Admissions Process for Transfer Applicants
Who is a transfer student?
You must apply for admission as an undergraduate transfer student if you have completed your secondary education, have enrolled at a college or university other than Caltech, and have earned credit for courses. We do not allow students to transfer during or for their senior year of college/university. In addition, the Undergraduate Admissions Office does not handle requests for visiting or exchange students.
If you are concurrently enrolled in a secondary school and a college or university you should apply for first-year/freshman admission.
How do we evaluate transfer students?
Let's face it—we love all things quantitative at Caltech. And yet, here in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, our admissions decision-making process is much more of an art than a science.
Transfer students will dive into Caltech's program as an upperclassman. This means that the Transfer Admissions Committee expects you to have completed the equivalent of our first-year Core curriculum. To evaluate your academic preparation, our faculty have crafted math and physics exams to measure your skills in these areas. While these exams are important in the application process, the Transfer Admissions Committee will also consider the essays that you'll write for us, your extracurriculars, teacher evaluations, and more.
So, how do we make decisions? We start by asking ourselves the following three questions.
Are you academically prepared?
We first look for academic ability by evaluating test scores, grades, and recommendations. Caltech students are gifted in math and science and are also good test takers. In lieu of standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, we'll look at your performance on our Caltech Transfer Entrance Examinations in math and physics. Even if you have done well on your Caltech Transfer Entrance Exams, we will confirm that ability with your grades and teacher recommendations. Students are not compared to one another, even if they come from the same institution, because each student has a different set of life circumstances. We gather this information from the "personal background" portion of your application and from your college official's report. If you have taken courses or done research outside of school, be sure to include those transcripts and, if possible, recommendations from those experiences.
Have you demonstrated a consistent interest in science, technology, engineering, or math?
Caltech students are not only good at math and science; they love those subjects, too. In the application, you'll have plenty of opportunities to tell us more about your math and science activities. What is it about STEM that excites you? Whether it's researching or tinkering that you enjoy, tell us about your experiences! If you have done research, feel free to submit an additional research mentor evaluation along with your research paper. We want to know what excites you about science, engineering, technology, or math. Are you ready to push the boundaries of scientific discovery?
How will you impact Caltech's campus community?
We want to know who you'll be in our labs, our classrooms, and our community. Techers are collaborative and trustworthy. One thing we look for is your ability to live and work within our Honor Code: "No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of another member." Every piece of information you give us is like another pixel in the portrait of your life as a potential Techer. Feel free to even tell us about the things you do when you're not in school. Part of the impact you'll have on campus will come from your experiences in higher education that first-year students won't have. Be sure to help us understand this impact by explaining your reasons for wanting to transfer and how Caltech will help you fulfill your goals for your academic journey.