How to Write the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Essays


How to Write the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Essays

Every year the California Institute of Technology admissions office is swamped with thousands of applications. Alas, the acceptance rate has remained not higher than 7 % for decades. How does Caltech’s ideal applicant look? What kind of personality fits into the community of this prestigious educational establishment? Diversity, background, hobby, what is the key element that makes up the admissions officer’s mind? Let’s go through every point mentioned, and decide on what strategies can be used to satisfy all desires of the evaluators. 

Caltech admissions operate similarly to other institutions. The applicant has a choice of Coalition application or a Common one. Besides, an obligatory task is to write a short essay. The essay aims at identifying how you as a student can blend into the college community. It is crucial to write a Caltech essay correctly. You may notice that the description of the essay topic is not very extensive, to be precise absent. The admission board is not dwelling much on the details, and it might seem that you are allowed to set your own rules. Remember that each essay question is devised to help a candidate open up and show their interest.  

The Why Caltech Essays Questions 

The Caltech essays are designed in a way that gives a clue of your personality judging from the way you write about your life. A point to remember, Caltech is not looking for intermediate level students. They are looking for future inventors and world leaders. During the assessment, the admissions committee is not only looking into the content but a delivery. 

Essay Question 1 

“Describe three experiences and/or activities that have helped develop your passion for a possible career in a STEM field. (Your response for each experience/activity should range between 10-120 words.)” 

Let’s start with the limitations. Before you start scribbling words, think that you need to be short, and precise. At the same time, it should be meaningful. The skill assessed here is the ability to express thoughts clearly. Besides, the school wants to hear how you can contribute to their academic and campus life. The officer writing your essay review is not only counting the typos but analyzing your ideas and delivery. For example, you are interested in psychology. Let’s look at the extract from the essay prompt of a student:

I participated in a couple of summer volunteering programs. During my time in a hospital, I had the opportunity to shadow a psychotherapist who was conducting research on PTSD. Since my relative has recently retired from the army with PTSD, I had a chance to talk to him about his mental state. From my experience of helping vulnerable people in the hospital, I realized that even more, vulnerable people are not resorting to the help of a doctor. I am interested in conducting my research on this issue because I believe it has many undiscovered aspects. - In this sample, we have a combination of a personal story, related to one of the pressing problems of society. The student shows enough understanding of the issue, supported by the real experience, and presented with the proper conclusions. 

Essay Question 2

 “Much like the life of a professional scientist or engineer, the life of a "Teacher" relies heavily on collaboration. Knowing this, what do you hope to explore, innovate, or create with your Caltech peers? (Your response should range between 250-400 words.)” 

This topic aims at finding out how the research in the sphere of the specialty you are interested in, is going to coexist with others. You are required to explain how you can cooperate with other scholars/scientists and exchange experiences. Frankly, it requires a bit of thinking ahead. To do that, you need to study the university’s background, see what it has to offer. You will potentially find the alumni, professors, or courses that are of particular interest to you. Caltech appreciates diversity and tries to develop the knowledge of all spheres besides the major. 

Essay Question 3  

“Caltech students are often known for their sense of humor and creative pranks. What do you like to do for fun? (Your response should range between 250-400 words.)” 

Writing college essays is entertaining sometimes. You might find it hard to believe but this section has a stress relief in focus. It aims at allowing a student to let the hair down a bit. This essay can include everything from hobby, long-term goal in life, on the condition that it is delivered with a pinch of humor in it.

Bear in mind though, this prompt has the same purpose as others. It is designed to show the admissions officer your character. Hence, enrich the story with your personal opinions, worries, considerations, and impressions. 

Essay Question 4 

 “The process of discovery best advances when people from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives come together. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity of Caltech's community? (Your response should range between 250-400 words.)” 

Although you collect all the paperwork with your grades, biography, and all possible data, the school wants to hear you talk about your background personally. Focus on your background and its relation to your choice of the educational institution. Show the logical connection between the experience you have and the need for an experience that Caltech can give you. It will be the most persuasive strategy to use. 

Mind that this prompt is resembling essay question #2 where you are asked about cooperation with peers. The second question is focusing on your building communication and partnership with others. Prompt #4 aims at describing your future contribution to Caltech. 

Final Tips

Essay questions from Caltech admissions require more than average response. Your answers to these tricky questions are painting the image of you in the minds of admissions officers. It is vital to be careful with the word choice, as well as the ideas you express. 

Since the essay is your final step of admissions, you cannot afford to stumble. The easiest solution to put your worries aside is to find an admission writer to guide you.