Caltech's goal is to bring together students from all backgrounds, bound by a love of STEM. Every year, we're fortunate to choose from among thousands of qualified applicants.
But some of the applications we want to see most never arrive.
Many underprivileged students who are academically qualified convince themselves that a top-tier institution is beyond their reach: Some believe they can't afford it, while others simply doubt they belong. Our partnership with QuestBridge, a nationwide nonprofit group, seeks the best of these students. By participating in the National College Match program, you could earn a full, four-year, no-loan scholarship to Caltech or another participating college or university.
How does it work?
You'll complete QuestBridge's National College Match application, which includes information about your academic standing and activities as well as a chance to share how you've managed to excel in the face of financial challenges.
Every year, QuestBridge selects thousands of finalists for full scholarship consideration, including expenses, from schools participating in the program. These colleges and universities will review finalist applications as if they applied directly.
If Caltech is on your list, we'll use the same criteria to consider your application as we would anybody else's.
Who can apply?
The National College Match program is meant for students who have excelled academically and demonstrate significant financial need. In general, students whose families make less than $65,000 a year and have minimal assets are eligible to participate. (This number is flexible; QuestBridge makes case-by-case exceptions.) U.S. citizens and permanent residents can apply, as well as any student attending high school in the U.S., regardless of citizenship. Caltech welcomes applications from undocumented students and those raised in the U.S. through the DACA program.
What is the process?
After submitting your National College Match application, you'll rank up to 15 QuestBridge partner colleges you'd like to attend. QuestBridge selects finalists in mid-October. If you're a finalist and you've included Caltech on your ranked list, we will automatically receive your application. QuestBridge applicants, regardless of their status as finalists or non-finalists, don't have to pay our standard application fee.
Shortly after, we will send you an email with information about accessing our applicant portal and submitting additional material. The submission deadline is November 6. That material includes:
- Caltech supplemental application essays
- Official transcripts (if not previously submitted to QuestBridge)
- FAFSA application (for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens)
- CSS Profile (for non-citizens and others ineligible to complete a FAFSA)
- Signed parent tax return or non-tax filer's statement
If I match, do I have to come?
Yes. If you match with Caltech after including us on your ranked list, the decision is binding. You'll need to withdraw any other applications you've submitted elsewhere.
What if I don't match?
Finalists who don't match with Caltech (or didn't include Caltech in their ranked lists) can still apply through the Regular Decision process. Select Caltech on QuestBridge's Regular Decision Form, and we'll connect with you to let you know which supplemental materials you need to submit.
Non-finalists who choose to apply through the Regular Decision process are eligible for a fee waiver. Indicate you qualify on the fee-waiver section of the Common Application or Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir and select "QuestBridge" in the CBO section.
For questions about your QuestBridge application and the National College Match, contact QuestBridge at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +1 888-275-2054 or +1 650-331-3280.
To contact Caltech about our admission process, contact Karla Arriaga, the Caltech QuestBridge liaison, at email@example.com or call +1 626-395-6341.