Only recently have I taken an interest in science (halfway through 10th grade). I'm a junior now in 1st semester. The aforementioned lack of interest was due to my not being exposed to the interesting things in science, the mind numbing math, the mysterious bonds that occur within substances, the intricate proccesses of life that occur every second of every day. Only since halfway through sophomore year in high school was I supposed to challenging, in depth science classes. Thus, for me it was near impossible to develop an interest that I didn't know the wonders (if you'd call it that) of. Why did I tell you science life story? Well I stumbled upon someone who was once part of the admissions at Caltech on the Web, and he explicitly said such students had to have such a love of science that they designed experiments in their own garage, derived calculus on their own, or their knowledge learnt on their own far surpasses their teachers. On top of that, I read at another website about all these high school applicants who are scared they won't even get accepted with perfect scores on the Math component of the SAT (pretty damn near perfect in other areas too), perfect scores on Calculus, Chemistry and Physics SAT II, and 5s on the same subject. My GPA is near perfect except 2 regular classes I lazily and unwisely took in freshmen year, and I have no worries about acing the SAT II or the AP test. I'm prepared to divulge to them the nonstop homework and studying I do in high school total, but I doubt they'd care since half of it has nothing to do with math or science and how I don't have any scientific extra-curricular activities. I wanted to join the Science Fair competition but I kept going back and forth because I didn't think I could think of anything interesting or semi-new, but by then (now?) I figured it was far too late into the semester to join. So I've decided to join Science Fair and also SOS (this club where you act as tutors to others for science). But what I know (or think I do) in my head is that it's too late to show extracurricular interest in science or math. I don't meet the majority of the credentials the admissions guy stated, nor do I even compare to the Caltech hopefuls I viewed over a Google result. I do however meet the hardworker credential that they probably require, and though my AP and SAT I & IIs probably won't be perfect, I am sure I'll get a high score. I am probably in the top 5-10% in my class because my school is such a competitive school the lowest GPA for top 10 is usually a 4.8, and I'm sure they'll just think that "4.8" is equivalent to the lowest top 10 at other schools, i.e. as easy to get. So after all that, do you think I have any chance of qualifying? I know Caltech doesn't do affirmative action, but just in case I'm no where near rich and I'm Asian (which I'm sure they have enough of). I'll try my hardest to be more science active in senior year, though a quarter way through that year I'll be sending my college apps off anyway, thus it might seem like I tried extra hard last minute just for that. Just how hard will it be? What do you recommend for me to do to improve my credentials? I'm really stuck in a rut, because Caltech sounds like a great university. Thanks a lot in advance.