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Marisa Debowsky, Canada/USA Mathcamp's Executive Director, 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 http://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! (I went to Mathcamp three times, from 2007 to 2009 )
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! Thanks as always to @LauraZed, @rrusczyk, and the AoPS team for hosting us.
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 this is a great chance to get ready for application season.)
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.
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 about 65-75 new campers and 45-55 returning alumni per year. Last year was 40% girls, 60% boys (and we're hoping to get to gender parity this year!).
What kind of math? All kinds. A cool thing about Mathcamp is that 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 (ish) 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/ ). We hope you've been enjoying the Quiz problems!
When do I apply? The deadline to apply is March 10th, 2017. (It's not rolling - all applications received by the deadline get equal consideration.)
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
Vivian / 16 / Ithaca: What is the official song of Mathcamp?
Ali / Parent / TX: 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 7:35 - 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.)
What if you live on the East Coast? Would you fly over there just for camp?
Yes! Students fly in from all over the world.
The airport this year is SEA (Sea-Tac), and we'll pick students up at the airport on arrivals day and drop them off again on departures day.
Rachel/11/Singapore- Do you also anything similar online
Sorry, no - the program is only residential.
Wait, where is mathcamp again?
It's in Tacoma, Washington this year.
(We move around each year. Last year, it was in Maine.)
Jetta/15/Connecticut/What arrangements are made for students flying in? Are we picked up by staff, or do we need a taxi?
You'll be picked up by staff.
How does rooming work, how are roommates selected?
First, you're matched 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).
About what percent of the people who are attending have roommates?
This year, almost all students will have roommates - most of the rooms at UPS (the University of Puget Sound) are doubles.
We'll have a handful of singles, and you can request a single if you specifically need one (e.g. for medical reasons).
Ashton / 14 / DC : Would you always do math or are there other activities like hiking, etc. ?
There are so many things at camp, both mathematical and non-mathematical! And we'll definitely be going hiking, for those interested in getting outside.
How does MathCamp differ from other popular summer camps for mathematics?
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 amount of personal and academic freedom that students have: it's a "choose your own adventure" program in a lot of way. You decide what courses to take (from a big course catalogue); you decide how to spend your time.
How much freedom do you have? Can you leave campus to buy food, supplies, etc?
You can indeed leave campus, with a group of fellow campers or with staff.
(People often make off-campus excursions for snacks, and there's a lot in walking distance of campus.)
Peter/16/Toronto: Do you have to pay to use the tennis courts?
No, campus resources are free for us to use.
Jelly/14/NJ: What is the average age of the students who attend MathCamp?
The mean, median and mode of age at camp are all 16.
(But we'll have students ages 13 - 18.)
Iris / 13 / Maryland - Can I apply if I'm in seventh grade?
Yes: the eligibility restrictions are by age (starting at age 13), not by grade. More info: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/eligibility.php
Alex Zhang / 13 / PA: what is the ratio of boys to girls?
The overall student body in 2016 was 40% girls, 60% boys. Interestingly, 2016 was the first year we admitted more new girls than new boys, so overall, the demographic is shifting towards gender parity.
What is the cost of the camp
Alex Zhang / 13 / PA: I'm planning on attending awesomemath summer program and I'm comparing prices. how much does this cost?
Ian / 13 / NJ What is the tuition?
The full cost for Mathcamp 2017 will be 4,500 USD. 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.
What dates does the program start and end
It starts July 2 and ends August 6.
Badar/15/NC: IF you get a full scholarship, are you reimbursed for travel fees?
We do offer travel grants, yes.
i have an international friend who wants to come, do international kids get scholarship?
Yes, international students are eligible for financial aid, too!
what is the ratio of canadian to american?
About 75-80% of our students are from the U.S.; 5-10% from Canada; and 15% from everywhere else. (There's a big list of our students' home countries here: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/eligibility.php .)
(In terms of U.S. states, California sends us the most students, but we've had campers from every state except South Dakota.)
Daniel / 13 / WA: If we live in Washington is it necessary to meet at Sea-Tac Airport?
No, you can also come to campus by car.
How many people are there in each RA group?
It's about 6 - 8 students per RA group.
Alex Zhang / 13 / PA: Can we request people to be in our RA group?
Yes: you can request roommates and neighbors on the registration form. (We honor mutual requests!)
How are RA groups assigned?
By a Mathcamp staff member manually working through a massive spreadsheet to satisfy impossible constraints.
Alex Zhang/13/PA: Are electronics allowed? I went to mathpath where electronics were banned.
Yes, students can bring electronics to camp. (In fact, we suggest bringing a laptop if you have one, although there are also computer labs in the dorm for doing math / emailing your parents.)
What is RA group mean
Ah, sorry: you and the students near you on your hall in the dorm will be grouped with the same "Residential Advisor", a counselor who's looking out for you.
Is there a store where you can buy food for yourself.
How old are the RA's
College and grad students.
when is curfew?
There's no official curfew in the sense of bed checks / lights out, but students have to be in the dorm by 10pm and the lounges close at midnight.
What's the average sleep and waking up time
Most students go to sleep around midnight and get up around 8am for the 9am classes, but you can set your own schedule.
is there a shop on campus?
How do we choose our courses?
Alex Zhang/13/PA: do we get to choose math classes of our interest?
First, you get to look at the course catalogue. Then you sit down with an academic advisor (you have two advisors at camp! this one is math-related, as opposed to dorm-related) and talk about what courses you'd like to take this summer.
You don't have to register for classes, though, so you can make adjustments along the way.
Each week, you check in with your academic advisor about how it's going.
Sarah/15/AZ What is the average class size?
Typical classes are 12 - 20, but there are some very small classes (~5 students) and some very big ones (~60 students).
Is there an old course catalogue online?
Yes! Here's last year's: http://www.mathcamp.org/2016/academics/index.php
Kaili / 15 / TN: What number theory classes are offered? (ie what sorts of number theory topics might be covered?)
We won't finalize the 2017 class schedule until shortly before camp, but we do often teach number theory courses (and you can see what was offered last year at the link above).
Alex Zhang/13/PA: What if your advisor and you disagree?
You're in charge. Your advisor is there to provide guidance.
What level of math do the courses go up to?
All the way up through graduate-level courses.
Junha Lee/15/ WA How many courses can you take in the 5 weeks?
Mukil Rangaraman/13/MA: How many classes will we be attending
Most students attend 2-3 classes per day.
how many days do each of these classes last?
Most classes are 5 days (one academic week), but some are 10 days (two weeks) and others are even longer (sometimes all five weeks!) or shorter (just one-time, one-day workshops).
Are there tests for our classes?
Alex Zhang/13/PA: what is the lowest level class there is, and highest level class?
All the classes assume Precalculus as a background, but besides that: there will be classes with no prerequisites at all (like Voting Theory), and others with very sophisticated prereqs (e.g. expecting a solid background in Group Theory, Ring Theory, and Linear Algebra).
Audric Lebovitz / 14 / VA: what level of math (AMC/AIME wise) do you have to reach to make Mathcamp approximately?
There's no direct correlation to competitions.
are we allowed to switch out of a class if we want?
How long (like 1 hr, 2hrs) are the classes?
Most are 1 hour, but some are 2-3.
What is the schedule of an average day like?
Are there certain time frames when classes are offered, or do they vary (kind of like college classes)?
Here's the schedule of a typical day: http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/atypicalday.php
Most classes do fall into the standard schedule (e.g. 9am - 9:50am, and then 10am - 10:50am, so forth).
Sarah/15/AZ Are the classes different every day?
Most classes last a full week. Here's an example of a week's schedule: http://www.mathcamp.org/2016/academics/Week1Schedule.pdf
How long are each clsses?
How long are each classes
Typically 50 minutes.
Michael Hahn/14/Zimbabwe: Is there a schedule online?
Yes! (See above.) And we will continue to update it through the summer, so students can access the online course catalogue at camp.
What do the peppers on the schedules mean?
Good question. It's spiciness: the pace/difficulty of the course.
About how much homework do you get every day? Or it there no homework?
Richard Luo/15/TX: How do the classes assign 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.)
Ashton / 14 / DC : How many different classes are there?
David/14/WA How many classes are there?
Usually 5 classes per hour, 4 hours per day.
are there tests?
Michael Hahn / 14 / Zimbabwe: Are there breaks in classes?
The schedule is back-to-back, but you can take a break any time!
In fact, we encourage students to take a break at some point so you don't get overloaded.
Are classes chosen before camp starts?
No, you choose when you arrive.
are there any courses that are focused on contest math?
A few, yes. (Usually one per day.)
What is the "average' level of math students have taken prior to math camp? I'm currently in pre-calculus and teaching myself calculus, will I be behind?
Precalculus is our benchmark for the high school math you'll need. Many, but not all, of our students have studied Calculus.
Angela Liu/13/TX:what if you feel like you can't keep up with the class?
Great question. You can always drop a class, and the instructor won't be offended - that's something students do a lot. But you can also talk to the instructor during office hours or in the evenings so that you have a chance to catch up on anything you missed.
Alex Zhang/13/PA: what are the credentials for teachers?
Teachers at Mathcamp are graduate students and professors/professionals in math. There's a rigorous application process for instructors, and they're all really good!
Can we do the course selection from the course catalogue before joining I mean is the old course catalogue same as new one
No, the classes change every summer.
Is there like special events in the weekend for math
There are sometimes mathy activities on the weekends, yes! But the formal math is all scheduled for the academic week (which, for us, is Tuesday through Saturday). The weekends have lots of field trips and other fun activities.
How many staffs are there?
About 30 staff (and 120 students).
is math camp just math, or are there other things as well?
All sorts of things in addition to math! Singing, dancing, baking, hiking, games, frisbee...
Angela Liu/13/TX: are we allowed to bring instruments?
Richard Luo/15/TX: How often do students and staff interact outside of classes?
All the time. Really, seriously, all the time.
is there a piano there
There is a piano for fun playing in the dorm, and there are practice rooms for serious drilling in the music building.
jason tang/14/massachusetts do we get as many servings of food as we want?
Here's our dining hall: http://www.pugetsound.edu/about/offices-services/dining-conference-services/the-diner/ The food is indeed unlimited.
are vegetarian options available?
Will there be a place to run or a gym with a treadmill?
Visma Sharagupta/15/India: is there chess boards?
Sarah/15/AZ Are we allowed to bring our own instruments, then?
How big is the campus
what is the location of the camp
Cameron White/ 11/ Folsom, Cal- How big are the buildings?
Here's a campus map, which I think answers most of this (joint) question: http://www.pugetsound.edu/about/campus-the-northwest/campus-map/
How big are the dorms?
The dorms will hold all 150 of us.
Is there a clinic /hospital nearby for emergency?
Yes! Very near by. (Details: http://www.mathcamp.org/parents/healthcare.php )
are there vegan options
Is there a talent show?
Do we have to pay for the food, or is it included with the tuition?
Room and board are included.
How big are the dorm rooms? And would we have multiple roommates, or just one?
Most students are in doubles. Dorm rooms are... not that big. 14'x18', maybe?
Is there a gym with barbells and weights?
jason tang/14/massachusetts im a competitive swimmer, is there a pool where i can practice?
Yes and no: the pool on campus will be open until July 17, and then they're doing renovations. If you needed to practice in the second half of July, we would arrange transportation to a nearby pool off-campus.
What will the whether be like
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.) It's not buggy at all.
What do the dorms look like?
Like this: https://www.pugetsound.edu/student-life/campus-living/residence-life/residence-halls-houses/harrington-hall/
Is there a common area
Yes! Most students spend a lot of time in the main lounge. It's the default place to hang out.
Janabel/14/MA: Are there "office hours" every day at camp? Or only certain days of the week?
Officially, Tuesday through Friday, but we're always around to talk math.
are there classes in the evening also
Just daytime, generally, but there are informal math activities in the evening (along with lots of other things!).
Katarina Chen/13/MA I heard from someone you can choose the classes you show up to, and just not go to others is that true?
That's right: you don't have to register for classes, you just go.
how many hikes do we go on?
We'll offer a bunch, and you can go to zero, some, or all of them
is there a parent/family visit day during camp?
Not officially, but families are welcome to visit.
i have heard about math relays, what exactly are these?
Hard to describe quickly, but there's a short blurb at http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/residentiallife/activities.php .
if i have a conflict with something else, then can i leave camp early and get a partial refund?
This brings up another question that was submitted in advance by email:
Can I attend only 2 weeks or 3 weeks of camp? I have a schedule conflict.
Our policy is that students can miss up to a week of Mathcamp for a pre-approved reason, but not more than a week. The program is really designed to be a full five-week experience, and you'd really miss out if you only came for part of it. (And our rationale is that there are lots of students who would be able to come and participate fully in the program, and so from an admissions committee perspective, we'd rather make that spot available to the student who can benefit the most.)
Okay! Those were great questions about the program.
Let’s spend about 8:15 - 8:45 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.)
How many people apply every year?
It varies from year to year, but in the 400s.
is the admission need blind
For US and Canadian students, yes! For international students, we award financial aid at the same time as offers of admission. (More info: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/international.php )
Ashton / 14 / DC : One of my friends is on a planned trip until the 12th. Can he still apply?
Maybe; have your friend to us about it.
Anegla Liu/13/TX:are teacher recommendations needed?
Robert Sheng/13/MA do we need recommendation papers
Yes, we ask for two recommendation letters: one about math, and one personal recommendation. More info: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/recommendations.php
are you more in favor of older students compared with 13/14 yeas' old younger students for admissions
Robert Sheng/13/MA is people getting in based solely on math skill
Is everyone graded the same way for applications? For example, is there different criteria for 13 year olds versus 18 year olds?
We're grading everyone on the same curve, so to speak.
Katarina Chen/13/MA If one of my friends is turning 13 on 7/5, can he still apply?
Have them talk to us.
How long do the questions take the average applicant to complete?
This was also a question that was submitted in advance by email:
How much time do you recommend setting aside for doing the Qualifying Quiz? I've been at it for a few hours and I've gained a few insights into the easiest problems but am not close to solving them at this point.
We've asked students sometimes (on surveys at camp) how much time they spent on the Quiz, and the responses vary from "4 hours" to "40 hours." The majority of students reported spending 10 - 20 hours on the Quiz. (We hope that you'll be having so much fun thinking about the problems that you won't want to stop!)
I am 10 years old and not turning 11 until July. Can I still apply?
Not yet! You have to be 13. Hang tight a few more years (and consider a program like MathPath in the meantime!).
Does attending camps for younger students (e.g., MathPath and Epsilon) help?
There are lots of ways to develop mathematical sophistication, and that's one of them.
In terms of preparing for the academic curriculum at camp, here's a list of resources that might be helpful: http://mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/resources.php . If you live near a Math Circle ( http://www.mathcircles.org/ ), that's a great way to be exposed to the kind of mathematical thinking that we do at camp, so that's another avenue you might consider.
What is the average amount of questions on the QT answered by accepted applicants?
How are the qualifying tests graded? How many questions do accepted applicants usually get correct?
What is the average number of questions solved?
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.
recommendation letters have to be from two different teachers?
Robert Sheng/13/MA so do I have to get my recommendation from my math teacher? what if i'm taking 9th grade math in 8th grade?
Joshua Yoon/17/IL. Is it okay to also have a teacher that knows you through math team write your personal recommendation?
So, lots of the details are on http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/recommendations.php , but briefly: one recommendation should speak to your mathematical strength, and the other to personal qualities.
It doesn't have to be your math teacher who writes the math rec - pick someone who knows you mathematically.
Katarina Chen/13/MA how much do the recommendations matter when an applicant is being considered?
Can a piano teacher write the personal recommendation letter?
What do you look for in the solutions of the Qualifying Quiz?
When we look at an individual Quiz problem, we're looking for a solution that is complete, correctly, and clearly communicated.
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.
Coby Tran/13/OR: Do you give returning applicants special consideration if they didn't go?
Yes, that's something we'll keep in mind.
Do you have admission rate boys vs girls
They're just about equal.
Katarina Chen/13/MA Do returnees get special consideration?
Returning applicants? Yes. Returning campers, as in students who have attended before? If you've attended before, you don't have to reapply.
Are we required to show proof with questions that don't specifically ask for it? Will admissions officers want my work/notes along with my "official" answers? For example, for question 7 part b, do I need to show how I found the method, or just how Carmen would guess?
Personally, as a grader, I like to see a clean solution at the start: write up what you think is the elegant/interesting approach. (As opposed to "First, I tried this. It didn't work. Then I took a walk. Then, I did this six-page calculation. Then...")
On the other hand, if you're too concise and you've made an error along the way, then it's hard for us to give you partial credit.
We like to see people thinking deeply about the problems, and "how I got here" helps to give us insight into your mathematical and creative mind. (But 27 pages of detailed scratchwork that led to the solution? That's not fun to wade through...)
Should I write the proofs in th art of problem solving methods only
As long as you're communicating the math clearly, that's what matters!
what are the qualifications to be in this program?
Robert Sheng/13/MA how difficult is the application test?
Are there any prerequisite math courses you need before going to this camp?
In terms of content, we only expect you to use the math you learned in high school (up through Precalculus). But we're looking for students who are really excited about math, and have spent lots of time thinking about math outside of class, too!
Do you admit by zone? i.e, if I am from a city with lots of applicants, is it harder for me to get admitted?
robert/parent/maryland Can three recommendation letters be submitted instead of two (two academic, one personal)
Yes; if you would like to submit a supplemental recommendation, contact us by email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) to discuss.
I am from china. Is there any translator for me?
We do have students from all over the world, but the program is conducted in English, so you should be comfortable both doing math and socializing in English (all day!).
What % are accepted?
It varies from year to year. In 2016, it was about 15%.
Is the more recommendation letters the better?
No: we are only expecting two letters each (no more, no less). If there's a specific reason for you to submit more, that's fine, but it's not standard.
If your solution is really long but it still makes sense, will marks be taken off?
It's okay for your solutions to be long. But try hard to make them easy for us to read and understand, please!
What percent of applicants from California are accepted? (is it significantly lower than other states)
I don't know off the top of my head, but given the large number of Californian students enrolled at camp, my guess is that the admissions rate there is consistent with the rest of the country.
13/Ibrahim Mohammed/CO Does state matter? Is there a bigger acceptance in one state?
Not really, no.
Is it harder for people in great plain states to get accepted?
Nope. We like the great plain states.
Is there anything in an application that would result in an applicant immediately being turned down?
Well, don't be mean to us! That would do it.
How much do competition scores iprove your chance of acceptance?
Since we're not a competition-focused program, scores on competitions don't have much impact for us.
What kind of scholarships are there for math competitions
We do offer one (small) merit-based scholarship, and it's for top scorers on the Math Prize for Girls competition. Otherwise, all scholarships are need-based.
If I submit my application late would it affect my chances of getting admitted
Yes. You should definitely apply on time.
What kinds of students are you hoping to admit?
This is such a good question, and so hard to answer. We're looking for students who are creative, excited, and engaged. Kids who will really thrive in this environment, and for whom Mathcamp would be a great fit, inside and outside the classroom.
Does that help?
Teacher recommendation have to be in your office on time (on 3/10/2017)?
Yes, that's right. More about dates and deadlines: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/deadlines.php
Is it necessary to solve every question in the quiz to get into the math camp
Do you need close to a perfect score on the QQ to get admitted?
The Quiz is intentionally hard! We don't expect to see perfect scores.
Do you have only a specific number of seats
Yes: there are 120 total places at camp, and we reserve up to 55 for alumni, so there are always at least 65 places for new campers. (Sometimes a few more.)
what is the cost of the program?
The full cost is 4,500 USD. More details about tuition: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/tuition.php
i want to apply, but I'm afraid i may not make it. What do you recommend for me to do to prepare?
I think your best preparation is to take a look at past Qualifying Quizzes ( mathcamp.org/quiz/ ). We've discussed the solutions to many of the problems in previous Math Jams, so you can get some insight into the kinds of solutions that we're looking for.
Is there financial aid?
Yes! Details here: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/scholarships.php
Is there a template or are there requirements for the teacher recommendations?
There are suggested writing prompts, yes. (See the instructions at the bottom of the page on http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/recommendations.php for more details.)
How many students apply for the camp in a year
It's usually in the 400s, but it varies from year to year. We'll see if you folks all apply!
what about usamts
We no longer offer merit awards specifically for USAMTS top-scorers – but of course, it's a great competition and lots of our students really enjoy participating!
How many campers are in each dorm? Are they separated by age or something else?
We're all in one dorm, and arranged on halls approximately by age.
Okay! Thanks for all the great questions about the application process. Seems like a lot of questions coming in now are about the program, so let's open the floor to all topics for the last 15 minutes.
Will Mathcamp ever come to Colorado?
We'll see. We were in Colorado in 2012.
How is the food?
It's actually not that bad. (And I'm fussy.)
What sort of food is offered?
They have menus online here: http://www.pugetsound.edu/about/offices-services/dining-conference-services/the-diner/
If student have special athletic training needs, such as fencing or tennis, can it be accommodated?
Most likely; email us if you have specific needs.
Do you guys keep vegetarian food
do you know when the camp will be in 2018?
Where is MathCamp going to be in the future? (plz let it be near Vancouver, bc)
Future summers TBA, sorry!
Coby Tran/13/OR: How are weekends spent?
So, Monday is part of the weekend?
Ethan: What do people usually do on the off-days? (Sat-Mon)
Are there any camp field trips?
So! Sundays and Mondays are the Mathcamp "weekend", and we run field trips both days. (They're optional, like everything at camp.) More info: http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/residentiallife/fieldtrips.php
Will there be other unrelated camps going on at the same time at the location?
Yes, actually: UPS hosts lots of summer programs. There's usually yearbook camp and football camp in addition to Mathcamp.
Robert Sheng/13/MA are we allowed to run on campus like morning jog
Sometimes there's a morning running group, or you can go on your own.
I have a severe peanut allergy, and I was wondering how you accommodate for people with food allergies. Would I have to worry about cross-contamination?
The dining hall at Puget Sound is conscientious about allergies: http://www.pugetsound.edu/about/offices-services/dining-conference-services/the-diner/allergens/ . We've been able to accommodate students with strict allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, gluten ? even strictly kosher and halal.
There are allergen-free fridges to handle cross-contamination.
Is there some amount of free time each day for campers to do whatever they want, like practice an instrument or read or some other hobby?
If you want to go on a field trip, does it have to be preapproved by parents or can you just go?
Your parents will have the opportunity to give blanket permission during the registration process.
UPS, as in the university, not the mail service, right?
Do we choose our dorm room mate?
You can put in a roommate request. (If both roommates request one another, then we'll honor it!)
Is there a vending machine in the campus
Do you offer math research project?
Yes! Many students at camp do research projects.
Visma Sharagupta/15/India: are there any handout that we will get throughout course
Some instructors do provide handouts; others don't.
Jeff Superman/14/Canada what is the average amount of time that people do math homework for every week??
Ooh, that really varies. Most students do 1-2 hours of math outside of class each day.
David/14/WA What are the maximum people in a class.
I think the biggest class we'll see is about 60 (and those are quite rare).
What is the affiliation between MathCamp and MathPath? How similar are they?
How different is this math camp compared to others such as PROMYS or Awesome Math?
So, let's see. MathPath and Mathcamp were founded by the same mathematician, and are similar in spirit in some ways: we're introducing students to a broad range of topics.
By contrast: PROMYS is specifically focused on Number Theory, and AwesomeMath is specifically focused on competitions.
vismay sharagupta/15/india: are there TAs?
In the case of a large class such as that, are there multiple instructors?
For a very big class, there will be TAs.
Are laundry costs paid with tuition?
Yes, laundry is free.
Can we use our devices during class? i.e texting someone back, etc.
I would consider that rude, but if it's an emergency, okay.
So this isn't competition based right?
Do you receive official grades in these classes?
No, we don't grade you.
If someone were on the borderline between the ages of campers at MathPath and the campers at Mathcamp, which camp would be better for that camper to go to?
It really depends on the student! MathPath has a lot more structure; Mathcamp has more flexibility.
Does the campus offer wifi? or do I have to use cellular.
How much extra spending money would you recommend us to bring?
Most students bring about $100 of spending money for incidentals.
How many campers are there per room?
Angela Liu/13/TX: What's the approximate ratio of younger students to older students?
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
That's pretty typical for us.
Are math research projects lead by teachers?
You can learn more about projects here: http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/projects.php
Kaili / 15 / TN: Does Mathcamp offer any computational classes related to computer science?
Yes! We offer some CS classes (theoretical and programming) each summer.
Are there lockers to keep valuables
We can keep things locked up for you at the office (e.g. passports, spending money) if you need.
Are current high school graduating seniors eligible?
Does this involve graph theory?
Are a lot of students named Brandon
There's always Graph Theory at camp! I teach some every year.
There are sometimes Brandons, too.
nathan rosenberg/14/massachusetts do you do math there
We sure do.
Are you allowed to send and receive mail at mathcamp?
What do students gain from attending Mathcamp?
We hope: a wonderful academic and social experience, and lots of new ideas, and lots of new friends.
Okay, everybody - time to wrap up. Thanks for spending your evening with us! Lots of great questions, as always.
If we didn't get to your question, feel free to email email@example.com 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!)
thank you very much
Thank you all for joining us, and a big thanks to Marisa and Kevin!
Again, if you're interested in applying for Mathcamp, the qualifying quiz for Mathcamp is posted at http://www.mathcamp.org/quiz
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