Mathcamp Math JamGo back to the Math Jam Archive
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.
Now, on to the actual topic of this Math Jam!
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!
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.
Mira Bernstein (MiraBernstein, who might be joining us later) has been one of the main organizers of Mathcamp since 1997. She is on the Board of Directors, the admissions committee, and just about every other committee there is. She teaches both pure and applied math at camp, and rarely misses an opportunity to go hiking with campers!
Also, I'm Laura Zehender; I was Mathcamp student in '07-'09, and currently work at AoPS in San Diego.
I'll turn the room over to Marisa now.
Hi, everybody, and welcome to the annual Mathcamp Q&A! Thanks as always to @LauraZed, @rrusczyk, and the AoPS team for hosting us.
We're here to talk about Mathcamp 2018, 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: it’s a 5-week residential math summer program. This year, it runs Sunday, June 24th through Sunday, July 29th, and takes place at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO (right outside of Denver).
Wow, gotta say, you type very fast.
I did copy/paste that intro. :-D
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. The last two years have been 40% girls, 60% boys.
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.
That flexibility and creativity -- academic and nonacademic -- are the defining characteristics of Mathcamp.
How do I get in? Admission is competitive. (We typically admit ~15% of the applicants.) 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 a month from today: March 15th, 2018. (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 receive full scholarships. 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 / Location: Question
Mia / 16 / Ithaca: Is there good hiking nearby?
Paweł / Parent / Poland: What happens if a camper sprains their ankle on a field trip?
(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 half an hour 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 for overseas students too?
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.)
Any age restriction?
Students ages 13 - 18 are eligible to apply.
Mohith/13/PA: Typically, how old are the students that are attending Mathcamp?
The average age (in fact, often the mean, median, *and* mode) at camp is usually 16.
On the first day of Mathcamp 2017, there were:
3 campers age 13
7 campers age 14
21 campers age 15
36 campers age 16
34 campers age 17
15 campers age 18
3 campers age 19
That's pretty typical for us.
How long is the camp for?(Sorry if this question has already been answered I came late)
It's a 5-week program.
that is a really smooth distribution
"on the first day of Mathcamp 2017...", what happens on the other days?
An aging process of one day per day?
Where will the camp be held?
This summer, it's in Golden, Colorado, at Colorado School of Mines.
(Our location changes every year, so we get to check out different parts of the country.)
Does the location of the camp change each year?
But we do return to favorite campuses.
Is it a day student or residential camp?
It's a residential camp.
Jan/parent/NJ: where do students stay? Are there dorms? cafeteria?
Students do stay in dorms, and we have our meals in the campus cafeteria.
Our dorm this year is Elm Hall: https://www.mines.edu/residence-life/residence-halls/elm-hall/
(I'm excited about the dorm. It was just built recently, and was really thoughfully designed: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/institutional/colorado-school-of-mines-elm-street-residence-hall-and-dining-commons-page/ )
Matt/14/Florida - Any inkling of where the camp will be for summer 2019??
Not yet, sorry. Stay tuned! We'll announce next year's location in the fall.
Is there wifi in the dorms?
Do we have to stay at the camp?
For 5-weeks? That's a really long time!
Yes! But it goes by really quickly.
IS there a grade cap for the program?
Eligibility is by age, not grade in school.
how will i take 5 weeks off from school?
If your school is in session over the summer, then yes.
John/14/WA: Can parents visit?
Of course! (Though we cannot provide accommodation for visitors.)
So if there is an age cap, do university students who are within the age limit allowed to apply as well?
Yes, we welcome students who have started college early if they're still under 18.
So could you be in college and apply for Mathcamp?
When does the camp start?
It's June 24 - July 29 this year.
Can someone from middle school attend it if they are going to ninth grade?
Can someone who is going to be 13 on July 30 be able to participate in the camp?
can you still enroll if you are 12
You should be 13 by the first day of camp in order to apply.
Will all students undergo same lessons?
This is an interesting question, and the answer is definitely no: we teach 5 classes per hour, 4-5 hours per day, so you have to choose which classes you'll attend.
What does a typical day at MathCamp look like?
How long are the daily schedule?
Very very approximately: on weekdays, there are classes 9am - 2pm, and office hours / homework time 2-4pm, a colloquium 4-5pm, and then evening activities.
On the weekends, there are field trips.
But since you choose your own schedule, it might be very different from person to person, or even from day to day.
Wait.How do we attend 5 classes in an hour o_O ???
Alas, without a time turner, you have to pick one. ;)
What do you do for July 4th?
We'll have a special field trip! (It's actually already been planned.)
Is this only a math camp?
Well, officially, yes. But there are LOTS of things that happen at camp – math-adjacent classes, and totally non-math activities.
Are the classes back-to-back?
Good question. There *are* classes every hour (e.g. 9 - 9:50, 10 - 10:50...), but you don't have to go to a class in every block.
In fact, we encourage students to take time off between classes to think about the math they've just absorbed.
Are there breaks?
Do we do a lot of math problems
What math courses are there?
What subjects are teached on the classes?
What are the topics of classes like?
We teach *all* sorts of classes.
We won't finalize the 2018 class schedule until shortly before camp, but you can see classes from 2017 (and before) at http://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/classes.php .
so we can choose any 5 classes in the entire catalog or are certain classes only taught at a certain time.
Classes do meet at fixed times, yes. (Does that answer your question?)
Can you change your selection of the 5 classes?
Let me say a few words about choosing your classes:
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….)
Are there any mandatory classes?
Nope, everything is optional.
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/2017/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.
who are the academic advisors?
That's everyone who's an instructor.
Could you possibly take all non-math classes?
Well, we definitely do teach things that are math-adjacent, like physics and computer science:
Just last year, for example, we had classes on Algorithms, Evasiveness (a property of query complexity ? see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aanderaa%E2%80%93Karp%E2%80%93Rosenberg_conjecture ), recent research on the Traveling Salesman Problem, Special Relativity? not to mention the Bell Curve, Voting Systems and the mathematics of Gerrymandering, Ancient Greek mathematics, Turing and his work, and a class on the mathematics of urban planning.
But most of the classes are about math.
What is the difficulty of the classes?
What is the difficulty level for the classes?
It varies a lot: some classes are recreational, and others require serious math background.
What are the tougher classes?
Some examples from just last summer: Riemann Surfaces; Classification of Subgroups of
$GL_2(F_q)$; Inner Model Theory; and The Kakeya Conjecture.
also what if there's a class that no one takes or very few people want to take?
Some classes are really small, and those are often the ones students enjoy most!
Will there be home work assignments every day?
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.)
is there a limit to the number of people per class?
What is a typical staff to student ratio?
There are 120 students and about 30 staff.
This is just a clarification: MathCamp focuses on deepening skills rather than accelerating, correct?
Great question: yes. You might see some standard topics at Mathcamp that you'll take in high school or college (linear algebra, multivariable calculus..), but Mathcamp classes aren't a replacement for full-semester college classes.
Our focus is on enrichment: introducing you to super cool and interesting math you might not see elsewhere.
Is there a limit as to how many people can enroll in the camp altogether?
Yes, there are 120 students per summer.
do i need certain experience for some classes
at what pace are the classes taught at?
what is the goal of the classes?
Great questions, and the answer is that it varies widely from class to class.
Some classes will indicate that there are prerequisites: e.g., "You should already be comfortable with eigenvectors before taking this class."
Others will develop all the material they need within the class, and will only assume high school math as the prereq.
Do you get a grade and does this go on your transcript?
Good question: no, you don't get grades at Mathcamp, and this does not go on an official transcript.
Also, is it like a real math course in the way of tests/midterms/finals/etc?
Nope, we don't have tests.
are there projects you can do at camp with other students and instructors?
Do we get to discover / think about some of the undiscovered math? (just for an example, things that would be regarded by Intel Science Fair?
Yes, we do have projects!
Lots of students choose to explore a topic in depth 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. (Yes, sometimes these become the basis for Intel/Siemens/Davidson/etc submissions.)
Could some courses touch on currently unsolved problems (e.g. the Millenium Problems)?
Wait... are there tests?
Do you get a report card at the end of Mathcamp?
Is there competition within the camp?
what are the colloquiums?
No to the tests and the report card;
there are some problem-solving competitions for fun;
and a colloquium is an all-camp lecture, often by a guest speaker, on a topic we think everybody will enjoy.
Let's see: we have some residential life questions from a few minutes ago that I didn't get to – let me pass those through:
What's the dorm like? And how many people stay together?
The dorm is nice! Students live mostly in doubles, but there are a few singles (and maybe a triple or two).
How do you cater for food allergies or diet restrictions for the students?
The dining hall at Mines is conscientious about allergies: https://minesdining.sodexomyway.com/explore/nutrition . We've been able to accommodate students with strict allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, gluten ? even strictly kosher and halal. And of course there are vegetarian and vegan options, and the "pizza-only" eaters do pretty well.
What are the field trips like?
We do all sorts of field trips! Hiking, museums, whitewater rafting, amusement parks...
Since this is the Canada-USA MathCamp, what do you do for July 1st?
Do you do anything for July 1 for canadians
We can celebrate July 1st.
Can kids bring their own music instrument for entertainment.
Yes! Lots of students bring musical instruments.
How many students do one of the rooms hold?
1 - 3.
ARe they grouped by age?
Yes: we match up roommates who are close in age.
Students of different genders are separated, right?
Yes, the floors are gender-separated.
Are the roommates of the same gender?
Can students bring tennis rackets and swim suits?
Are there music classes?
Informally, yes! There's a Mathcamp choir, and a contemporary a cappella group, and often people will get together a chamber group or a band.
Will there be any vegetarian food? I am not a vegan, just asking.
(I'm vegetarian; this is important to me. )
Will you be there?
We sure will!
Is there a swimming pool and if so is it an outdoor or an indoor one?
Yes, and indoor, I believe.
Is there a swimming pool students can use?
And yes, we can use it!
what recreational activities are there?
Wow, that is a BIG question. The sky's the limit for activities.
I mentioned a minute ago that there are music groups; there's also dancing (salsa, contra, swing...), frisbee, capture the flag...
chess, board games, bedtime story reading groups...
I mean, really, anything you can come up with, we can do it.
Are there organized evening activities or do students just do what they want?
How much free time is there?
Your time really is your own, so you get to decide how much math and how much non-math you want in your day.
what time do we wake up at? when do we sleep?
There is no required wake up time, but the first class of the day starts at 9 AM (which is also when breakfast ends!).
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 the camp safe?
Wow! There is a lot of freedom!
Indeed: that's definitely true.
What is the electronics policy?
You are welcome to bring electronics; laptops are generally helpful. I do not recommend bringing video games – you won't have time.
What time is breakfast?
When does breakfast begin?
Breakfast is 7am - 9am.
What are the bath/shower facilities like? Are they private by room or is there one on each floor?
The bathrooms are shared on each hall.
Can we go off campus? If so, what is there to do nearby?
Yes, students can go off-campus! (You just let us know first, and go with a group.)
How is the food?
Here's our dining hall: https://minesdining.sodexomyway.com/dining-near-me/mines-market
(We hear the food is good, but I haven't tried it myself.)
What kind of food is there?
What about any bullying? And what about kids who speak a different language? I speak English ;)
Lots of students speak lots of languages at camp!
But bullying is definitely not okay, and not something that happens here at all.
Do students get picked on?
Are some students troublemakers?
Can you request roommates?
Yes; we honor mutual roommate requests.
are dorms seperated by subject?
If you are applying with a sibling (of the same gender) can you be put together?
If you both request to room together, yes!
What if you dont get on well with your roommate?
That happens on occasion; we mediate roommate conflicts as they arise, and sometimes arrange switches. We don't want anyone to be unhappy with their room situation!
Can you request to have a different roommate?
You could, but in practice this doesn't come up very often.
So mostly everyone there is serious about math?
Yes! That's definitely true.
OK! Let's switch gears. Thanks for all the questions about the program, everybody.
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 kids apply each year?
It varies a lot. About 1000 students start the process of applying, and somewhere between a third and a half of them actually submit a completed application. (We think the number of applicants is a function how hard the Quiz turns out to be and how early the application deadline is. It might also depend on the dates and location of camp; it's hard for us to guess how many people will apply this year, since we're starting early and going to a new campus!)
How do you get in?
There's an application process, and it centers around a set of math problems: the "Qualifying Quiz." You also send essays and recommendation letters.
How many people make it?
wow thats a lot
What is the acceptance rate for international students?
what is the approximate selection rate?
We do have (many) more qualified applicants than we have spots, so we end up having to say no to lots of great candidates.
The acceptance rate for everybody is usually about 15%, but it depends how many people apply.
Where can we find the Qualifying Quiz?
How long does it usually take to solve the quiz?
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, and you should think of it as something to work on slowly, and at the end of the process, send us all of your progress.
Do you need to take the quiz again as a returning student?
No, returning students can automatically come back (you don't have to reapply).
Usually, about what percent of kids who are admitted actually choose MathCamp (and not some other camp like Ross or PROMYS etc.)?
Does it take a couple months...couple weeks...couple hours..?
Most students report spending between 15 and 40 hours, but the range is big.
does admission rate depend on where we live? (e.g. I live in Canada)
Nope. (But we like Canadians!)
Is it ok if we dont finish all the problems on the quiz?
Are the answers to the Qualifying Quiz the most important part of the application?
We don't expect every applicant - even every admitted student - to solve every problem! But you should spend some real time on the Quiz: it is our best way to get to know you mathematically.
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.
How many problems are on the quiz?
It's 7 this year, although they have subparts.
does admission rate depend on age? (do younger people get graded easier?)
No, everybody is held to the same standard.
Are we allowed to know how the different parts of the application (i.e. the quiz, rec letters, essay) are weighted?
There's no fixed formula, sorry.
Do USAMO qualifiers get in automatically?
No, everybody has to apply.
So returning students are kind of "reserved" a spot?
what percent of people at camp are returning
Yes: we reserve up to 55 spots for returning students.
We got an interesting question about this by email in advance:
Aaron/13/S If more current students apply than you can take, what happens?
We reserve up to 55 spots for returning students, and generally, that's just about the right number. But if too many campers wanted to come back in the same year (say, all of a sudden, 100 campers sign up to return), we have a system for handling that: http://mathcamp.org/alumni/policy.php .
(The system was actually created based on a proposal from the alumni themselves!)
If I apply in year N and get in, but don't come, do I have to apply again for year N+1?
Yes, you do.
So, not all returning students are able to come back? Only 55?
We almost never hit the 55 cap, so in practice, it's not generally an issue.
do students who come one year but skip the next and want to come back the year after that still get a reserved spot?
Yes. Once you come to camp, you become part of the Mathcamp family.
if there is more than 120 you want
Always! The selection process is really hard, because we're so excited about everybody.
What if you don't want to reveal your AoPS identity?
Who can write a recommendation letter?
Here's some detail about rec letters: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/recommendations.php
What is essay about?
Here's more about the essay:
Is the quiz more important than the recommendation letter and personal essay?
Well, it's all important.
The Quiz is how we get to know you mathematically, and the rest of the application helps us get to know you as a person.
Are extracurricular activities weighed in the application process? How much do they matter for the application?
We're interested in everything! Extracurriculars, too.
does contest scores (such as AMC, AIME, USAMTS, etc.) help get selected?
A little bit. We do ask on the Mathcamp application about your competition background - but it's a very small piece of the puzzle. It just gives us another window into the way you focus your mathematical energy.
how much do other math contests (AMC, COMC, etc.) weigh in terms of application?
How much impact does the recommendation letter have on your acceptance? and personal essay?
How much impact do recommendation letter and personal essay have on your admission?
How do your scores on competitions such as the AMC affect this process?
It all counts! But it's hard to say how much any one piece weighs.
Can we know how the quiz problems are scored/weighted? In particular, is the scoring like that of USAMO where you either solve it or you don't(with huge score differences) or do you get a fair share of partial credit?
We definitely give partial credit. When we look at an individual Quiz problem, we're looking for a solution that is complete, correctly, and clearly communicated.
What if you don't really like competitions?
Not a problem! Lots of people at Mathcamp have never done a competition and never plan to.
What level math should I have completed before applying?
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 know it says high school camp, but haven't really good middle school students made it before?
Yes, middle school students are eligible, too.
how long are the personal essays on average
About a page.
when will you find out if you got in?
We will announce decisions this year on April 18th.
More about the calendar: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/deadlines.php
How often do you get homeschooled applicants?
How long should Recommendation letters be?
About a page.
Is there a waitlist too?
Yes, we do place a small number of students on our waitlist in case spots open up.
If somebody loves math but has not done much outside regular school curriculum, how well will that person fit in? And how many such students do you get every year?
This is a great question. We definitely get students fitting this description every year! Mathcamp is a great place to start diving into math outside the regular school curriculum.
In addition to the high school content background, we're looking for students who are creative and have sharp critical thinking skills. Some students have already started developing these skills through extracurricular math (e.g. here on AoPS!), but there are lots of ways to get there.
For our personal essay, is the only rule for the "adult" that they are over 18 and not a family member
Can the personal recommendation be from a informal teacher or mentor(such as my MATHCOUNTS Club Coach)?
Then can our personal essay adult be a fellow student over 18 that we have worked with
It should be from a mentor rather than a peer.
How much does it cost?
What is the cost of going to this camp?
The full tuition is $4500.
But we award LOTS of scholarships.
What about the financial aid? Do we get tuition + travel? And if travel is provided, is it from the home city or are we required to drop at some airport in Colorado (this time)?
Financial aid is all need-based, and if need be, can include both a full tuition waiver and a plane ticket from your home city.
More details here:
About 25 students a year come on full scholarships.
What is the criteria for scholarships?
It's just based on your family's need; we ask that a parent or guardian fill out a short form about the household income, who that supports, and what they can reasonably afford to pay.
do you give full scholarships to international students?
can you get financial aid outside of need based/merit
You can apply for outside sources of support; see the bottom of http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/scholarships.php for some suggestions.
What about the whole migration/Visa process for international students?
Every year, we help students get visas to come to Mathcamp.
Since you're not enrolling or receiving credit at a university, you would not need a student visa to come to camp. From the perspective of the U.S. government, you are enjoying mathematical tourism, and will need a B-2 visitor visa (or entry through the Visa Waiver Program).
We will support each international student through the process of applying for visas, and stay in touch with each of our international students throughout the spring about any changes in the system for traveling to the US.
Is it better to get a recommendation from a prior year teacher from MathPath or from a current teacher in school?
Good question. It should be the person who knows you best mathematically!
But the advantage for a MathPath person is that they know about our program and can speak directly to your fit for Mathcamp, so all other things being equal, I vote the MathPath person.
Can the personal recommendation be from an older student (over 18) that has served as a mentor?
We prefer recs to come from grown-ups rather than peers.
Is the application blind to gender, or does it ensure an even number of males and females?
Good question. Quiz evaluation is gender-blind, but the final selection process is not: we're thinking about the overall composition of the student body, including gender balance.
So if your middle school math teacher knows your mathematical abilities better than your high school math teacher, then would it be preferable to ask for recommendations from your middle school teacher?
Depends how recently you were in middle school, but yes.
What about a sibling who is an adult for the personal recommendation?
No family members, sorry.
Is there security to make sure the campus is safe?
Do international students need a regular visa or is the ESTA enough?
You'll need a tourist visa if your country of origin requires a visa to come to the US.
can personal recommendation be from a teacher?
This is a good question. Yes, but we want the personal recommender to be able to speak to your character outside the classroom. So it can be from a teacher, if you know them outside of class.
does the personal recommendation have to be from a math teacher?
The personal recommendation is usually *not* from a math teacher!
Is there a paper you have to give to your teacher for recommendations or do you have to email/tell them about it?
When you create an application online, you can enter your recommenders' names and email addresses, and the system automatically generates an email to them with a short form to fill out.
can it be from a coach, or mentor. It doens't have to be a teacher, right?
Okay! Thanks, everybody, for all the questions about the application process.
The field is open for *any* questions you have about Mathcamp, and we’ll wrap up at 9pm ET.
In your opinion, are most students mature/appropriate?
Yes! The Mathcamp students are awesome.
Do you do baseball, if so do students have to bring their own equipment?
We have a bunch of sports equipment on hand. (Baseball, specifically: I don't remember off the top of my head.)
Where do the instructors and conselours come from?
You can see last year's staff here: http://www.mathcamp.org/2017/ourstaff.php
What about genderqueer people? What are dorms and rooms like?
There are all sorts of people at Mathcamp, definitely including genderqueer people (both students and staff). It's a very welcoming place.
The dorms and the rooms are like... well, very standard college dorms.
Are classes sort of like college level classes, or are they like an extension of high school math?
It's much more like college-level classes, but with a twist: you only have a few days or weeks rather than a whole semester, so a class will focus on a particularly interesting question rather than trying to get you through a whole semester's worth of content.
who is eligible for financial aid?
Anyone can apply for financial aid! (And admission is need-blind, so we won't even see who has applied for aid when we're making decisions.)
What, in your opinion, is the best/most interesting/most loved etc class at Mathcamp?
Oh, wow, this is a hard question. A *lot* of people love Combinatorial Game Theory; that's my guess for the most popular class.
But the course catalogue changes every year, so each year brings new favorites.
Can students choose to switch classes if they enroll in one too challenging?
Do you already have the class catalog for this year?
Not yet; we're still hiring staff for this summer. We'll post the 2018 courses in June.
would younger students have lower-level classes than older. How many levels do you offer?
Classes are not at all separated by age. (Each camper gets to design their own curriculum, and classes never have age restrictions.)
Classes aren't offered at specific "levels" exactly; each class has its own pace and difficulty, and you choose a variety that works for you.
Do they have a rec room?
How large is the campus?
It's a pretty big campus, actually; Mines is a big school. But our dorm and classrooms and dining hall are all near one another.
what other entertainment facilities are there and what are the rules about curfews and leaving campus?
What if you need to take a break from math?
You can take a break any time you want or need one!
We do have some community standards about quiet hours in the dorm, and letting the staff know when you're leaving campus.
The only official 'curfew' is that we ask everyone to be in the dorm by 11pm.
Are there classes on weekend too?
What kind of stuff can you do apart from math and classes?
On the weekends, there's informal math, and sometimes students work on projects, but there are also field trips and lots of on-campus activities.
You can do TONS of stuff apart from academics!
Do students ever cook or bake for fun while at camp?
Yes, all the time.
will there be a counselor for each dorm unit?
Yes, there's one staff per about 6-8 students on the halls.
What if you get hungry after curfew?
There's food in the dorm!
what are the typical class sizes
It varies a lot – from 1 to 75, say.
But a typical class is 12 - 20.
Are there sports courts?
does this camp have a website?
How many former Math Path students go to Math Camp?
It's a pretty popular trajectory.
if you are the only one signed up for a class, will it still open, or will you have to choose a different one?
Ah, interesting question. So the system is that you don't register for classes: you just show up to the classes you want to go to.
Will food be served?
Yes, we promise.
How many international students attend each year?
It's usually about 18 - 25% of the student body.
Are we allowed to bring guitars or other large items?
Of course! (I'm bringing a guitar. Other people should bring them, too.)
if the applicant has a bad AMC score, do they have to put the score?
Nope. You can skip it.
should the personal recommendation writer be knowledgeable about your math skills?
Not necessarily, no.
Does MathCamp only accept students on merit and ability or on potential/interest, or both?
On all of the above! We're looking for people who will really thrive at Mathcamp, both academically and non-academically.
What do most Mathcampers want to do with the math they learn there? Specifically, how many want to major in math/be research mathematicians?
Lots of Mathcampers do go on to be research mathematicians. But others go on to study CS, or Physics, or Engineering, or something else entirely.
What do you mean by, "skip" AMC score? Does it ever come up?
As in, there's a box on the application where you can tell us about your competition experience, and if you'd rather not talk about it, you can leave it blank and that's totally fine.
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.
Have you ever had any south american student?
Yes! We had a student just last summer from Brazil, in fact.
When is the application deadline?
Is finishing precalculas necessary to be admitted to the camp?
Yes, we recommend everybody complete precalculus before coming to camp.
Will the food be better than that of HCSSiM?
That, I do not know.
What happens if you get sick?
We have a camp nurse on staff, and we will make sure you get the appropriate medical attention!
(It does happen every year that someone gets sick. It's never fun to be sick, especially when you're away from home, but we do our best to make it as easy as possible.)
do international students struggle with language?
We recommend you only apply if you're very comfortable spending all day talking (about math and non-math) in English.
is it more research based or curriculum based like awesomemath
Hmm; both! There are options to do research, and also there are classes.
I see you're on Eastern time
Secretly I'm on Pacific time, but Kevin is on Eastern, so let's wrap up before he turns into a pumpkin.
Thanks for spending your evening with us, everybody!
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.)
Thank you so, so much
That was very helpful
Thank you very much; bye!
Thank you for your time !!!
That was an amazing session! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!
Thank you! Good night!
Thank you so much!! Byee
Thank you all for joining us, and a big thanks to Marisa and Kevin!
Thanks again, Laura. Have a good night, everybody!
Good Night! Thanks Bye
Time to celebrate Lunar New Year
Thanks for answering the questions, good night!
If you missed part of this Math Jam, a transcript will be posted soon here: http://www.aops.com/school/mathjams-transcripts
Have a good night too and thanks
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