of reach.

    Don't let that get you down, though. One of the not so well known facts is that your undergraduate institute is only one of a number of factors if you decide to continue onto your studies into graduate schools. At that level, you have your GPA, GRE (college version of SAT), letters of recommendation, undergrad institute, summer work experience, publications... and im sure I'm missing a few other things. To add to that, once you enter college, your high school career is over and will never be mentioned again. It's a clean slate.
  5. Aug 20, 2010 #4
    Thank you so much for the reply. You have a very good point, why not try. I heard a lot of students get in just by writing excellent essays.
  6. Aug 20, 2010 #5
    Yea, I wish my parents didn't discourage me all these years from following my dream, maybe then I would have tried some community college classes or something. (My school does not offer clubs or organizations that are related to science other than Robotics and Science Olympiad which I was not able to attend because I did not have transportation to the school at certain times)
  7. Aug 20, 2010 #6


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    Well, once you're in college, your parents become irrelevant (or well, they SHOULD be irrelevant; some people will never stop living for their parents...). Get into a university, do well, push yourself. Everything becomes up to you at that point. And yes, make sure you do get into a university. Even if you can't get into Caltech as an undergrad doesn't mean you can't get in as a grad student.
  8. Aug 20, 2010 #7


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    The average SAT score of a CalTech admitted student is about 2220. 98% were in the top 10% of their classes. Math and science teams were literally the least you could have done; nearly half of the admitted students had done original scientific research of some sort, most likely with a college professor. They're looking for the best of the best who have shown great promise. Sorry, you don't have a chance. No essay will make up for your GPA, SAT scores, and lack of participation in anything related to science or math.

    http://www.admissions.caltech.edu/about/stats [Broken]

    Try your local state schools (not the high ranked ones). If you do very well there, CalTech will still be an option for grad school.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Aug 20, 2010 #8
    If you're rich, you could always go to a foreign university. It's a lot easier, well in the UK atleast, because they love foreign students because they can charge a lot more.
  10. Aug 20, 2010 #9
    No harm in aiming high with your applications, but remember if you're going for a Math/Science major and really like it a lot you'll probably want to consider grad school. It's much easier to get into a school like Caltech as a grad assuming your B.A. isn't gotten from a clown college. I mean first you'll need to do really good as an undergrad which will likely not be a walk in the park, but even then there most concerned with the grades you got in your senior level courses. Also the GRE's (the grad level version of the SAT's) seem to matter a heck of a lot less than SATs do when you're an undergrad (for instance I've heard of people getting into UC Berkley's Engineering school while scoring only in the mid range on the Verbal side of the test.)
  11. Aug 20, 2010 #10
    Interesting. You already have all the material ready. You say you're not sure whether you will be dismissed, but your question makes it clear that you are pretty sure that you will be dismissed. You also surely knew that you have very little chance, although probability is never zero.

    So, it's clear that you want to apply, and that you intended to apply, but maybe you are hesitating now that the moment is at hand. My advice is to follow through with what you started. That is a good habit to start before you go to college. Stay positive and don't hesitate to follow your dream.

    Yes, you will likely be rejected. Well, guess what, people with outstanding credentials will also be rejected. Certainly not a bad thing to be in that company. No big deal. The only way that your dream will be squashed is if you let it happen by giving up. Apply to other schools also, and you will have an option that will let you achieve your goals.
  12. Aug 20, 2010 #11
    Thank you so much for urging me on. Honestly I am going to apply and I know my chances are low but I just want to try and aim high. I am applying to many other schools within my state that I have a higher chance of getting into. Either way, thank you so much :D
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