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Caltech to Eliminate Requirement for SAT Subject Test Scores in Admissions

Published on Thursday, January 23, 2020 | 6:30 am

Caltech’s Undergraduate Admissions office, with the support of the Faculty Committee on Freshman Admissions, has announced that it will be eliminating the requirement for submission of SAT subject test scores as part of the undergraduate admissions process.

This change will be in effect for those students applying for the Caltech class that begins in the fall of 2021.

Caltech had been requiring students to take and submit scores in the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2, as well as one SAT science subject test in either ecological biology, molecular biology, chemistry, or physics.

“In reviewing our admissions requirements, we have come to the conclusion that the requirement for submission of SAT subject test scores creates an unnecessary barrier to applying for a Caltech education,” says Nikki Chun, director of undergraduate admissions, noting that only a small percentage of high schoolers globally take the SAT subject tests. “We are guiding our focus back to long-term academic STEM preparedness based on coursework and grade performance.”

Chun notes that the Caltech admissions process has always focused, and will continue to focus, on seeking students who will approach the Institute’s core curriculum with as much enthusiasm and interest as they do classes in their specific major.

“I’m proud of the thoughtfulness and approach that Nikki Chun and the faculty committee took to make such a decision,” says Jarrid Whitney, assistant vice president for student affairs, enrollment and career services. “The material covered on the subject tests is not necessarily in line with the expectations of the Caltech math and science curriculum, and so does not demonstrate whether a student is prepared to take on the Institute’s rigorous first-year coursework. This move will definitely widen the door for talented candidates we may not have been able to reach in the past who deserve our consideration.”

While Caltech continues to require the SAT or ACT for first-year admission, applicants will not be asked to pay for the submission of those exam results until and unless they are accepted and decide to matriculate at Caltech, Whitney adds.

For more information on undergraduate admissions at Caltech, including admissions requirements, visit

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