Future scientists and researchers, consider this hypothetical scenario...
You've been accepted to Caltech and have decided to call it home for your undergraduate career. You open your Math 1a Vector Calculus textbook for your first assignment, and this is what you see:
What is your reaction to envisioning this scenario? Here is why we ask.
Mathematics is the bedrock of all coursework at Caltech. The mathematics foundation and starting point for incoming students is rigorously proof-based, abstract math.
Now, hold on for a few more moments here. This does not mean you are expected to know how to solve pure, abstract math problems. We acknowledge that most students are not interacting with proof-based math at the secondary/high school level.
Rather, the Admissions Committee is focused on how prepared you are to learn ways to solve problem sets like the one pictured above. We want to know if you are motivated about what you'll learn at Caltech so that you will be able to solve those practice problems.
Students choose Caltech because of the promise to be challenged rigorously by their peers, faculty, and fellow researchers. If the thought of encountering this scenario piques your interest, then we encourage you to explore the remainder of this section for more information about applying.