College Makes Shocking Changes to Admissions Requirements

( – In a move to help promote equity, the California Institute of Technology announced on Aug. 31 that it would be making changes to its admissions requirements.

The school is dropping its requirement of chemistry, calculus, and physics courses for students whose high school does not offer the classes and providing those students with an alternative way to prove they have mastered the material.

In order to prove they have mastered the material, students who are unable to take the courses will instead be allowed to take and score high on certification tests. Students must receive a score of 5 on Advanced Placement tests or a score of 6 or 7 on International Baccalaureate exams. Students will also be allowed to take free online classes at Khan Academy and score higher than 90 percent on a certification test.

Admissions director Ashley Pallie stated that the “door of opportunity” needs to be opened to students from every zip code.

Pallie and her team began to question the admission requirements after attending a workshop on equity in February that was hosted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Khan Academy founder Sal Khan called the move by Caltech a “huge deal” for equitable access to college.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over one-third of high schools in the United States don’t offer calculus at all. According to federal data on public high schools from the 2017–2018 school year, 65 percent offered calculus, 88 percent offered chemistry, and 74 percent offered physics that year.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights data from the 2015–2016 school year, access to the classes showed a significant racial gap. Out of 26,300 public high schools that have high proportions of black and Latino students, 38 percent offered calculus that year.

Caltech, one of the top schools for science, technology, engineering, and math, had a 3 percent admission rate in 2022. Caltech has about 2,400 students enrolled.

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