Mathcamp Math JamGo back to the Math Jam Archive
Mathcamp Executive Director Marisa Debowsky describes the Mathcamp summer program for high school math students.
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Facilitator: Marisa Debowsky
Hello and welcome to the Canada/USA Mathcamp Math Jam!
Before I introduce our guests, let me briefly explain how our online classroom works.
This room is moderated, which means that all your questions and comments come to the moderators. We may share your comments with the whole room if we so choose.
Also, you'll find that you can adjust the classroom windows in a variety of ways, and can adjust the font size by clicking the A icons atop the main window.
Canada/USA Mathcamp is an intensive five-week-long summer program for high-school students interested in mathematics, designed to expose students to the beauty of advanced mathematical ideas and to new ways of thinking. You can learn more about Canada/USA Mathcamp at www.mathcamp.org.
In this Math Jam, Canada/USA Mathcamp staff will lead a discussion about their outstanding program. Many AoPS instructors, assistants, and students are alumni of Mathcamp, including me!
For now, please hold your questions – they'll let you know when you can start asking questions. Also, due to the number of people attending tonight, they may not be able to get to every question.
And now let me introduce our guests!
Marisa Debowsky (MarisaD) is the Executive Director of Mathcamp. She's been teaching Topological Graph Theory and singing pop songs at Mathcamp every summer since 2006.
Kevin Carde (KevinCarde) is the Assistant Director and CTO of Mathcamp. He's been teaching Algebraic Combinatorics and playing piano at Mathcamp every summer since 2011.
I'll turn the room over to Marisa now!
Hi, everybody, and welcome to this Mathcamp Q&A! Many thanks to @LauraZed, @rrusczyk, and the AoPS team for hosting us (and persisting through technical difficulties).
Kevin and I are here to talk about Mathcamp 2017, both the program and the application process. (You’ve got a captive audience with some admissions officers, so now’s your chance to ask your burning questions about applying to camp.)
First, I’ll say in a few short sentences what Mathcamp is. Then we’ll spend about 30 minutes discussing the program, and 30 minutes discussing the application process, and then we’ll wrap up around 9pm ET.
So, Mathcamp: as Laura said, it’s a 5-week residential math summer program. This year, it runs Sunday, July 2 through Sunday, August 6th, and it takes place at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.
July, you say? That's so far away! True. We're having this Math Jam in December so that you can start thinking now about whether the program is the right fit for you, and get clear about the application process. That way, when the Qualifying Quiz is posted and the application opens on January 15th, you can get started right away.
Really really frequently asked questions, to get them out of the way:
Who comes to Mathcamp? We have 120 students per year, from all over the world. It?s 65-75 new campers and 45-55 returning alumni per year. It?s about 40% girls, 60% boys.
What kind of math? All kinds. Our course catalog has about 150 classes per summer, and you have complete freedom to design your own curriculum.
What else happens? There are a zillion (approximately) activities happening during the evenings and on weekends, and you choose how to spend your time.
How do I get in? Admission is competitive. (We admitted about 15% of the applicants last year.) The central components are the Qualifying Quiz (http://mathcamp.org/quiz/) and a personal essay (http://mathcamp.org/essay/).
When do I apply? The application will open on January 15th, 2017, and the application deadline is March 10th, 2017. (Note that we've switched from early & regular to a single deadline!)
Scholarships Yes! We have them. We offer tons of need-based financial aid, and about 25% of our students received full scholarships last year. Every student (US, Canadian, & International; new and returning) is eligible for financial aid.
Okay, I think it's time for me to stop talking: we want to get to as many of your questions as possible We'd like to meet *you* along with your question, so here’s a suggested format:
Name / Age / State-or-Country: Question
Yvonne / 14 / Poland: What is the official mascot of Mathcamp?
Mohamed / Parent / CA: What are the cooking facilities like?
(But that format is not mandatory - in keeping with the spirit of Mathcamp, just about everything is optional, and we’ll address you any way you like.)
Okay, ready? Let’s spend about 7:45 - 8:15 on questions about the program itself: mathematical and residential life at Mathcamp; the people; the campus; the "during" and "after" of Mathcamp. (And then we’ll switch over to discussing the "before": the application process and financial aid.)
is it related to mathpath
Not formally, but fun fact: MathPath (for students ages 11-14) and Mathcamp (ages 13-18) were founded by the same mathematician.
Prefer not to say/ in middle school / USA: Is there any age restriction?
Yes! The eligibility criterion is about age, not grade in school: students ages 13 - 18 are eligible to apply. (If you're 12 or 19 but have very special circumstances, talk to us about exceptions.)
are we going to do any problems
Nope, we're just talking about the program and the application process today.
Rachel/14/USA:What is the ratio of students to teachers?
It's about 4:1.
We will have to stay there?
Yes, it's a residential program.
Anantajit/ 14 / CA Is "everything else" math related? In other words, are the only activities at math camp math related?
We do all sorts of things, not just math! There's also singing and dancing and baking and hiking and frisbee and board games and....
What will we do on weekends? Are there field trips or something of that sort?
There are field trips every weekend, yes! More info here: http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/residentiallife/fieldtrips.php
Nathan / 16 / Georgia: what are the cooking facilities like? I would like to cook a bit...
There are kitchens in the dorms which students can use under staff supervision (and the staff are always excited to help with cooking and baking projects!).
How is the daily schedule like? How much time will be spent each day on math?
That's a tough question. Here's a typical day at camp:
...but the key point here is actually that you design your own schedule, and how you spend your time is completely up to you.
Do you get lots of chess players?
We do indeed.
What types of courses do you offer?
ALL kinds of things. Here's a big list of topics: http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/topics.php
Courses come in all styles, too -- some are lectures, some are more interactive (with students presenting material).
Andrew / 15 / MA: are the teachers college students or people who have already graduated college?
The teachers are mostly grad students, with some professors and other professionals.
what is the difficulty level of the math? (how much background should we have had to consider applying?)
what is the difficulty of the problems?
We expect all Mathcamp students to be comfortable with high-school math through Precalculus, but beyond that, the sky's the limit -- there will be classes that you can jump into with no other math experience, as well as advanced topics that you might not expect to see outside of a graduate seminar. The class schedule every year is unique, but we always fill it with a range of topics catering to a range of different mathematical backgrounds. You can learn lots about last year's classes from the schedules posted at http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/classes.php.
Louis/14/USA: What are some specific topics that we need to know before arriving?
You should complete Precalculus before coming to Mathcamp (by taking a class in school, or the AoPS class, or by thorough independent study), because we're going to assume that you're very comfortable with functions, trigonometry, vectors, etc. in Mathcamp classes. Most of our classes don't require Calculus, so that's optional.
I'm sure all of the different students would be at different levels, how do you split them up for learning what is appropriate for the individual?
Students get to choose their own classes, so you pick the courses that are the right fit for you in terms of pace, difficulty, and background material required.
Louis/14/M How do we know which course to pick?
Well, first, you sit down with your academic advisor (http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/academicadvising.php) and discuss what kinds of math you want to do over the summer. (Maybe you want to get a broad overview of lots of kinds of math, or dig deeply into a particular subject, or take classes that focus on writing skills or presentation skills, or get better at problem solving, or?.)
And then you and your advisor talk about the course catalogue. We sort the classes by theme to help you out: http://www.mathcamp.org/2016/academics/clusters.pdf. You make a tentative plan for what classes you want to take, and then you try it out and see how it goes. You don't have to formally register for classes ? you can just show up.
Are there computer science courses as well?
Yes! Our instructors are primarily mathematicians, but we have lots of other interests as well, and you're likely to see a handful of classes on computer science, physics, and maybe even linguistics on the schedule. Just last year, for example, we had classes on neural networks, functional programming, quantum mechanics, and natural language understanding.
how many courses can you take at once?
There are 4 class blocks (plus a colloquium) per day, so that's the max.
are there physics courses also?
(With a mathy bent.)
Prefer not to say / 14 / CA How difficult are the courses at math camp compared to regular classes and AP?
what if you are in middle school
The difficulty varies widely: some classes at Mathcamp are recreational and very relaxed in pace, and others are extremely fast and furious.
Middle schoolers are welcome! (It's the age that we use as eligibility criterion, not grade in school.)
What would you say is the most difficult math taught?
Some examples from just last summer: K-theory, algebraic groups, analytic number theory, geometric group theory, spectral graph theory, factoring with elliptic curves.
Anantajit / 14 / CA How many courses can you take each summer?
Students typically take 2, 3 or 4 classes per week, over the course of 5 weeks.
What is your most popular courses
I think Combinatorial Game Theory might be the most popular class of all times. Last year, maybe it was the intro Group Theory course -- I've never seen so many people doing homework!
Can you change your classes if you don't like them after the first day?
Yes! You don't have to formally sign up for classes, so you can go to whatever class you want on whatever day (though if you're joining a class in the middle of the week, you might want to chat with the instructor so you know what you're getting into!).
Hm, how long do these classes last? Say, if you take K- theory, would you take that for all 5 weeks? And just a single class, how long is it in minutes?
The most common format for courses is 1 hour / day, 5 days / week, for 1-2 weeks. But some classes are longer than an hour (e.g. 2 hours, or 5 hours) and some are shorter than a week (e.g. just a day or two) and others are longer (e.g. all five weeks).
Have you ever offered courses in music theory?
On the mathematics of music, yes!
What types of math are covered?
Is the camp competition based or pure math based?
We mostly focus on pure math, but there's also a little bit of applied math and a tiny bit of competition math.
can you choose the number of weeks to stay?
No, the program is designed to be for the whole five weeks.
Do you require experience in competition type math?
We definitely don't require it. (But some of our students happen to do competitions.)
Do you offer competitive math classes? If yes, could you describe the lever of the classes? Do you offer USAMO level?
We do offer some problem-solving courses -- usually one per day, some at an intro level and others at an olympiad level.
Matthew/15/CA: Does Mathcamp help prep for contests like AIME/Math olympiads?
Some of the courses we teach will help with contests, but it's not our main focus.
Anantajit / 14 / CA Would you recommend math camp for people not looking into a math major?
Sure: you don't have to be planning on a math major in order to come to Mathcamp! You just have to be a math enthusiast.
Dave/17/USA How exactly are mathcamp classrooms organized?
Instructors run classes in a variety of styles: some are more traditionally structured, with a presentation by the instructor every day, but some might not involve any lecture at all!
Recently there has been an increase in classes focusing on inquiry-based learning, where the students themselves are the ones discovering concepts, solving problems, and presenting proofs. Some students really like these kinds of classes and some don't, so we make sure that, in addition to a variety of topics, we offer classes in a variety of different styles.
How hard will the camp be?
That also varies a lot from class to class! We're aiming to design a course catalogue that is accessible to students without a ton of background, but also has options that are challenging for even the most mathematically sophisticated students.
16 / TX I've had the privilege of taking a standard undergraduate mathematics curriculum, and I've worked specifically with some of the things that are labeled with 4 chili peppers, such as elliptic curve factorization/bilinear pairings. Will Mathcamp be challenging enough for students like myself?
how large are the classrooms on average?
A typical class has 12-20 students, but some are as small as 5 and others as big as 50.
is there homework?
Most instructors do hand out problem sets. Each class will advertise in advance how crucial the homework is: for some classes, it's purely optional, and for others, it's absolutely necessary to understanding the next day's material. (And balancing your homework load is one thing to keep in mind when choosing your classes each week.)
Now, homework at camp is maybe not like the homework you're used to: it's never boring. So we hope that you'll want to do the homework. (After all, you learn math by doing it, not just by watching your teachers perform it.)
Whats the average age/grade of the people at mathcamp
The average age (in fact, the mean, median, *and* mode) at camp is usually 16. On the first day of Mathcamp 2016, there were:
5 campers age 13
5 campers age 14
27 campers age 15
33 campers age 16
31 campers age 17
16 campers age 18
3 campers age 19
Which grades is this appropriate for
Well, age is the real criterion for us, but we have students come out of 7th grade and who come to camp up through the summer after finishing high school.
David/14/UT How will we be put into the dorms if we get accepted and choose to go?
how many people are in a dom?
Just some quick questions about sleeping conditions: are we living in dorms? and how many students are living in each room?
Our dorms are Smith and Oppenheimer (at the University of Puget Sound): http://www.pugetsound.edu/student-life/campus-living/residence-life/residence-halls-houses/smith-hall/ and http://www.pugetsound.edu/student-life/campus-living/residence-life/residence-halls-houses/university-hall/ .
The dorms will house all 120 campers + about 30 counselors.
can you go if you're in 6th grade?
Yes, if you're 13 by the time camp starts.
how many times can you attend?
Nope - you can come every summer until you age out. (We've had 6-year attendees before!)
Is there vegetarian food?
Do we get time to interact with other students.
Yes! Everybody at Mathcamp is smart and cool and interesting to talk to. People often say that the community is the best part.
David/14/USA: Are any electronics necessary or recommended to bring with us?
That's up to you, but you're welcome to bring phone/tablet/laptop, and you'll probably find them helpful.
David / 14 / USA: How does the rooming work at Mathcamp?
First, you're matched with a roommate by age and gender. Then we use a questionnaire for admitted students to give us information about second-order considerations: how neat do you like to keep your room? Do you like to have friends hang out in your room in the evenings, or use your room as quiet study space? What time do you like to go to bed and get up? You also have the option to request to have specific roommates (which we'll honor if they request you in return!) or to avoid specific roommates (which we'll always honor).
how many sessions are there?
where is it?
We move around each year. This year, we're at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.
Could you please describe logistics (transportation to and from the airport, dorms, etc.)?
Well, specifically about the transportation question: we pick up students at the airport (it's SEA this year) on arrivals day and return them to the airport on departures day. (Lots more info about that: http://www.mathcamp.org/currentstudents/precamp/arrivalsanddepartures.php )
Will math camp usually be in Canada or the U.S.A?
We've been on US campuses for quite a while recently. Here's the full list: http://www.mathcamp.org/archives/earlier.php
what will we need to bring?
Here's the packing list: http://mathcamp.org/currentstudents/precamp/whattobring.php
can we bring computer?
Anonymous/12/NY: is there wifi there?
do you have clubs?
Hmm, good question. There are informal clubs, like the group of campers who make the yearbook. Here's a list: http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/residentiallife/activities.php
do we get to keep phones
Yes, of course. (And we will tell you often to call your parents.)
Are we going to be walking to different buildings for different activities or is everything in one building?
We use several buildings on campus, but it's a pretty small campus, so you'll find it easy to get around.
(Your main points of interest will be the dorms, the dining hall, the classrooms.)
can we bring our guitar or violin
Do we get free time?
Yes! Very much so. Your time is completely up to you at Mathcamp: you decide when to go to class, when to do homework, when to take a break.
Are we allowed to form our own group activities?
Yes! That's strongly encouraged. You put an event on the schedule board - http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/residentiallife/campuslife.php - and then just make it happen.
Matthew / 15 / USA: Can we use on-campus sports facilities to organize games during free times?
Yes! And there's a really nice fitness center, which was just renovated (in 2016): http://www.loggerathletics.com/information/facilities/facilities . There's a pool, a fitness center, tennis courts, racquetball courts and a climbing wall.
Are we allowed to leave campus?
Yes, with some restrictions: you have to be in group of at least three campers (or with a staff member or other authorized adult).
Time to call parents?
You should call your parents all the time! So often that they're tired of hearing from you! That way, they don't call us and say "I'm worried that my kid has been eaten by a bear."
Are the Saturday afternoon relays every Saturday?
How big is the place?
Do you have a map of the part of campus we would be using?
Here's a campus map: http://www.pugetsound.edu/about/campus-the-northwest/campus-map/
We're in Smith/Oppenheimer, and the dining hall is in the student center, and the classes are in the science center.
Has the "i'm worried that my kid has been eaten by a bear" actually happened?
What happens if a kid is eaten by a bear?
Insurance, I'd assume
Are our teachers available for any questions after class or on the weekends when completing home work?
Yes! There are two hours every afternoon for informal office hours, and also we live on campus with you, so you can ask us math questions all the time.
What time would light's out be?
There is no required lights out time, but we have some systems in place to make sure everybody can get enough sleep. Out of respect for everyone trying to sleep, quiet hours begin in the quiet parts of the dorm at 10 PM (you can opt to be in the quiet section) and it's quiet everywhere by midnight. As an added incentive to help you make good decisions about going to bed: on weeknights, common areas close at midnight and all students must be in dorm rooms.
Is there a place to practice piano if we want to?
Yes! There's a piano in the dorm; we'll also have access to music practice rooms, including some with pianos.
Would classes ever be cancelled due to bad weather/other limiting conditions?
The weather is generally great in the summers in the pacific northwest, so I've never seen this happen.
About that pool... Is it one of the pools that have lanes that you swim laps?
I believe so, yes.
are you guys, the teachers, high schoolers?
The teachers are grad students + professors, generally. But you can actually teach your own class at Mathcamp as a special project, so there are technically some classes taught by high schoolers!
What's the temperature in the summer on average?
The weather in Tacoma is very pleasant over the summer: http://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/tacoma/washington/united-states/uswa0441 . A typical day has a high of 25 C / 77 F. It gets hot (say, up to 35 C / 95 F) on rare occasion, but it's not humid.
For the hot days, we recommend having a fan in your room: the dorms are not air-conditioned. The classrooms are, though!
How do we go to church on Sunday
We can arrange for transportation! (We do this every year.)
are there any museums or nice parks in Tacoma that you know of?
Yes, actually, there are some awesome things in Tacoma. There's a museum of glass, and a great art museum, and a big park. Some info: http://www.mathcamp.org/currentstudents/thetown.php
Is carrying a water bottle recommended?
Always a good idea.
what's the typical low during that time?
It'll go down to the low 60s at night, in my memory.
How much time will we have a day to pursue other things (such as classes, homework, studying, etc.)
How you structure your time is totally up to you.
do we receive credits for high school classes
No, Mathcamp isn't credit-bearing.
Could you use it as another camp after mathpath if you want to go to a harder one?
Sure! Lots of our students are MathPath alums.
are there classes on weekends as well?
Just during the week, but we often chat math on the weekends for fun.
Matthew / 15 / CA: for free times do you have basketball courts?
what distinguishes mathcamp from other summer math camps?
This is a great question, and I'll answer this one and then head over to the next section of our time --
In a way, all of the summer math enrichment programs (https://www.artofproblemsolving.com/wiki/index.php/Mathematics_summer_programs) are places where you get to dive into interesting math and meet like-minded peers. You might think of these programs as sorting into three categories -- competition programs (like AwesomeMath), single-focus programs (like PROMYS and Ross, which have a Number Theory curriculum), and broader programs (like HCSSiM and MathILy and us).
What makes Mathcamp unusual is the extraordinary about of academic and personal freedom that students have. You design your own curriculum, you decide how to spend your time.
Okay! Those were great questions about the program.
Let’s spend about 8:20 - 8:50 on questions about applications and financial aid: eligibility, the application process, scholarships. (And then we’ll open up to any kinds of questions before we wrap up.)
(And if I didn't get to your program question in the first half, I'll try to come back to it!)
Lismary/13/New York : About applications, is it alright to be applying to a few different programs? What happens if you get into more than 1?
Yes, and in fact we're not going to be able to accept all the great applicants we want to (too many applicants, not enough spots), so we recommend that you consider a backup option.
If you get into more than one, you get to choose.
How much will it cost?
The full cost for Mathcamp 2017 will be \$4500. We offer LOTS of need-based financial aid: Mathcamp is completely free for US and Canadian families with household incomes of $65,000 and below, and tuition is on a sliding scale for middle-income and international families. For lots of details about scholarships, see: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/scholarships.php . The bottom line: don't let money prevent you from applying.
(LaTeX! darn you!)
Katie/15/Canada : The start date is July 2nd but I may or may not have a piano competition around that time (depends if I qualify) so would it be OK if I arrived a bit later? Would I miss anything important?
We usually have one or two students with important reasons to arrive late / leave early, and we can try to accommodate.
Are there any practice tests available?
Yes! If you want to get a feeling for what the Qualifying Quiz is like, take a look at past years QQs: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/quiz/pastquizzes.php
How many questions do you need to solve on the application quiz to have a decent chance of getting in?
Could you explain about the Qualification Test? How do we submit?
So, the Qualifying Quiz is our entrance exam of sorts: it's how we get to know our applicants mathematically.
You submit it online as part of your application.
Now, in terms of number of questions - when we look at an individual Quiz problem, we're looking for a solution that is complete, correctly, and clearly communicated. (We definitely do give partial credit.)
It's hard to say "you need to answer this many questions", because when we look at the entire Quiz taken as a whole, we're looking for more abstract qualities: persistence; creativity; sound reasoning.
We don't ask for grades or standardized test scores in our application because we don't think of them as particularly useful for predicting who will be prepared for and benefit from Mathcamp classes; instead, the Quiz is our proxy for answering those questions.
What we're trying to read out of the Quiz is a little bit between the lines of the actual solutions: it's an understanding of the author's mathematical maturity.
The Quiz is untimed because it's intended to be more like a research project than like a competition, and as such, we don't grade it like you would a competition.
Is there a certain score you need to get on the test to get in?
In broad strokes: most successful applicants try every or almost every question, and make significant progress on several. But you'll find anecdotal evidence on all of the extremes: we have admitted students who solved only a few Quiz problems, and not admitted students with very strong Quizzes.
Are these problems primarily proof-based?
is the quiz like amc or more proofs?
Is it an online quiz?
We post the questions online, yes, and then you have about two months to work on them.
what's the level relative to olympiads?
Apples and oranges -- it's not really like an olympiad.
How do you send them in? With your application?
How do you submit your answers?
You'll typically upload a PDF of your solutions in the online application. (You can also submit by fax or snail mail.)
Do you require recommendations from teachers?
We do, yes: a math recommendation from a teacher, and a character reference from any adult who knows you well.
Do we do it on a device or on a paper
You can type or handwrite your solutions - either way.
How old can you be? Or is it done purley by skill? i am 10 and taking Geo, is it possible for me to apply?
The minimum age for Mathcamp is 13, so wait a couple more years!
could you please describe the essay assessment criteria?
We're looking for students who are a good fit with the style of our program – who will make the most of the opportunities at camp and contribute to the camp community. Your essay is the place for us to get to know you a little more as a person.
Wait, do you do it when you're thirteen, or can you do it if you skip a few grades?
It's about age, not grade in school.
Is the qualifying quiz going to test us on subject matter we need to know for the harder courses?
The only background we assume is Precalculus - and then it's about ingenuity.
Can I still apply if I'm turning 13 by mid-Febuary?
How old can you be?
Specific eligibility: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/eligibility.php
Are you more likely to be accepted if you have been in a math camp before, like All Girls All Math?
Good question! On the one hand, programs like AGAM are great preparation for Mathcamp. On the other hand, we're always impressed by students who are strong mathematicians but *haven't* yet been to a summer program. So either way is really fine!
Armaan/ 13/ USA. What is the difficulty level and would you recommend that to even consider applying we should have a certain score in something.
We don't have any score cutoffs, but my best suggestion is that you use the Qualifying Quiz as a guide. If the problems are fun for you, and you feel like you're making some progress towards solutions, then that's a good indicator that this might be a good fit. If you're frustrated / bored by the QQ, then maybe you'll want some more math background before you apply.
I'm almost 13 and in 7th grade. I'm thinking of applying in summer 2018, after 8th grade. So you're saying I would have to know Precalculus by then? Exciting!
Should a student apply for this camp even if we didn't fully cover Precalculus?
We need you to be comfortable with that material, but you can get there by independent study if you haven't had a chance to take a full-semester/year course.
What is looked at the most, or weighed the most heavily when looking at applications?
The Quiz is the central component, but we definitely take the whole application into consideration. It's a holistic approach.
how many applicants do you get?
What is the acceptance rate?
The acceptance varies from year to year, based on the number of places we have available (sometimes as few as 65, sometimes as many as 75) and the number of applicants. In recent years, we've definitely seen (many) more qualified applicants than we have spots, so we end up having to say no to lots of great candidates.
The number of applications last year was in the high 400s.
Yeah, that was last year's rate.
Do you require a transcript for application?
Nope. We just ask you to self-report your mathematical background.
What is the order of importance for the application, what do you consider the most? Is the Qualifying quiz the most important or is, the recommendation more important?
The QQ is indeed the key part. So put time into it! We publish it in January so you can get started early and take your time thinking about the problems.
Is there a spot for extracurriculars? And can we submit a transcript if we choose to?
You can describe these things in narrative format in your application.
if you have already went to the camp, then ifyou want to go again, what is the application process
Alumni are generally readmitted automatically; there's a sign-up process in the spring. You fill out some forms to claim your spot and then to register, but you don't have to do the QQ again.
What are you looking for in the recommendation letter?
For the math letter, we're looking for a teacher/coach/etc to comment on your mathematical maturity. In the character letter, we're looking for information about your social and emotional maturity. Here's a page with lots more details: http://mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/recommendations.php.
Is there an essay required
Is there an essay portion of the application and if so what are the prompts like?
There is indeed an essay, and it's an important part of the application. Here are the prompts: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/essay.php
How is financial aid considered?
For US and Canadian students, admission is entirely need-blind; we admit students, and then we process financial aid applications for all admitted students. For international students, we have to take aid into consideration when we make admission offers because the plane ticket costs can really add up (and we have a large financial aid budget, but it's finite: about $160,000).
Here are lots of details: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/scholarships.php
When will we know if we got in?
Decision day this year is Monday, April 10th.
Lots more information about dates and deadlines: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/theprocess.php
What if we didn't get in? Will we have to wait until next year?
You can definitely apply more than once! It takes a lot of work to apply, and we're always impressed by people who do a Qualifying Quiz two or three times. (And I'm always excited when someone gets in on their second or third try.)
how many international students do you admit?
About 15% of our students are international.
How many questions does the QQ usually have?
When do we have to confirm that we will attend?
The registration deadline for admitted students is Monday, May 8th. If there are places available after that, we'll offer them to students on the waitlist, and then everybody's status is finalized by May 31st.
For the recommendation letter, can someone like my physics teacher write it, since physics is mathematically related, or does it actually have to be a math teacher?
It can be a physics teacher, if they can speak to your math background!
US citizen studying abroad are considered interntional or local?
Generally it's by current location and not citizenship (but talk to us if you have special circumstances).
What are some common backgrounds of people that get in? (MOP, USAJMO...etc.)
Let's say I got 120 on AMC 10, how does that compare with the rest of the applicants? Do i have a shot?
Competition math is generally not a good guide for Mathcamp admission, because not all of our students do competitions. We have some students at camp who've never done a math competition before, and others who come to camp fresh off their IMO gold medal wins. It really runs the gamut.
how selective is kernel
Hah! I love this question. The Kernel is Mathcamp's contemporary a cappella group, and it is indeed auditioned. It's not super duper selective, but getting in depends a little on what voice parts we need and how comfortable you are holding your own part.
Okay! Thanks for all the great questions about the application process.
The field is open for any questions about Mathcamp, and we’ll wrap up at 9pm ET.
Is Mathcamp a digital thing or a in-person camp?
If you could describe Mathcamp in 3 words, what would it be?
..... ....... ...............
Is the program for contest math or undergraduate math?
Dave/17/USA Are there classes specifically focused on contest prep in MathCamp?
We're more focused on undergrad math, but we do offer some classes specifically about contests.
Beautiful words of wisdom
Yes, and thank you.
Do you know where it will be in 2018 and 2019?
Not yet! Stay tuned.
when is it?
This year, it's July 2 - August 6, 2017.
In the process of going to Math Camp, when do we find out what the course options are? Before camp, or on the first few days?
We'll post the summer course schedule in June, and you'll get the detailed catalogue when you arrive at camp.
Do you offer any research based classes that could support independent research projects?
Lots of students choose to do projects at camp (http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/projects.php), and you can opt to do an original research project, either on a topic suggested by the Mathcamp faculty or a project you've already been working on. That's usually how research shows up at camp, rather than in classes per se.
Jeffrey/16/NYC anything on computer science and/or multivariable calculus and up?
Yes! We definitely offer CS-type classes, and if you're interested in analysis, there's a whole post-calculus section of classes.
Can you explain the choosing courses process? You mentioned that going to classes is optional. I am a little confused.
Let's see if I can do it justice. So the process looks like this:
* You and your academic advisor make a plan for what you'd like to take over the summer, and it gets refined / revisited each week.
* Generally, students go to the classes they planned to go to, but you can always switch / add / drop as needed.
* Everything at Mathcamp is optional, even classes - but we hope that the classes are so interesting that you'll want to go!
Does that help? (Feel free to keep asking refinements of this question - it's pretty core to the Mathcamp experience, but hard to describe.)
If we get into Mathcamp, but for some reason we won't be able to attend anymore, is that fine?
Well, you generally only register if you know you're planning to come. If you change your mind after the registration deadline but still in mid-May, we can find another student on the waitlist to take your spot, so we'll refund your deposit (less a small admin fee). After May 25, refunds are only available for unusual circumstances (e.g. illness).
Is the academic adviser chosen for you or is that someone like your parents or math teacher/coach?
Oh! An academic advisor is a Mathcamp instructor, and you pick your advisor on the first day of camp. More info: http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/academicadvising.php
What courses are the most popular?
Hmm.. off the top of my head: voting theory, point-set topology, ring theory...
Combinatorial game theory
Okay, everybody - time to wrap up. Thanks for spending your evening with us! Lots of great questions.
If we didn't get to your question, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to continue the conversation. (You can also post questions in the Mathcamp forum here on AoPS, at http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/community/c135_mathcamp - the Mathcamp staff will post replies, and you'll get student opinions, too!
How much homework is there?
This was really helpful thank you!!
(@changdee re HW - Most classes have a little, and some have a lot, and others have none. Like everything at Mathcamp, it's optional - but fun!)
Thank you, this makes sense now.
Thank you all!
Thank you for the jam! Very informative
Thanks Marisa! Sounds like a great program
Stay tuned for the Qualifying Quiz and the application: we'll post them January 15th. Meanwhile, have a great winter break, everybody, and good night!
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