Pre-med at Caltech

Hello! I was wondering whether Caltech is a good environment for pre-meds? Obviously the teaching and the research opportunities are amazing, but does the grade deflation make it insanely difficult to maintain good enough grades? And would you have to major in bio in order to feasibly complete the pre-med requirements? Do Caltech students get into top medical schools? What’s Caltech’s medical school acceptance rate?

Anecdotally, one of my child’s classmates got into a top med school with less than 4.0. My understanding was the med schools were aware that it was more difficult to get a 4.0 at Caltech. No matter where you go, I don’t think you have to be a bio major to get the pre-med requirement’s done.

Well-known virologist David Ho was a pre-med student (bio major) at Caltech. He went on to earn his MD from the Harvard–MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology. He was recently interviewed by Caltech on COVID-19:

@vhsdad so medical schools realize that Caltech is difficult and therefore adjust accordingly?

According to the one student I know who is now attending med school in So. Cal. I think med schools have been doing this long enough that they know the various undergrads, and what kind of students they get from them, no unlike undergrad admissions knowing about various high schools.

If you want to be a MD that does research Caltech is a solid choice, and you would apply to research focused medical schools that are more likely to value your knowledge from Caltech. David Ho mentioned above is a good example of this path.

If you want to be a traditional primary care doctor it can be done from Caltech but you will taking the harder road. I’m sure there are med schools that will over look the lower gpa, but most will not.

Have you been accepted to Caltech?

@AlwaysMoving Yes, I was lucky enough to be accepted and plan to attend next year. Thank you so much!


Contact Caltech and ask for stats for med students and the contact info for current and past pre med students.

@AlwaysMoving Thanks! And I will!

Caltech used to have a summer shadowing program at the local hospital. They also had a path into San Diego med school. My info is a dozen years ago, so I hope someone else can correct. Still, my son’s friend entered thinking he’d be med, but fell in love with chem. By the time one finishes Core, the only necessary course is Organ 1 & 2.

Congrats. It is definitely harder to get good grades at Caltech.

Agree that the only other courses you will likely need after frosh/soph Core classes are Organic Chem. The required frosh chemistry class includes enough organic that my CS major son was doing online practice MCAT questions when home for break (out of curiosity; Caltech students are like that), and found his freshman chem class covered a lot of the OChem material on the test.

A program you might consider if you are at Caltech as pre-med is the Health Advocates program, which you can do sophomore year. I gives you EMR training. My CS son does it even though he has no interest in being pre-med. (There is a similar program with training for mental health for 1st line interventions.)

I saw this article about a pre med student at Clatech and thought it might help the OP: