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Caltech transfer exam and chances of getting in...

  1. Feb 21, 2016 #1
    Hello everyone, my dream is studying physics in California at caltech but I want to know what a international student accepted to caltech looks like, that's my situation: i have perfect grades in physics and good grades in math, I studied calculus and trigonometry (trig at the second year of high school and calculus at the second and third year, during summer ) on my own (watching videos on youtube and reading on internet, sometimes I watch the mit lessons on you tube) before doing them at school (we have not done calculus yet since we are in 4, just some easy limits) did it because I liked it and I did want to have something more than my classmates, having a different prospective while studying physics, I was inspired by Einstein and Feynman.

    We don't have ap courses, research or things like these in our high school so i'm studying physics also from university books (now I'm studiyng on the halliday), I have read part of the feynman lectures on physics, at school I am just doing a course were we have 4 hours of math and 3 of physics a week, we do 5 years instead of 4 and we are at school on Saturday. I passed the first part of physics olympiads (5 students of my school including me passed)

    I am weak in others subjects like Italian and history or art because i dont like them could this be a problem? I know I have little chances of getting in just after high school so i'm going to have a year of university in Europe and try to transfer, someone can give me a transfer exam sample to caltech? I didn't found it on the Internet, can someone give me some problems that are similar to the ones of the exam? What can I do to increase my chances? also the transfer students have to take the sat tests? Is the TOEFL hard in your opinion? Thanks

    Ps: i also done C++ programming at school, chemistry, biology, and this year geo science
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2016 #2
    I don't know what your odds are, but my advice would be: don't stake your future on getting into Caltech, because it is hard, especially for an international student. For reference, there were 174 applicants for transfer last fall, and only 2 of them were accepted. If you feel you have a strong application, apply now instead of counting on being able to transfer.

    I'm not saying don't apply. It's great to have a goal of getting into Caltech. I'm saying have a backup plan for if you don't get in.

    I will throw in that Caltech is very expensive--according to their website, each year costs about $63,000.
  4. Feb 21, 2016 #3
    I have a plan B naturally, i will do university in Europe and possibly i'll try to transfer to another university in USA because I think studying in America is amazing, I just want to have a sample of a caltech test to know what am I going to deal with, and I want an opinion on my achievements, is there a chance for me? I didn't took the toefl and the sat yet but if my profile is OK for you I can take them, I've done some sat sample test in math and physics and they aren't difficult at all, I also do physics in English in my free time because I like it, if i exercise i can get high scores on them, i'm worried because my average that isn't high at all due to the others subjects, is just normal
  5. Feb 21, 2016 #4
    I don't really get why. A lot of universities in Europe are on par with the universities in the USA. Furthermore, studying in the USA is extremely expensive. I don't understand why you would waste ten thousands of dollars when you could get a very similar education in Europe for only $1000.
  6. Feb 22, 2016 #5
    I would like to live in the USA and have an education there because universities in America have a different System of education, they are also more funny, i won't have a college life in Europe as i would have there, on top of all i would love to live in the USA (Hopefully California) someday and that is how i thought to start
  7. Feb 22, 2016 #6
    If you think a more fun university education is worth tens of thousands dollars in debt, go ahead.
  8. Feb 22, 2016 #7


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    I have heard some not-so-great stories about being an international student in the US. I am not sure of how this is outside of the U.S.
  9. Feb 22, 2016 #8


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    It's interesting you are focusing on Caltech if you want a fun undergrad experience. That is definitely not the reputation they have.

    Are you going to apply to places like Cambridge? It's obviously as outstanding as any of the top schools in the US and I believe it costs the same for people anywhere in the EU.
  10. Feb 22, 2016 #9
    Well, I want I high education because I want to be a top physicist and for sure have a bright career, and caltech inspire me more than anything, the most important thing is education, but I really like America, all I want to have is an high education and if possible also having a college experience in the US, i'm saying US because I particularly love the idea of living in California it's also a matter of the place where to study (in know we have top schools also in Europe ), I want to study in America because i'm fascinated by this country, I like california, caltech is one of the best schools in the world and on top of all it's also in the place that fascinate me, Pasadena is near to los angeles, in my opinion a wonderful city. About the costs I thought at scholarships

    I'm having fun studying physics and i'm competitive, it's just that America fascinate me
  11. Feb 22, 2016 #10


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    Have you considered graduate school in the US? Many, many international students attend US Universities as graduate students and often the Universities provide some or complete funding, even for international students. You're not likely to get a scholarship as an international student in undergrad (a lot of universities here treat their undergraduate international students as cash cows).

    I live in California and love it, and agree that Los Angeles is a wonderful city. But there are a lot of wonderful places to study physics here, just to start UCLA, USC (both in LA), UCSD, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Stanford, the list goes on and on.

    And a comment to the folks saying the OP should stay in europe because the education is more or less equivalent and much cheaper: I completely agree, however if the OP's goal is to stay in the US for work after graduation, that will be much easier to do if the OP goes to graduate school in the US.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  12. Feb 22, 2016 #11
    I think that going as a graduate is the best way, thanks :)
  13. Feb 22, 2016 #12


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    Caltech will not provide you with a typical undergrad experience like Stanford and Berkeley would. It is a very serious place. You would get a great science education, however, I know several people who went to Caltech for undergrad and not one of them has described it as fun.
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