As of June 2020, Caltech has enacted a two-year moratorium on both the requirement and consideration of SAT and/or ACT test scores as part of the undergraduate admissions process. This change, made in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact on access to these exams for students across the country and globe, will be in effect for all first-year students applying to Caltech for Fall 2021 and Fall 2022.
Increased Emphasis on Curriculum and Academic Preparedness
In lieu of test scores, the Admissions Committee will increase its focus on the review and evaluation of a student’s academic preparedness prior to applying to Caltech. We strongly suggest you review the Academic Preparation Requirements webpage for an understanding of how the Committee will assess your preparedness for the Caltech curriculum.
Note from the Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Caltech is committed to access and equity. These changes were made in recognition of our responsibility as an institution to amplify those values by ensuring that our programs are accessible to all qualified and interested applicants.
You are not imagining this message. No one hacked our website; this is not a prank. In fact, as a part of “other duties as assigned” the director updated this and the other pages herself. (You too can enjoy the irony that I am keeping this page named “Standardized Testing” for the time being.) It will take us some time to update any other third-party sites that have information about Caltech, and rumor mills move much faster than we can possibly keep up. Therefore, if you are not sure which is the truth, return to this page.
The fact that they went completely test blind tells us that they don’t value test scores all that much.
Correct. I imagine it’s because there is pretty limited data suggesting that ACT/SAT tests are predictive of college success. Speculating it’s even less predictive at a school like CalTech.
My guess is that many colleges are going test-optional or even test-blind to encourage disadvantaged students to apply. Since the overwhelming majority of disadvantaged students are unrepresented minorities, by encouraging these students to apply, colleges achieve more diversity while keeping their acceptance rates low. It’s a win-win situation.
Caltech is also largely self-selecting. Given it’s reputation for rigor, most kids won’t apply if they don’t think they can cut it.