It's probably taken in the context of your exact high school (the school sends a profile along with your transcript, and the admissions staff are familiar with most top schools nationwide) and your other accomplishments. In general I would think you'd want to be in the A-range in all math/science classes, but of course that's not a strict requirement for admission.
I'm wondering what do CalTech students end up doing in the future with such strong abilities in math and science? I mean i understand any career related to science and math but why is it that they are passionate in going to Caltech meanwhile they can always go to other math and science oriented schools that are a bit easier to get in to. Unless this is about pride too.
I'm sure there are some people who do it out of pride, but a lot of it is honestly wanting to learn. Most of the people who come here want to get an intense and broad education, regardless of whether or not doing so will help them with their career. And if you don't think that way, honestly, Caltech probably isn't the right place for you.
Caltech also provides an advantage if you intend to go to academia (or even just grad school). It's the only school I know of that deliberately tries to give students research opportunities every single summer; the opportunities are available at other schools, sure, but we have an entire administrative department dedicated to hooking people up with them.
Then there is the challenge. Some people may want to run a marathon race, which is a very tough challenge. Few want to do the ironman triathlon (which is a marathon plus) but there are still a few who do it.
Not trying to say that other schools are not tough, Caltech does it ratchet it up a notch or two. The Caltech alumni that I have talked to say, ya it was tough but I learned so much out that there that others are constantly amazed by their depth and breadth.
Hey people, I'm wondering if anyone has information (or statistics?) for international applicants from Canada applying to Caltech's graduate school of engineering.
I am in the top 5 percentile of my civil engineering program, and my cumulative GPA is somewhere between a 3.8 and 3.9 on a 4.0 scale (depending on how it's converted from my school's 13.0 scale). My first two semesters are the main reason as to why my GPA isn't a 4.0. Ever since then, my GPA has been rising and I have two semesters left, after which I expect my cumulative GPA to rise to about a 3.9.
I recently went on a tour in the USA, and visited advisers and professors in the graduate schools of engineering at MIT, Caltech, Stanford & Berkeley. I am submitting my application for Fall 2013, and I am scheduled to write my GRE next month. I will be submitting at least three reference letters and I could use any helpful tips!
I could also really use some advice in regards to my statement of purpose. It's difficult to keep it concise and focused, since I've done so many things in the past few years in many countries around the world that drive me to pursue a graduate program in top engineering schools. Also, I don't have any room to squeeze in some experiences from the past that require detailed explanation, and I think it would really help illustrate my story. Is there another essay that I can write or another way to communicate a lot more experiences from my past that define me and my goals? I have a lot to write about, but I'm having difficulty choosing which parts to include. I'm on my 4th draft, and I don't think I'll feel confident about it until I conjure up a few more drafts at least...
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance
This thread and College Confidential in general are aimed toward the undergrad crowd. Certainly there may be some who can help, but it might be better to post your questions in a different thread (grad admissions - or something similar).
Does your current school or department have a counselor/advisor to help you with grad school admissions?
Your GRE scores will be important as will be your recommendations. What has your courseload been? What research have you done?
This thread answered a lot of my questions on Caltech. However, there is one question it did not really answer and that is: How much interest in math and science qualifies as enough for Caltech?
This is what I mean, and I want to start off by apologizing if this starts to sound like a rant. I go to a top ranked math and science school(No, not TJ) that has a modest amount of math/science clubs. We have Science Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind, Math League, Robotics and Envirothon teams that are academically competitive. In addition we have a couple of other clubs including a physics and a future doctors club. We do have many other clubs but they do not focus on math and science.
I was on the math league team my freshman year, but didn't make it sophomore or junior years, largely because the freshman math league is only freshman, while upperclassman math league contains people from grades 10-12 and have been on the Robotics team since Junior year. I am involved in other ECs such as being captain the school's quizbowl team and have started a science bowl team last year who finished modestly well at the New Jersey regional(9th I believe). I was also involved in starting the aforementioned physics club. I have taken all the Math/Science APs already(5s) except for APES, I have no interest in environmental science. I am currently in Calculus 3 at the school. I also have a couple of college science courses and am taking MIT's EdX course in Solid State Chemistry(Though, I am not sure if I should or where I should put it on my app.). I also got an award for 3rd place in the state's American Chemical Society competition.
So my questions is: Has what I have done shown interest in math and science or has my not being involved in Science Olympiad, OM, Math League(past freshman year) etc. and not having any awards at the olympiads (though I have tried in all 4) put me as one of the less interested student's as far as Caltech is concerned.
Your extracurriculars are just fine. My S got in and never competed in any science or math competitions or took part in any clubs. He did, however, intern in a chem lab two summers at a local university. What you really want to do is get good SAT scores (north of 2300 is desirable although certainly not necessary) and submit a strong academic transcript with a good number of AP courses and top grades in all your science and math courses. You also need to convey a passion for math and science on your supplemental Caltech essay. I am convinced this played a key role in my S getting in. The advice here is to be sincere and come across as yourself rather than someone trying to make an impression. If you do all this then you certainly have a fighting chance, although there are no guarantees when it comes to schools of this caliber.
Question: I intend to apply to Caltech but I have got a question about SAT scores.
I, international student, have got a 2250 SAT score when I did the SAT for the first time last October. The thing is, I have 'only' got a Math score of 720. This was really a surprise to me, as I got 800 on the practice test the night before and definitely expected 750+. Plus, I love Mathematics and am going to be a Math major.
The SAT II in Math II I did in November. For this one I am hoping to get 800 but perhaps the most probable score would be 790 or 780. Biology should also fall into the 750-800 range. Additional subject tests I'll be doing will be French, Latin and Spanish - they too should be very high, I would even say they are guaranteed 800s.
I am also going to get a recommendation letter from a Mathematics college professor that is going to attest to my mathematical prowess which does not really show in standardized tests.
My question is now: does the SAT Math of 720 (still angry about that one) make me a "reject at first sight" or does it not measure up that much?
What do you think would be better:
1) Cancelling the French, Spanish and Latin subject tests in December (sure 800s) and retaking the SAT for a higher Math score
2) Doing the tests mentioned above but retaking the SAT in January
3) Do the subject tests (FR, ESP, L) and submit application in December (honestly, I don't want to wait until January).
Any input would be much appreciated, preferably by people knowledgeable about Caltech for that matter.
Thanks for the input, but I have already read the post you are referring to.
It says one's SAT math score should be in the range of 750-800. However, Wood also states what's (most) important is not having trouble getting into that range.
The thing is: I know personally I'd have no trouble getting to 750-800, but will Caltech know it, too? I read a post by an MIT admissions officer saying a 720 in SAT Math wouldn't be a big deal. I haven't yet come across such an information offered by anyone affiliated with Caltech, though. Its admissions do seem to be A LOT more test-oriented than, say, those of MIT or generally Ivy League universities.
That's what I'm really asking and ergo my question is not resolved by Michael Wood's post.