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Thoughts on Caltech essay prompts?

Hey, I'm a rising senior and I'm interested in applying to Caltech. Can any current Caltech student or recent applicant share what the essay prompts were and if they were challenging to answer? Also, what kind of topics did you cover in your essays? Thanks!

7 months ago

Hey there! To give you an idea of what to expect from Caltech's essay prompts, they typically have four to seven supplemental essays, although keep in mind the exact number changes each year. Here's a brief overview of what you might encounter:

1. Describe three experiences and/or activities that have helped develop your passion for a possible career in a STEM field.

2. Share a time when you had an intellectual or creative 'aha' moment.

3. Why are you interested in a specific major?

4. What is your favorite hobby or interest?

Keep in mind that these prompts may change slightly from year to year, but they often maintain a similar focus.

As for whether these prompts are challenging, it depends on how well you know yourself and your interests. To answer these questions well, you'll want to provide specific examples and anecdotes that highlight your passion and curiosity in STEM fields.

When choosing what topics to cover in your essays, think about experiences or activities that particularly excite you or that you're proud of. Avoid generic topics—remember, your essays should help you stand out as an applicant. Instead, focus on unique experiences or perspectives that display your growth, curiosity, and engagement with your chosen field. Reflect on research projects, extracurricular activities, internships, or personal hobbies that tie into your passion for STEM.

It's also worth mentioning that while you should definitely highlight your interest in STEM as Caltech is a STEM school, you aren't limited to exclusively discussing STEM. Especially questions that ask about your hobbies or interests, go beyond the scope of STEM and talk about other topics that excite you that could be anything from baking to mountain biking to a passion for geology.

Lastly, and most importantly, be genuine in your responses. Showcase your authentic voice and personality, as this will help you create a meaningful connection with the reader. If you're enthusiastic about your chosen topics, it's more likely that your essays will be engaging and enjoyable to read. Best of luck with your Caltech application!

7 months ago

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