Hey, was poking around for Caltech’s internal GPA distributions but found this - I thought I’d give it a go. I graduated Caltech this year so (I hope) my view is still fresh.
First, anyone who tells you it is impossible to chance is a fool, or plainly incompetent. Unfortunately, the one person who noted that chancing doesn’t do you much good with a prior of 6.6% is correct, especially with your uncertain inputs. I will highlight areas you are stronger-than-average-at-Caltech in. Please update your scoring information when you get a chance. Your GPA is also very difficult to interpret without an internal ranking (top 3%? 1%?) so chancing is not going to be very precise. You can refer to some newly uploaded Youtube videos to get a more detailed overview of some stats.
TLDR: in senior year, focus all of your energy on making utility from your research project at NASA, and none of your energy on extracurriculars that aren’t science related. The following ranges are my best guess at a 50% confidence interval.
Tier 1) If you can publish your NASA work or win some kind of science fair with it, I would chance you at around 70%-85%.
Tier 2) If everything is “as hoped” minus publication possibility, I would chance you at around 45%-65%. This takes into account your SSP and NASA research (both are drivers).
Tier 3) If everything falls short of expectations (including SAT2s, APs, etc.), then 25%-40%. This isn’t great, but notice that it’s 5x the prior and so high precisely due to
the SSP and NASA stuff.
Note that the upper chance is over 10x the prior of 6.6%, but still nothing to bet the farm on. Apply to other places too and don’t set your sights too much on one school. Despite their reputation, I know quite a few kids at MIT who are just as bright as my peers.
SAT: 1570 (800 math)
average or lower
subject tests: haven’t taken, scoring 770-800 math 2, chem, and physics in practice
depending on what you got in this range, you could be worse or better than average. If you didn't get 800 on math2, I would say your chances are under 20%.
gpa: 4.6 weighted, 4.0 unweighted
p sure this is average or better, unless you're not in the top 3%. A percentile ranking would help immensely.
APs: Physics 1 (5), computer principles (5), Chinese (5) + chem, lang, comp sci, and physics 2 (probably 4s and 5s)
this is one of your weaker points - you don't already have many advanced science APs. I really hope you got 5's in the STEM ones.
senior courseload: AP lit, AP physics C, AP bio, AP stats, AP calc BC, AP econ
makes overall coursework considered average at caltech
- museum docent at local science museum since freshman year with considerable responsibility
better than average
not sure what this is
- school honors society (class of 700, large public magnet school)
not useful, it's redundant because of your goopa. Omit on commonapp if lacking space. I'd put even "lockpicking club" before "honors society".
- varsity fencing
unfortunately fencing was disbanded this year due to cost cutting, This would have provided a small but significant edge. Its bearing is uncertain now, but better than nothing.
- girls who code (trying to get a leadership position)
i think this is pretty common, but no reason to spend effort getting a leadership position - it's "redundant" due to your next activity below.
- women in stem founder and president
common, but better that you are founder and president
- baking club treasurer
not very useful - more on this later
- misc. quirky hobbies and stem activities
there is a house with long-standing tradition in one of your hobbies, so put these before putting stuff like "national honors society, AP scholar, good at PSAT, national merit, etc."
- internship at NASA the summer after my sophomore year, planning to get a research recommendation
absolutely get that recommendation. It's in the top 3 most importants of your application if your research is classified. Contact your mentor ASAP asking for a recommendation and whether it is possible to publish the work.
- awards: AP scholar, book award, NCWIT national certificate of distinction, NCWIT national honorable mention, definitely national merit commended maybe semi-finalist
# this is redundant - conveyed already by your scores. Omit this garbage unless you have nothing else to put. On a quick look, I think the book award is the best of them.
no AMC or science fairs
don't worry, but try to do a science fair if your research isn't classified. If you're allowed to publish, publishing takes higher priority than science fair. Don't waste time on olympiad stuff at this point if you don't have experience already.
average or better, but note that this programme doesnt produce research results for competitions/publications. Try to make use of the NASA stuff by publishing or entering in science fair. If it's classified research then never mind.
average or better - I have strong suspicions that there is some affirmative action going on in recent years, so this may boost your chances. If you are a URM then even better, although I am uncertain of exactly how much affirmative action is going on. Since the relevant data is nonpublic, one can only do some kind of idea like so: quora[dot]c0m/q/hklwaajtxamupwup/On-the-Statistical-Detection-of-Demographic-Biases-in-College-Admissions-http-jsho-ryin-main-quora-com-On-the-Statis